We’re hearing from local news outlets that a suspicious package on the BNSF mainline is holding up South Sounder trains.  From Chuck Taylor’s twitter, it appears that Southline northbound (reverse-peak) trains are being halted near Boeing Field and there are delays up to 35 minutes.  We’ll let you know when service resumes.

[Update 6:06pm:] According to Sound Transit, a second suspicious package has been discovered, prolonging delays out of Seattle.  Per an earlier mistake, it appears that all Southline trains are being affected, not just reverse-peak.

[Update 6:20pm:] The tracks are clear and all service has resumed.

23 Replies to “BREAKING: Suspicious Package Delaying Sounder”

    1. I got 3 rider alerts via email about the incident, the first at 5:40. Did they make any announcements on the train or platform?

  1. Hmmmm and according to Sound Transit’s website everything was just fine today!! Well, that makes my hour long sitting in the train not moving experience feel so much better.

    1. If you’ve ever noticed, ST is very fast at getting those things off the website and offering no explanation for what went wrong.

  2. That’s the second time this month that there’s been a significant delay in service (last time I was held up about an hour at King Street Station).

    1. With or without an explanation? The rider alerts by email and other electronic means are all well and good, but damn it, they MUST tell the folks on the train what is going on – no excuses, ever.

      1. Nope. I got on just before it was scheduled to leave, and it stayed there near about an hour (I think it was the 5:15pm maybe). I checked on the ST website and did not see any notice or explanation. That was about two, three weeks ago…

      2. The crews are a bunch of guys who spent their careers hauling cargo containers. Cargo containers don’t complain, and never need explanations. Wadda ya want?

      3. What kind of information do you think you should get?

        With these sort of incidents, it’s taking time for the first responders to figure out what’s going on. Even on their level, there needs to be coordination, and communication before they can hand out detailed explanations to the public.

      4. C’mon Jim – no details needed, just: “Our train will be delayed because of some debris on the tracks near Boeing Field. Police and railroad employees are checking the situation. We’ll keep you informed as to their progress. At this time we cannot tell you when this train will depart.” Repeat every 7-10 minutes.

        Our transit agencies OWE it to their passengers to keep them informed about delays and stoppages. To do less is to demean and denigrate both the passengers and public transport itself.

        These are basic customer service skills that all employees dealing with the public should trained in and must be considered be non-negotiable.

      5. Stop apologizing for Sound Transit. This keeps happening again and again for those stuck at stations and on vehicles. Remember the Link derailment? A train stuck and delayed for an hour in the BHS tunnel, drivers not responding to the emergency radio (another big issue in itself, as Portland has also demonstrated).

        It’s like being stuck on the tarmac. Having been stuck on a stranded north Sounder before, its very uncomfortable. But our north crew told us exactly what was going on. (The prime mover in the locomotive failed.)

        ST is great at diluting their promises. They need to learn from WSDOT’s public outreach program, which has won various national awards.

      6. Agree completely. I worked at the WSDOT TMC for 2.5 years. ST should hire some of the public information officers from WSDOT. They won’t regret it.

      7. I’m not apologizing, just pointing out the complexities of some situations.

        Yes, it’s easy for a train crew to report clearly on a problem with the equipment they are on, but this situation was dealing with something external.

        Your suggested message is excellent, Lloyd.

        It’s an art form to say something during the incident that tells just enough information without alarming the passengers. Not everyone can do it on the spur of the moment.

        “Ladies and gentlemen, it appears there is a suspicious object on the tracks ahead, and we think it Might BE A BOMB !!”

        My question is more along the lines of what everyone thinks is the best level of information, and how frequent.

        Some would want to be twitted every thirty seconds if it were possible with pulse and respiration rates.

        Lloyd’s 7 minute suggestion is reasonable.

      8. At least enough information to decide to take the 594 instead. They also should have stopped the trains at Tukwila and had buses shuttling people from there. But no, as I sat waiting in the train by Boeing Field along comes reverse commute Sounder #2… stops right next to us… and everyone inside looked just as confused as we were.


      9. At least enough information to decide to take the 594 instead.

        That’s the question, what do you consider enough, especially if they didn’t know the extent of the problem. It was reported that it was noticed at around 5:30, but supposedly the 5:12 train was held at KSS, and then cleared up at 6:20. Roughly 1 hour.

        They also should have stopped the trains at Tukwila and had buses shuttling people from there.

        I’d be interested in our bus operators commenting on the logistics of doing that, short notice.

        By the time you’d get the ‘back up plan’ in place, the problem would have been cleared up.

  3. I want to know what the “suspicious package” was. I bet it was a sack of trash or a backpack from a transient or something. I agree with Erik; kick it away! LOL

  4. I’m sure the DHS/TSA goons will never allow ST/SPD/KCSheriff to comment on the contents of the package – a state secret now in our society of Security Theatre!

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