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crock
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PostSat Aug 21, 2004 8:49 pm 
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Last summer we bike camped at the Cold Cr campground on the Iron Horse State Park east of Keechelus Lk.

About 30 yards east and 40 feet above the Iron Horse there is a long abandoned level grade.  With 2 small kids, I didn't get to follow it, but I believe it is an old railroad grade, not a road.

Anyone know anything about this?
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Scouter
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PostSun Aug 22, 2004 11:15 pm 
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The Iron Horse Trail follows the old roadbed of the now defunct Milwaukee Road (Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific) over the Cascades via Snoqualmie Pass.  Additional information can be found in the Mountaineers book, Washington's Rail-Trails by Fred Wert.

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crock
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PostMon Aug 23, 2004 9:33 am 
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This other grade (NOT the iron horse) is actually 30 yards WEST of the Iron Horse RR grade.  It is only about 10 feet wide and completely overgrown, I think most people wouldn't notice it at all.

Why would there be 2 railroad grades so close together?  I assume this hidden grade predates the Iron Horse.
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hyak.net
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PostTue Aug 24, 2004 1:32 pm 
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Prior to the tunnel opening the tracks ran higher up on the mtn and the forest service road that crosses through Hyak ski was the old train grade.  The area you are speaking of might be where the track used to run, and was abandoned after comletion of the tunnel in 1915. 

A few years ago I followed the forest  service road from Hyak south to try and find any traces of the track to confirm this information......At one point the road took a sharp right to which I thought there was no way the train could have turned that sharp.  I followed straight into the trees and down the ridge and found the remains of an old tressel laying all along the ground below confirming what I had been told, but not really knowing for sure if it was true...
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crock
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PostWed Aug 25, 2004 11:53 am 
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That explanation makes sense.  The location and elevation at Cold Creek of the old grade where I was would put it on course to cross Mill Creek at the "point the road took a sharp right".

FS road 9070 going south from Hyak has a very consistent, slightly dropping grade just as a RR grade would except for a short section where the road from the sewage plant joins up with it.  This 200 yard long section is noticeably steeper than the rest of the road (old rail grade).
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PostWed Aug 25, 2004 12:55 pm 
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I'm wondering if it's just an old road, because I don't remember there being any railroad over Snoqualmie prior to the completion of the tunnel.

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JimK
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PostWed Aug 25, 2004 1:42 pm 
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According to this source the railroad over the pass was completed in 1909 and the tunnel was completed in 1916. It looks like the original grade lasted only 7 years.

Snoqualmie Pass History

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H. Hound
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PostWed Aug 25, 2004 6:05 pm 
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I have followed the old rail grade from Rockdale (west side of the pass) to just before the pass, and it is quite a bit higher than I90 the entire way. So, I would expect it to be higher on the east side of the pass too. At the time that section of rail line had the longest wood snowshed in the US.

Another fun rail grade to look for remnants of Burlington Northernís switch back line that went over Stampede pass before that tunnel was made.
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umphtydunkie
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PostTue Aug 31, 2004 9:49 am 
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From 1909 to 1916, the railroad used to cross snoqualmie without the aide of the tunnel. They built the tunnel to solve the frequent avalanche problems with that section. Prior to 1916, there used to be a summit station called Laconia. I've never had a chance to explore the non-tunnel section of the old RR grade. Has anyone tried to trace it out? And are there any remenants of the old summit station?
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hyak.net
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PostTue Aug 31, 2004 9:34 pm 
Old grade.....
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The road that crosses about 1/3 up the face of Hyak ski area is where the old train bed used to run.  There are traces of the old track in various areas if you look.  I have a cabin on Snoqualmie Drive and in the lot next to my cabin is a pile of lumber that used to be a small bridge for the train. It was torn out long ago and stacked up in the lot..  Ive pulled a few railroad ties and long nail-type pieces from it to use as coat hooks..    If you follow the road from the Hyak area south maybe 2 miles or so you will notice the road turn sharp right (mill creek).  If you notice it looks as though the trail should go straight, but it runs into the trees and a drop-off for the creek....  I hiked down through the trees and there is where I found the large timbers that were used for the tressel on the old tracks....  I used to have pictures, but not sure if I still have them since that was a couple computers ago....and they may have disappeared.    That is as far as I hiked the old track line because I wanted to prove to myself that it actually was the old train line.  From what I understand, the tracks continued north through the Hyak ski area and joined up with what later came to be Hwy 10 somewhere around the Silver Fir lift, then just followed the existing road around the hill and connected back up in Rockdale.....

I do have pictures of Laconia, I'll post when I get a chance....   There are no buildings left from the Laconia days that I am aware of.  The oldest buildings up on the pass are the firestation and travelers rest but I don't believe they are that old.......  The pictures I've seen of Laconia don't show any structures of real substance that would withstand too many years of the heavy wet snow Snoqualmie is known for.
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hyak.net
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PostTue Aug 31, 2004 9:40 pm 
Laconia
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Here is one image of Laconia in 1914, but I do have better ones that I will post later.


Also, here is a picture of Rockdale on the opposite end of the Hyak tunnel.

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hyak.net
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PostTue Aug 31, 2004 10:14 pm 
map...
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Here is a picture I modified of the map with green lines showing the original train line, and blue showing the later line going into the tunnel...

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JimK
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PostTue Aug 31, 2004 11:09 pm 
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Thanks for the pictures. I had never seen a photo of Rockdale before.

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umphtydunkie
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PostFri Sep 03, 2004 10:11 am 
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Thankyou for the pictures and info. The small bit of research I've done hasn't even resulted in that much information. Also, I've seen pictures of Rockdale, but I've never seen the large building. Wow. Next time I'm up there I'll be a little more aware of what was there.  biggrin.gif
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hyak.net
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PostFri Sep 03, 2004 11:11 am 
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I have a picture somewhere (need to dig around) of Rockdale just before the opening of the tunnel that shows the old tracks connecting with the tracks going into the tunnel and many of buildings all around the area.  During the years of construction Rockdale had many buildings to house the people that worked there... It looked like a small town...

I'll post it as soon as I can find it....
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Forum Index > Pacific NW History > RR or old road next to Iron Horse by Keechelus Lk
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