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Dead medium: Dead tunnels of Chicago; a bibliography
From: (Nicholas Bodley)

Source(s): Chicago Public Library website

"1992, April 13: Freight Tunnel Flood

"In one of Chicago's strangest accidents, a piling driven into the Chicago River bottom caused a leak in one of Chicago's underground freight tunnels. The resulting inrush of water spread throughout much of the system's 50 miles of tunnels, flooding subbasements and disrupting utility service throughout the Loop. No significant injuries were reported, and due to the subterranean nature of the accident, spectators had little to see. Prompt response by government agencies emptied the tunnels of water and restored utility service.

"The freight tunnels are unique to Chicago. In 1899 under the guise of constructing a telephone system, developers semi-clandestinely began digging tunnels connecting any and all Loop office buildings they thought might be in the market for direct freight service. A two foot gauge mine type electric railway was laid in the tunnels. Connections were made to the major railroad and port facilities. Ultimately the system was extended to completely cover every block in the greater Loop area. After a series of financial setbacks the system was formally abandoned in 1959."


Chicago (Ill.). Dept. of Law. [Briefing materials relating to the Kinzie Street freight tunnel leakage]. 1992

Chicago Tunnel Terminal Corporation. The Chicago Freight Tunnels. c.1928

Dornfeld, A.A. "The Freight Tunnel under Chicago" Chicago History. Spring 1975 p.23-30.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The April 13, 1992 Chicago Freight Disaster: Emergency Management Efforts by the State of Illinois. 1992.

Moffat, Bruce. Forty Feet Below: the Story of Chicago's Freight Tunnels. Glendale, CA: Interurban Press. 1982.

MRC Clipping file:Tunnels--Flood 1992

[2]Deaths, Disturbances, Disasters and Disorders in Chicago Compiled by Reference Librarians Ellen O'Brien and Lyle Benedict

[3]Municipal Reference Collection, [4]Chicago Public Library

Web references


Nicholas Bodley (