Tunnels Lost to Time

Tunnels Lost to Time (HM1CQK)

Location: Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755 Denali
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Country: United States of America
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N 63° 43.835', W 148° 54.815'

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The train track along the Healy Canyon wall provides an exhilarating view down to the Nenana River below. Imagine the challenge of constructing this grade in 1921. Three tunnels at the south end of the canyon made the job a little easier by cutting through rock points. The rock was so soft, however, that erosion caused continual collapses and slides. One tunnel (milepost 354.7) caved in and was abandoned in the 1940s, another (Garner tunnel, milepost 356.2) was removed ("daylighted") in 2005 after years of maintenance problems including removal of 100 feet of the tunnel in the 1960s or 70s. Daylighting the Moody Tunnel began in 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2010.

Moody Tunnel was the last of the 1921 Alaska railroad tunnels. It was given Alaska Heritage Resource number HEA-076 and determined to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Documentation preserved its history and engineering features for posterity before it was removed. There are still a number of 1905 - 1906 era tunnels about 50 miles north of Seward in the Kenai Peninsula section of the Alaska railroad, and two tunnels on the 1942 tract between Whittier and Portage (they have all been reinforced and lined).

Moody Tunnel was 262 feet long and Garner was 508 feet; the tunnel between them had no name and its original length is not known. They were drilled and blasted through the schist bedrock and the material carted out on temporary tracks. Portals in each end were built with 12" x 12" creosote timbers with cribbing above and beside the portals to try and stabilize the outside slopes. More 12" x 12" timber arches were added as interior supports, many in attempts to reinforce the roof after construction.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 8:08pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)6V E 405513 N 7068407
Decimal Degrees63.73058333, -148.91358333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 63° 43.835', W 148° 54.815'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds63° 43' 50.10" N, 148° 54' 48.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)907
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 64 Morning Loop Trail, Denali National Park and Preserve AK 99755, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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