Rating:
3 votes

GN - Old Cascade Tunnel

Photos 

West Portal

Photo by Blue J Wenatchee in July 2006

BH Photo #136192

Map 

Video 

Old Cascade Tunnel West Portal

Old Cascade Tunnel, Wellington, WA (GPS 47.747898, -121.123971)

Video link posted by Ed Hollowell

Play video on YouTube

Description 

Built in 1900 it was abandoned in 1929 after the new Cascade Tunnel opened. In 1910 on March 1 96 people were killed in an avalanche at this spot including 35 GN personel on a train which was held at this spot due to the weather conditions.

Facts 

Overview
Abandoned tunnel under the Cascade Mountains on abandoned Great Northern Railway grade
Location
King County, Washington, and Chelan County, Washington
Status
Abandoned
History
The Original Cascade Tunnel was finished in 1900 and was built to replace a series of 8 switchbacks used to get over the mountains. Deadliest avalanche in US history occurred March 1, 1910 at Wellington (western portal). 96 people killed.
Builders
- John Frank Stevens (Chief Engineer)
- Railroad Personnel
Railroads
- Great Northern Railway (GN)
- Rail-to-trail
Design
It was 2.6 miles long and had a grade of 1.7% (1 in 58.8ft). After the Wellington Avalanche in 1910 concrete snowsheds were constructed to help with snow control. In 1929 the New Cascade Tunnel at 7.8 miles was completed below the old tunnel and all switchbacks and the old tunnel were abandoned.
Dimensions
Total length: 14,508.0 ft. (2.7 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.74872, -121.12272   (decimal degrees)
47°44'55" N, 121°07'22" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/640713/5290078 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Stevens Pass
Elevation
3383 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 41923 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 30, 2017: Updated by Dave Cox: changed 35 passengers to 35 GN personnel Changed builder to Great Northern Railroad
  • April 15, 2017: Updated by Dave Cox: It was 35 GN personnel that were killed in Wellington Disaster.
  • August 9, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Railroad"
  • April 30, 2012: Updated by Neil Martel: Added current owner
  • September 9, 2010: New photos from Nathan Morton
  • March 13, 2010: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Improved GPS fix, added discription.
  • April 18, 2009: Updated by Curtis Lee: added appoximate coordinates and updated history
  • March 29, 2009: Added by Nathan Morton

Sources 

  • Nathan Morton - morton890 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Curtis Lee - clee47ford [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Ed Hollowell - erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com
  • Neil Martel
  • Dave Cox

Comments 

GN - Old Cascade Tunnel
Posted April 15, 2017, by Dave Cox

Some brave soul walked in from the west end and took this picture. Considering the earth here is a dam with water waiting to break through again, this picture was pretty risky to take.

Old Cascade Tunnel
Posted March 15, 2012, by N.S. Martel (eljir16 [at] frontier [dot] com)

Here is some images of the eastern portal.

Old Cascade Tunnel
Posted March 26, 2010, by Larry Lee (llee1 [at] comcast [dot] net)

I hate to be picky but the original Cascade tunnels length is 13,758 feet and not 14,508. Since your picture was taken, the tunnel has suffered a roof collapse some 1000 feet from the west entrance just about 2 years ago. The forest service has closed off the entrace due to flash floods in the spring and this now prevents people from walking thru the tunnel. Enclosed is a couple of photos that I took last year and the last one in 2001. The last shot I took after me and a friend walked all the way from the east side to the west. Thanks.

Old Cascade Tunnel
Posted July 12, 2009, by citizen

You can still enter the east entrance and get in there pretty far before it starts to get wet (summer 2009).

Old Cascade Tunnel
Posted April 25, 2009, by David Yates (david_y [at] bellsouth [dot] net)

Sadly this two and half mile long tunnel had its roof collapse by flash flood in June 2007.