Colorado June 25, 2016
Most People Have No Idea This Unique Tunnel In Colorado Exists
You know all there is to know about the Eisenhower Tunnel, which is both Colorado’s most famous tunnel as well as the highest point on the Interstate Highway System. However, I am willing to bet that you have never heard of the beautiful and historic Moffat Tunnel, which has been an important means of transportation for both the railroad and water since the late 1920s. Want to know even more about Moffat? I thought you’d never ask!
Originally developed by Denver, Northwestern and Pacific industrialist David Moffat, the Moffat Tunnel was built as a means to provide Denver with a railroad connection to western Colorado via the Continental Divide.
Though the original idea and plans for the Moffat Tunnel came about in 1902, it took almost another 30 years to complete due to disagreements within in the state legislature.
Southern Colorado feared that Denver would have a one-up in terms of commerce if the route was built, but after the devastating Pueblo flood of 1922, Denver lawmakers were finally able to come to an agreement with their southern competitors in exchange for emergency funding.
Once tunnel construction was in full force, there were still obstacles to overcome. For instance, workers once struck a patch of bad rock near the west end of the tunnel, which delayed construction and increased production costs.
The first train made its way through the tunnel in February 1928 and the travel hasn't slowed down since.
Originally projected to cost $6.62 million, the final price tag turned out to be a whopping $23,972,843.
Even more costly? The 28 lives lost during its construction.
Today the tunnel is primarily used as a way for the Union Pacific Railroad to transport coal and freight; however, it is also used by cross-country passengers riding the Amtrak California Zephyr.
A waterline also runs beside the tracks, bringing Denver a portion of its water from the Pacific watershed.
Want to know even more about Colorado railroads and which ones allow passengers? Check out
9 Epic Train Rides In Colorado That Will Give You An Unforgettable Experience.