The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel  - Paranormal, Ephemera & Additional Historical Information 

 W.Whitman Article

A 19th Century writing about AA tunnel by Walt Whitman
Man Cut In Half In Tunnel (Shocking Accident);
Brooklyn Eagle Sept 27, 1854; Page 3
Man Killed Falling Into Tunnel Construction;
 Brooklyn Eagle Sept 17, 1844; Page 2
The Tunnel Ghost Arrested  [note: no one was ever actually apprehended]; Brooklyn Eagle Sept 22, 1846; Page 2

"Tunnel Construction Overseer Murdered As Strike Called", "Brooklyn Evening Star May 29, 1844 Pg 2, Note: The Worker's Demands Apparently Were Met Two Days Later

"Tunnel Construction Worker
Killed", "Brooklyn Evening
Star, July 11 1844 Pg 2

Pirates & Vampires In The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel?

Red Hook Brooklyn resident, H.P. Lovecraft, weighed in with his own tales of underground Atlantic Avenue, in a circa 1925 short story about centuries old "Persian Vampires" inhabiting  tunnels under Atlantic Avenue. It's called "The Horror At Red Hook":

"Atlantic Avenue Tunnel - A Romance" A (fictional?) story about Pirates who used the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel that was published in the New York Times in 1893

Recent Historical Research by Bob Diamond,
Information on the Locomotive believed to be in the sealed off portion of the Tunnel:

I was finally able (after 25+ years) to identify the engine in the 1844 woodcut drawing of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel. This is the same locomotive reportedly still buried in a filled in section of the tunnel near Columbia Street.

Identifying the engine was previously difficult, because the book "Steel Rails To The Sunrise" incorrectly identified the firm "Locks and Canals" as an early locomotive builder.

Using Wikipedia, I found they were not in fact a steam engine manufacturer. As the name implies, they were involved in building locks and canals, near Lowell Mass., starting about 1800 or so, making it one of the oldest corporations in the U.S. The firm still exists today as a hydro electric plant in Lowell. "Proprietors of Locks and Canals" was a company that dug out canals- not a locomotive builder at all. Exciting, new historic revelations made possible by the Internet.

According to a Robert Stephenson website, Locks and Canals bought two early steam engines from the British locomotive pioneer Robert Stephenson, both in 1831. One locomotive was Stephenson order # 17, a 2-2-0 wheel configuration named the "Whistler", and the other was Stephenson order # 8 an 0-4-0 called the "Stephenson". As per "Note # 3" on the same website, some engines were subsequently re-sold, and renamed with modified wheel arrangements:

The Brooklyn and Jamaica RR (predecessor of the LIRR) bought one of these British engines second hand from "Locks And Canals" in 1836. It was taken out of regular service in 1848, because it was already obsolete. When the Brooklyn & Jamaica/LIRR had it, it was called the "Hicksville", when Locks and Canals bought it from Stephenson, it was either called the "Whistler" or the "Stephenson". Its original wheel arrangement was 2-2-0, or 0-4-0.

If it was the "Whistler" it must have had a trailing axle added, as in the 1844 tunnel drawing its shown as 2-2-2, very easy conversion from a 2-2-0. By the same token, the "Stephenson" could have also been converted from an 0-4-0 into a 2-2-2.

Robert Stephenson (pic on left) built at least one of the early steam locomotives bought used by the Brooklyn & Jamaica RR in the 1830's, and later operated in the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel by the LIRR.
Mathias Baldwin built some of the early steam locomotives that operated through the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.

"Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt was the Operations Director and a Board Member of the LIRR at the time the tunnel was built. He was in charge of getting it completed. William Beard was the contractor. The LIRR was Vanderbilt's first railroad enterprise- not the New York Central RR, as is the popular thought.

Information on Upcoming Tunnel Tours can be found
on the bhra_events page

2002-2011 Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, Brooklyn, NY.
All rights reserved.
Web design by Brian Kassel