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Stevens Pass Railroad Tunnels & Switchback System

Location: Stevens Pass, WA, USA
Date: 1900
Creator(s): Stevens, John F.

In the years following the Civil War, the land west of the Mississippi River was being settled and the Pacific Northwest explored. There remained, however, a large portion of Montana, Idaho, and Washington that contained enormous quantities of timber and minerals, but was not accessible by rail. By far the most grueling stretch was the Stevens Pass area in the Cascade Mountains.

John F. Stevens ,  Chief Engineer of the Great Northern Railroad and President of ASCE in 1927, located Stevens Pass in 1890 and oversaw subsequent railway development. In the first phase of construction, switchbacks were used to cross the mountains. Phase two consisted of construction of first Cascade Tunnel and switchbacks. In the third phase, Great Northern built a new 7.8-mile Cascade Tunnel which circumvented the first tunnel and switchbacks.

Tags: Era: 1900-1909
Innovation designated by:
Stevens Pass Railroad Tunnels & Switchback System
Courtesy Wikipedia/Seattleretro
Railroad development in Stevens Pass made accessible a timber and mineral rich region of Montana, Idaho, and Washington.
Stevens Pass, WA, USA

47.743017, -121.0687

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