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orulz

Howard Street tunnel

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I am absolutely fascinated by the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore. The tunnel, which runs below downtown Baltimore, stretches from a portal just south of Camden Station to a point approximately two blocks west of Penn Station, under Howard Street and the LRT the whole way.

The way I see it, There are three problems with this route.

1. Tons of potentially hazardous freight is moving through the center of town. This tunnel, owned by CSX and used only for freight since the 1960s, was out-of-sight, out-of-mind for decades- until the freight fire in July 2001 brought it to the center of public attention. There has been talk ever since then of getting hazardous freight out from under Howard Street with some sort of bypass.

2. The tunnel is inadequate for modern equipment and demands. The tunnel only has a single track, which makes it quite a bottleneck for freight trans as well. The tunnel was built to handle two tracks, but the arched roof and the height of modern freight trains caused the railroad to remove the second track. So there's been talk by the freight railroad of squaring out the tunnel (not easy because it's a soft-earth tunnel) to restore the second track.

3. Baltimore's central LRT down Howard could use improvement, IMO. Baltimore's central light rail line runs along Howard street. In my experience (rode it once) The LRT functions well enough. I rode the train from Penn Station to downtown, and from there to the airport one chilly Sunday evening. It was interesting to note how even on a Sunday night, with pretty light traffic and next to no people on the train, it still took what felt like a long time for the train to make it down Howard Street. The train, which was already somewhat behind schedule for whatever reason, only fell further behind. Especially when compared with how the train zips along south of downtown to BWI, it seems that having a slow-moving surface LRT through such a major city should not be regarded as the permanent solution.

The solutions to all three of these problems seems obvious: the city or state can build CSX a bypass, while the existing tunnel is retrofitted for light rail. While it may not be tall enough to fit two freights side-by-side, it must certainly be wide enough to fit two of Baltimore's LRVs. And that would get the flammable, toxic freights out from under this busy downtown thoroughfare and eliminate CSX's bottleneck, too.

Constructing a bypass would be expensive, since it would probably involve a new harbor crossing. Building stations inside the existing tunnel would probably cost a lot too.

But it just makes so much sense, that it's got to happen someday!

What do you think?

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I am absolutely fascinated by the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore. The tunnel, which runs below downtown Baltimore, stretches from a portal just south of Camden Station to a point approximately two blocks west of Penn Station, under Howard Street and the LRT the whole way.

The way I see it, There are three problems with this route.

1. Tons of potentially hazardous freight is moving through the center of town. This tunnel, owned by CSX and used only for freight since the 1960s, was out-of-sight, out-of-mind for decades- until the freight fire in July 2001 brought it to the center of public attention. There has been talk ever since then of getting hazardous freight out from under Howard Street with some sort of bypass.

2. The tunnel is inadequate for modern equipment and demands. The tunnel only has a single track, which makes it quite a bottleneck for freight trans as well. The tunnel was built to handle two tracks, but the arched roof and the height of modern freight trains caused the railroad to remove the second track. So there's been talk by the freight railroad of squaring out the tunnel (not easy because it's a soft-earth tunnel) to restore the second track.

3. Baltimore's central LRT down Howard could use improvement, IMO. Baltimore's central light rail line runs along Howard street. In my experience (rode it once) The LRT functions well enough. I rode the train from Penn Station to downtown, and from there to the airport one chilly Sunday evening. It was interesting to note how even on a Sunday night, with pretty light traffic and next to no people on the train, it still took what felt like a long time for the train to make it down Howard Street. The train, which was already somewhat behind schedule for whatever reason, only fell further behind. Especially when compared with how the train zips along south of downtown to BWI, it seems that having a slow-moving surface LRT through such a major city should not be regarded as the permanent solution.

The solutions to all three of these problems seems obvious: the city or state can build CSX a bypass, while the existing tunnel is retrofitted for light rail. While it may not be tall enough to fit two freights side-by-side, it must certainly be wide enough to fit two of Baltimore's LRVs. And that would get the flammable, toxic freights out from under this busy downtown thoroughfare and eliminate CSX's bottleneck, too.

Constructing a bypass would be expensive, since it would probably involve a new harbor crossing. Building stations inside the existing tunnel would probably cost a lot too.

But it just makes so much sense, that it's got to happen someday!

What do you think?

I think you made some good points and idea's. I'm going to do some research on the tunnel and maybe I could add some things.

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Tunnel a factor in CSX's possible move

A century-old railroad tunnel that runs under parts of downtown Baltimore is too small to stack the shipping industry's largest containers and is standing in the way of CSX Corp. moving more international traffic south and west of the city.

As a result, port and railroad industry experts say a new cargo transfer facility in Howard County may be the logical place for state transportation officials to relocate the Jacksonville, Fla.-based rail freight carrier.

http://baltimore.bizjournals.com/baltimore...7342400^1339263

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I have been in the tunnel (on foot) and on either side of the track they have these openings that lead to a couple of cavernous rooms. They are easily big enough to build a station in them.

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I have been in the tunnel (on foot) and on either side of the track they have these openings that lead to a couple of cavernous rooms. They are easily big enough to build a station in them.

It would be great to use it for another subway line.

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There are a bunch of old tunnels running underneath Baltimore. I collect old maps of Baltimore and they show several running through east and west Baltimore.

I have one map dated from 1840 and there are at least 10 or so Railroad Stations.

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There are a bunch of old tunnels running underneath Baltimore. I collect old maps of Baltimore and they show several running through east and west Baltimore.

I have one map dated from 1840 and there are at least 10 or so Railroad Stations.

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I am trying to get it to scan.

I also have a map of Union fortifications and emplacements around Baltimore that was sketched by a Confederate spy

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I am trying to get it to scan.

I also have a map of Union fortifications and emplacements around Baltimore that was sketched by a Confederate spy

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