Cascade Summit Wye Tunnel - Oregon
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 43° 34.463 W 122° 02.041
10T E 577998 N 4825055
Quick Description: Tunnel at the former wye at Cascade Summit at west end of Odell Lake.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 1/9/2013 8:00:57 PM
Waymark Code: WMG44J
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member PTCrazy
Views: 6

Long Description:
By 1912, railroads had reached Oakridge (about 35 miles east of Eugene, OR) and Kirk (about 35 miles north of Klamath Falls, OR) leaving a gap of some 90 miles across Cascades that became known as the Natron Cutoff. Because of an anti-trust suit by the U.S. Government the Southern Pacific and the Union Pacific were forced into separate ownership, stopping further work on the Natron Cutoff until 1924. Construction of the Natron Cutoff was completed in 1926. For more on the Natron Cutoff see Joel’s SP in The Cascades pages. (visit link)
Because of the steep grade from Oakridge to Cascade Summit, helper locomotives were needed for east bound trains and they were removed at the summit. It was necessary to provide a facility for turning the helper locomotives around but the right of way in the summit area is on a narrow shelf between Odell Lake and and steep slopes, so there was no room for a normal wye. Southern Pacific engineers designed a wye with a tunnel directly into the steep slope. The tunnel was only 163 feet long, just long enough to turn around the largest locomotives of the day. In the 1950s diesel locomotives began to replace steam locomotives and by 1958 it was clear there was no longer a need for the wye since the diesel locomotives did not need to be turned around. The rails were removed and during the winter of 1958-59 the tunnel was closed by blasting. (visit link)
Today you can find the grades of the wye leading to the tunnel but they are overgrown with alter as is the slope where the tunnel entrance is buried. Up on the slope you can find a place where the tunnel roof has collapsed and you can see into the tunnel. DO NOT ENTER.
Construction: Wood Timber

Condition: Blocked Off

Rail Status: No

Current status: Closed / Blocked

Original Use: Other / Misc.

Tunnel Length: 163.00


Website: [Web Link]

Date Built: 1926

Date Abandoned: 1958 or 1959

The "Other End": Not Listed

Suggested Parking Area: Not Listed

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Volcanoguy visited Cascade Summit Wye Tunnel - Oregon 9/9/2012 Volcanoguy visited it