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The Original Tunnel Through the Cascades

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A snowshed near Wellington. Photo by Peter Lewis.

The original Great Northern line through the Cascades Mountain Range was completed in 1892, and reached the summit via a series of switchbacks, climbing to over 4,000 feet about sea level. In 1929, a new tunnel, the Cascade Tunnel, was completed at a length of over 7 miles, which considerably shortened the distance -- naturally, the GN abandoned the original alignment. These pictures show the old tunnels and snowsheds that still remain today on the original right-of-way.

Coming across abandoned snowsheds and tunnels such as these would be a truly incredible experience.

Kevin M. Smith
Cicero, NY
4/14/2010

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Chasing abandoned tunnels and snowsheds is not only an incredible experience but also physically challenging. However this part of railroad history was adopted by the Forest Service and put a cadialac style trail in the abandoned 9.5 miles. The trail was built primarily by volunteers under the direction of the Forest Service. The USFS took great care to preserve the historical features and make them accessible. The lower trail is ADA wheelchair accessible from Martin Creek Trailhead to the lower Scenic trailhead. The 2.2% grade makes this a very easy trail to hike, even with children.

Dave Cox
Yakima, WA
4/13/2015

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The Iron Goat Trail is a excellent hike and many remains of the GN are still there. At Wellington there is the west portal of the original Cascade Tunnel and the concrete snowsheds.

The GN still lives in the area

Cliff W West
Rainier, OR
6/10/2015

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I used to live in Everett, and would take my 4X4 up to Wellington. Way back, Wellington [formerly Tye] was the sight one of the worst rail disasters in American history with 100 people killed in an avalanche- looking at the wreckage in the valley below, I don't think they found everyone- with pipe poking up from under house sized boulders.

Steve McGee
McKinney, TX
5/3/2016

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