• new ROW around Hoosac Tunnel?

  • 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 NRGeep
 
The engineers back "in the day" no doubt studied options and deemed constructing the Hoosac Tunnel the best choice. That said, given it's inevitable continuing disintegration, would it be more feasible to at least consider the possibility of constructing a ROW around the mountain which contains the tunnel? Or does the topography, property rights etc make this notion a "non starter?"
Could be moot of course if CSX or NS eventually abandons the ancient structure.
  by MRY
 
If the tunnel became unserviceable (and a thru-the-hill route was still desired), modern TBMs with laser/GPS guidance would likely make quick work of a new bore. And because the tunnel daylights at each end, the TBM could be recovered for another job, unlike some dead end tunnelling where the TBM is abandoned in situ once the job is done.
  by F74265A
 
Would be very surprised if there’s a viable surface route.

Unless the government puts up the money, nobody in the private sector will rebuild the tunnel. Traffic would divert south over b&a or north over vrs.

I’d speculate that buying the vrs system could be less costly than boring a new tunnel
  by newpylong
 
A surface route is not an option, look at the topology. There's a reason it was built to begin with.

The tunnel isn't going anywhere nor going to be "abandoned". Technology exists (and is not cutting edge) to prevent further large scale damage to the structure. This spring was a wake up call.
  by Red Wing
 
Bring back the Hoot, Toot and Whistle for half way around the tunnel! Sorry I couldn't help it.
  by riffian
 
Doubt that two trains each way a day would attract much of an investment in any regard.
  by roberttosh
 
You didn’t hear? CSX is abandoning the B&A and Selkirk yard and moving everything to the PAS route and East Deerfield yard. 😉
  by backroadrails
 
F74265A wrote: I’d speculate that buying the vrs system could be less costly than boring a new tunnel
That would only be possible in the extremely unlikely event, that VRS would be willing to sell out.
  by F74265A
 
You are probably right since it appears that much of the vrs trackage is owned by the state of Vermont and governments are not driven by profit. In any event, digging a new tunnel would be prohibitively expensive. The options are continue to repair existing tunnel (most likely outcome) or abandon and reroute traffic. Obtaining operating rights over vrs would at least be a possibility in theory.
  by Backshophoss
 
There needs to be undercutting and relining of the Tunnel for proper double stack clearance for domestic Doublestack containers,
The STB will insist on a competing Line to the far northeastern US, freight traffic.
The NS takeover of part of the D&H was not in vain.
  by BandA
 
Anybody have a WAG for the cost to double-stack and fully repair the Hoosac tunnel? I am assuming that it really isn't up to "state of good repair"
  by newpylong
 
F74265A wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:31 pm You are probably right since it appears that much of the vrs trackage is owned by the state of Vermont and governments are not driven by profit. In any event, digging a new tunnel would be prohibitively expensive. The options are continue to repair existing tunnel (most likely outcome) or abandon and reroute traffic. Obtaining operating rights over vrs would at least be a possibility in theory.
Nothing is going over the VRS end of story. That's a 3 railroad line (and longer)line haul that they would need to pay for which would quickly (monetarily) negate the point of going around the tunnel. Someone (NS) would walk away from PAS entirely before that happened.
  by cpf354
 
Take a drive on Route 2 over Whitcomb Summit and you'll realize the answer to "can a new ROW replace the Hoosac Tunnel" is "no" :wink:
  by Fishrrman
 
They'll put all the double-track back in on the B&A and go that way instead...
  by Ridgefielder
 
cpf354 wrote: Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:42 am Take a drive on Route 2 over Whitcomb Summit and you'll realize the answer to "can a new ROW replace the Hoosac Tunnel" is "no" :wink:
Yeah....
https://goo.gl/maps/MLgGjySZoy4wKikB9
https://goo.gl/maps/Aw5uJ5No84fbfpWA7
https://goo.gl/maps/gr3ZffcJEWeCrm9YA
1,600 vertical feet up to the summit from North Adams and then 1,500 vertical feet down to the Deerfield River in a little over 4 miles straight-line distance. Unless you're going to build a rack railway its a tunnel or nothing.

Even though we refer to Hoosac Mountain as part of the Berkshire "Hills," geologically its a continuation of the spine of the Green Mountains. That same chunk of high ground continues south all the way into western Connecticut, only finally petering out around Derby. There's a reason there aren't more E-W links between the New England coast and the rest of the country...