Nestled in the Cascade Mountains of northern Washington, Stevens Pass is the location of one of the most difficult railroad-building projects in American history, and of the world's worst avalanche disaster. Today, Stevens Pass is the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe's main connection to Seattle from the rest of the country, and U. S. Highway #2 makes its way across Washington via the pass as well, but the story of Stevens Pass begins over a century ago with two men, a visionary with a dream and the engineer who helped him make it happen. The pictures on these pages were taken on a series of visits to the pass. My own photos were taken on family trips to the pass in the summers of 1994, 1998 and 2000. I have also included pictures taken by my dad on the 1994 trip, and his own visits in 2002 and 2007.
Discovery and Naming of Stevens Pass
Stevens Pass Today
Railroad Bridge over Highway 2
Maloney Building, Skykomish
Great Northern Caboose X228
Trains In & Around Skykomish
Iron Goat Trail
Switchbacks and the First Cascade Tunnel
Bygone Byways Interpretive Trail
Throughout these pages, I have also included links to historical photographs. Most of these photographs are from either the University of Washington Library's Digital Collection or the Washington State Historical Society's Image Collections. I have used "UW" and "WSHS" at each link to indicate the source. Other sources for historical photos include Dave's Electric Railroads, RRPictureArchives.net and Lindsay Korst's Great Northern Railway Page: gngoat.org.
For more information on Stevens Pass, I can recommend two books on the subject. A Railfan's Guide to Stevens Pass by Robert C. Del Grosso, published in 1993 by Great Northern Pacific Publications of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and The Iron Goat Trail: A Guidebook by Becky Wandell for Volunteers for Outdoor Washington, published in 1999 by The Mountaineers of Seattle, Washington. The latter should be available at the ranger station near Skykomish, among other places, or is available HERE as a PDF file. For more information about the history of the Great Northern Railway’s route over Stevens Pass, I recommend the following, which I used for historical research: How Great Northern conquered the Cascades by D. W. Mc Laughlin in the November 1961 issue of Trains Magazine, The reason for America’s longest tunnel by D. W. Mc Laughlin in the December 1961 issue of Trains Magazine, The Great Northern Railway - A Pictorial Study by Charles & Dorothy Wood, published by Pacific Fast Mail in 1979, and an online article by Wayne F. Vlasak dated June 2, 1988.
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