"The most expensive nine miles of the Burlington system" (Guernsey Gazette, December 3, 1915)
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. The $2 million price tag made it the most expensive segment of the entire Burlington system. The first train ran the new route on December 4, 1915. 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.