:: Donner Pass, May 20, 2007 ::

My wife and I made a two day stop on our last vacation to the Tahoe area.  Tahoe is nice and all, but I really wanted to see the old (and now abandoned) Track 1 across Donner Summit.  This was part of the original Central Pacific Trans-continental railroad. Tunnel 6 was completed in 1868 and the line was opened on June 16. Track one was removed in 1993 by the Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific).  

Well, get ready for a virtual tour of Donner!   We started in Truckee and went up Donner Pass Road to the summit, so that's how the pictures progress.  Go to the end of Page 2 for some great overview shots of the whole summit complex. I've looked all over the web for good Donner pictures and didn't find but a few.  So enjoy!  I'm sure there are some views you haven't seen before.  

Looking West over Donner Lake - it was going to be a great day! I was excited to see the first sheds across the lake. The shed, coming East out of Tunnel 8, snakes its way across the mountain. Here's a closer look at the same shed.

The West entrance to Tunnel 6, the Summit tunnel. Notice the wire added to the tunnel walls in places (upper left side.) Even in May, there was a very thick layer of ice in the tunnels. Ang walks between tunnel 7 and 8 under great skies. 

Looking back toward tunnel 8 and Donner Lake. The same shot vertically shows the shot span over the original Donner trail. The upper Chinese wall is something else! This shot looked good to me in B+W.

Using Ang for scale you can see how large the Upper wall is (and how much snow there was.) Looking East from Tunnel 6 toward Tunnel 7. The entrance to Tunnel 8 was a bit snowy.  Another Black and White shot - love those clouds)

The same shot in color.


This is right inside the entrance to Tunnel 8.  Lots of water running down the mountain and through the tunnels and sheds. I am checking out the view (and the drop!)

 The back side of the concrete entrance to tunnel 6. Same place - different view.  Bracing on the other side of Tunnel 6 East entrance. You can see the true height of Tunnel 6 here.

Donner Pass road. A nice host of the short tunnel 7. And Donner lake comes into view.  So amazing.

It was hard to choose the best shots - there were so many.  Here are some views from above Tunnel 6.  Looking right down the side of Tunnel 8's entrance.  

More shots from above the Summit tunnel.  I was just awestruck by actually being there.   I can only imagine a heavy freight drag slowly working its way through the tunnels and sheds - it would have been a sight to see.  Too bad someone didn't turn Track 1 into a tourist road.   

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  :: All Contents Copyright Matt Gidley 2007 ::