Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Search the Archives
Browse the Archives

Route Name

Follow Amtrak Online
Home > Archives > California Zephyr exiting Moffat Tunnel, 1990s.

California Zephyr exiting Moffat Tunnel, 1990s.

Color photograph showing the California Zephyr exiting the western portal of the Moffat Tunnel near Winter Park, Colo.

<i>California Zephyr</i> exiting Moffat Tunnel, 1990s.

Moffat Tunnel is a railroad and water tunnel that cuts through the Continental Divide in north-central Colorado. Named after Colorado railroad pioneer David Moffat, the tunnel's first railroad traffic passed through in February 1928. The eastern portal is 50 miles west of Denver, Colo., in the Front Range, about 10 miles west of the town of Rollinsville, while the western portal is near the Winter Park Resort ski area.

The 6.2 mile tunnel cut the distance between Denver and the Pacific coast by 176 miles when it opened. Prior to its construction, the original Denver, Northwestern and Pacific railroad crossed Rollins Pass with a series of switchback loops and steep grades. Constant snow removal made this original route unprofitable. Today, passengers aboard the California Zephyr can enjoy passing through this engineering marvel.

Photographer: Unknown for Amtrak. From the Ann Owens Collection.