• 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

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  by frrc
 
Moisture is a major problem inside the tunnel affecting electrical circuits. I recall hearing years ago the signals were made from stainless steel or brass to fight the corrosion caused by the smoke and moisture. Not sure if this is still done, there used to be a person called "the tunnel walker" whose job was to walk the tunnel from end to end, once a day (i.e. like a track inspector).

JoeF
  by mbta1051dan
 
frrc wrote:Moisture is a major problem inside the tunnel affecting electrical circuits. I recall hearing years ago the signals were made from stainless steel or brass to fight the corrosion caused by the smoke and moisture. Not sure if this is still done, there used to be a person called "the tunnel walker" whose job was to walk the tunnel from end to end, once a day (i.e. like a track inspector).

JoeF
Hmm, sounds like a fun job ;)

I talked to my uncle recently who said he got a tour of the blower house. He saw some GRS guys and they invited him in (they must have thought he was a railfan). They were maintaining one of the two antiquated Westinghouse blowers (400RPM, 1600HP I think?). Sounded intense. Anyway, the entire central shaft was all black with soot, and the maintainers said that as they got older, the fans were increasingly less reliable, and having moisture-related electrical problems (not to mention GRS owns some of the smokiest, dirtiest locomotives in America). They were built in 1947! Anyway, one of the blowers, the one not out for maintanence, starts up, and even though it was turning very slow, it took forever to spool up and was very loud! Sounded like a slow speed jet engine! If you actually go out back and look, when the doors behind the vents are open, you can see in, and it looks just like looking in the back of a jet engine. The roar was pretty intense, even with only one operating. He says they are operated by the dispatcher on duty in Lawrence!

-Dan
  by NV290
 
frrc wrote:Moisture is a major problem inside the tunnel affecting electrical circuits. I recall hearing years ago the signals were made from stainless steel or brass to fight the corrosion caused by the smoke and moisture. Not sure if this is still done, there used to be a person called "the tunnel walker" whose job was to walk the tunnel from end to end, once a day (i.e. like a track inspector).
The signals are now just aluminum Safetran Unilens units. No moving parts. One bulb feeding three colors through fiber optics. The signal relay cases are slightly modified to close off the vents but other then that, everything is standard. Signal relays have always been made with all stainless steel hardware and are designed to operate in harsh enviornments. And no more track walker. Just a Hi-rail truck twice a week.
mbta1051dan wrote:He says they are operated by the dispatcher on duty in Lawrence!

-Dan
Actually In North Billerica. The District 4 Dispatcher controls them.

As for the rest, yes, current speed is 25mph. And as for the central shaft, as mentioned there are two inlets, one on each side of the tunnel wall. They are offset by about 50 feet. They curve up to the top of the tunnel where they tie into the one large central shaft which rises straight up to the fan building.
  by atsf sp
 
Heres a pic of the central ventilation building about two years ago.
Central Shaft ventilation 2.jpg
  by jkrail
 
Greetings:

Some of the answers to your questions on the central shaft can be found on my website.

I have a model of the shaft on the central shaft page.

Enjoy

Jerry Kelley
  by atsf sp
 
mbta1051dan wrote:Hey,

Some questions about the haunted Hoosac Tunnel. I've always been curious about it.

1. How fast are trains allowed through there?
2. How many trains a day pass through?
3. The Central Shaft:
In the latest issue of trains they have an entire article about the construction of hossac and the tunnel today. It also says the amount of trains through. I believe it is about 6 PAR freights, a daily NS intermodal and a twice weekly NS coal.
  by mbta1051dan
 
Any pictures inside the blower room? I've always wondered what those things looked like.

-Dan
  by SHAGGY
 
I am looking to make a day of railfanning, and looking for some thing more exotic than Palmer. I can say though Palmer is tough to beat as far as volume. Would the 2 hour trip up there be worth it anymore? thnks
  by atsf sp
 
Not for traffic, Hoosac is not worth it. But if you do see a train there it would be more exciting than at Palmer. There are about 7 trains a day. North Adams does usually have power there though.
  by Noel Weaver
 
North Adams is/was a very historic railroad location. Once had electric operation through the tunnel with motors very much
like the old electric freight motors on the New Haven. Every steam powered train got pulled through the tunnel by electric
power. The Boston and Albany once came in there too. I would think it would be worth your time to just take a ride there
and just have a good look around.
One last thought, I do not recommend trespassing on railroad property.
Enjoy yourself, railfan safely.
Noel Weaver
  by MEC407
 
For more info on the tunnel, as well as current traffic that you're likely to see, check out the Pan Am forum. The Pan Am Southern thread in particular would have some good information for you.

For historic info, check out the Boston & Maine/Maine Central forum. Lots of good stuff there, too.
  by gprimr1
 
It's def worth seeing. Keep in mind a few things.

1.) When you get to the tunnel portal, the entire left side of the road (looking north) seems to be owned by Pan Am. Let your lens do the walking if you want to see the portal. It's pretty easy though this time of year.

2.) The right side seems to be catch and release fishing area so I doubt you'd run into issues unless you were actually on the tracks.

3.) Winter time they work in the tunnel so if you see them working, it may be a bad day to rail fan.
  by NellsChoo
 
It is worth visiting Hoosac if only for it's history. In all the times we stopped at East Portal, we have seen few trains. Our timing is always wrong. So I agree it is worth asking someone "in the know" to get an idea of when certain trains may be passing through.

JD
  by gprimr1
 
A radio scanner is the best tool for finding trains. Also remember the signals near the Deerfield River will light up when a train is near.

You could also chase trains from East Deerfield, but that's getting harder as PAS is getting the line up to speed. You also won't be able to catch them coming out of the portal.
  by B&Mguy
 
I was watching the show "Ghost Adventures", and they were doing a show set in North Adams. Most of it was them exploring a mansion in town that's supposedly haunted, but they also went to the Hoosac Tunnel to explore that as well. They said they walked about a mile along the tracks before arrive at the tunnel, then they walked inside for a short distance. While inside, a few bricks fell off the ceiling, and one of the crew members thought they saw something cross the tracks in front of them.

My question isn't so much about the tunnel being haunted, but more whether this show got clearance from Pan Am prior to walking on the tracks, and entering the tunnel. I have heard security around the Hossac has been tight in recent years, and too be honest, I'd be a little surprised if Pan Am allowed them inside.
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