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Dillinger Only Lehigh County Train Tunnel Still in Use

Located south of Vera Cruz, 136-year-old passageway is a living piece of history.

You may not know much about history, but Emmaus Patch is going to help change that. Every Friday in July, you're invited to join Peggy Heminitz for a brief history lesson. Peg will share a local photograph and some historical fact about the place we call home. We promise there won't be any tests!

This week, we're focusing on the Dillinger Tunnel:

Completed in 1875, the Dillinger Tunnel is located south of Vera Cruz and still used today. The 1,793-foot tunnel was built on the Reading Railroad’s Perkiomen Line, which originally ran from Emmaus to Philadelphia. It once carried freight, as well as passenger trains on a daily basis. 

The Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike crosses 40 feet above the tunnel. 

It is now owned by East Penn Railways and carries freight from Pennsburg to the Emmaus Junction on 16 miles of track. Dillinger Tunnel is the only train tunnel still in use in Lehigh County.

Ronald Weaver August 18, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Against my moms warnings to stay out of the tunnel because of the trains, I used the tunnel as a short cut to my grandfathers farm in Dillinger Station area from my home in Vera Cruz.. In the late 1940's I remember being half way thru and seeing a steam engine coming in the tunnel ahead. I got up tight against the stone walls as the steam engine passed which filled the tunnel with smoke. A hole going up to the surface is located in the middle of the tunnel to remove the smoke however that didn't work to well. We used to board the train at Dillinger Station to go to Philadelphia. In the winter ice would form in the tunnel and build up on the track which made it difficult to walk.

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