First Street Tunnel
|Length||4,033 ft (1,229 m)|
|No. of tracks||2 single-track tubes|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 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)|
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.
- "Tunnel under the Capitol" (PDF). The New York Times. 1903-09-10. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- 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.
- Heavy Rail Track and Structures in Washington DC BelowTheCapital.org
- Images of First Street Tunnel Construction
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