Puerto Suello Hill Tunnel

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Puerto Suello Tunnel
Location San Rafael, California
Coordinates 37°59′21″N 122°31′45″W / 37.989201°N 122.529114°W / 37.989201; -122.529114Coordinates: 37°59′21″N 122°31′45″W / 37.989201°N 122.529114°W / 37.989201; -122.529114
Status in service
Start Lincoln Avenue[1] / Los Ranchitos Road
End Hammondale Court
Opened 1879 (1879)
Closed c. 1980
Rebuilt 1967
Reopened 2017
Owner Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit
Operator Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit
Character Commuter rail tunnel
Track length 14 mile (0.4 km)
No. of tracks 1
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Lowest elevation 50 feet (15 m) below surface

Puerto Suello Tunnel is a rail tunnel in San Rafael, California. It was constructed in 1879[2] by the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad and is 14 mile (0.4 km)[3] long.

The tunnel was partially destroyed in 1961 by a fire, which was set by two boys. The fire killed 23-year-old firefighter Frank Kinsler when his truck fell 50 feet into the chasm.[4] It was rebuilt for freight service in 1967, but was closed and boarded up in the mid-1980s with the discontinuation of Northwestern Pacific Railroad services.[2][3] The state-owned North Coast Railroad Authority and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District took ownership of the tunnel in the 1970s and was thereafter acquired by SMART in 2003.[2]

It was retrofitted by SMART for a cost of $3 million in 2015.[3] The 2017 California floods caused damage to the tunnel, delaying system's opening testing for three weeks.[1]


  1. ^ a b Prado, Mark (April 3, 2017). "Landslide risk in San Rafael halts SMART testing". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Prado, Mark (March 18, 2015). "Puerto Suello Hill Tunnel for commute rail delayed". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Wood, Jim (February 2015). "A Tunnel's Second Act". Marin Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Marin History Watch: San Rafael railroad tunnel collapse". Retrieved June 20, 2017.