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The Dingess Tunnel is a 3,327-foot tunnel in northwestern Mingo County that was built for the original Twelvepole Creek route of the Norfolk & Western (now Norfolk Southern) Railroad in 1892. That route was the N&W main line between 1892 and 1904, when a new rail line opened on better grades along the Big Sandy River. The Twelvepole Creek route later was abandoned. The town of Dingess was a busy place while the Twelvepole line was in use, because goods shipped on the N&W were unloaded there and hauled to other towns in the area by wagonloads. In June 1905, two trains collided in the tunnel and three people were killed. When the N&W changed its route, the Dingess Tunnel fell into disuse. Since 1913, the Dingess Tunnel has been used as a highway tunnel. The tunnel has been the subject of tales about Mingo County’s violent past. Writer Huey Perry described it as a notorious ambush site in his 1972 memoir of the Poverty War, They’ll Cut Off Your Project.

This Article was written by Robert Y. Spence

Last Revised on July 31, 2012

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Cite This Article

Spence, Robert Y. "Dingess Tunnel." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 31 July 2012. Web. 17 August 2017.

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