Showing posts with label railways. Show all posts
Showing posts with label railways. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Under the City

Above, path of the 8th Street Tunnel.... built in 1887-1888 and closed in 1956. It was a cable car route from the middle of Eighth Street down to Union Depot in the beginning. Below the entrance on Eighth Street. Close to where the Needle Sculpture is now. (Top image courtesy of Wikimapia)
UPDATE: There were actually two tunnels. The original tunnel which is shown in the pictures below was too steep a grade and the railway cars kept breaking away... (not good)... so a second tunnel with a lesser grade was bored through the rock. 1st tunnel entrance/exit was about where the needle sculpture is now... second tunnel entrance/exit was approximately where the fountain is now... both on Eighth street.
Below.... looking east on Eighth.... tunnel entrance in lower center. The tunnel had two tracks for going and coming.
There is an awesome post on the Underground Ozarks blog about the discovery and building of the tunnel....
The west entrance into the bluffs.... 250,000 pounds of dynamite had to be used to blast through the solid rock
Above.... the trestle heading into the West entrance. Below... same trestle from above... this would be the approximate view from Case Park today.
A portion of the tunnel was preserved by the thoughtful folks at State Street... who realized a need to preserve a part of KC history. My Nephew Johnathan, who is a manager at State Street, let me know about a tour of the remaining tunnel and I was only too happy to head over there. Above is the modern entry to the tunnel.... most of the brickwork of which the tunnel is constructed is still there.... note the tunnel arch around the doorway in the pix below.

Above.... looking through the entrance to the tunnel. State Street built a walkway out into the tunnel to make for a safe trip... they also illuminated the tunnel with modern lights....
Just inside the doorway our guide talked about the construction and showed pamphlets and STAR articles about the re-discovery.
Concrete supported the double tracks... above.... below... a lot of the old wiring is still there.

Above.... rusted brackets..... below... the tunnel was 800 feet long and 23 feet tall.

Above.... looking back toward the entrance State Street installed. This is located in their parking garage but there is no entry allowed unless it's part of a tour.. The entrance is totally blocked off with fencing and doors the rest of the time.
Golden oldie light bulb.

Most of the original wooden components have rotted away...
Above, the ceiling... brick all-round.

Occasionally workmen had to enter the tunnel for routine maintenance. If, while they were working, a car was coming up or down the tracks the worker could duck into one of many recesses in the wall until the car was safely passed.
Concrete has filled much of the tunnel.... don't know why.

Above....another safety recess....
Looking back to the entrance.

It was a cool visit... literally... dank and humid describes it... with a musty odor... Thank heavens a bit of the 8th Street Tunnel has been preserved.

P.S. Anonymous commenter is correct.... if you go to the end of the smooth concrete there is drop off. Down from there (ladder required... wasn't on our tour)... there is another tunnel.... part of the same complex...