Near Guernsey in Platte County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
The Guernsey-Wendover Cutoff
Before Guernsey Reservoir was constructed in 1927, and before Lake Guernsey State Park was developed for recreation in the 1930s, a railroad was built through this area by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. In 1915, a nine-mile stretch of tracks connected Guernsey to Wendover, located northwest along the North Platte – a difficult engineering feat that included three timber-lined tunnels.
Competing for western markets in the late 1800s, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy built steadily westward. The Burlington, as it was called locally, reached Guernsey in 1900 to haul iron ore from the huge mine at nearby Sunrise. Its network of rails extended from Chicago and Kansas City, westward to the Pacific, and southward to the Gulf of Mexico – except for one 9-mile gap between Guernsey and Wendover.
The Guernsey-Wendover Cutoff was constructed in 1914-1915 across “a piece of very rough country” that required a 640-foot steel truss bridge across the North Platte River and three tunnels.
This historic Cutoff provided a vital link between North Pacific’s mainline in southern Montana and the Burlington lines. Today, this line (now The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company) hauls low sulfur coal from the mammoth strip mines of the Powder River Basin to power plants throughout the Midwest and eastern United States.
Tunnel No. 2, the middle of the three tunnels, was located directly beneath this bridge. It was removed to facilitate rail traffic. Tunnels 1 and 2 are still in place.
Erected 1998 by Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company.
Location. 42° 17.994′ N, 104° 47.394′ W. Marker is near Guernsey, Wyoming, in Platte County. Marker is on Skyline Drive near Newell Drive, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Guernsey WY 82214, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Guernsey Tunnel No. 2 (within shouting distance of this marker); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. ¼ mile away); Brimmer Point (approx. 1.1 miles away); Guernsey State Park Museum (approx. 1.4 miles away); "Million Dollar Biffy" (approx. 1½ miles away); The Castle (approx. 1½ miles away); The Oregon Trail (approx. 2.3 miles away); Rifle Pit Hill (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Guernsey.
More about this marker. The marker is located at the southeast corner of the overpass.
Also see . . . The Burlington Route: Wyoming’s Second Transcontinental Railroad -- WyoHistory. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy had two reasons for investing in Wyoming. First, the company wanted Wyoming’s timber, coal and iron to sell in eastern markets, and also for operating its large network stretching from Denver, Colo. back to Chicago, Ill. More importantly, railroad officials saw that northern Wyoming lay at the crossroads of the northern Rockies. Wyoming offered the best routes for transcontinental lines originating in the Midwest and South and terminating in the Pacific Northwest. (Submitted on October 5, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on May 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 5, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 5, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.