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Tunnel’s 1st anniversary - ‘Lost railroad’ tours going strong for Bob Diamond

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Tunnel maven Bob Diamond is hoping to be surrounded by strangers when he celebrates a very special anniversary this month.

One year ago in August, Diamond resumed leading tours of the once forgotten Long Island Rail Road tunnel, under Atlantic Avenue between Hicks and Court streets.

The tours have routinely been attracting over a hundred of the city’s most intrepid and curious.

Diamond, the president of the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, never tires of the descent.

“You see this beautiful 19th century piece of engineering built using 2,000-year-old Roman methods,” he said of the tunnel.

And they also get a guided tour, guided by Diamond, who has become something of a local celebrity.

He recently appeared on the History Channel program “Cities of the Underworld,” in an episode called “New York: Secret Societies.”

And he is the subject of a documentary feature called “The Tunnel” that could begin filming in the fall, and premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009.

A trailer for the film, which is awaiting financing, can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7h4ugetCcw.

Diamond believes an old steam locomotive is buried within one of the tunnel walls. The tunnel, built in 1844 as a route between New York Harbor and Boston, was sealed up and abandoned in 1861.

The film could include the potential excavation of the hidden locomotive.

Diamond will lead his next public tour of the tunnel on Sunday, August 10 at 1:30 p.m. Call (718) 941-3160 for reservations and information. Flashlights and comfortable shoes are recommended. For more information about the BHRA, go to www.brooklynrail.net.

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