Put on your hardhats and get your cameras, we’re going underground. I visited Puerto Rico during construction of the tunnel work under Rio Piedras. I shopped with Betty a bit and went to eat in El Nilo and then got a coconut ice cream next to the church in the plaza. While there I met an engineer with Kiewit who was working in the tunnels. We chatted for quite a while, and after he learned I was documenting the railroads of Puerto Rico, he agreed to send me some copies of photos he took with a disposilble camera a few days before this.
When I got home, the package was there. Here they are. The series begins with two photos of a 24″ Goodman Little Trammer battery-electric locomotive, one of four leased by Kiewit to work on the project. The third photo shows a small Brookville Locomotive Co. 24″ gauge battery-electric working in a narrower shaft. The final photos give us views of the three Schoma heavy mine locomotives of 36″ gauge that did the bulk of the final excavations. While the others weighed 4 or 5 tons, the Schomas tipped the scales at 20 tons each, built in 1990. Note the large gondolas. If you look at the pictures where there are two shafts, this is where the line would have split to go to Carolina and Caguas. The tunnel to the left was finished all the way to the exit from the ground, including the track. You’ll notice in these pictures the shafts seem narrow, but they were much, much larger when completed.
The final view looks down in the area where the escalators would eventually be placed to reach the underground station from street level. While the quality of these is not up to most standards, we are lucky to have them to document this great engineering feat. My friend chose to remain anonymous to prevent any issues with his employer. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!
April 2014 (Date Received)
See / Ver:
Tren Urbano (San Juan’s modern electric train)