WIP screenshots of the B&M Hoosac Tunnel East Portal.


Trainzing since 12-2003
WIP screenshots of the B&M Hoosac Tunnel East Portal. ---- UPDATED 12/10/2015

This is a bit of the Hoosac Tunnel route which will be made into a video for the Western Gateway Heritage State Park exhibit Steamboateng is working on for the organization. http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dc...tern-gateway-heritage-state-park-generic.html. I've been involved on a less than everyday basis now as it's best for only one person to edit the route and maintain that feeling that has been invoked. Instead I have moved on to another project, which is very much related, however, a separate entity.

That said, here are some work in progress screenshots taken by Steamboateng of the Boston and Maine and a bit of the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington, aka Hoot Toot & Whistle, or better known as the "Hold Tight & Worry", at the B&M wye. The route is far from complete and still needs the tunnel installed, catenary and other major details. Once the east side is completed and video-created, Mike will move on to the more complex West Portal where the line continued, and still does today, to North Adams yard and the junction with the Boston and Albany. The line is still in use today, albeit very much trimmed down. The catenary was de-energized in the late 1940s, and the wires came down shortly after that. In the 1950s the track was reduced to what it is today, a single track through the tunnel with some long passing sidings leading up on the east side. The once very large joint NYC/B&A and B&M yard in North Adams, is nothing more than a double-track with a rusty siding, and the B&A branch from Pittsfield, MA is nothing more than a stub-ended branch which ends in Zilonite at a limestone quarry, and a very weeded over one at that.

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You mean Mike's route mostly. :)

You're welcome. This is the Deerfield River valley in the Hoosac Mountain range. :) Having visited the area, I can recognize some of the landmarks exactly. Mike has done a great job with this.

Running trains day after day over this territory sure is different. Not as much excitement going on between CPF 414 and 415, and CPF 421 and 423. Looks good.Scott
Running trains day after day over this territory sure is different. Not as much excitement going on between CPF 414 and 415, and CPF 421 and 423. Looks good.Scott

Thanks, Scoot. I like hearing this from someone with boots on the ground so to speak. Mike (Steamboateng) has been working with Carl Byron on the historic aspects of the route. The landscape sure is different now than it was then!

That's sad news on the business side. The last time Mike and I were out there last year, there wasn't much going on then either.

The 'Hoosac Tunnel Project' was initiated over two years ago by John and myself, with the cooperation of the Gateway Heritage Museum in North Adams, Ma, and the North Adams Historical Society. These groups have contributed many period photos of the area, which has been the basis of our modeling. Our original concept was to model the route through the Hoosac Tunnel from Hoosac Station at the east portal, to North Adams on the west side. We decided 1944-45 would be an ideal era to model; encompassing the height of modern steam power and the introduction of first generation diesel power. Indeed, the Boston & Maine had dieselized early, in the 30's, and already owned a fleet of diesel road and switching engines. This area and era is unique to the B&M, and unique to American railroads, as it also incorporated 8 miles of electrified (11,000 volt, 25 cycle, 3 phase) overhead catenary to power 6 tunnel motors which shuttled the huge Berkshire's, Mountain's, and Pacific's through the 4.75 mile bore. Electrification was up and running by 1911, but the advent of diesel power laid many a fine steam engine to rest, negating the functionality of the electrics, and the catenary was dismantled in 1946-47. Our model will indeed incorporate that catenary. The catenary towers and bridges are in production as I write.
The long anticipated upgrade of the Trainz engine to the new T:ANE version kept our project on hold for over a year as we awaited its public debut. Despite a myriad of groans and grunts from a largely ignorant and misinformed minority, John and I were quite pleased with the new program. We had been Trainzin' for many years and were aware of the birthing pains a new Trainz engine would bring. The program, encompassing such an wide open format, and largely supported by a contributing public for its many assets would invariably arrive with a loud BANG! But patience and product loyalty would eventually show Chicken Little that the sky is, indeed, NOT FALLING! For my two cents, I believe this is the best offering of Trainz yet! As the screenies above show, as do the many, many excellent screen shots on this forum show, T:ANE is a new animal and a welcome break from the past.
While T:ANE may be the gears and gizmos that drive the programs lights, bells and whistles, it is TransDEM that is at the Hoosac Project's foundation. Without Roland Ziegler's great program, such a project would never have been undertaken. All Trainzer's who model terrain with this program, and within a historical context owe Roland a great Thank You!
While the project is far from complete, it is now moving along well. We have established some standards for which assets are to be used and common throughout, such as those great forest covered mountains; they are composed of only 5 different trees. Terrain painting, including the Deerfield River, is done with barely a dozen different textures. Keeping assets to a manageable count will go far in maintaining a stable route which our computers can handle. (Surveyor Rule #1.......Repetition!) John is already working on an extension to the route; The Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad. The 'Hoot, Toot and Whistle' as it was affectionately remembered, or the 'Hold Tight and Worry' as Carl Byron, president of the Boston & Maine Historical Society, wryly noted in a recent e-mail, ran from Wilmington, Vermont to the to Hoosac Station, and the interchange at East Portal Tower. That route's primary income was generated from lumber and paper industries which the short 30 mile stretch served. It ran passenger service until sometime around 1940, but it was still a freight hauler into the '70's, when the Deerfield River Dam projects shut down the line for good. We also have an extension planned on the west side, out to Williamstown, a quaint New England town and home of Williamstown College, with its fine architectural examples. The old station, itself a unique example of early railroad architecture, still exists and will be modeled and restored to its former self, functionally.
Thanks for you positive comments on the pix, guys. We will post more as the route progresses.
Regards to all
If you guys want, I have two locomotives (a 2-10-2 and a 2-8-4) with Coffin feedwater heaters that could act as stand-ins for B&M locomotives. They aren't perfect, but I could see how much I could mod them to be a passable representation until I build actual prototypes. I'm also updating a bunch of that rolling stock I sent you guys a while back, which could probably help too.

