Gov. Chafee Inspects Old East Side Rail Tunnel

Sep 26, 2013

Gov. Lincoln Chafee said the old East Side train tunnel is in better shape than he thought it would be. Chafee made the comment after walking the mile-long old rail tunnel that runs underneath College Hill. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation said there are no plans for the tunnel, that this was just an inspection. But Chafee said he can imagine RIPTA buses using the tunnel.

“Well it’s in much better shape than expected, and just imagine how much it would cost to build today.  And here it is sealed up, it’s huge, that’s the main thing, it just looks so big in there," Chafee said.  "Freight trains used to go through, two freight trains could go through it.”

The old East Side train tunnel was built in 1906 connecting the Seekonk River to the Providence River. It was closed up in the early 80’s and RIDOT said it was last inspected nearly 20 years ago.