Description: PC0002 Image no. 120. Scene near Summit Tunnel eastern slope of western summit. Note wagons going up and down Donner Pass wagon road. Photographic series documenting construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, 1866-1869
Photographer/artist: Alfred A. Hart
Date taken: 1860s
Photo location: Summit Tunnel
Subject: Transcontinental Railroad Construction
Source: Stanford Collection
Contributor: Stanford Libraries
Notes: Original image is 4.2 MB. HCS 1/10/22. Image at Stanford site. See also Goldbaum and Huffman's 2012 book, Waiting for the Cars, p.250. The authors explain: "The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road [DFDLWR] approached Donner Pass from Truckee up this steep grade. The road crossed the railroad between tunnels no. 6 and 7 near the top, adjacent to the building visible in the view." They continued:
"Any road-railroad crossing immediately outside a tunnel portal is dangerous because of the difficult of seeing or hearing a train inside the tunnel. The crossing at Donner Pass was made even more dangerous in the 1868 when the railroad was enclosed in a snowshed. Then the wagon road entered the dark shed through large doorways on either side. However, traffic on this road was very light after the opening of the railroad to Truckee in 1868.
With increased traffic after the appearance of the automobile, an underpass was built for this crossing in 1914. By locating it east of tunnel no. 7, the road's path was made longer, reducing the overall gradient. The underpass allowed automobiles to pass safely under the railroad without regard to railroad traffic. The old underpass still exists, but the road through it was abandoned in 1926 with the opening of the Donner Summit Bridge and a new highway route that did not cross the railroad." See also similar image in Calisphere.org, image no. 781 by Lawrence and Houseworth.
Rights: NOT FOR SALE; research only
Serial Number: 2068
Donation: Alfred A. Hart Collection (AAH) collection (#34)