Mount Macdonald Tunnel

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West Portal (construction phase)
Working train

The Mount Macdonald Tunnel, located in the vicinity of Rogers Pass in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, is a railway tunnel constructed through Mount Macdonald by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

The Mount Macdonald Tunnel supplements the nearby Connaught Tunnel that the CPR opened in 1916. Construction commenced in 1984, and the first revenue train passed through in 1988. Official inauguration took place May 4, 1989.[1]

At 14.7 km (9.1 miles), the Mount Macdonald tunnel is considered the longest rail tunnel in the Americas[2] or in North America,[3] although Tunnel 4 of the Cuajone–El Sargento line in Peru has a very similar length and may be longer.[4][5] If constructed, the 13-mile Pacheco Pass Tunnel in California will be longer.[3]

The tunnel and the associated grade revision on the eastern approach to the pass lead to a significantly gentler slope for westbound trains. The new track separates from the old grade at Rogers (approximately 25 km east of the pass) and climbs at a lower grade. Numerous new bridges and the 1.9 km Mount Shaughnessy Tunnel were required to reach the pass. The Mount Macdonald Tunnel is 91 m lower than the Connaught Tunnel. On the west side of the pass, the Mount Macdonald Tunnel track rejoins the older line 5.5 km west of the Connaught Tunnel.

The reduction in the westbound ruling grades allowed the Canadian Pacific Railway to remove the pusher locomotives that had been required on the Connaught Tunnel route. This was especially important for the unit coal trains from the Crowsnest Pass area destined for Asian markets through the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. Trains now predominantly travel east through the Connaught Tunnel and west through the Mount Macdonald Tunnel.

Coordinates: 51°17′35″N 117°29′50″W / 51.29306°N 117.49722°W / 51.29306; -117.49722


  1. ^ New York Times, May 5, 1989
  2. ^ "Canadian Railway Hall of Fame -". Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  3. ^ a b Meachan, Jody (2017-01-30). "High-speed rail considers 2 record-setting options for Pacheco Pass tunnel". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Cuajone Copper Mine and Smelting Complex Fluor Project in Peru". Fluor. Retrieved 2017-08-28.