Gallitzin Tunnels

Gallitzin Tunnels (HMZH2)

Location: Gallitzin, PA 16641 Cambria County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 28.919', W 78° 33.083'

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The Gallitzin Tunnel was an engineering triumph and an essential step in conquering the steep grades of the Allegheny Mountains by railroad. Combined with the Horseshoe Curve, the Gallitzin Tunnel made the idea of a Pennsylvania mainline railroad a reality. Construction began on the first Gallitzin Tunnel in 1849 under the direction of Engineer Thomas Seabrook and Contractor Thomas Rutter. The work was done by four hundred Irish immigrants, from County Cork.

During construction progress was plagued by such problems as water and an unstable four foot vein of coal surrounded by weak shale and clay. Eventually almost the entire tunnel needed to be arched for safety.

Upon its completion on January 21, 1854 the Gallitzin Tunnel was the final link in completing the Mountain Division of The Pennsylvania Railroad. With the addition of a second tunnel in 1904 the mainline rail system was expanded to four tracks to Pittsburgh.

Twice the Pennsylvania Mainline railway was threatened because of its crucial role in the transportation of troops, supplies and materials for the defense of our nation. During the Civil War a Confederate raid plotted unsuccessfully to destroy the tunnel. During World War II, a clandestine German mission had plans to destroy the tunnels, but the operation failed when the German agents were captured off the Atlantic coast.

Tunnels Built......1854 and 1904
Length.......3,612 feet
Width.......24 feet
Cost........$125.00 per linear foot
HM NumberHMZH2
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 12:28am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 707546 N 4484135
Decimal Degrees40.48198333, -78.55138333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 28.919', W 78° 33.083'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 28' 55.14" N, 78° 33' 4.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)814
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 514-518 Convent St, Gallitzin PA 16641, US
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