Home  

Mr. N. H. Eggleston, in the "Atlantic Monthly," for March, 1882, describes the sensations of those who descended the central shaft: "At every descent of the bucket it seemed as though those in it were being dashed down the dark pit to almost certain destruction. Speed was necessary, and the machinery was so arranged that the descent of over a thousand feet was made in a little more than a minute. The sensations experienced by those who descended the shaft were peculiar. First, there was the sensation of rapid, helpless falling through space in the darkness; then, as the speed was at last abruptly arrested, it seemed for a moment as though the motion had been reversed, and one were being as rapidly elevated to the surface again."

The same writer, after remarking that now that the tunnel is finished and in use, a perpetual cloud of smoke pervades it, each of the forty trains a day adding its quota, so that it is impossible to see more than a few yards in either direction within the bore, — continues as follows: "No artificial light, not even the headlights of the locomotives, can penetrate the darkness for any considerable distance. The engineer sees nothing, but feels his way by faith and simple push of steam through the five miles of solemn gloom. If there is any occasion for stopping him on his way through the thick darkness, which may almost literally be felt, the men who constantly patrol the huge cavern to see that nothing obstructs the passage, do not think of signalling the approaching train in the common way. They carry with them powerful torpedoes, which, whenever there is occasion, they fasten to the rails by means of screws. The wheels of the locomotive, striking these, produce a loud explosion, and this is the tunnel signal to the engineer to stop his train."


Hoosac Tunnel | Tunnel Page | Contents Page

Home
Do you have any information you'd like to share on this subject? Please email me!
The Catskill Archive website and all contents, unless otherwise specified,
are 1996-2010 Timothy J. Mallery