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Encyclopedia > Hoosac Tunnel

The Hoosac Tunnel is a 4.75-mile-long railroad tunnel through the Hoosac Range, which is an extension of Vermont's Green Mountains. The tunnel's east portal is in Florida, Massachusetts, the west portal is in North Adams, Massachusetts. Work began in 1851 and was finally completed in 1873. The first train passed through the tunnel on February 9, 1875. At the time of completion, it was the 2nd longest tunnel in the world (after the 8.5-mile-long Mont Cenis Tunnel through the Swiss Alps). It was the longest tunnel in North America until the completion of the Moffat Tunnel in 1928, and remains the longest tunnel east of the Rocky Mountains. This is the top-level page of WikiProject trains Rail tracks Rail transport refers to the land transport of passengers and goods along railways or railroads. ... An underground pedestrian tunnel between buildings at MIT. Note the utility pipes running along the ceiling. ... The Hoosac Range is a Western Massachusetts mountain range which is part of the Appalachian Mountains and an extension of the Vermont Green Mountains. ... State nickname: The Green Mountain State Other U.S. States Capital Montpelier Largest city Burlington Governor Jim Douglas Official languages None Area 24,923 km² (45th)  - Land 23,974 km²  - Water 949 km² (3. ... The Green Mountains are a mountain range in the U.S. state of Vermont. ... Florida is a town located in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. ... North Adams is a city located in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. ... Events January 23 - The flip of a coin determines whether a new city in Oregon is named after Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine, with Portland winning. ... 1873 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... February 9 is the 40th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1875 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Chief peaks and mountain passes in the Swiss Alps: Regions Bernese Oberland  with chief peaks and moutain passes from Lake Geneva to the Furka, the Reuss Valley and Lake Lucerne; Lepontine Alps  from the Simplon to the Splugen and south of the Furka and Oberalp Passes; from the St Gotthard... World map showing location of North America A satellite composite image of North America North America is the third largest continent in area and in population after Eurasia and Africa. ... 1928 was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Rocky Mountain National Park (photo courtesy of NPS) View of Colorado Rockies. ...

Contents

Tunnel history

The tunnel project was originally proposed in 1819 as a canal to connect Boston to Upstate New York. That project was shelved, and later reborn as part of the new Troy & Greenfield Railroad. The tunnel took over 20 years to complete, and cost $21,000,000 by the time of completion. The project was nicknamed 'The Great Bore' by critics of the day, including future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who said he'd like to "wall up a dozen lawyers at one end of the tunnel and put a good fee at the other." 1819 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Categories: Water-transport stubs | Canals | Water transport ... Alternative meanings: Boston (disambiguation) The 18th-century Old State House in Boston is surrounded by tall buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries. ... Upstate New York is the region of New York State outside of the core of the New York metropolitan area. ... The Troy & Greenfield Railroad, chartered 1848, ran from Greenfield, Massachusetts to the Vermont state line. ... Seal of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest federal court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States to interpret and decide questions of federal law, including the... Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. ...


195 lives were lost during construction, leading to the nickname "The Bloody Pit." Many were lost due to the unstable nature of nitroglycerine. Nitroglycerin (also nitroglycerine, trinitroglycerin, or glyceryl trinitrate) is a chemical compound, a heavy, colorless, poisonous, oily, explosive liquid obtained by nitrating glycerol. ...


Regular service via the tunnel between Boston, MA and Troy, NY began in 1876. The tunnel and Troy & Green Railroad were bought by the Fitchburg Railraod in 1877. The Boston & Maine Railroad bought the Fitchburg Railroad in 1900. Alternative meanings: Boston (disambiguation) The 18th_century Old State House in Boston is surrounded by tall buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries. ... Troy is a city in New York and the county seat of Rensselaer County. ... 1876 is a leap year starting on Saturday. ... 1877 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... The Boston & Maine (B&M) was the dominant railroad of the northern United States for a century. ... 1900 is a common year starting on Monday. ...


