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Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. LXVIII, Sept. 1910 The New York Tunnel Extension of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Cross-Town Tunnels. Paper No. 1158   By:

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Paper No. 1158



In this paper, it is proposed to describe the construction of the tunnels extending eastward from the easterly extension of the Terminal Station to the permanent shafts east of First Avenue.

They were located under 32d and 33d Streets from the station to Second Avenue, and thence, curving to the left, passed under private property and First Avenue to the shafts, as described in a preceding paper. Typical cross sections of the tunnels are shown on Plate XII.[B]

On May 29th, 1905, a contract was entered into with the United Engineering and Contracting Company for the performance of this work. This contract provided that work on each pair of tunnels should be carried on from two shafts. The first, here referred to as the First Avenue Shafts, were located just east of that avenue and directly over the line of the tunnels; the other two, called the Intermediate Shafts, were located on private property to the north of each pair of tunnels in the blocks between Fourth and Madison Avenues. It was originally intended to do all the work of construction from these four shafts. Workings were started both east and west from the Intermediate Shafts, and those to the west were to be continued to the Terminal Station. After the change of plans, described in a previous paper, it was decided to sink a third shaft on each line. These were known as the West Shafts, and were located between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Finally, it was found necessary to build a portion of the tunnels on each line west of Sixth Avenue in open cut. The locations of the shafts are shown on Plate XIV.[C]

The First Avenue shafts were built by S. Pearson and Son, Inc., for the joint use of the two contractors, as described in the paper on the tunnels under the East River. While the shafts were being sunk, the full sized tunnels were excavated westward by the contractor for the river tunnels for a distance of 50 ft., and top headings for 50 ft. farther. By this means, injury to the caissons and to the contractor's plant in the shafts by the subsequent work in the Cross Town Tunnels was avoided. The west half of the shaft was for the exclusive use of the contractor for the Cross Town Tunnels.


The method of handling the work adopted by the contractor was, broadly speaking, as follows: Excavation was usually carried on by modifications of the top heading and bench method, the bench being carried as close to the face as possible in order to allow the muck from the heading to be blasted over the bench into the full section. The spoil was loaded into 3 yd. buckets (designed by the contractor and hereinafter described), by steam shovels operated by compressed air, and hauled to the shafts by electric locomotives. Electrically operated telphers, suspended from a timber trestle, hoisted the buckets, and, traveling on a mono rail track, deposited them on wagons for transportation to the dock. Arriving at the dock, the buckets were lifted by electrically operated stiff leg derricks and their contents deposited on scows for final disposal. The spoil was thus transported from the heading to the scow without breaking bulk.

When concreting was in progress, the spoil buckets were returned to the shafts loaded with sand and stone. The concrete materials were deposited in storage bins placed in the shafts, from which they were fed to the mixers located at the foot of the shaft about on a level with the crown of the tunnels. The concrete was transported to the forms in side dump, steel, concrete cars, hauled by the electric locomotives.

Electrical power was adopted largely on account of the restricted area at the shaft sites, where a steam plant would have occupied considerable space of great value for other purposes... Continue reading book >>

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