Signed copies of Fading Ads of Cincinnati now available. Order here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Hidden Tunnel In Mason Ohio

Back in the woods of a suburban town, there's a small tunnel supporting an old railroad.


If you travel past the fast food restaurants, big box stores and trappings of interstate exits you can find the heart of Mason, Ohio - the small Main street that eventually spawned into one of the Cincinnati area's most affluent suburbs. There's a charm to "old" Mason, one that's probably overlooked or simply not found by those who don't stray more than a few miles from the highway.

Mason has a group of locals who are passionately devoted to preserving the town's history. They maintain a small historical museum in a residence on Church St. One of those folks is Jerry Mullins, a colleague of mine who wanted to show me something. A lifelong resident of Mason, Jerry had found this tunnel while playing in the woods as a kid. To reach it, we had to travel along the alignment of the now defunct Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern (CL&N) Railroad.


The CL&N was once one of the strongest rail links between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. The line linked several suburbs and small towns along the way. It's a rail line that has left several abandoned pieces of infrastructure behind, many of which have been documented here on QC/D such as: a bridge over I-71 and the alleged "Ghostbusters Tunnel."


The piece of infrastructure hidden in the woods of Mason though is a tunnel, but not one for the rail line to pass through. Rather, it exists to allow a creek to flow freely beneath the railroad tracks.

- Jerry, posing with the tunnel he first came across as a kid.

It's narrow, about an arms length wide and lined with smooth, slippery stones. If you were just walking along the tracks, odds are you'd never notice it. Had Jerry not pointed it out, I probably would've walked on past never knowing it was under our feet.

- Nondescript graffiti.

The CL&N ceased to exist in 1921. The rails were then operated under various owners with passenger service ceasing in 1934. In the years following, some sections were abandoned while other sections were preserved for freight operation. This particular section eventually terminates south near a neighborhood and runs North to Lebanon where the Lebanon, Mason and Monroe Railroad runs tourist excursions.



  1. That stonework is a very similar to that of the Cincinnati & Columbus Traction Company's culverts in Madeira and Indian Hill.

    1. Wow. Incredibly similar. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We are going to go take a look. Been here 54 years and didnt know about it thanks Ronny!!