I was asked via e-mail from Jessica Myers of Everett; What is going on near the big rail yard in Ballard and why does the train go so slow?
To answer, BNSF and Sound Transit are working on upgrading the track between Galar Street and the Ballard bridge which will add an additional main track between these locations. This is one of several double track projects on the Seattle – Everett corridor which will speed up trains, reduce wait times for freight trains, and increase overall capacity. The rail yard in question is Interbay, which is actually located in the Magnolia neighborhood.
The reason for the slowing can vary depending on the work going on. There could have been new rail/ballast laid down which requires a certain amount of trains to pass over before the maximum authorized speed can be met or it could be a slow order to protect workers and equipment.
After Interbay, the next location for the work will be Edmonds, including the new station and a new main track. After Edmonds, MP27-28 will begin on adding a new main track there. At Everett Jct., which will be the final piece of work which will reconfigure the cross overs, making it faster and safer to go up to the high line or continue onto the low line.
Have any other heavy rail questions? Feel free to ask!