The Washington State Department of Transportation has some good news for the rail corridors plagued with mudslides, but the project won’t be finished until late 2015.
Early Wednesday morning, a mudslide between Mukilteo and Everett, caused cancellation of Sounder and Amtrak Cascades service for 48 hours*. WSDOT’s $16.1m Corridor Reliability Slide Management Project will review problematic locations and reduce mudslides along the route.
In 2011, over 100 Sounder and Amtrak trains were cancelled due to mudslides. While this project will not eliminate all mudslide dangers, it is a step in the right direction to minimize service disruptions. Anytime a mudslide occurs, BNSF Railway (owner of the tracks in our region) imposes a 48-hour restriction on passenger trains. WSDOT and BNSF are working together to reduce and/or eliminate this rule, depending on the severity of the slide.
This is positive and much needed relief on what plagues on-time performance and reliability of our trains.
*Empire Builder service will be truncated in Everett and passengers bused to Edmonds and Seattle. Eastbound passengers will be bused to Everett and board the train there.