1 vote

UP - Tunnel 41


East Portal Of Tunnel 41, Contextual View To West-Northwest, 135mm Lens. Summit Of Mount Judah, Named For The Visionary Engineer Who Conceived And Mapped The Route Of The First Transcontinental Railroad, Rises Above The Tunnel

Photo taken for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #224983



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 41 is a contributive element of this historic property.

Tunnel 41 is a 10,326-foot single track railroad tunnel (the second track entering the snowshed at the west end of the tunnel switches over to the single mainline track within the snowshed), with reinforced concrete portals and wingwalls. Snowshed 29,900 feet of mostly timber snowshed and virtually the last of its type on the line, protects the west portal of the tunnel; Snowshed 33, 267 feet of prefabricated concrete panels with roof carried on steel girders, protects the east portal. The tunnel is on a tangent (no curve) alignment, and carries the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad's (formerly Southern Pacific) Donner Pass line.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Tunnel under Donner Pass (Mount Judah) on Union Pacific Railroad
Placer County, California
Open to traffic
Built 1925
- Central Pacific Railway (CPRR)
- Southern Pacific Railroad (SP)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Total length: 10,326.0 ft. (2.0 mi.)
Also called
Summit Tunnel
Central Pacific Transcontinental Railroad, Tunnel 41
Big Hole
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.30413, -120.31388   (decimal degrees)
39°18'15" N, 120°18'50" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/731613/4353968 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 51225 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 9, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Added categories "Union Pacific Railroad", "Southern Pacific Railroad", "HAER documented"
  • February 9, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Railroad"
  • February 7, 2012: Added by Michael Goff


  • Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • HAER CA-215 - Central Pacific Transcontinental Railroad, Tunnel No. 41, Milepost 193.3, Donner, Placer County, CA