Hoosac Tunnel landslide photo

This photo shows the remnants of a landslide outside the west portal of the Hoosac Tunnel that halted freight rail service this weekend. 

NORTH ADAMS — Falling debris outside the Hoosac Tunnel interrupted freight rail service this weekend for the second time in 10 months.

Pan Am Railways posted on a social media account that a routine track inspection around 8:45 a.m. Saturday discovered a landslide outside the west portal in North Adams. Based on an Eagle photograph, the landslide occurred about 200 feet from the entrance.  There appears to be no damage to the tunnel.

The Billerica-based transportation company had sent an engineering team and repair crew to clear the eight inches of mud and stone over the rail head.

"An updated report indicates that there was also flowing water from the brook that was rerouted as part of the tunnel repairs earlier this year," the company stated.

The Eagle has been unable to reach Pan Am officials on Sunday for further updates.  However, the Saturday social media alert indicated the railway expected two freight trains scheduled to pass through the tunnel in the afternoon would instead run early Saturday evening.

The company didn't say what caused the landslide, but the area was soaked overnight Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with 1-2 inches  of rain that fell atop the two feet of melting snow from the Dec.16-17 snowstorm.

The apparent temporary one-day delay in rail service was a far cry from the nearly two months the tunnel was closed for repairs following a partial wall collapse in mid-February. After seven weeks of work and traffic delays rail traffic resumed April 4.

The tunnel has been an east-west shortcut for trains through the Hoosac Range on the New York-Massachusetts border since it opened in 1875.

The Norfolk Southern Railways partners with Pan Am on the use of the tunnel.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com