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The 2,200-foot bore required four years, finally opening in February of 1852.
As the tunnel was under construction work continued towards towards Nashville reaching Murfreesboro on July 4, 1851.
Somewhat surprisingly during an era where nearly any town, large or small, yearned for a railroad and the economic opportunities it provided, city leaders wanted nothing to do with a railroad operating in city limits.
It was given rights to connect its namesake cities, establish a connection with the Western & Atlantic (W&A) at Chattanooga, and eventually reach major ports throughout the Southeast (presumably this would have entailed reaching Savannah, Wilmington, and Charleston).However, these dreams were cut short when the road came under Louisville & Nashville's control.The NC&St L ultimately settled into a regional role as a bridge line and remained an important component of the L&N before formally disappearing in the 1950s.As crews worked eastward from Nashville the tunnel ultimately delayed the line's completion.During the era predating the Civil War the backbreaking work was largely carried out by slave labor.