Author Topic: Union Station Tunnels Intact  (Read 10507 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Union Station Tunnels Intact
« on: January 14, 2008, 04:00:00 AM »
Union Station Tunnels Intact



Metro Jacksonville has confirmed that the passenger tunnels at Union Station, thought to be filled in years ago, are still intact. These tunnels were built to bring passengers safely under the platforms to board trains on far tracks.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/693

thelakelander

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 06:14:10 AM »
Amazing work guys!  If plans are developed as they are currently drawn up, the tunnels would have to destroyed for new track that would have to be low enough to get trains under the new Park Street viaduct.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Charles Hunter

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 06:41:12 AM »
Won't the track still have to be lowered to get under the Park Street viaduct?
From the first picture, it looks like the tunnels are (at least the tops) are above the current track level.
I am confused.

second_pancake

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 08:18:51 AM »
This has to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen about our city.  I had absolutely no idea the magnitude of what is pre-existing when you guys talked about it earlier, but the pictures speak volumes.  This is absolutely amazing!  I certainly hope some convincing can be done to at least get somebody out there to look at what you've posted here.  Surely someone will see the potential that we do.
"What objectivity and the study of philosophy requires is not an 'open mind,' but an active mind - a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them criticially."

downtownparks

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 09:14:33 AM »
This is an actual news story. Awesome!!!

Ocklawaha

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 11:13:46 AM »
The Tunnels have been there since 1919. They are awesome, and just as I remember, although LARGER then I recalled. My sidekick Chris, and I got cleared to go in the area on Friday. Those who were at the FDOT TC meeting know that I locked horns with a NY planner who assured the crowd that "there are NO TUNNELS".

BULL SHIT!

So on a overcast Sunday, we went out with camera in hand, and tools, and parked in the Alley South of the Myrtle Avenue underpass. Terri our favorite homeless gal, and "Special" the dog, came along to help. When I had walked the ground with Folio's Ms: Stuart, we had discovered a tiny opening in the debris dumped in the tunnel entrance. Chris and I thought we COULD move enough "junk" and dirt to scoot inside. (sort of like trying to stuff Shamu in a phone booth x 2) My cave exploring hobby served me well.

We dropped in on one of the ramps, while it was cool, it wasn't the access I needed to prove we still have some VERY EXPENSIVE tunnels. BTW, the proper name for the tunnels in the old terminal was the JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL SUBWAY, or pedestrian Subway. We discovered that the ramp tunnel was full of crystal clear water, but couldn't tell how deep until the old hippie dove in, feet first. Not too deep, only about
3 feet on the deepest end. We were of course covered in mud by the time we got through the hole in the entry. We also followed the Cave Explorers motto, "Leave NOTHING but footprints, Take nothing but Photographs..."

The way the tunnel system worked, is from the glass doors at the South Entry to the Prime Osbourne Center, the center of that great iron covered patio once dropped down grade. Little walls surrounded the whole affair to make sure no one on the upper level fell into the pit. Sidewalks also went on either side of the down ramp. A stainless steel(?) railing ran down the center to direct the heavy foot traffic. It would have met current ADA standards for wheel chairs or bags with wheels. The ramp started with a few inches of those doors and ran SOUTH. The width was from about the middle of the second set of doors on the right, to the middle of the second set of doors on the left. So there was plenty of room to go left or right or down. From the main concourse, the arched gate-ramps went up to track platforms. Between every two tracks was a gate, ramp and platform.

On reaching the Subway level, the ceiling was high, every little while there was a huge, raised part in the ceiling. Little metal signs advertising the various trains hung on the wall, and special sign hangers stuck out from the walls at each gate - ramp to show which train was above. Oddly, those old hooks are still on the wall and so are at least one of the hangers. We had to exit our first hole, and create another on a different ramp, to reach the main tunnels. No problem... at least nothing a box of Tide and bottle of Clorox won't fix. The main Subway is flooded with about four feet of water. Otherwise, the walls are clean, even many of the light fixtures are in place and the ceiling still sparkles in places.

So there we were, feeling our way about in the deep underground pool, taking photos with my 35 mm, and finally reached the end of our access. We made our way back to the "Hobbit Hole" and clawed our way up and out with the aid of a good climbers rope. As we pop out of the ground your trusty MetroJacksonville reporter was standing at the fence taking photos of the old platforms... WTF??? WTF??? Who are you? What are..??? Holy Shit! Bob? Chris?

