Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I live in a small town, just north of Nashville, TN.  Ridgetop, TN is over 800 feet above sea level on the edge of the Highland Rim.  The house I live in sits on land that once was home to a hospital for tuberculosis patients.  Near our home is a train track and the opening of the L&N Railroad tunnel that runs underneath our little town.  In 1905 it was hailed as one of the longest self-supporting tunnels in the world. It is approximately 4700 feet long and 22 1/2 feet high.  The tuberculosis patients who were transported by train got off at the depot (no longer there) near the tunnel entry, then they were brought by horse and buggy up, up, up the winding path to the hospital.  Over the years, the path was covered by trees, grass, leaves, flowers, and general growth. 

However, on the weekend of May 2, 2010, the rains washed a lot of this cover away, exposing the large slabs of rock that were underneath and the path became much clearer.  It also became much more dangerous in spots because some of the pathway was "sunk", meaning there is a 4' x 4' x 6' sinkhole in part of the path.  No worries, we just scooted around it last time we went exploring. 

Now, if you are down near the tracks and a train comes by, it is L O U D!
The earth and air rumble (yes, the air rumbles) as the train engine roars and the wheels clickety clack along the track. The sound of the whistle makes you cover your ears as it echoes off the hillside and the tunnel.

And then you laugh because it's so freakishly loud. For you see, you have to walk down, down, down to the tracks. So instead of being 800 feet above sea level, you are now quite a bit lower and the hills and trees encompass you.
From our house, the trains can be heard rumbling and whistling, just not as loudly as when you are right next to the tracks.  If you like the sound of a train, as I do, it is actually very enjoyable. 

If you want to know more about my little town, you can visit these webistes:  (more pictures of the tunnel in the EARLY days are at this site)


  1. Well, this is neat. Do you think I will be able to hike down there and back sometime? I'd LOVE to see this.

    When I was a little girl before dad died we had a train tressle that went through our pasture and Bob used to try and get me to sit up beside it when a train went by. I never could - thank goodness. I'd probably of been killed.

  2. Mom - I think the path is gentle enough for you to walk it. It takes about 1/2 hour to walk to the path and down it from the house when Benjamin and I go, and we don't go fast.

    Dad - yes, you can go into the tunnel. Jim said he was in there one time when a train came through and he had to stand against the wall as it went by - there is enough room on either side of the tracks. I have been inside it once, just a few feet, but I was really scared that a train would come by, so I didn't stay long.