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Hoosac Tunnel experiences partial wall collapse, rerouting traffic

By | February 12, 2020

Pan Am, Norfolk Southern traffic affected

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A partial wall collapse in the Hoosac Tunnel is forcing detours of Pan Am Railways traffic around the bore in western Massachusetts, Pan Am partner Norfolk Southern is advising customers. All trains operating between Mechanicville, N.Y., and Ayer, Mass., are affected.

The NS advisory says Pan Am’s engineering department is currently evaluating the situation and NS will provide updates as they become available. Customers should expect traffic delays of at least 48 hours.

The 4.75-mile, single-track tunnel dates to 1875, when it opened following 24 years of construction.

24 thoughts on “Hoosac Tunnel experiences partial wall collapse, rerouting traffic

  1. Am I just a hick Midwesterner, but I thought it was Hoosac? The tunnel is in a state that thinks Worchester is pronounced Wooster, so what can I say…

  2. PETER – It’s the Hoosac Tunnel, you’re right. Your wrong about the pronunciation of New England’s #2 city by population. It’s pronounced “Wistah”. You also have the spelling wrong it’s Worcester.

  3. And to make it more confusing the PanAm line passed through Petersburg Junction which is in the town of Hoosick as the track follow the Hoosic River.
    The Rutland RR Corkscrew line crossed the former B&M at Petersburg Jct. which are all west of the Hoosac Tunnel and west of North Adams, MA.

    Trains Magazine needs to add several spellings to their word spell check.

  4. W Cook something that surprised me when I found out, the rail line between North Adams (Massachusetts) and Troy (New York) passes through Vermont. Just a few miles in Vermont’s extreme SW corner.

    Does anyone know the date of the last passenger train through the Hoosac? My December 1957 edition of the Official Guide lists a surprising four weekday pairs, three Sunday pairs. Running times were as fast as 4 1/2 hours Troy to North Station, very much respectable for a mountain railroad which wasn’t exactly a main line. That’s about the amount of time it takes us to drive on I-90 Albany to Boston’s south suburbs with a stop or two at the rest area or for coffee. It’s also about twenty minutes faster than today’s Amtrak (from Renssalaer to South Station via the B+A), with many fewer stops compared to the long-ago B+M trains.

    Though a south suburbanite and a New Haven rider, I found the B+M a fascinating railroad. Into the mid-1960’s it still had trains to northern New England which ran with RDC cars just as did the commuter trains. A midwestern parallel would be the CNW which until Amtrak day in 1971 was running trains into northern Wisconsin with gallery cars similar to its Chicago commuter services.

  5. Charles: The last passenger train through Hoosac Tunnel ran November 28, 1958. []

  6. Curtis, a very interesting analogy. As someone who often travels from New Haven, CT through NYC, and the North River Tunnels to Washington, I often count the seconds as we travel through. I am curious as toward whom the fingers would point should there be an accident in one of the tunnels resulting in, in all likelihood, a tragic, multiple-fatality accident. It won’t be Amtrak, the states of NJ or NY, or NJ Transit, as they have all, loudly and persistently, called for their replacement.

  7. Hey Charles: do you have any Official Guides older than 1957? I’ve been trying to find out when the Chicago & Alton (later GM&O) last ran its Chicago-Springfield-Kansas City train “the Hummer.”

  8. In reply to George Forbes: it appears Vermont Rail System via Rutland is the initial/current detour route. East side is North via Greenfield, MA. Not sure if west side is through N. Bennington or via Whitehall/CP (D&H) to Mohawk Yard. Significant snowfall forecast for tonight into tomorrow with bitter cold to follow. will be challenging for both workers associated with the cave-in & those getting trains over the detour route.

  9. How is it possible that “the magazine of railroading,” as Trains once called itself, doesn’t know that it’s HOOSAC Tunnel?

  10. PHILLIP – No, sorry it’s the only Guide I have, December, 1957. It was a gift c. 1974 from Sam Breck, Jr of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now here’s my question for all of you. What happened to Sam Breck, Jr. of Ann Arbor, Michigan? I must have lost track of him about 45 years ago. Good guy and a great scholar – railfan. Other Michigan names from that era included Graydon Meints of Grand Rapids (or Kalamazoo, wherever Dutch – American people lived, I don’t remember) and John DeLora of Grosse Pointe Woods or Detroit at different times.

    I like having the December 1957 Guide, as 1957 is an important year, kind of the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end for passenger, as JAMES SHIGLEY’s post points out.

    CURTIS – LAURENCE – Yours are the most pertinent post of this week. As if we needed a canary in the coal mine, we all know what’s going to happen to the North River tunnels, we don’t need Hoosac to tell us.

  11. LOUIS – When I was in college in New York, I had an English Writing class with a kid from Wistah. (Other than that I never knew him, just that one class.) It was hysterical trying to communicate, a bunch of New Yowhkers, a boy from Wistah, and me from the Boston – Providence suburbs, with an Arab- born professor who spoke the perfect King’s English.

  12. The last regularly scheduled passenger train through the Hoosac Tunnel may have been over 60 years ago, but Amtrak’s Autumn Express ran through the tunnnel, I believe the dates were Oct. 24 and 25, 2015.

    It is a long, dark ride through the Hoosac!

  13. West side detour route would be more facile via Whitehall as it would not involve a reverse move in Rutland. The detour trains could move straight through Rutland. Capacity and availability of crews could be a challenge.

  14. Charles Landey, Graydon is from the Kalamazoo area, there are some dutch there too…still publishing great books and articles from time to time. I am from the GRR area where there are a lot more dutch then the Kazoo area…met Mr Meints a couple of times at Michigan Railroad Historical Society meetings here in Michigan.

  15. DANIEL – Thanks for the update. I can’t say I knew Graydon Meints but I remember meeting him a once or twice when Detroit- area -based Michigan ARP (founded and led by John DeLora of Grosse Pointe Woods) met in western Michigan.

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