Prior to the BNSF, BN regularly used helpers on Stevens Pass. In the mid-1980s crews were protected by these BioPaks, one per crew member. Helpers were cut in near the rear or on the back of trains and cabooses were still in use. The 8 mile Cascade Tunnel was on a 2.2% grade, cresting just inside the east portal. Today use of DPUs, Freds, and directional running have eliminated helpers for the most part.