Here are some updates for BNSF. This mainly pertains information for Sounder Commuter Rail and Amtrak.

Construction for the Seattle – Tacoma corridor is 95% completed. What remains is fixed some of the rough spots that have been created from drainage pipes that have broken under the right of way, which creates "mud pumpers" You’ll notice this mainly in Georgetown.

The biggest reconstruction program was completed last week with BNSF relocating the main lines closer to 3rd Avenue S from Royal Brougham in Downtown Seattle to Spokane Street. Technically, the BNSF mainline is 3 main tracks from Royal Brougham to Black River/Tukwila (Or just North of I-405 in Tukwila)

Construction from M Street to D Street for service to Lakewood is slated to start this Fall. Of course, this date has changed several times in the past. When I see equipment on that line, I will believe it.

BNSF has started major construction on the Everett – Seattle route. Earlier this year, BNSF installed a new crossover in Blue Ridge which enables trains to cross over to a new track at 50mph. The agreement with BNSF and Sound Transit is to double track the corridor between Seattle and Everett. This improvement will benefit freight mobility, Amtrak, and Sounder Commuter Rail services.

The next major work over the next month is adding a new track between Milepost 7 and 8 on the railroad or just North of the Ballard Railroad Bridge (Known as Bridge 4, Bridge 6.3, BNSF Mainline Bridge Tender, etc) When this work is completed, work will shift to Balmer/Interbay/Magonlia for another mainline relocation and double tracking.

The Balmer project will take about 6 months to complete. This project will remove one set of cross overs between Cedar Street and Vine Street on the Seattle Waterfront for a higher speed single 30mph crossover. This will allow BNSF and Union Pacific trains access into the Louis Dreyfus grain terminal at Terminal 90 without stopping and blocking all of the grade crossings on the Waterfront. The relocation will convert a storage/holding track into a main line and the current main 2 track will be then become main 1. The double tracking will begin at Galar Streer to W Fort Street or Milepost 3.3 to 5.4.

Once the Balmer work is completed, the section crews will begin prep work for Edmonds in 2009. Edmonds will receive the same as above, double tracking but a new station will also be built here. Amtrak and Sounder both stop at this station but the station needs to be moved in order to place the new track through town.

Finally, in late 2009, BNSF will finish double tracking between Milepost 27-28. What this will leave is the 1 mile of single track right of way between Howarth Park and Everett. A new tunnel needs to be constructed but not funded to make the entire corridor double tracked between Seattle’s King Street Station and Everett Station. This one mile segment is what will prevent Sound Transit from adding additional trains between Seattle and Everett unless BNSF’s position changes regarding additional for the North route.

If there is any other questions regarding this or freight mobility, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer any questions.


One Reply to “BNSF Updates”

  1. In regards to the issue with the tunnel in Everett, are you referring to the tunnel that goes under downtown Everett itself? This would be the one that the Sounder enters just after leaving Everett Station on its way to Seattle.

    I ask because I thought that all the work occurring on the NP Bypass/Turkey Trail was supposed to help alleviate this issue. The Bypass work is probably not motivated by considerations of Sounder itself, but I thought the overall affect was to provide some added capacity through Everett.

    However, I must admit that I am not completely up to date on this project or what it does.

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