If any of this interests you guys or if you want me to try my hand at something, just shoot me a PM and I'll see what I can do.

I'm extremely excited to see a good chunk of the B&A and B&M take shape in Trainz, looks awesome guys!
Thanks, Scoot. I like hearing this from someone with boots on the ground so to speak. Mike (Steamboateng) has been working with Carl Byron on the historic aspects of the route. The landscape sure is different now than it was then!That's sad news on the business side. The last time Mike and I were out there last year, there wasn't much going on then either.John
Haha my boots have been worn into the grounds there quite well already. The history is there, especially running in some of the old EMD's. But I still can't picture seeing two tracks running through the tunnel after seeing how the size of trains increased.Scott
Haha my boots have been worn into the grounds there quite well already. The history is there, especially running in some of the old EMD's. But I still can't picture seeing two tracks running through the tunnel after seeing how the size of trains increased.Scott

Please feel free to tell us some of the history we would really appreciate as rail historians, and of course as railroad operations fans. I had a close encounter with a railroad job with the old B&M back before Guilford purchased the company. For some reason I changed my mind and stayed in the computer industry for another 30-plus years.

I agree it's a pretty scary thought about how narrow that tunnel really is, and it must've seemed even more so with the double tracks and catenary too. Mike and I have been lucky to have Carl Byron working with us on this project. He has been a big help with historic photos, insight, and critique. We recently found out via an email that there was actually very little ballast compared to what we have today. Back prior to WWII, the B&M had cinders for ballast all the way from Greenfield west, and the HT&W ran with little or nothing at all on what I think is probably 85 lb. rail.

The Hoosac Project itself, was planned only take in the East Portal Yard and the North Adams Yard, with a mile or so through each side of the tunnel. We are adding the extensions, as noted above, to more capture the history and flavor of the place. Our research shows that Williamstown, about 5 miles west of North Adams, on the Massachusetts-New York-Vermont border, actually once had 4-5 tracks in the area of the passenger station. We surmise this was a 'holding' yard area for trains awaiting transit through the tunnel. Our interest in the HT&W was more as a 'tickler' to show a sample of New England short Line operations. John was eager to take that route on, and has already laid town his TransDEM generated foundation map.
Within the world of T:ANE, the route is much larger than noted above. The East side runs west from about Millers Falls, Ma., through the large Deerfeild Yard, to Geenfeild, Shebourn Falls, Chaleton, and on to the Hoosac Tunnel in Florida, Ma. This is about 60 miles in length. The West side runs from the Hoosac Tunnel Wesr Portal, down to the North Adams yard, west to Williamstown, then north to Pownal, Vermont and again west to Hoosik Falls, New York and onward to Rotterdam Junction and the once large interchange at Mechanicville, NY, just northwest of Albany. That's anther 60 miles or so. The East side generally follows the Deerfeild River Valley to the tunnel. The west side follows the Hoosic River Valley to the Hudson River. The entire route is very picturesque, with its small mill towns, farms, and valley scenery; particularly through the Berkshires. Hopefully, we can capture some that New England flavor in the routes, and perhaps even a touch of Mother Nature's finery in the region.
hi John, This is really a great project you guys are doing. I love the graphics and your attention to detail. A really nice route!
Here's a video of the same area.


