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DailyTidings.com
  • The tragic tale of Tunnel 13

    90 years after train robbery, dark hole in the Siskiyou Mountains still has the power to spook visitors
  • A disturbing piece of Southern Oregon history continues to haunt Tunnel 13, a railroad tunnel near the Mount Ashland exit off Interstate 5.
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    • How to get there
      To see the tunnel, follow Interstate 5 to Exit 6 toward the Mt. Ashland Ski Area. Park at the large dirt area to the right and look toward the hill, where a path takes you to the top.
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      How to get there
      To see the tunnel, follow Interstate 5 to Exit 6 toward the Mt. Ashland Ski Area. Park at the large dirt area to the right and look toward the hill, where a path takes you to the top.
  • A disturbing piece of Southern Oregon history continues to haunt Tunnel 13, a railroad tunnel near the Mount Ashland exit off Interstate 5.
    Though it's private property owned by the railroad, it often draws adventurous teenagers and train buffs because of its notoriety as the site of the West's last great train robbery.
    On Oct. 11, 1923, three brothers — 23-year-old twins Ray and Roy D'Autremont and their teenage brother, Hugh — attempted to rob the Gold Special train after hearing rumors that half a million dollars in gold was on board. They jumped aboard as it slowed into Tunnel 13 and ordered engineer Sidney Bates to stop the train.
    But the gun-toting brothers had an extreme misconception about how easy it would be to rob a train. They blew up the mail car with dynamite, killing the mail clerk but finding no gold. They shot and killed three other railroad employees, including the engineer, before fleeing into the woods. A massive manhunt ensued that included the federal government, Oregon National Guard troops, local posses and angry railroad workers, but they failed to find the brothers.
    Hugh was caught in 1927 while serving in the Philippines in the military. The twins were arrested a short time later in Ohio. They were brought to justice at the Jackson County Courthouse in Jacksonville, where they drew national attention over their botched train robbery.
    All three were sent to prison for life. Roy had a mental breakdown and died in the state hospital in Salem. Hugh died from cancer shortly after he was awarded parole in 1958. Ray, whose sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Tom McCall in 1972, died in 1984.
    You can imagine the ghosts of the victims still haunting the tunnel, which is more than half a mile long.
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