This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Well, that was short-lived.

Just a day after we saw a big push from All Aboard Washington to buy the BNSF track, BNSF has rebuffed their offer. On the plus side, we learn a thing or two about the AAW plan:

  • $30 million in upgrades
  • trains traveling at 25-30mph
  • operational within 60 days

It sound appealing. But you have to wonder: Have they included the cost of safety upgrades? What about park-and-ride lots around the stations? Have the neighborhood environmental impact studies been done? What about increased traffic around those stations? Will it integrate with bus service?

Also, how frequent will the service be, given that much of the line is single-tracked? Either you put one train off on a siding while the other passes, or you run one train back and forth. Either way, service likely can’t be more than one train per hour.

Oddly enough, I happened to be at a backyard barbecue in Kirkland last night, where the Spirit of Washington dinner train passed within 50 yards of the property. It was startling at first, but kinda cute. We waved at the passengers on the dinner train. They may have waved back.

I wondered, how would these neighbors feel about passenger rail running back and forth all day? Maybe they wouldn’t mind, or maybe they would and they’ll just have to deal with it. But that’s something you need to find out in a lengthy, open process. This is why transit projects take lots of time. It’s frustrating, but it’s for the best.