List of railroad crossings of the North American continental divide
A crossing of the North American continental divide is necessary for any transcontinental railroad in North America, and has always been one of the hardest obstacles. This article lists such crossings from north to south.
|Location||Province(s)||Elevation||Built by||Current/Last||Years of operation||Notes|
|west of O'Dell||British Columbia||747 m (2,451 ft)||Pacific Great Eastern Railway||Canadian National Railway||1967–present||First of two crossings, about 4 miles apart, on CN Stuart Sub|
|south of Summit Lake||British Columbia||716 m (2,349 ft)||Pacific Great Eastern Railway||Canadian National Railway||1967–present||Second of two crossings on CN Stuart Sub|
|east of Summit Lake||British Columbia||728 m (2,388 ft)||Pacific Great Eastern Railway||Canadian National Railway||1958–present|
|Yellowhead Pass||Alberta and British Columbia||1,110 m (3,642 ft)||Canadian Northern Railway and Grand Trunk Pacific Railway||Canadian National Railway||1914–present||Originally two lines. GTP built 1914, CNoR built 1915. Consolidated into one line in 1917, with some adjustments in 1924|
|Kicking Horse Pass||Alberta and British Columbia||1,627 m (5,338 ft)||Canadian Pacific Railway||Canadian Pacific Railway||1884–present|
|Crowsnest Pass||Alberta and British Columbia||1,358 m (4,455 ft)||Canadian Pacific Railway||Canadian Pacific Railway||1897–present|
|Location||State(s)||Elevation||Built by||Currently||Years of operation||Notes|
|Marias Pass||Montana||5,213 ft (1,589 m)||Great Northern Railway||BNSF Railway||1893–present|
|Mullan Pass||Montana||5,566 ft (1,697 m)||Northern Pacific Railroad||Montana Rail Link||1883–present||Passes through the Mullan Tunnel|
|Elk Park Pass||Montana||6,365 ft (1,940 m)||Great Northern Railway||Burlington Northern Railroad||1888–1972|
|Homestake Pass||Montana||6,328 ft (1,929 m)||Northern Pacific Railroad||BNSF Railway||1888–present (dormant since 1983)|
|Pipestone Pass||Montana||6,347 ft (1,935 m)||Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad||Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad||1909–1980||Passed through the Pipestone Pass Tunnel|
|Deer Lodge Pass||Montana||5,801 ft (1,768 m)||Utah and Northern Railway||Union Pacific Railroad||1881–present||Narrow gauge until 1887; railroad name Feely|
|Bannock Pass||Montana and Idaho||7,575 ft (2,309 m)||Gilmore and Pittsburgh Railroad||Gilmore and Pittsburgh Railroad||1910–1939||Tunnel at summit|
|Monida Pass||Montana and Idaho||6,823 ft (2,080 m)||Utah and Northern Railway||Union Pacific Railroad||1880–present||Narrow gauge until 1886|
|Reas Pass||Montana and Idaho||6,930 ft (2,112 m)||Union Pacific Railroad||Union Pacific Railroad||1905–1981||Branch to West Yellowstone|
|South Pass||Wyoming||7,420 ft (2,262 m)||U.S. Steel||U.S. Steel||1962–1983||Served U.S. Steel Atlantic City Ore Mine|
|Robinson||Wyoming||6,940 ft (2,115 m)||Union Pacific Railroad||Union Pacific Railroad||1868–present||Two sides of the Great Divide Basin; Robinson is the true Divide (per USGS)|
|Hadsell||Wyoming||6,930 ft (2,112 m)|
|Rollins Pass||Colorado||11,660 ft (3,554 m) (1904), 9,239 ft (2,816 m) (1928)||Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway||Union Pacific Railroad||1904–present||Original alignment replaced in 1928 by the Moffat Tunnel )|
|Jones Pass||Colorado||8,964 ft (2,732 m)||Henderson Mine||1976–1999||Narrow gauge, passed through the Henderson Tunnel; replaced by a conveyor belt; elevation is for west (and only) portal|
|Boreas Pass||Colorado||11,493 ft (3,503 m)||Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad||Colorado and Southern Railway||1882–1937||Narrow gauge|
|Fremont Pass||Colorado||11,319 ft (3,450 m)||Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad||Colorado and Southern Railway||1884–1937||Narrow gauge. Line south of Climax retained, converted to standard gauge 1943, now operated by Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad|
|Fremont Pass||Colorado||11,330 ft (3,453 m)||Denver and Rio Grande Railroad||Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad||1881–1923||Narrow gauge|
|Tennessee Pass||Colorado||10,424 ft (3,177 m) ||Denver and Rio Grande Railroad||Denver and Rio Grande Railroad||1887–1890||Narrow gauge, replaced by standard gauge Tennessee Pass Tunnel|
|Tennessee Pass||Colorado||10,239 ft (3,121 m) (1890), 10,221 ft (3,115 m) (1945) ||Denver and Rio Grande Railroad||Union Pacific Railroad (dormant)||1890–present (dormant since 1997)||Passed through the Tennessee Pass Tunnel (original tunnel built 1890, replaced in 1945)|
|Hagerman Pass||Colorado||11,528 ft (3,514 m) (1887),10,953 ft (3,338 m) (1893)||Colorado Midland Railway||Colorado Midland Railway||1887–1918||Passed through the Hagerman Tunnel, replaced in 1893 by the Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel. Reverted to original route between 1897 and 1899|
|Alpine Tunnel||Colorado||11,612 ft (3,539 m)||Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad||Colorado and Southern Railway||1881–1910||Narrow gauge|
|Marshall Pass||Colorado||10,856 ft (3,309 m) ||Denver and Rio Grande Railroad||Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad||1881–1953||Narrow gauge. Original D&RG mainline before Tennessee Pass line opened|
