Richmond's Buried Train
Train Excavation Update
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Under the supervision of Pete Claussen's watchful and anxious eye, workers managed to dig a hole 36 feet into the hill in Jefferson Park. Cameras went down through the soil and into the collapsed tunnel but were able to record only water. Efforts resume Friday the 14th with an attempt to pump out that water and dig new holes.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Workers use a pump to remove water from the hole, which is six inches wide and has been fitted with a plastic pipe. The 18th Street entrance to the tunnel—bricked up and bearing the date 1926—looks like an outdoor water feature as a waterfall cascades down its façade. More work is scheduled to resume Monday, July 17, 2006, on what the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports as a $15,000 feasibility study.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Workers continue pumping water from the hole. Mayor Wilder visits the site on Saturday, and during that visit, city officials realize that in all the excitement, the excavation team had not applied for street permits or submitted a water disposal plan.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
City officials ask the workers to stop pumping water for fear that the sudden loss of water would result in a collapse of the tunnel and/or shifting of nearby private properties.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Excavation is temporarily halted and Mr. Claussen agrees, at the city's request, to hire a hydrologist to check the water in the tunnel. Claussen states that the purpose of the feasibility study is to determine if the project can be completed without a cave-in or damage to private property. The study, now on hold, will resume once permits are obtained and reports from the hydrologist are available.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Pete Claussen confirms that he has retained a Richmond-based engineering firm to determine if and how the train can be removed without damage to the surrounding properties and Jefferson Park. Mr. Claussen remains hopeful that the project can be completed safely.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Timmons Engineering, the firm contracted to conduct the feasibility study and cost analysis for safely excavating the train, should have a report ready for Mr. Claussen by October 1, 2006. Information in this report will help Mr. Claussen determine whether or not to proceed with the project.
Above left: Pictured is the sealed tunnel in Richmond's Church Hill; above right: A sign memorializing the laborers who lost their lives to the tragic tunnel collapse. Read more about the tunnel's history.
Related media links:
• NPR: Town Targets Mystery Trains Secrets