Nathaniel Haselton-Willis
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This photo shows the south portal of the 20th Street Viaduct. With a vertical clearance less than twelve feet, this old tunnel is certainly the spookiest and most-claustrophobic railroad underpass in Detroit. Portal-to-portal, the bridge extends from Newark Avenue on the south, to former Rose Street on the north (now closed to all traffic). Completed in 1910 (the same year Michigan Central Railroad’s nearby Detroit River Tunnel opened), this bridge was built to carry a LOT of railroad track – 24 separate tracks, originally. Today, there are only two tracks still in use. In addition to Michigan Central's (now Canadian Pacific's) double-track mainline leading to the tunnel, there were thirteen tracks diverging from the west throat toward Michigan Central Station, controlled by nearby 20th Street Tower (demolished 1967). Sixteen through tracks spread out from the throat into the station – eleven passenger-platform sidings, and five express-freight sidings. Further north, nine tracks fanned out from the bridge into a stub-ended, 20-track coach yard, stretching toward 17th Street between present-day Vernor Highway and Rose Street. The coach yard was where rail passenger cars were stored, cleaned, warmed, and maintained. Michigan Central Railroad listed an expenditure of $296,760.89 for “Grade separation, main line, Detroit” in its 1910 Annual Report. CONRAIL OVER TWENTIETH (as it was listed in the National Bridge Inventory, until recently) was the only bridge completed in Detroit that year, so this figure may have been MCRR’s share of the bridge’s cost. In addition, a similar amount may have been provided by the City of Detroit, as a result of its cooperative grade-separation program with local railroads. The last time I looked, the lights in this long, narrow tunnel were not working. Those who venture into this block-long, two-lane, crumbling passage should turn on their headlights, night and day. Not recommended for pedestrians. In the photo, the “light at the end of the tunnel” shows where Rose Street once intersected with 20th Street.

Muy bonita foto!!! Saludos...Norbert

I found this as a result of searching for the address and the picture of the Dresden street sign in the album pages. Thank you for providing this great photograph!

Not too beautiful but real! Voted

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