Still in Use
On the way up I stopped at East Baring to watch this eastbound stack train cruise up the grade at track speed. This part of the line is obviously still in use by Great Northernís successor, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). To the left is a track inspector in the full size Ford hi-rail.
An Overview of the Site
Next stop was the former town of Wellington. The town sits in the valley below highway 2, and at the mouth of the Old Cascade tunnel. After the avalanche, the railroad renames the town Tye, but it is still called Wellington to this day. The town was home almost solely to railroad employees.
About 15 years ago, you could easily see the concrete snow shed from highway 2, now there is only a few spots that are still visible.
An overview of Wellington from the past looking northwest. The area where this picture was taken is overgrown, and cannot be duplicated today.
Before the Slide
One of the signs showing the town of Wellington before the slide.
The Old West Portal
First stop in Wellington was the west portal of the old 2.6 mile long Cascade Tunnel. This part of the line was abandoned in 1929, when the Great Northern had a longer tunnel built at a lower elevation.
Remains of the Engine House
The concrete foundation are the only remains. In this picture you can see the outline of the work pit. Engines would drive over the pit, giving the mechanics easy access to the underside.
Coal Tower Then
From 1910, to 1926, a coal tower supplied locomotives, and rotary plows with coal if they were running low. Steam was the power of choice during this period, so coal was in big demand. I donít know if this project was a direct result of the avalanche, but one of the problems was that the snowplows were out of coal, making them useless. The tower was constructed after the avalanche.
Milepost 1711 Now
Looking west towards MP 1711. The grade for the runaway train track is on the right.
Concrete Snow Shed
The entrance of the concrete snow shed with my trusty trail-blazing dog leading the way. I believe this is Haskell creek on the left. This was the only all-concrete snow shed that the Great Northern ever built. Its nearly a Ĺ mile long, and marks the approximate eastern extent of the 1910 avalanche. Just to clarify, the snow shed was built after the avalanche.