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The Snoqualmie Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel in the northwest United States, east of Seattle in the Cascade Range of Washington, about three miles (5 km) south of Snoqualmie Pass. At the border of King County and Kittitas County, the tunnel is 2.3 miles (3.7 km) in length. Its east portal is at Hyak, close to exit 54 of Interstate 90, at an approximate elevation of 2,600 feet (790 m) above sea level, just north of Keechelus Lake.
The tunnel now serves as part of a rail trail in Iron Horse State Park. The trail is called the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, but is also called the Iron Horse Trail. It closed January 30, 2009 and reopened July 5, 2011 after renovations to the walls, ceiling, and path were completed.
The tunnel was constructed from 1912–1914 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, commonly known as the Milwaukee Road, as part of its line from Chicago to Seattle. Electrification in 1917 eliminated smoke dissipation issues.
In 1980, the Milwaukee Road received approval from the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon its lines west of eastern Montana. On March 15, 1980, the final Milwaukee Road train passed through the tunnel. Later, the State of state acquired the right-of-way for recreational use.
Today the tunnel is part of the Iron Horse State Park rails-to-trails project. It is usually closed between November 1 through early May due to ice formations inside the tunnel. On July 5, 2011 the tunnel re-opened after 11 months of renovations. The $700,000 renovation added a 4-inch (10 cm) layer of concrete to the walls and ceiling, a reinforced structure, and a new and improved walking surface of crushed rock.
From Seattle, take I-90 eastbound to exit #54 at Hyak, about two miles beyond Snoqualmie Pass. Turn right at the exit, then turn left at the stop sign. Follow the signs leading to Iron Horse State Park / Snoqualmie Tunnel and Keechelus Trail Head, then turn right before the highway maintenance area, then turn another right into the trailhead parking lot.
- Johnston, Greg (August 27, 2008). "Rolling on the old Milwaukee rail line". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Dolstad, Mackenzie. "Grand Re-opening of Snoqualmie Pass Tunnel". Mountains to Sound Greenway. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
- Mapes, Lynda V. (July 6, 2011). "Snoqualmie Tunnel gives cyclists, riders cool new link". Seattle Times. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- Washington State Parks - Iron Horse State Park Trail
- Snoqualmie History
- Study of Tunnels on Rail Trails
- Washington Trails Association - Iron Horse tunnel
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