Right from the start of digging at the west end, things went very wrong. The soil was quite fluid. It was said that as soon as one shovelful of earth was removed, more earth moved in to take its place. It soon became evident that something more than excavation had to be done. The solution was to build a circular tube of brick six to eight layers thick. The first few hundred feet of brick tube was constructed in a large open cut and was 26 feet wide. When this large tube was completed, it was backfilled. This may seem a strange way to start but they were now well into Hoosac Mountain.
This brick tube would continue into the mountain for another 883 feet. It was at that point that the more stable rock would support a brick arch. The total distance into the mountain for the brick tube and arch is 7573 feet.
It is needless to say that this type of construction required a lot of bricks. Some twenty million bricks were made and used in the construction on the west end. There was a brickworks built to supply the construction just to the south of the west portal area.
The following three photos show the brick tube at west portal and the brickworks buildings at the height of their production.
SITE CONTENT AND PHOTOS © 2004 JERRY KELLEY