"Instead of going around the mountains, we went through them..." (Guernsey Gazette, December 3, 1915)
Tunnel No. 2 on the Guernsey-Wendover Cutoff was located directly beneath this highway bridge. Over 1,900 feet long, it was the second of three on the nine-mile Cutoff constructed by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1914-1915. The new Cutoff would allow trains to haul twice the tonnage, so the tunnels were constructed as quickly as possible. This tunnel was completed in a record three months. The Burlington's Tunnel No. 2 was a single-bore, timber-lined tunnel, 1,928 feet long. It was one of the three tunnels within a five-mile stretch of the Cutoff required to maintain an even grade along the steep, rocky canyon cut by the North Platte River.
Crook and Young were the contractors for Tunnels No. 1 and 2. They employed a large crew of men, who lived in temporary camps near the tunnels. The contractors used drilling and blasting methods to bore through both tunnels. The drills were run by three, large air compressors powered by steam boilers. A pipeline from the North Platte River supplied water to the boilers.
All three tunnels were completed by the end of 1915. Tunnel No. 1, about 1.4 miles to the southeast, is 3,333 feet long and took eight months to complete.
Tunnel No. 3, about 3.3 miles to the northwest, is 1,441 feet long. Periodic maintenance and repairs have allowed these tunnels to function for over 80 years. However, due to structural roadbed problems, Tunnel No. 2 has been removed; its former location is evident by the deep cut under the bridge.
The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company continues to run freight through Tunnels 1 and 3, hauling low sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin.