Interior: Donner Summit Tunnel Graffiti - Truckee, CA

20 votes
The Donner Summit Tunnels were decommissioned in 1993, after some 130 years of use. The tracks and water sheds are gone. The temperature in the tunnels remains cool year round, and there are standing puddles of water along the floor. Water seeps in from the top and down along the walls. Dripping water constantly echoes throughout the dark tunnel. As one continues on through to other tunnels, at times the pervasive smell of guano and the incessant sound of bat squeaking can be unsettling. One should bring a dusk mask or respirator device if you're planning to venture here.

Constructing a railroad 88 miles over the rugged Sierra Range between Newcastle and Truckee, California, took 12,000 men 3 years and 2 months (February 1865 to April 1868). The Sierra crest, the most challenging section, required 14 tunnels to maintain a maximum grade of 105 feet to the mile. The longest and most difficult tunnel was tunnel number 6, the Summit Tunnel, under Donner Summit. It was 1659 feet long.

Working conditions near the Summit were extremely hazardous. The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) hired Chinese laborers that worked in shifts around the clock from August 1866 until November 30, 1867. When not working the Chinese had to live in tunnels that they'd carved into the snowdrifts during the winter; makeshift shanties on site during the warmer months. Many of them did not survive.

Despite non-stop digging and 300 kegs of black powder a day, the rock was so hard that the laborers could advance only 8 to 12 inches per day. To expedite the work on Tunnel No. 6 (as seen from the mouth of the tunnel in this image), a vertical shaft seventy-five feet deep was sunk so that crews could work four headers, two from the middle out and two towards the shaft. Workers were lowered into the shaft by rope.
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Latitude: 39° 18' 59" N, Longitude: 120° 19' 47" W see »

Location: United States

Panoramas by Tanja Barnes

Type:
Map List

Where's Waldo?

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10 votes

Picture Window View of Donner Lake

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12 votes

From Donner Summit.

Interior: Donner Summit Tunnel Graffiti - Truckee, CA

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20 votes

The Donner Summit Tunnels were decommissioned in 1993, after some 130 years of use. The tracks and water sheds are gone. The temperature in the...

China Wall of the Sierra - Truckee, CA

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Just outside and to the left of this tunnel is a hand built retaining wall that was constructed by Chinese laborers. It is now known as China Wall....

Exterior: Donner Summit Tunnel Graffiti - Truckee, CA

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During the winter, snow levels at Donner Summit can reach up to 70 feet.  In January 1870, nine months after the First Transcontinental Railroad...

An Entrance to the Donner Summit Railroad Tunnels - Truckee, CA

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40 votes

Emigrant Chinese laborers constructed the railroad tunnels above Truckee, California, with picks and black powder in the 1860s as part of the...

Donner Pass - Truckee, CA

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1 votes

Donner Pass,  in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California, viewed from the Rainbow Bridge parking lot. Donner Pass is named for the...

Morning Twilight @ Bears Landing - Donner Lake, CA

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20 votes

Testing Hejnar Photo Panoramic head.

Sepulveda Dam

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10 votes

Built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1942, the Sepulveda Dam has been used for locations for countless films and commercials...

Sepulveda Dam Graffiti

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Built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1942, the Sepulveda Dam has been used for locations for countless films and commercials...

Sepulveda Dam at Sunset

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Built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1942, the Sepulveda Dam has been used for locations for countless films and commercials...

La Casa de Pensamiento Libre (HDR) - Van Nuys, CA

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10 votes

Testing Photomatix Pro 4.2

La Casa de Pensamiento - Van Nuys, CA

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Testing Canon 8-15mm @ 8mm.

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