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UP - Tunnel 4


West Portal Of Tunnel 39, Contextual View To East, 135mm Lens. West Portal Of Tunnel 4 (Haer Ca-214) On The Original Central Pacific Transcontinental Line Is Visible At Left

Tunnel 4 is on the left

Photo taken by Ed Anderson for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #299217


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 4 is a contributive element of this historic property.

Tunnel 4 is a 160-foot, single track railroad tunnel bored through a rocky point on the north slope of Mclntosh Hill by Central Pacific forces in 1868. The Southern Pacific Railroad slightly enlarged the tunnel in 1921 during the double-track project, and again in 1942 to accommodate larger locomotives and rolling stock; these alterations, however, do not appear to have appreciably changed its appearance from the period of its original construction. The tunnel is on an eight degree right-hand curve, and carries the 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 1868; widened and double tracked 1921; widened 1942
- Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Total length: 160.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.30204, -120.53502   (decimal degrees)
39°18'07" N, 120°32'06" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/712550/4353191 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Cisco Grove
Inventory number
BH 63447 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 9, 2014: Added by Dave King


  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • HAER CA-213 - Central Pacific Transcontinental Railroad, Tunnel No. 39, Milepost 180.95, Cisco, Placer County, CA
  • HAER CA-214 - Central Pacific Transcontinental Railroad, Tunnel No. 4, Milepost 180.95, Cisco, Placer County, CA