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South Cle Elum Depot

The South Cle Elum depot and substation, National Historic Landmarks, are part of what was the Milwaukee Road (railroad) and now provides recreation access to Iron Horse State Park.

In 1887, the Northern Pacific Railway built a transcontinental railroad over the Cascades. Trains stopped over in Cle Elum at a railway depot just before ascending the mountains. The Great Northern railroad followed close on the heels of the Northern Pacific, and in 1909, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad over Snoqualmie Pass provided a direct line to Seattle. Year-round service through the mountains was soon realized with the completion of a tunnel through the pass, in addition to the building of numerous snowsheds, including one at the top of the pass said to be the largest ever made on an American railroad. Known as the Milwaukee Road, this railway through the Cascades was electrified in 1917, which was more efficient than using steam or diesel power. Trains stopped running in 1980. Washington State began acquiring the right of way in 1981 and began opening the right of way to recreation in 1984.

Today, this route is managed as Iron Horse State Park, which is on average only 20 feet wide but nearly 100 miles long. From its western terminus at Rattlesnake Lake just outside North Bend, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail runs east across the state to the Columbia River. Visitors can walk or bicycle from the Columbia River over and through the mountains to Cedar Falls on the west side. At Snoqualmie Pass, the path goes underground through a dark, 2.3-mile former railroad tunnel, which attracts visitors looking for a unique trail experience. The trail then continues downhill, crossing old railroad trestles and hugging the sides of steep mountains. In 2003, the site of the South Cle Elum depot and substation gained National Historic Landmark status.

 

The south Cle Elum depot has been restored through the efforts of many volunteers and the Cascade Rail Foundation. For more information visit the Cascade Rail Foundation.

Points of Interest South Cle Elum Depot
The South Cle Elum depot and substation, National Historic Landmarks, are part of what was the Milwaukee Road (railroad) and now provides recreation access to Iron Horse State Park.
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