First Street Tunnel

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First Street Tunnel
19990205 05 First Street Tunnel, Washington, DC (6615839253).jpg
The south portals in 1999.
Overview
Location Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°53′05″N 77°00′27″W / 38.88485°N 77.00755°W / 38.88485; -77.00755Coordinates: 38°53′05″N 77°00′27″W / 38.88485°N 77.00755°W / 38.88485; -77.00755
System Amtrak
Operation
Opened 1906
Owner Amtrak
Traffic Train
Character Passenger
Technical
Construction 1904-1906
Length 4,033 ft (1,229 m)
No. of tracks 2 single-track tubes
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Lowest elevation 63 ft (19.2 m) below street
Tunnel clearance 17 ft (5.18 m)
Width Each tube 16 ft (4.88 m)
Grade 0.13%

The First Street Tunnel is a two-track, soft-earth tunnel constructed between 1904 and 1906 by the Washington Terminal Company to serve as the southern approach to Union Station. The tunnel is currently owned by Amtrak. It connects to lower-level tracks and platforms at the station, passes under Capitol Hill, Washington and connects to the RF&P Subdivision (CSX Transportation) and Long Bridge, offering through railway service to Alexandria, Virginia and points west and south. The tunnel tracks are not electrified, in contrast to the Northeast Corridor tracks, north of Union Station. Therefore southbound trains leaving Union Station must switch to diesel locomotives before entering the tunnel. Exiting Union Station southbound, the tunnel passes due south under First Street NE and SE before curving to the southwest under a parking lot near the Capitol South metro station. Its southern portal is just east of South Capitol Street at the intersection of D Street SE and New Jersey Avenue SE. The tunnel's height is 17 feet (5.2 m) — insufficient to allow passage of Amtrak's Auto Train's 19-foot-11-inch (6.07 m) tall autoracks.[1][2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tunnel under the Capitol" (PDF). The New York Times. 1903-09-10. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  2. ^ Strouse, W.F. (1911). "The Reconstruction of the Passenger Terminals at Washington, D.C.". Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 71: 134–144.  Paper No. 1180.

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