• Hoosac Tunnel Discussion & News

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by MEC407
 
The water intrusion issue has been going on for a long time. We've heard the anecdotes about crews calling that section of the tunnel "the car wash." That didn't happen overnight. Things like that don't get better on their own; they only get worse. Someone somewhere made the choice not to repair the problem. It's likely that repairing it sooner would have been less costly than repairing it now.
  by Safetee
 
No question more work could have been done over the years. However, the amount of work required to fully protect the west end was prodigious, not to mention the fact that you would have to shut the line down to do it. You rarely can do just a little when you're dealing with unstable soils, underground streams etc held back by umteen million 150 year old bricks. One thing inevitably leads to another. Virtually impossible to make that tunnel a hundred percent stable with proper drainage without expending significant amounts of money. so they rope a doped it for a lot of years and now they're paying heavily for the deferred maintenance. But, i'm sure that they made a lot of money on the traffic that did get through in between cave ins.
  by gokeefe
 
Even emergency repairs like this with an attendant loss of business are probably far cheaper than complete reconstruction.
  by neman2
 
There was a study over the past 5-10 years by MASS DOT to increase the clearance for doublestack trains in the Hoosac Tunnel. The railroad probably hoped the funding would come through and would include addressing the problems on the west end. I'm willing to bet any engineering firm that looked at this project would have raised a big red flag over the potential for major cost overruns. The problem with tunnels like this is you can't see the problems until you get to the outside of the lining.
  by gokeefe
 
That's the kind of thing a study is supposed to work on. Usually by opening up test pits.
  by tom18287
 
perhaps a cave in is somehow covered by insurance? might be a dumb thing to say, i know nothing about railroads business practices haha
  by gokeefe
 
That's an interesting idea ... I don't know if typical industry practice is to carry liability insurance plus hazard insurance (wind, fire, etc) or if the railroads self-fund their hazard perils. It's a little tricky to determine in this situation because the involvement of a Class I masks any potential capital shortfalls.

One notable example where insurance apparently didn't (or couldn't) cover the damage was Hurricane Diane in 1955 on the New Haven. There is of course the possibility that the railroad decided to take the insurance payout and walk away from the route. I'm not entirely sure the ICC would have allowed that but some of the characters involved at the time were later implicated in another scheme involving disposal of company assets.
Last edited by gokeefe on Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by KSmitty
 
Afaik, Pan Am is self insured.
  by BandA
 
The railroad might have business interruption insurance or insurance against some perils such as forest fires. They might have some liability insurance to protect their assets. It's gonna have deductibles and limits. But no insurance company is going to insure a 140 year old tunnel that is in unknown condition.
  by PBMcGinnis
 
April 6th is the rumored target date to have the Tunnel back in service.
  by jaymac
 
Could be, but as of 0315/03-31-2020, no update to the 03-20 version of the Service Alert...
  by edbear
 
Re: Insurance. When I was at the B & M (1968-86) the company had an insurance department and carried liability insurance for employees and the public. Some buildings and contents were insured. Wrecks were insured; $250,000 deductible per occurrence, eventually raised to $500,000 deductible. But the right of way and its structures were not insured so three big ones in the early 1970s, dam break at Chelmsford with a big washout on the Stony Brook, Connecticut River Bridge sag just above East Northfield and collapse in Hoosac Tunnel ceiling 1973 were left to the B & M to address. No coverage.
  by Backshophoss
 
So it is possible that this liner failure also effected the 1973 repair as well?
  by jaymac
 
Per 0330/04-01-2020 viewing of NS site Service Alert:
Hoosac Tunnel service disruption: Projected opening update
Hoosac Tunnel service disruption: Projected opening update
Mar 31, 2020

Following is an update on the Hoosac Tunnel service disruption on Norfolk Southern’s partner line, Pan Am Southern, which affects all trains operating between Mechanicville, New York, and Ayer, Massachusetts. Pan Am Railway continues to make progress on repairs, and the line is expected to be restored by Saturday, April 4.
  by pumpers
 
I wonder if we will ever find out how big the bill to fix the tunnel was?
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