Constructed in 1876 out of limestone blocks, the Great Western Railway was built in order to allow trains to travel underneath the 3rd Western Canal.
This railway, located at GM Glendale- Gate 12, was active until 1915, when the tunnel was abandoned due to frequent use of the 4th Welland Canal. At this point, the GWR Tunnel’s greatest use was providing a shortcut for local farmers.
Acting as reservoir to their respective canals, locals began building man-made ponds near every canal in 1903. However, building the pond for the 3rd Welland Canal became troublesome as the builders were forced to relocate the St. Peters Church Cemetery. It is believed that only 250 graves were removed, leaving behind over 500 dead bodies to rest beneath the brand new reservoir.
Though there are no records of any deaths from within, the tunnel known as the Blue Ghost Tunnel has seen its fair share of violence. Two trainmen lost their lives after their trains had collided just yards beyond the tunnel in 1903. An accident in 1912, at the tunnel’s 22nd lock, forced portions of the tunnel to break, drowning two boys caught gallivanting in the tunnel.
It has been reported that while listening to the tunnel, the sobbing cries of a young boy can be heard along with whistling. Though some reports speak of confusing drops of water from the melting ice with whistling, other reports have mentioned that the whistling hummed a very specific tune. Conversations have been heard coming from the tunnel’s east end, and music, early 20th century music described as coming from an old music box has been heard as well.
One patron who dared to enter took a photograph of the mouth of the tunnel, captioning a strange blue mist surrounded by a cloud of white mist. It is unknown whether or not the photograph had anything to do with the tunnel’s nickname of the Blue Ghost Tunnel.
by Chase Kell