Mt. Baker TC Bay 2, by Oran
Mt. Baker TC Bay 2, by Oran

34 Replies to “News Roundup”

  1. You can take this with grain of salt,today, as I was turning in my application for a position with Sound Transit,the HR assistant mention to me that Joe Mallahan met with several board of the directors form Sound Transit earlier today. I wonder what he has up his sleeves? Hmmmm. Also, she mention that she received a lot phone calls the day after Mike announce that he wanted to expand Light Rail to West Seattle and Ballard. She said many of the comments where positive but more where negative (mainly due to cost issues). Bottom line, this election is going to be a very interesting.

  2. I might add to the news roundup that the Bellevue Reporter had a full section on transit today with eight articles. Nothing readers of this blog don’t already know, but it’s nice to see.

  3. So what’s the future of Sounder? Electrified? Mid-day and weekend service? I’m not sure what ST’s long term plans are for sounder besides expansions and maybe a few more rush hour trains/longer trains.

    1. -No electrification
      -No more north trains
      -North trains will be extended to 4 cars per trainset
      -2 more south trainsets to bring the total up to 8
      -Max of 24ish runs a day on the south end
      -No mid day service
      -No weekend service beyond what we have now
      -There will be portions of triple-tracking on the south end to accommodate up to 24ish runs a day
      -Probably a new coach yard on the old BNSF Mains south of Safeco Field (I designed it!)
      -Extension of platforms on the south end to accommodate 8-car trains
      -Complete double tracking between King Street and South Everett
      -Build new Edmonds Station, Tukwila Station, and Phase II of Mukilteo Station

      Remember, they run on BNSF Railways tracks, not their own. Sadly, its not CalTrain so they lack a lot of flexibility.

      1. “-Max of 24ish runs a day on the south end
        -No mid day service”

        Well, that is depressing. What I wouldn’t give for all day service back and forth between Seattle and Tacoma.

      2. Well, at least the Seattle-Tacoma and Seattle-Everett buses run every half hour, so that’s something. You used to have to transfer at Federal Way or Aurora Village, and it took over two hours each way.

      3. Sad. BNSF hosts Metra’s Aurora services in Chicagoland on a primarily 3 track main from Union Station west to Aurora, a distance of 40 miles, in one of the most intensively used railroad areas of the US. Here is Metra’s current schedule.
        Many of us would love BNSF and ST to agree to hourly service outside the rush, and perhaps every other hour evenings and weekends between Tacoma and Seattle. Surely, if it can be done this intensively in Chicago, a much reduced all day timetable is possible here.

      4. Well maybe those things aren’t really in planning right now but can’t they be in a long-range plan?

      5. Right, we can dream, can’t we?

        There’s been some great discussion on this blog before about the shortcomings of the Sounder North route, but also the great suggestion that the route be extended North to Marysville and Arlington and east to Snohomish and Monroe, with 2 of the 4 daily round-trips heading to each direction. The barriers are large (the BNSF agreement would need to be renegotiated or extended), and these towns are outside the Sound Transit district. I think the easiest way to develop this service is for Community Transit, which does serve (and tax) these towns to contract with ST to extend the service, and assume the cost increases. Hopefully leveraging existing service in this would way would increase productivity on the existing Sounder North route, as many passengers from Marysville/Arlington and Snohomish/Monroe would commute into Everett, but many of them would also continue on to Seattle or the intermediate stops. I think only then, once you have a higher number of stops along the route, would you really see the sort of success that Sounder South has had.

        We can dream, right?

        For this to happen, though, we should try to get this in the Community Transit long term plan, so I guess I’ll shoot off an email.

      6. A stop at the Point Wells development if it gets built would get huge ridership. And yeah that would be great to extend it to Marysville and Arlington (Mt. Vernon too?). I think they would need to increase speeds before they could do that for anyone to ride it.

      7. More information about the new coach yard please. I work the yard as an Amtrak conductor pretty often and all the sounders get in the way during the day.

  4. As for the Amtrak Pioneer report, yeah the numbers are pretty depressing…back-of-the-napkin-calculations based on the preliminary study…

    SLC-SEA $245 $113 31%
    DEN-SEA $297 $118 28%
    SLC-PDX $345 $92 21%
    DEN-PDX $371 $96 21%

    If all the Pioneer restoration would do is restore daily, slow Superliner service to 300 people per day, that’s pretty underwhelming. Service improvements in the corridor, ahem Talgo and a 5 hour trip PDX-BOI, could make the operating cost recovery ratio much prettier, but at the expense of enormous capital costs. As it stands, damn it, it’s probably not worth it.

