Pittsburgh & Steubenville Extension Railroad Tunnel

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Panhandle Tunnel
FORMER SOUTH PORTAL OF THE 79.4' TUNNEL EXTENSION - Pittsburgh and Steubenville Extension Railroad Tunnel, Between Fifth and Sixth Streets, East of Grant Street, Pittsburgh, HAER PA,2-PITBU,60-3.tif
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Status in use
System Pittsburgh Light Rail
Work begun 1863
Opened 1865
Owner Port Authority of Allegheny County
Construction brick and cut stone
Length 1,440 feet (440 m)
No. of tracks 2 (1865–1965)
1 (1967–)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (1865–1980)
5 ft 2 12 in (1,588 mm) (1985–Current)
Electrified 1985
Highest elevation 740 feet (230 m)
Tunnel clearance 18.5 feet (5.6 m)

The Pittsburgh & Steubenville Extension Railroad Tunnel, also known as the Panhandle Tunnel was originally built for the Pittsburgh and Steubenville Extension Railroad in Pittsburgh. It officially opened for rail traffic in 1865.


The tunnel has been modified many times since it was first constructed. In the years after the construction the southern end was lengthened by 79.4 feet (24.2 m) to accommodate the overpass of Forbes Avenue. This new tunnel had a height of 19.5 feet (5.9 m), lower than the main tunnel. The southern end was again extended around 1900 to add a sidewalk to the road. This 19 feet (5.8 m) extension lowered the height of the tunnel to the current 18.5 feet (5.6 m).[1]

Light Rail

The tunnel and the adjacent Panhandle Bridge were purchased by the Port Authority from Penn Central Corporation for $8.15 million in 1980.[2] The tunnel is now part of the Pittsburgh Light Rail System, as the Steel Plaza Station.[3]

See also


  1. "Historic American Engineering Record – Pittsburgh & Steubenville Extension Railroad Tunnel". Retrieved March 20, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ken Fisher (September 24, 1980). "Conrail turning tunnel, Panhandle Bridge over to PAT". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 12, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "PGHBridges.com – Panhandle Tunnel".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>