10 Interesting Facts About Washington State’s Longest Railroad Tunnel
Here Are 10 Interesting Facts About Washington State's Longest Railroad Tunnel
Step Back Into Time As We Explore Washington's Longest Railroad Tunnel
Here are 10 surprising facts about Washington State's longest tunnel:
Location: The Cascade Tunnel is located in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, specifically in the northern part of the state, near Stevens Pass.
Length: The Cascade Tunnel is one of the longest railroad tunnels in North America. It stretches for approximately 7.8 miles (12.6 kilometers) in length.
Construction: The tunnel was constructed by the Great Northern Railway and was completed in 1929. It was an engineering marvel of its time, as it allowed trains to pass through the rugged and mountainous terrain of the Cascades.
Purpose: The Cascade Tunnel was built to replace an earlier route that required trains to navigate steep grades and dangerous switchbacks. The tunnel provided a more direct and efficient route for trains traveling across the Cascades.
Tunnel Boring: The construction of the tunnel involved the use of tunnel-boring machines, which were advanced for their time. The tunnel was dug from both the east and west sides, and the crews met in the middle to complete the tunnel.
Cascade Division: The Cascade Tunnel is part of the BNSF Railway's Cascade Division, which is an important transportation route for freight trains traveling between the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the country.
Snow Shed: To protect the tunnel from heavy snowfall in the winter, a snow shed was constructed over the eastern entrance of the tunnel. The shed helps to prevent snow and ice from blocking the tunnel's entrance and obstructing train operations.
Electrification: In the electrification of the tunnel, which allowed electric locomotives to operate through the tunnel, reducing the need for steam locomotives.
Scenic Beauty: The Cascade Tunnel offers breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains as trains pass. The journey through the tunnel and the mountainous terrain is often considered a scenic highlight of train travel in the region.
Train Traffic: The Cascade Tunnel sees a significant amount of train traffic, with freight trains passing through regularly. It can run up to 28 trains a day through it. It is also used by Amtrak's Empire Builder passenger train, which travels between Chicago and Seattle/Portland.
It's an amazing engineering feat right here in Washington State.