|Azotea||New Mexico||7,773 ft (2,369 m) ||Denver and Rio Grande Railroad||Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad||1880–1968||Narrow gauge|
|Hillcrest||New Mexico||7,714 ft (2,351 m)||Rio Grande and Southwestern Railroad||Rio Grande and Southwestern Railroad||1903–1924||Narrow gauge|
|Campbell Pass||New Mexico||7,244 ft (2,208 m)||Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway||BNSF Railway||1882–present|
|Tyrone||New Mexico||5,990 ft (1,826 m)||Burro Mountain Railroad||Southwestern Railroad||Serves Phelps Dodge copper pit; short tunnel under Divide|
|Wilna||New Mexico||4,584 ft (1,397 m)||Southern Pacific Railroad||Union Pacific Railroad||1883–present|
|Hachita||New Mexico||4,495 ft (1,370 m)||Arizona and New Mexico Railroad||Southern Pacific Railroad||1902–1934|
|Vista||New Mexico||4,650 ft (1,417 m) (east), 4,694 ft (1,431 m) (west)||El Paso and Southwestern Railroad||Southern Pacific Railroad||1902–1961||Two crossings 2 miles apart|
|(name unknown)||New Mexico||4,525 ft (1,379 m)||Phelps Dodge||Phelps Dodge||1970s–1999||Line served Hidalgo Smelter|
|Antelope||New Mexico||4,510 ft (1,375 m)||El Paso and Southwestern Railroad||Southern Pacific Railroad||1902–1961|
ST Paul Pass Milwaukee Road 4,755 FT Tunnels and Infrastructure are still in place for any group of investors daring enough to resurrect the greatest Transcontinental railroad to ever disappear from The United States. It would be the cheapest per mile Re-construction of a Transcontinental Railroad ever. Bridges and Tunnels will accommodate Double stack Containers. The US government converted it to rails to trails with the Grandfather Clause option for any North American Railroad to Reopen this grade by simply filing with the NTSB. The towns along the route will happily assist with the rebuilding of this route. The Lookout Pass Route is also available for a connection to the Montana Rail Link, and BNSF Railway. Please send Inquiries to The National Transportation Safety Board. Before Abandonment Of The St Paul Pass Route, The Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific had just spent millions upgrading bridges and Tunnel Heights to accommodate the Tri-Level Auto rack cars that stand at approximately the same height as a double-stack container car when fully loaded. This was once the Electrified Division where the use of Boxcabs and "Little Joe" Electric locomotives were implemented to more efficiently pull freight through the mountains using Hydro-Electric and green power to pull their trains through the mountains. They were ahead of their time. THis would also be an excellent choice for any high speed Transcontinental Line as route gradients were far lower than any other mountain pass rarely rising above 2.5%. To put in in perspective all other Transcontinental routes gradients seldom fall below 3% and rise to as much as 3.5%... Google Earth St Paul Pass, also Harlowton MT, And Avery Id, to see the routes infrastructure. Government Grants and Full Cooperation Of The United States Government will support any group that files to rebuild and operate this once magnificent Railroad. Once the route of The Famed Hiawatha. These towns desperately need the economic stimulus.
|Location||State(s)||Elevation||Built by||Currently||Years of operation||Notes|
|Divisadero||Chihuahua||2,270 m (7,448 ft)||Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México||Ferromex||1961–present|
|Francisco I. Madero||Durango||2,000 m (6,562 ft)||Ferrocarril Coahuila Durango||1892–present|
|Oaxaca||224 m (735 ft)||Ferrocarril Nacional de Tehuantepec||Ferroistmo||1894–present|
|Location||Elevation||Built by||Current or last operator||Years of operation||Notes|
|Chato Guatemala||International Railways of Central America (div. of United Fruit)||FEGUA||1908–1996|
|Ochomogo Pass Costa Rica||1,500 metres (4,900 ft)||Incofer||1870s–1991|
|Culebra Cut Panama||80.4 metres (264 ft)||Panama Railroad Company||Panama Canal Railway Company (div. of Kansas City Southern Railway)||1855–present|
The Ecocanal is a proposal to build a rail line across Nicaragua from Monkey Point on the Caribbean to Corinto on the Pacific. If built, the rail line will cross the continental divide in Nicaragua, likely at a point north of Lake Nicaragua.
- Trans-Andean railways crossings of South America
- "Continental Divide Crossings - Trackside Guides - Trains Magazine - Trains.com online community". 4 March 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Pacific Springs, Wyoming, USGS 7.5 minute topographic map via Topoquest". USGS. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- "Ute Peak, Colorado, USGS 7.5 minute topographic map via Topoquest". USGS. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tehuantepec". Encyclopædia Britannica 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 507.
- Williams, Glyn (2007). "Railways of Guatemala". Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Costa Rica". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Youd, T. Leslie (1993). "Costa Rica Earthquake, Limon, April 22, 1991". Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "Dry Canal Project in Nicaragua Advances". Central America Data. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011.