East Portal to Central Shaft Excursion
These pictures are from an excursion that went from the East Portal to the Central
Shaft. The pictures were taken roughly from 6:00 - 8:30 PM on a cold late November night.
The purpose of these pictures is not to tempt you to go into the tunnel, but
to educate you on what is in there and where. There are many things that
could happen to an explorer who enters the tunnel without the aide of a rail
workmen crew, and none of those things are good. There isn't a lot to see inside
there anyways and most everything of interest for the eastern most 12800 feet
are shown here. The tunnel is train friendly but not people friendly! Please do
Pictures are ordered from east to west except for some of the
last few. Numbers on the walls can be referenced to the tunnel map in the
maps section. Numbers on the wall symbolize 100 feet
starting with 0 at the West Portal and 251 at the East Portal. These can be used
to gauge how far you have gone in, or how far you are from a certain object. The vast majority of these pictures were taken on of the north wall.
box, located about 1000 feet in from the portal. I suspect this controls the
crossing on River road. Two wires come from this box and touch the rails while making a great deal of electrical buzzing.
241 near the signal box. Some cement work was done here.
arch, barely visible. This is just before the 231 marker so about 2000 feet in.
after the 60 or so foot arching.
reason to stay out? How about these recently fallen rocks? These can't be more
than a few months old because the new continuous weld rail was installed in
first field phone, located 3000 feet from the portal. These phones have little
lights that are visible for about 1000 feet. They are easy to mistake for a
train. They are further recessed into the wall so they make good hiding
spots and apparently, good drinking spots as this photo shows.
221, and the phone. Notice the light.
211, there is a notch in the wall here. These notches are called "manholes". As recently
as a few decades ago B&M employed a trackwalker to do minor repairs on the rail
and to pick up stones and debris from the tracks. On the north side there are
notches every hundred yards or so that go in a few feet so the track walker
could gain shelter from any oncoming trains.
brick arching around 4500 feet from the portal. A sheet of brick has fallen.
Notice the color difference, as the rest of the brick is covered in soot.
and field phone located 5000 feet from the portal. I have no idea what the G
signifies. The signal is thoroughly caked in soot and grit.
picture of the same thing.
phone #3. This one is located at marker 191, or 6000 feet from the portal.
189, I could not find 190 or 191 on the wall, they may be too faded or too caked
178 and mile marker 417. Wow 6 miles from Zoar!
arching becomes more common the further west you go. Some hardy graffiti punks
got a hold of this section.
Phone #4 at marker 161, or 9000 feet from east portal. Noticing a pattern?
Independent field phones are placed every 3000 feet, or at a major point (like the signal).
electrical equipment, not entirely sure where this was, somewhere near 161,
maybe in the high 150s.
Brick arch track
walker manhole built into the arch at marker 150.
manhole on the same span of brick arching. This section of arching was at least
300 feet long.
about when you start hearing the Central Shaft double fans (if they are blowing).
They are over 1000 feet west and 1000 feet above you. There is also a light at
the Central Shaft visible from here. The fan noise combined with the light might
seem like a train.
close to Central Shaft now!
doorway into the famed Hoosac Hotel, located on the North side of the tracks.
Unfortunately it has been defaced... many many times. But I guess the defacers earned it
by hiking in over 2 miles! Still I think its in poor taste. Despite what people
say this room is not directly under the Central Shaft it is offset east by about 60
feet or so, and is directly across from the south vent.
of the vent leading to the Earth's surface. The Central Shaft once went all the
way down to the tunnel, however for ventilation and safety purposes the roof of
the tunnel was bricked over and 2 vents were cut in at a right angle from the
shaft. Each cut spiraled down to the tunnel and came out on opposite sides offset by about 100 feet. The south
vent was east of the shaft, The north vent on the west. The vent showed in this
picture is the north side vent. This vent is as tall as the tunnel itself.
debris managed to get down here. I don't know if it was thrown down the shaft or
what. I want to say it was dragged in, but judging by the size of some of the
junk... I dunno.
west at the Central Shaft. It is dark outside so no pinprick of light is
123 near the north vent.
south vent, directly across from the Hoosac Hotel.
at the floor in the hotel. The room is about 10x10x6 feet filled with old
equipment, a field phone, and other goodies. There is some sort of electronic in
there going BEEP BEEP BEEP which was quite alarming to hear at first. Notice the
abundance of bags. The old IRONFIST site referred to them as body bags, however
I am not convinced.
doorway is wood lined. Perhaps there was an actual door here once.
wood, brick and soot.
sort of pipe sticking out. There has to be 1/4 inch of grime on it.
field phone, table, empty pack of cigarettes, some foam tape and of course as
angle, notice the brickwork on the wall.
look at the stone that makes up the inside walls. Metamorphic conglomerate!
from parties of yesterdecade.
just east of the hotel! LS must stand for "Lets split".
the holes at the base of the brick arching. These are designed to allow water to
seep out. This is in the 150 area.
sheet of brick has fallen. There are bricks all over the ground here. All thoroughly covered in soot.
Copyright 2000 - 2005 Marc Howes|
Trespassing is illegal and
dangerous especially when inside the tunnel with a train! If you go inside and
see a light run and hide! that is unless of course its the portal, then you
don't have to run nor hide. Trains burn diesel fuel and produce among other
things carbon monoxide and deafening amounts of noise! Trains also have people
in them and people have eyes used for seeing things.. Like trespassers! Just be
careful use your head and stay safe.