Tunnel City, Wisconsin

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Tunnel City, Wisconsin
Tunnel City East East.jpg
Tunnel City
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Tunnel City, Wisconsin
Coordinates: 44°00′26″N90°33′56″W / 44.00722°N 90.56556°W / 44.00722; -90.56556
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Wisconsin.svg  Wisconsin
County Monroe
  Total0.80 km2 (0.310 sq mi)
  Land0.80 km2 (0.310 sq mi)
  Water0 km2 (0 sq mi)
320 m (1,060 ft)
 (2010) [2]
  Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
54662 [3]
Area code(s) 608
GNIS feature ID1575713 [4]

Tunnel City is an unincorporated census-designated place in the town of Greenfield, Monroe County, Wisconsin, United States, [5] [6] named after the train tunnel through a hill just to the west of town.


Milwaukee Road tunnels

This first tunnel was built by the La Crosse and Milwaukee railroad, and used by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road). [7] The first tunnel was completed in 1858 as the last segment of the rail route from Milwaukee to La Crosse. The station was simply named "Tunnel". This tunnel was updated in 1861. [8] It was replaced by another tunnel directly to its north by another in 1874. [9] That tunnel, and the railroad itself, is now owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, whose Soo Line subsidiary purchased the rail assets of the Milwaukee Road in February of 1985. The CP also hosts Amtrak’s Empire Builder passenger train, though rail traffic is dominated by freight as the Tomah Subdivision. The Empire Builder does not stop in Tunnel City. The Soo Line had raised the bore of the tunnel 14 inches (36 cm) completed in 1993 to accommodate double stack traffic. [10] The Soo Line considered excavating the hill or "daylighting" the tunnel bore.

Chicago and North Western tunnel

The Milwaukee, Sparta, and Northwestern Railroad Company, a subsidiary of the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, built the "Air Line" or "Adams Cutoff" towards Sparta, Wisconsin in 1910. [7] This is when the third tunnel through the hill west of the town was constructed. It is just to the north of the Milwaukee Road tunnels, and parallel. This 1910 tunnel collapsed in March 1973. An extra heavy snow added to already saturated ground. [11] The Chicago and North Western rerouted to the older Milwaukee tunnel. [12] The CNW route, to Onalaska and Winona, is now mostly abandoned between Tunnel City and Medary. The Union Pacific Railroad, which purchased the CNW, has trackage rights from Tunnel City to Winona (Tower CK) on the parallel Canadian Pacific track. [13] These rights date from the CNW tunnel collapse in 1973. [14]

Census information

As of the 2010 census, its population is 106. [2] Tunnel City has an area of 0.310 square miles (0.80 km2), all of it land.

Tunnel City East West.jpg

Tunnel City East East.jpg


  1. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  2. 1 2 "U.S. Census website". U.S. Census Bureau . Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  3. "Tunnel City Zipcode" . Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  4. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Tunnel City, Wisconsin
  5. Tunnel at Tunnel City, WHi-24918 Wisconsin Historical Society, undated photograph of construction workers posed near the east portal of the railroad tunnel near Tunnel City.
  6. Tunnel City, WI Profile: Facts & Data Home Town Locator, access to 50 state Gazetters
  7. 1 2 History of Monroe County, Wisconsin: Past and Present Including an Account of the Cities, Towns and Villages of the County. Unigraphic. 1912.
  9. Green, Doris. Wisconsin Underground: A Guide to Caves, Mines, and Tunnels in and Around the Badger State. United States: Trails Books, 2000.
  10. Pacific Rail News. Interurbans Publications. 1992.
  11. Monroe County Bicentennial Committee (Wis.). (1976). Monroe County, Wisconsin, pictorial history. The Committee.
  12. Tom Murray. Chicago & North Western Railway. Voyageur Press. pp. 18–. ISBN   978-1-61673-154-0.
  13. Trains Hotspots: LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN. Trains Magazine, September 2014
  14. The Wisconsin State Rail Plan, 1983 Update: An Element of Wisconsin's Transportation Planning Program. Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 1983. pp. 186–.

Coordinates: 44°00′26″N90°33′56″W / 44.00722°N 90.56556°W / 44.00722; -90.56556

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