Tunneling the East River
Clip: Season 26 Episode 5 | 2m 17s
The East River flowed over a mix of gravel, clay, sand, silt and bedrock. When sandhogs hit pockets of sand and gravel, there was a risk of air leaking from the tunnels. Workers were constantly on the alert for a whistling sound—a sign that compressed air was escaping and might at any moment punch a hole through the riverbed, known as a blowout. These blowouts were costly and often deadly.
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Measurements showed that the Pennsylvania RR Hudson River tunnels were shifting.
In 1961 the Pennsylvania Railroad announced it had sold the air rights above Penn Station.
Two city blocks, or 28 acres, were initially cleared for Penn Station’s construction.
Excavation workers, called “sandhogs,” faced many dangers working in a confined space.
Compressed air was used to keep the water out of the Pennsylvania RR's Manhattan tunnels.
Map history with us! See how engineering has changed America with our new map!
The monumental building that was supposed to last forever was destroyed after 53 years.
The engineering feat and architectural achievement that was torn down after just 53 years.
The Pennsylvania Railroad announced they would be tunneling into Manhattan.
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