Yeah, it's us...

About that time the security guards reached the Terminal side of the fence, "What are YOU doing here," he wanted to know of the MetroJacksonville Camera man. Through my dirt smeared eyes, on the other side of the fence, I said, "He's with me..." The guard looked at me like I was crazy and said, "WHO ARE YOU?" Then he thought a minute and said... Mr. XXXX?  Yes, that's me. Oh I didn't know he was with you. Well it was all okay, the guard joined the party and let our reporter through the gate and even took a few looks into the holes.

About dark, we broke it up, The kind hearted guard took us to a hose to clean up... It was COLD! Then he want and gathered trash bags to cover our car seats, and next gave us a ride to a distant gate. When we crossed the tracks, Terri was walking out with Special to check on us. She ran up giving us a hug and saying she hadn't seen us come out and was scared that something happened to us. We bid her farewell, and promised to check on her in a few days.

Thanks to:

TERRI (that needs a job and a home)
SPECIAL (the wonder dog)
SECURITY (the kind Prime Osbourne Security crew)
MJ (for being brave enough to dive into the hobbit hole)
CHRIS (for digging a couple of nice holes in the ground... and seeing the gators, boogie men, giant spiders, snakes and mutant humans...{give him a break, he's from Valdosta})

Could the tunnels be used again? Could they be rebuilt to serve Amtrak and Commuter rail? How long would it take to work out a solution?

YES
YES
and about
5 Minutes...


Ocklawaha
« Last Edit: January 14, 2008, 11:16:23 AM by Ocklawaha »

lynnegh

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 12:04:16 PM »
Greetings from a newbie - will post CV later.

I will not be the least bit surprised if JTA/some other body doesn't quick like a bunny rabbit get out there with a truckload or two of fill-dirt, so those beautiful and potentially very useful tunnels will BE filled in.  It would be typical of the backwards-thinking moronic behavior of our local government.  They will no doubt cite "safety concerns" as the reason for doing so.  Odd how they've not been a hazard all these years, isn't it?  Or did you come across a collection of skeletal remains that you didn't happen to mention?  ;)


Webini

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 12:06:07 PM »
Wow.  Why can't MetroJacksonville's staff go work for the city? ;D

downtownparks

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 02:00:49 PM »
Im telling you The Urban Core for mayor!!! Come on Tony, you know you want to do it!!!

thelakelander

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2008, 02:18:57 PM »
Won't the track still have to be lowered to get under the Park Street viaduct?
From the first picture, it looks like the tunnels are (at least the tops) are above the current track level.
I am confused.



With the current plan, I believe either the old tunnels will have to be removed or the Park Street viaduct will need to be rebuilt to allow trains to pass under it like the old one did.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Ocklawaha

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2008, 04:51:22 PM »
Plan "B" is always in the wings. The lower tracks out by and including the current FEC are at the tunnel mouth (one they created when they cut into it) add platform and one or two more tracks South of FEC and there is room for Amtrak now.

Then stub the upper level tracks, Skyway etc. at the viaduct. They'd still have room for commuter rail, light rail, Skyway, or for shorter Amtrak Trains or "Sections" of trains and the tunnels COULD BE USED again.


Ocklawaha

lindab

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2008, 04:56:22 PM »
You guys are fantastic! The sense of adventure still is burning for you. It would be the greatest thing for this city to see the old train station come back. I was always thrilled to go through those tunnels out to the tracks to see the Silver Meteor bringing my grandmother. If that station is restored, it will be a blowout party for the whole town.

JeffreyS

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2008, 05:01:40 PM »
The tunnels look great but I like the Idea of bringing the skyway around back for the cross platform transfer.
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thelakelander

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2008, 05:06:58 PM »
Plan "B" is always in the wings. The lower tracks out by and including the current FEC are at the tunnel mouth (one they created when they cut into it) add platform and one or two more tracks South of FEC and there is room for Amtrak now.

Then stub the upper level tracks, Skyway etc. at the viaduct. They'd still have room for commuter rail, light rail, Skyway, or for shorter Amtrak Trains or "Sections" of trains and the tunnels COULD BE USED again.


Ocklawaha

Plan B sounds doable and would be cheaper than adding a series of elevated walkways and elevators to make them ADA compliant.
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Union Station Tunnels Intact
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2008, 07:26:25 PM »
Tunnels, Rebuilt... A concept of Plan B



Ocklawaha