      1. Since Amtrak is assuming all new equipment for a restored Pioneer, they might as well buy Talgos for the service.

        The study assumes 3 Superliner cars broken off from the California Zephyr in either Denver or SLC and joined by a diner/lounge car.

        Instead how about a Talgo with sleepers running all of the way from Chicago to Seattle? This would provide a second frequency on the Chicago-Denver portion of the California Zephyr route and faster service than Superliner equipment between Denver and Seattle.

        Also a Tri-Cities/Yakima/Stampede Pass route should be looked at rather than running a restored Pioneer along one side of the Columbia or the other to Portland and then up the already crowded rail corridor between Portland and Seattle (though another PDX-SEA frequency would be nice).

        In an ideal world instead of splitting the Empire Builder in Spokane a second Chicago to Portland train should be added following the current EB route between Spokane and Portland and following the old North Coast Hiawatha route between Chicago and Spokane.

        Beyond that I’d like to see two additional Seattle Spokane trains each way every day. One along the Cascade Tunnel route via Wenatchee and another via Stampede Pass and Yakima. Another good idea would be a second Coast Starlight each day. Maybe turning it in Vancouver and San Diego (or even Tijuana) rather than Seattle and Los Angeles.

      2. Naturally we’d all love those improvements. Next steps: 1) Convincing our beloved host railroads of their importance (making or finding pathways for all those trains), and 2) Convincing our our beloved Congress to appropriate the US$100B+ it would cost to run a national passenger railways system correctly.

  5. I had a neighbor with the “Bright Idea” of buying a auctioned Access bus. (His plans were apparently to turn it into a “camper”.) What a LOVELY addition to a street…

    After about 2 months of dirty looks from all the neighbors he finally parked somewhere else… “-)

    1. Via PDX is faster and gets more passengers. But I sincerely doubt that Amtrak, or the states of OR, ID and WY wish to spend the kind of money the UP is attempting to extort to run that train again. Seems it ran pretty well for 20 years on that route, and I doubt UP has removed any sidings or switches in the 12 years since the demise of 25 and 26. Sad – it was a great train that connected with other great trains – a tactic Amtrak ought to be pursuing nationally.

      1. The problem with the gorge line is its near capacity. So many trains, too little track. And running via Yakima would fill a gap in WA rail service. It’s hard to say which one is faster as it is now, which one would be cheaper to make faster, and/or which line would be more likely to incur delays.

  6. For any who’ve never ridden one of our WWII vintage electric buses:

    Trolley tours city’s nightlife

    The Metro Employees Historic Vehicle Association (MEHVA) is hosting a three-hour tour of Seattle’s distinctive and varied nightlife neighborhoods this Saturday, Sept. 26, beginning at 7 p.m.

    The historic trackless trolleys will tour through Pioneer Square, Broadway, lower Queen Anne and the University District with stops for photos and coffee.

    The trolleys depart from Pioneer Square at Second Avenue South and South Main Street. No reservations are accepted, and passengers will be boarded in arrival order until all buses are filled.

    Fares are $5 for all passengers over the age of 5. Metro transfers, tickets, or passes are not accepted. Please, do not bring food or beverages onboard the historic buses. For information, call the MEHVA hotline at (206) 684-1816, or visit the organization’s website.

  7. Actually the $100m is spread out throughout the country. The Northwest is getting about $11m of that money. Only agency in the Puget Sound to get cash is CT, getting $3 million to help pay for new hybrid buses.

  8. I’m quite disappointed with Metro today. Apparently there was a trolley wire power outage at 15th and Campus Parkway so the 44 and 43 were being manually turned around there instead of the ends of their routes. The problem was, no one told the people waiting at other bus stops what was going on, so at the med center there were a ton of people waiting for a non-existent 44. None of the other bus drivers told us what was going on either, so it took forever to figure out what was going on. It was kind of like the snowstorm, except without any snow.

    1. It appears that there’s still some kind of problem there… There’s a couple supervisor vans and they’re pushing the buses past there. Or at least they were an hour ago.

  9. Dude, quick fact check mayor Barsma is not running for reelection, he is termed out. Marilyn Stickland is running against Jim Merritt. Come hear them speak out the transportation plan for Tacoma on Oct 1st at 6:30 at UWT.

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