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The Israel Washburn Tunnel

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The Israel Washburn Tunnel is the longest tunnel in the state of Maine and is only a few miles from Collinsport.

Tony Peterson travel by train through this tunnel when returning from Boston to Collinsport. (TLS)

The construction of this tunnel began in 1851. It cost 25 million dollars to build, and took 800 men 25 years to finish it. It is nicknamed “The Bloody Pit” on account of all the deaths associated with it. During its construction it claimed 197 lives. It is about 6 miles long. In 1895, there was a crash during the week of Thanksgiving. At that time there was only one train track running through it. The signalman, named George Washington Fuller, had a heart attack and died at 38 years old, causing two trains to go into the tunnel at the same time. The two trains, one from Boston to Bangor and another from Bangor to Providence, carrying 237 people between them crashed into each other causing a big explosion and some of the tunnel wall to collapse. 131 of the passengers came out alive, and only 70 bodies where found. Meaning 36 were never accounted for.

Background information and notes Edit

  • The fictional ‘Israel Washburn Tunnel’, which features in The Last Stop, was named after, a United States political figure. Israel Washburn, Jr. Born in 1813 in Livermore, Maine to a prominent political family, Washburn organized the Maine Republican Party from 1854 onward. He was the 29th Governor of Maine from 1861 to 1863. He was probably also the first politician of his rank to use the term "Republican", in a speech at Bangor, Maine on June 2, 1854. Washburn represented the district which included Bangor and the neighbouring town of Orono, Maine, where he had his home and law office. Washburn is a town in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. It was incorporated on February 25, 1861, and named after Israel Washburn. He died in 1883.
  • There is a real tunnel named ‘The Washburn Tunnel’ is a two-lane underwater motor-vehicle tunnel connecting Galena Park and Pasadena, two suburbs of Houston, Texas. Completed in 1950, it travels north-south underneath the Houston Ship Channel. It was named after Harris County, Texas Auditor Harry L. Washburn. It is largest and first toll-free vehicular tunnel in the Southern United States.

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