Central Shaft accident

One of the bloodiest accidents occurred while digging the tunnel's 1,028-foot vertical exhaust shaft, called 'Central Shaft.' On October 17, 1867, a lighted candle in the hoist building ignited naptha fumes which had leaked from a 'Gasometer' lamp, triggering an explosion. The hoist caught fire and collapsed into the shaft. Four men near the top of the shaft escaped, but thirteen men working 538 feet below were trapped. The pumps were also destroyed, and the shaft began to fill with water. A worker named Mallory was lowered into the shaft by rope the next day; he was overcome by fumes and reported no survivors. October 17 is the 290th (in leap years the 291st) day of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. ... 1867 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... A hoist is a device used for lifting or lowering a load by means of a drum or barrel around which rope or chain wraps. ... Naphtha is a group of various volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures used chiefly as solvents. ...


Construction technology

The tunnel construction project required excavation of 2 million tons of rock. A tunnel boring machine was initially used; it failed after excavating 10 feet of rock. Tunnel builders then used the Burleigh Rock Drill, one of the first pneumatic drills. Construction also featured the first large-scale commercial use of nitroglycerine and electric blasting caps. For excavation in civil engineering see earthworks (engineering). ... A tunnel boring machine that was used at Yucca Mountain. ... The word jackhammer is also used in the name of the type of combat shotgun called the Pancor Jackhammer. ... Nitroglycerin (also nitroglycerine, trinitroglycerin, or glyceryl trinitrate) is a chemical compound, a heavy, colorless, poisonous, oily, explosive liquid obtained by nitrating glycerol. ...


Digging the Central Shaft also allowed workers to open 2 additional faces to excavate: once the shaft was complete in 1870 workers dug outwards from the center to meet the tunnels being dug from the east and west portals. Engineers built a 1000-foot elevator to hoist the excavated rock from the Central Shaft. 1870 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... A modern elevator has buttons to allow passengers to select the desired floor. ...


On December 12, 1872 workers opened the east portal tunnel to the Central Shaft-dug tunnel. On November 27, 1873 the remainder of the tunnel was opened to the west portal tunnel. December 12 is the 346th day (347th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1872 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... November 27 is the 331st day (332nd on leap years) of the year. ... 1873 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...


Lewis Cuyler of the Hoosac Tunnel Museum Society described the project as the 'fountain-head of modern tunnel technology.'


The American Society of Civil Engineers made the tunnel a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1975. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) was founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. ... The following is a partial list of historic civil engineering landmarks as designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers since it began the program in 1964. ... 1975 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ...


Misc.

'Hoosac' is an Algonquian word meaning 'place of stones.' The Algonquian (also Algonkian) languages are a subfamily of Native American languages that includes most of the languages in the Algic language family (others are Wiyot and Yurok of northwestern California). ...


References

  • The Hoosac Tunnel Tragedy (November 16, 1867). The Defiance Democrat (Ohio), p. 1.
  • Hampson, Rick (August 24, 1980). Tunnel a Wonder of the 19th Century. Chicago Daily Herald. p. 42.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Hoosac Tunnel at AllExperts (1597 words)
It was the longest tunnel in North America until the completion of the Moffat Tunnel in 1928, and remains the longest transportation tunnel east of the Rocky Mountains.
The tunnel project was originally proposed in 1819 as a canal to connect Boston to Upstate New York via the Deerfield River on the east of the Hoosac Range and the Hoosic River on the west.
The Boston, Hoosac Tunnel and Western Railway was organized in 1877 to build from near the Massachusetts/Vermont border, where state ownership ended, parallel to the Troy and Boston Railroad to near Johnsonville, New York and then west via Schenectady to Rotterdam Junction on what became the New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railway in 1880.
BUILDING BIG: Databank: Hoosac Tunnel (292 words)
In March 1853, one of the earliest tunnel boring machines ground 10 feet into the Hoosac Mountain and died, never to run again.
In 1866, two tunnel blasting tools -- nitroglycerin and the compressed air drill -- were used in the Hoosac for the first time.
The Hoosac Tunnel remains a landmark in hard-rock tunneling.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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