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Why are subway tunnels lit, but railroad tunnels not?

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railiner

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New York subway tunnels are lit, but much less so than stations. It's primarily for emergency evacuation. Also for roadway and signal maintenance, although they set up much brighter lighting for work sites.
 

jiml

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Some are, some aren't - and that's referring to both types of tunnels. I would suspect some railroad tunnel locations - mountains in the middle of nowhere, for example - would be extremely costly to install lighting infrastructure. CN's tunnel under the St. Clair river between Michigan and Ontario is lit, but dimly. When Amtrak's International passed through you could see the lights zip by out the windows as the train passed. Whether this was maintained only for evacuating passenger trains is possible.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Montreal's Metro...some lighting and note the steep grades in the tunnels as the trains run on rubber tires.



 

NS VIA Fan

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Cab ride in an AMT Electric MU from Montreal Central Station thru the 3 mile Mont Royal Tunnel. The tunnel is now being converted for use by the new REM Light-Rail.

(Just click.....watch on Youtube to view)

 

jis

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If you watch some of the many driver's-eye view YouTubes from Europe, it seems like newly-built tunnels usually are lighted.
The newest tunnels have lights installed but they are switchable, so depending on what else is going on in the tunnel they may be on or off. The Channel Tunnel for example has pretty bright lights installed, but more often than not they are off.

As an aside, they also have two huge crossover caverns with massive fire doors to protect one tunnel from the other. Very often during normal use when there are no crossovers planned, those doors are shut, but I have passed by them when they were open, with full lighting on, and it is an amazing sight.
 

bratkinson

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I can't recall any subway tunnels in the USA that are NOT lit. Most are quite dimly lit, though. For emergency purposes, once one's eyes are acclimated to the lower light levels, it should be sufficient to exit the tunnel in an emergency.

All of the tunnels along the NEC are lit. Again, dimly. Given the seemingly overbright lights on the regional trains that are always lit, it's difficult to discern the tunnel lights. Riding in a roomette with the door closed and lights off makes the tunnel lights seem quite bright.

Why are the lights so dim? Do you leave all the lights on in your house 24/7? The added electricity cost for lighting tunnels beyond 'safety escape' level is not justifiable in my opinion.

And why aren't RR tunnels elsewhere in the US not lit? I suspect it's a combination of access to the grid and cost of getting wire from the grid to the tunnel doesn't economically justify the expense. If RR crews need to work inside a tunnel, they bring their own generator equipment with them and work 'up wind' from the generator(s) to guarantee they get fresh air and the exhaust goes the other.
 

joelkfla

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I can't recall any subway tunnels in the USA that are NOT lit. Most are quite dimly lit, though. For emergency purposes, once one's eyes are acclimated to the lower light levels, it should be sufficient to exit the tunnel in an emergency.
Pretty sure I've seen YouTubes of dark stretches in the maze under downtown Brooklyn. I don't know whether there were no lights, or they were there but not working.

Here's one coming off the Manhattan Bridge (I suggest muting the sound):
 

Oreius

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When I first rode the NYC Subway in 1993, they used run-of-the-mill incandescent light bulbs. By the mid-2000s, these were completely replaced by LED bulbs. These lights provide an opportunity for graffiti vandals—underneath nearly every light you’ll find either a tag or a “bomb.”
 

Oreius

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Washington DC’s subway uses fluorescent lights spaced every 100-200 feet apart. There is no graffiti (not that I’ve seen) because the tunnels are too tight.
 

jiml

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Cab ride in an AMT Electric MU from Montreal Central Station thru the 3 mile Mont Royal Tunnel. The tunnel is now being converted for use by the new REM Light-Rail.

(Just click.....watch on Youtube to view)

Speaking of things that would likely not be built today! I had forgotten how long that tunnel is - and seeing how creepy and narrow the first set of single bores are when not viewed from a coach.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Speaking of things that would likely not be built today! I had forgotten how long that tunnel is - and seeing how creepy and narrow the first set of single bores are when not viewed from a coach.

Interesting that the 100+ year old tunnel will now have two new stations inserted into it for the REM Light-Rail project. One below the McGill Metro Station and one at Edouard-Montpetit which will be the equivalent of a 20 story building underground and connected to the surface by high-speed elevators.


 

JoeBas

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And I thought the 123 steps at Queensway London was deep down...
 

jpakala

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Another reason RR tunnels are not lit could be that so few trains pass through relative to constantly running subways.
 
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