Other Reports

Tunnel Safety Analysis

  • 01
  • Feb
  • 1990
AUTHOR: Office of Safety
OFFICE: RRS
SUBJECT: Emergency Preparedness
ABSTRACT: In May 1987, a New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, Inc., passenger train, en-route from New York City to New Jersey, pulled the catenary down behind itself and came to a stop in the North River Tunnel under the Hudson River. After a delay, some 700 passengers were evacuated from the train, led for 1/2 mile along a tunnel walkway and then, up several flights of stairs to an open area in Weehawken. There were no serious injuries, but there were several cases of heat prostration and there was personal inconvenience on a monumental scale. This incident led the Federal Railroad Administration to question the nature of planned improvements in the North River Tunnels and the safety status of tunnels elsewhere in the country through which passenger trains operate. A response to the first issue was readily assembled based on the extensive betterments underway then and planned for this facility. Assessing the quality of passenger train safety in all tunnels utilized in the United States by conventional trains (as opposed to rail rapid transit) required a more extended effort. This report is the result of that investigation.
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