Documentary on Blue Ridge Tunnel to be available soon

Updated: Mar. 4, 2021 at 4:30 PM EST
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NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A new documentary on the Blue Ridge Railroad Tunnel is set to premier on YouTube March 17.

The film was produced and directed by Charlottesville couple Paul and Ellen Casey Wagner.

The Tunnel tells the story of how the Blue Ridge Tunnel was first built by the Irish between 1850 and 1858, and how it was restored between 2002 and 2021. The immigrants who fled the famine in Ireland to seek work in America make up the center of the story. The work was dangerous and many men and boys were injured or killed as a result of cave-ins and explosions in the tunnel.

The documentary also highlights the contributions of enslaved Black workers who built many miles of railroads across Virginia, and the tunnel as a historic preservation landscape and archaeological site.

The broadcast version of The Tunnel will premiere at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, on VPM PBS in Richmond, Charlottesville, and Harrisonburg.

The trailer can be found at

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