RAY'S HILL TUNNEL
Picture Page


This photo is used courtesy of Jon Hoover's website.  This is one of the best examples of what Ray's Hill Tunnel actually looks like -- definitely nothing glamorous to look at, but cool to visit nonetheless. 

As with all of the original turnpike tunnels, Ray's Hill is lined in concrete and had recessed lighting fixtures.  Only during the expansion of the original tunnels to two parallel tubes did the tunnels that remained open get refitted with white ceramic tiles and fluorescent lighting fixtures.  

If you look closely down the center of the tunnel, you will see a point of light.  This is the opposite tunnel portal.  Ray's Hill Tunnel is short enough that you can see light from one end to the other.

Click on the above picture to visit Jon's site.

The original Ray's Hill Tunnel construction began in 1885 as part of the South Penn Railroad.  The western portal is seen here.  The S.P.R.R. was never realized.  When the S.P.R.R. folded, Ray's Hill Tunnel was left unfinished.  The Pennsylvania Turnpike used the beginnings of the South Penn Railroad's tunnel.


Ray's Hill Tunnel under construction, 1939.



Source unknown.


Photograph taken in 1950 of the western portal of Ray's Hill Tunnel.

At the time, the traffic volume on the turnpike allowed for tourists to stop, park their cars in the median, and take pictures.  Books on the subject note that travelers used to stop in the median and picnic.


This photograph appears courtesy of Mitch Dakelman.  It was taken
in 1970, when the tunnel was still maintained, guarded, and lit inside. 
The P.T.C. continued some tunnel maintenance until sometime in 1973. 
By Mitch's 1973 visit, the tunnel was no longer lighted.


Taken in 1940, just prior to the Pennsylvania Turnpike's opening. 
This is the eastern portal of Ray's Hill.  Note the absence of a ventilation fan room at this portal.

Source:  Turnpike Archives, found on the Internet, Library of Congress.


An excellent photograph, courtesy of Mitch Dakelman, probably
the best ever taken of Ray's Hill, western portal, summer of 1980.


The Library of Congress records this photograph from 1940, around the time of the opening of the turnpike.  I have recently noticed that the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy also posts this photo on their website.  Note the "STOP" signal on the right side of the tunnel entrance.  According to sources, this photograph was staged, with the guard stopping the driver.


Source unknown.


I do not know who "Charlie" is and what website I downloaded this photo from.
I fooled my mother into believing that the "Rays Hill" lettering was authentic.  


Source unknown.


An aerial view of Ray's Hill Tunnel, as well as the current alignment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 
Also visible is the current alignment of U.S. Route 30, located on the south and southeast side of the current turnpike.

This page was created on:  July 1, 2005.  
Last updated on:  August 09, 2014.

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The contents and descriptions on this page are the results of research by the webmaster of this site, as well as commentary and assistance offered by sources, some who may be quoted and some who wish to remain anonymous.  All photos are used with the consent of their owners/photographers whenever possible.  Some photos are in the public domain and do not require permission to use.  Some photographs and images are taken from Internet sources who do not have contact information posted.  Should you believe that the usage of any photograph(s) infringes on your rights, please contact the webmaster and either grant permission for usage (notation will be made to indicate permission granted and your name/website source) or request for the picture to be withdrawn.  All Library of Congress photos are in the public domain and/or used with permission of their owner.

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