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UP - Tunnel 27


West Portal Of Tunnel 27 In Distance, Contextual View To Northeast Looking Past Tunnel 26 (Haer Ca-202) From Atop East Portal Of Tunnel 25 (Haer Ca-201), 380mm Lens

Photo taken by Ed Anderson for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #299179



The Central Pacific First Transcontinental Railroad is a segment of the western half of the first transcontinental railroad, built from Sacramento, California to Promontory Summit, Utah between 1863 and 1869, where it joined the Union Pacific Railroad which had built west from Omaha. For the purpose of the current project, the first transcontinental railroad was found likely to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance under Criterion A for its significance in transportation history, in uniting the East and the West, and in the development of the West. The railroad's period of significance is 1869 to 1945, from the line's completion in 1869, through the years of its role in the settlement and development of the West, to the conclusion of the railroad's achievements in World War II. Tunnel 27 is a contributive element of this historic property.

Tunnel 27 is an 846-foot, single track railroad tunnel, with granite ashlar portal faces and wingwalls. As-built, the tunnel was concrete-lined for the first fifty feet in from each portal, with the remainder lined in redwood timber; the railroad has subsequently covered the timbering with shotcrete. The tunnel is on a two-degree left-hand curve, and carries the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad's (formerly Southern Pacific) Donner Pass line. In 1965 the east end of the tunnel collapsed, with the result that approximately 115 feet of the east end was "daylighted" and the original east portal and concreted end were left in place, free-standing. Tunnel 27 was recorded for this reason, because it shows to good effect the original construction of these tunnels. While the railroad continues to consider Tunnel 27 as an 846-foot structure, portal-to- portal, the actual current length subsurface is approximately 731 feet.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Tunnel on Union Pacific Railraod
Placer County, California
Open to traffic
Built 1910
- Utah Construction Co. of Ogden, Utah
- Central Pacific Railway (CPRR)
- Southern Pacific Railroad (SP)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Total length: 846.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.99533, -120.98808   (decimal degrees)
38°59'43" N, 120°59'17" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/674234/4318183 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 63434 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 9, 2014: Added by Dave King


  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • HAER CA-203 - Central Pacific Transcontinental Railroad, Tunnel No. 27, Milepost 133.9, Applegate, Placer County, CA