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UP - Tunnel 34


West Portal Of Tunnel 34, Contextual View To Northeast From Inside East End Of Tunnel 33 (Cape Horn Tunnel), 135mm Lens With Electronic Flash Fill

Photo taken by Ed Anderson for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #299194



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 34 is a contributive element of this historic property.

Tunnel 34 is a 410-foot, double track railroad tunnel, with reinforced concrete portal faces, and granite ashlar voussoirs, belt courses and coping, and wingwalls. As-built, the tunnel carried both eastbound and westbound mainlines; in 1929 the tunnel was single-tracked to carry only westbound traffic. The tunnel is on a six degree, fifteen minute left curve, and carries the westbound tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad's (formerly Southern Pacific) Donner Pass line.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Tunnel on Union Pacific Railroad
Placer County, California
Open to traffic
Built 1913
- Central Pacific Railway (CPRR)
- Southern Pacific Railroad (SP)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Total length: 410.0 ft.
Also called
UP - Cape Horn Tunnel
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.11519, -120.93072   (decimal degrees)
39°06'55" N, 120°55'51" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/678899/4331598 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 63437 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 9, 2014: Added by Dave King


  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • HAER CA-206 - Central Pacific Transcontinental Railroad, Tunnel No. 34, Milepost 145.4, Colfax, Placer County, CA