PAS: Hoosic Tunnel Wall Fails

Limited Structural Failure Near West End of Tunnel, Where a Portion of the Side Wall Caved in. Tunnel Specialists are En Route; PAS will Determine Action Based on Their Recommendations.


12 February, North Adams MA — PAS VP Cynthia Scarano verified that there were no injuries in the event, and no damage to operating equipment. The tunnel and entrances are currently secure and there is no apparent signs of impending further structural degradation.

North Adams MA

Hoosic cave-in is visibly small but may indicate cavitation outside of the wall. The cause is unknown, but such failures are often attributable to water erosion. Entire tunnel will require evaluation {unknown,}.

The failure affected a ~20-ft section along one side of the tunnel, approximately 300 ft from the west portal. The tunnel is 25,081 ft (4.75 mi) in length. Tunnel engineering experts are arriving today from Tennessee, and will begin their evaluation immediately upon arriving in North Adams.

As of yet, no trains have been rerouted, though the prospective VRS route is the most likely option. PAR will determine how to proceed with the rerouting plan following the engineers’ preliminary assessment {conversation with CS, 12.Feb.20}.

The tunnel was completed in 1873, and was a marvel of engineering innovation, being the first practical application of trinitroglycerine (TNG), the electric blasting cap, and the pneumatic drill {Wikipedia}.