This is still a WIP as before. Missing is the catenary and big electric box motors used to hustle the traffic through the tunnel. The small 3-car passenger train comes off the Hold Tight and Worry (Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington), which used to run a 24 mile line from Wilmington Vermont down to the Hoosac Tunnel Station. This is now a spin-off project that I am working on, just started and will be some time before I have anything presentable...

Anyway enjoy.

Here are some WIP shots of the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad which connected to the B&M at Hoosac Tunnel MA and ran 24 miles north to Wilmington, VT. The line followed the Deerfield River for most of its length and garnered the amusing name of Hold Tight and Worry! The railroad also was affectionately known as the Hoot Toot & Whistle, which I think is more fitting because of its small locomotives and short trains it ran. The line started its life as a narrow gauge line and was standard gauged in 1909 with an interchange was made with the B&M. This allowed passenger service and freight to move directly up the valley from the Tunnel station yard and wye.

The railroad was the very first rail company to offer paid rail fan train rides starting in 1934 with a ride offered to the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts which is still in existence today. What was supposed to be a one-off thing turned into an annual event for them for their remaining life. They went as far as to create, for the first time ever, open passenger cars made from gondolas fitted with benches, and some older cars with nothing more than roofs with no sides.

Sadly, the line became no more after 1971 when its ROW was obliterated by a hydro power dam on the lower part of the Deerfield just south of Monroe Bridge where the Yankee Power Nuclear plant was built. This was the third nuclear plant, and this had bisected the ROW in 1960. The Railroad was once owned by New England Power and used to build other dam projects including the Sherman Dam, and Harriman Dam farther north on the Deerfield. New England Power and is now part of the more familiar National Grid Company. During the 1938 hurricane, this section was flooded twice and the cost was too high to rebuild and was abandoned.

Rebuilding this route has been quite a challenge as I had to approximate in many place where ROW existed since there is no trace of it today. Where it is marked on topographic maps, I was able to follow it and the track went in quite easily. The line also has some substantial curves and grades, due to its narrow gauge - 36-inch gauge history.

In the 1920s the Harriman Dam was built. The railroad built a switchback to negotiate around the dam and on to its terminus in Wilmington Vermont. This meant the original route was abandoned, flooded out anyway by the reservoir, and they now followed the opposite side of the reservoir - Lake Whitingham. The railroad then crosses back to its original final approach to Wilmington on a long trestle, which is located just about where Mountain Mills was once located and was an interchange with the Deerfield Railroad, which was owned by lumber interests.

Using a bit of artistic license, I have included the line up to Wilmington, removed the lower dam, and included the small branch into Reedsboro Center which once served the mills. This may seem a bit anachronistic, but it's Trainz and we can do what we want here. Using some What-ifs... What if the railroad never was abandoned above Reedsboro and the lower dam never built. Suppose they survive mostly as a tourist line, which did become part of their business from 1934 until the 1970s?

Anyway, enjoy the pics...

The wye and interchange with the B&M. You can see action here in the video posted above. Still missing in the video and from here is the catenary and box-motors running on the B&M.

Here is a picture of the Harriman Dam and Reservoir (Lake Whitingham). The HT&W ran up and along the dam via a switchback...
Here is the switchback.... The mainline came in much lower originally and had to be rerouted up a 1.5% grade to 430 meters, switch back then up to 450 meters, then climb to 466 meters to cross the dam.

Here is the bridge crossing over the reservoir. The tracks came in along the "right" or west side of the river, now a like here, instead of originally on the left. Parts of the original ROW can be seen as a dotted line on the left. There are some substantial grades here as well as some big cuts as well in order to negotiate around the lake. On the right side was originally a small town called Mountain Mills, which was associated with the Deerfield River Railroad and a large lumber mill operation.
Here's a view of some of the reconstruction work I'm doing to put in the ROW where the 1971 Lower Dam and Bear Swamp Reservoir exist today. I used Historic Aerials and a good eye as I followed about where the ROW went since everything here has been leveled down and changed by the new watercourse.

This is a general view of the Deerfield River Valley as the line travels from Reedsboro towards Wilmington. You can see the sunshine lighting up the hills in the distance...

I like it. A very well developed video. The B\W intro had the real old film feel with the "streaks" and the soundtrack was a well chosen piece. The color section shows how exquisite this route looks. You sir have a masterpiece on your hands and is one of the better looking creations in developement.