Chafee journeys into abandoned railway tunnel

Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Governor's Office.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and a team of inspectors have ventured into an abandoned railway tunnel running under Providence's East Side, 20 years after it was sealed off.

The Democratic governor said Thursday's tour of the mile-long tunnel provided a firsthand look at its condition. While there are no definite plans for reusing the tunnel, Chafee called it a valuable asset that could one day be reopened for buses or another use.

The Associated Press accompanied Chafee on the trip underground. Flashlights revealed walls lined with graffiti. Debris, including old televisions, food wrappers and a burned-out car, sits amid stalactites and stalagmites that have formed since trains stopped using the tunnel.

The tunnel was built a century ago to allow trains to run under Providence's College Hill.