Thursday, May 30, 2019

If Snoqualmie Falls were a Model Train Layout ...

"Completely unrealistic!"
If the Snoqualmie Falls area in Washington State near Seattle were a model train layout, the builder would likely get a bunch of compliments for a work well done.  However, many serious modelers would also comment on the use of common compression techniques to fit the scene in the available space.

There's a big river with tracks right next to it. As we approach the forest, there are a couple of section houses above the rail line. Then we have of course the huge waterfall and associated canyon, yielding a dramatic cliff scene.

On top of this cliff is more forest and the rail line navigates around the top of the cliff through the trees in a very tight curve over a couple concrete bridges.

The river continues from the bottom of the waterfall with water moving quickly over a rock-cluttered river bed.

To top it all off, as the tracks continue towards Seattle they cross a forested valley high above the tree tops on a high wood-timbered trestle.

Here's the area on Google Maps:

This used to be the original alignment of the Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern Railway, whose remnants at the other end I explored in Seattle before. Today the tracks are used by the Northwest Railway Museum for excursion trains between Snoqualmie and North Bend.

BNSF trains use the former Great Northern alignment on their way to the Cascade Tunnel under Stevens Pass to the north, and the former Northern Pacific alignment and tunnel at Stampede Pass to the south.


Ken said...

Nice write up, but one correction on the narrative: the BNSF runs on the former NP over Stampede Pass to the south and on the former GN over Stevens Pass to the north. None of the old Milwaukee line is currently in service.

If you're ever there on a weekend, the Northwest Railway Museum offers train rides out to the end of track giving riders a nice view of the lower valley.

Bernhard Beck said...

Thank you, Ken. I very much appreciate the extra details and have updated the text accordingly.
As far as I can tell the SLS&E never made it over the Cascades, so I assume this line was mostly run like a branch line.