My Present Past
A genealogical experience
The Moffat Road
Click on images to view full size
From Yankee Doodle Lake the struggle upward continues with another zigzag around Jenny Lake and then up the
face of the giant peak to Tunnel 32. Known as Needle's Eye. This tunnel pierces a section of the highest ridge
as the railroad tracks again loop around for the final ascent on the pass summit
At 15.5 miles was the Dixie Siding below man-made Jenny Lake, the highest water stop on the line before the
final four-mile, 800-foot climb to  "The Top of the World" or Corona.
George Engel
Jenny Lake in 1911
Yankee Doodle Lake
Moffat Road 1911
At last the route surmounts the crest of the Continental Divide and takes quick refuge on the top at Corona.
At an elevation of 11, 660 feet this is truly the famous "Top of the World" and one of the highest railroad
passes in the world. Due to the great height and nature of the Rocky Mountains, the entire railroad complex
was completely enclosed in giant covered snow sheds.

On the east side of the crest at Corona, the tracks hang on the side of the Continental Divide ridge. From this
vantage point one could gaze out across the Rockies as far as the eye could see.
A steep drop of nearly a thousand feet awaited any mis-step.
The images above are the result of a 1909 panoramic photo of the "Top of the World". Most of the images in
this site are from my ancestors collections but I couldn't resist using this image which shows a great view of
the Moffat Road at Corona. I have also included below, the original photo as it was presented as one image.
Jenny Lake on the Moffat Road in 1911
Corona, Colorado panoramic photo courtesy of the
Library of Congress, American Memory section
Originally, Moffat had planned to build a tunnel through the worst part of the pass but his original plans failed.  
Instead, the Denver Northwestern and Pacific Railway tracks climbed Rollins Pass with a series of switch back
loops requiring steep grades and experiencing severe snow conditions. The line over the pass was 23 miles long,
with a 4% grade along many stretches and was the highest railroad ever constructed in North America.  A small
rail stop called Corona was established at the top of the pass, with a restaurant and lodging, which allowed
workers to help keep the rail line free of snow in the winter. Trains were often stranded for several days
during heavy winter snows. Removing snow from the original line went on to make it unprofitable to operate.

Unfortunately, David Moffat was unable to see his dreams fulfilled, he died in New York City on March 18, 1911
trying to raise money for his railroad. In February of 1928 the Moffat Tunnel was completed and operational,
bypassing Rollins Pass, the same pass that cost David Moffat his railroad.
1922 The Moffat Tunnel
1922 Review of Reviews Page 401

1922 Review of Reviews Page 402
1922 Review of Reviews Page 403

1922 Review of Reviews Page 404
Unknown tunnel on the
Moffat Road in 1911