Friday, June 6, 2014

Gallitzin Tunnels in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania

Hidden beneath the small town of Gallitzin, Pennsylvania lies an engineering feat many are completely unaware about. Passing the Allegheny mountains train bound was proving to be a difficult task for the engineers who were developing the railway systems. Many obstacles had to be overcome to manuever through this treacherous terrain. One of their final tasks to create a passage through these mountains was to construct tunnels. Getting through the steep grades in Gallitzin proved more difficult than anticipated, and the blasting began.

At an elevation of 2,167 feet the the New Portage tunnel was completed in 1854 and has been continuously in use ever since. A second tunnel, the Allegheny tunnel, with a length of over 1/2 a mile was also completed that same year. Eventually a third tunnel, named the Gallitzin tunnel was created to pass through the ridge in 1904. These tunnels were so dire to our transportation services that were guarded by armed security during the World Wars.

Railroad enthusiasts still flock to the rural area, and the adjacent park, to feel the massive power of the locomotives pushing their way through the mountains. Any given time of the day you will notice visitors on the overpass, cameras, and binoculars in hand just waiting for the raw power of a train engine to come roaring out of the tunnel and pass ferociously beneath their feet.

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