Nevada (Meadow Valley Wash)
May 1, 1982
Here, just north of Etna, Nevada, a southbound Union Pacific freight exits the northernmost tunnel in Nevada's Meadow Valley Wash. This location is easily accessible from Nevada Highway 317, which at this time was paved for the northern third of the wash (as far as Elgin).
The Union Pacific's Los Angeles & Salt Lake route tends to get considerably less attention than such attractions as Weber Canyon or the Oregon Blue Mountains. A large proportion of its scenery consists of flat, hot (very hot) desert, with a very few exceptions such as Afton Canyon (Cajon Pass doesn't really count as UP operates via trackage rights over the Santa Fe there). The Meadow Valley Wash, however, counts as a major scenic attraction, with canyons, scenic vistas, and tunnels, like this one near the north end of the wash. The tunnels are a practical necessity; the line as originally built attempted to share the canyon floor with the wash and learned the hard way about flash flooding. Relocating the line higher along the canyon walls inevitably required a number of tunnels to pierce various rock outcroppings and avoid long detours.
Last updated 3/28/2018. Text and photo ©2018 Lamont Downs.