Gallitzin TunnelEdit profile
The Gallitzin Tunnels in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, formed the Pennsylvania Railroad's passage through the Allegheny Mountains in western Pennsylvania. Ownership of the tunnels has been successively transferred from the Pennsylvania Railroad to Penn Central Transportation Company, then to Conrail and most recently to the present owner, Norfolk Southern Railway. Just east of the tunnels is the famous Horseshoe Curve. The first tunnel, which is the middle of the three bores through the mountain, was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) beginning in 1851 and was opened in 1854. Originally named "Summit" Tunnel it is 3,612 feet long at an elevation of 2,167 feet above mean sea level and is known today as the Allegheny Tunnel. The second tunnel, the southernmost of the three bores, was constructed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1852 to 1855 as part of the New Portage Railroad (NPRR). In 1857 the New Portage Railroad was purchased from the Commonwealth by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which proceeded to appropriate the "Allegheny" name from the NPRR's tunnel for its "Summit" tunnel. The New Portage tunnel was taken out of service shortly after its purchase by PRR and was not used again until the 1890s when it was expanded to two tracks and utilized as the primary route for eastbound traffic. The third tunnel, which is the northernmost of the three bores and is located immediately to the north of the Allegheny Tunnel, was begun in 1902 and opened in 1904 and is known as the Gallitzin Tunnel. From 1993 to 1995 Conrail (with financial support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) made significant changes to the Allegheny and New Portage Tunnels to permit double-stack container on flatcar (COFC) trains to fit through the tunnels. The New Portage Tunnel was configured in 1993 for eastbound traffic, and the Allegheny Tunnel was enlarged from its original 1854 cross-section to contain two tracks for double-stack traffic which could be used in either direction. After completion of the work on the Allegheny Tunnel in September 1995, the Gallitzin Tunnel (which was not included in the changes) was taken out of service.