Profile, Looking West: This three-dimensional view illustrates the challenging terrain that the Pennsylvania Railroad had to overcome.  Horseshoe Curve is visible at right; the Gallitzin Tunnels are visible in the center.  Image from DeLorme Topo USA 2000 software.
Profile, Looking West

The Tunnels Before: In this vintage view, two helpers shove a westbound upgrade as they exit the Gallitzin Tunnel.  Before the enlargement project in 1994, each tunnel had only one track. The Gallitzin tunnel is now abandoned, and the Allgheny Tunnel features two tracks.
The Tunnels Before

The Tunnels During Enlargement: The Allegheny Tunnel (at right) was enlarged in 1993-1994 to accommodate 2 tracks and 21' 5
The Tunnels During Enlargement

The Tunnels After: The passage of two westbound double-stack trains highlights why this tunnel was enlarged in 1994.  Originally, the Allegheny Tunnel had one track and allowed trains up to 19' in height.  It now has two tracks and clears a height of 21' 5
The Tunnels After

Descending "The Slide"

The Allegheny Tunnel from the rear of Amtrak's Pennsylvanian: A photo from inside the west portal at Gallitzin from the private car 'J. Pinckney Henderson'. This car can now be chartered on the Lancaster & Chester RR in South Carolina.
The Allegheny Tunnel from the rear of Amtrak's Pennsylvanian

The Tunnels: This view is of the Gallitzin & Allegheny Tunnels in the early 1900s in the midst of a snowstorm.
The Tunnels

The Gallitzin Tunnels

In 1848-49, the Pennsylvania Railroad laid out and adopted the Sugar Gap Route which was the beginning of industrial development at the top of the Alleghenies.

The mountains' extremely high grade made it necessary to build tunnels through the mountain. In 1850, at a cost of half a million dollars, the E. Rutter & Sons firm was hired to do the job. Using picks and shovels, it took over three hundred immigrants to complete it.

The first tunnel, a bit shorter than the "Twin Tunnels", is situated under Tunnelhill. It is known as the Portage Tunnel. The second tunnel, first of the "Twin Tunnels", is known as the Allegheny Tunnel and was completed in 1854. The third tunnel was begun in 1902 and completed in 1904. This is known as the Gallitzin Tunnel. There is a magnificent view of this amazing architectural accomplishment from the Jackson Street Bridge.

These tunnels are the highest and longest tunnels on what was once the Pennsylvania Railroad. They are 3, 605 feet long and at an elevation of 2,167 feet. The first of the "Twin Tunnels" completed the railroad west, after passing around the Horseshoe Curve. This factor made the tunnels so important that they were guarded by Pennsylvania Railroad Police during the war years.

In July of 1902, a blast set off near the tunnels showered the central part of town with large stones, killing one person and injuring another. The building of the second twin tunnel caused the school directly above the tunnels to weaken and a new school had to be built. The new school was completed in 1906. The tunnels remained unchanged until June, 1994.

Construction Closeup: An early view of the Allegheny Tunnel as 1993 the enlargement project began. Note the size of the inner, original tunnel; compared to the size of the new bore.  This project took the life of one construction employee.
Construction Closeup

The Conrail Pennsylvania Clearance Improvement Project began on June 20, 1994. This project consisted of modifying the Allegheny Tunnel in an effort to lower the track and give clearance for the higher, double-stack trains now being used by the railroads. This is a major economic strategy to accommodate rail traffic that until the completion of this project was being rerouted around Pennsylvania. Using much more sophisticated equipment than the pick and shovel, with a crew of approximately 90, the project was completed in August of 1995.

Railroad buffs have identified the Gallitzin Tunnels as a "must" stopover. It offers to the visitor a glimpse of the fascinating railroad "past and present."

Trains run through the tunnels 24 hours a day and are part of Norfolk Southern's Pittsburgh Line. While visiting the tunnels, please stop by at our Visitors Center located in the Museum/Theatre, and take a moment to enjoy the restored Pennsylvania Railroad caboose. The Visitors Center and Caboose are staffed by friendly, local volunteers and are open to the public Monday through Friday.

Gallitzin Area Tourist Council
Gallitzin Tunnels Park & Museum
DeGol Plaza
411 Convent Street, Suite 20
Gallitzin, PA 16641-1295

Phone: (814) 886-8871
Fax: (814) 886-6811

Proud to be part of the Path of Progress
Members of Allegheny Mountain Magic

J. Alex Lang Productions