Photo by WSDOT (2008 mudslide)

As expected after very heavy rainfall, the first mudslide of the rainy season occurred this morning at 7am near Edmonds.  Sounder North service for Wednesday is cancelled.  Per BNSF’s 48-hour rule, Amtrak Cascades trains 510 and 517 will be cancelled through Friday morning at least, trains 513 and 516 will be truncated to Seattle, and the Empire Builder (trains 7, 8) will turn at Everett.  In all cases there will be bus replacement service offered.

With the rain yet to abate, expect more mudslides in the coming days.  Sounder North is still scheduled to run on Saturday for the Apple Cup, but there’s a good chance of additional mudslides canceling that as well.

29 Replies to “Thanksgiving Mudslides”

  1. I was going to be on 516 to Bellingham tonight, got the call from Amtrak this morning. I can only hope that they try to segregate the buses by destination so that we don’t all have to get trundled out to Edmonds and Stanwood on the way.

  2. Amtrak ‘Dome’ Car to Make Debut on Chicago Routes

    CNN just did a piece on riding the rails for the holidays. They were on a train to Chicago and took the camera upstairs mentioning that this was the only dome car left in the Amtrak fleet. Even that wasn’t the old style vista dome. I guess the loan survivor gets shuffled around to different routes during the year (fall in New England). Does it ever make appearances on the Empire Builder or Coast Starlight?

    1. Much better suited to working with low level rather than doubledecker equipment due to different car floor elevations above the rails.

      This type of car was a regular on Great Northern’s the Empire Builder throughout my childhood growing up here, and similar cars operated on Southern Pacific’s Shasta Daylight, their day train between Portland and the Bay Area.

  3. The border crossing is going to suck. Those trains were all either sold out or nearly full. They’ll have to charter what, 4-5 buses for each train to make up for it? And that’s in addition to the Greyhound/Quick Shuttle/Amtrak Trailways, etc. buses that were going to pass through the truck crossing anyway.

    Total fail. Jesus I wish the bus crossing would just let everyone keep their luggage underneath the bus instead of having the driver load it all off. They don’t do that to cars with a trunk full of shit.

  4. It would sure be nice to put some folks to work while shoring up a corridor that gets covered in mud every single year. WSDOT would never allow this kind of chronic infrastructure failure to occur on the highways.

  5. Amtrak 513 southbound from Seattle (today, 23 Nov) left King Street Station about 90 minutes later than scheduled, probably due to mudslide activity farther north.

  6. Trains can not detour around obstructions.

    Motor vehicles can.

    Once again, trains are stopped, but buses keep traveling.

    Thank goodness for highways.

    1. Thank goodness for getting taxed for highways I don’t use, and having other taxes taken from me for highways that I didn’t vote for.

      1. If you don’t drive, you don’t pay the gas tax, and you don’t pay for highways.

        However, a lot of transit buses in our area do use highways, even though they don’t pay gas tax or tolls.

      2. Thank goodness for getting taxed for highways I don’t use

        As Norman points out, if you don’t use them then you’re not paying gas tax. You are paying property tax (even if you rent) for local roads but I suspect you do use toilet paper which wouldn’t get to you if those “highways [you] don’t use” weren’t there.

      3. If you drive solely on city streets you still pay gas tax, the majority of which goes towards highways and freeways.

      4. I love paying gas tax for highways… THAT I DRIVE ON. Isn’t that a reasonable request? I think so.

      5. You know, I never thought of using this as a defense of highways:
        “I suspect you do use toilet paper which wouldn’t get to you if those “highways [you] don’t use” weren’t there.”

        I like it.

      6. Yeah, nice dream. I notice you don’t provide any supporting figures because of course it’s just a lie. Rail supporters really need to quit with the “roads don’t pay their way” / we need to tax cars to support transit meme.

    2. Norman, trains can detour… *when there are some detour routes*. Motor vehicles cannot detour… *when there are no detour routes*.

      So you’re basically saying highways are great because there are a lot of them. News flash: there used to be a lot of railways. Some idiotic public policies allowed them to be torn out.

  7. From what i saw this morning on Amtrak’s Twitter, they were only bus briding around the portion of the line thats closed to passenger traffic, and not the whole line like they have done in the past.

    1. When there are mudslides in the Everett – Seattle segment, Amtrak will do a bus-bridge for the Empire Builder, trains 7 & 8. The Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver BC will be a bustitution all the way. However, trains 513 & 516 will still be trains between Seattle and Portland, unless a mudslide occurs in that segment.

      1. I’ve been passed by the Cascades train from Portland to Seattle while ON the replacement bus thanks to BNSF’s 48 hr rule. That same train picked everyone up in Seattle.

  8. 2 PM Wednesday, another mudslide east of Edmonds has extended the moratorium to 2 PM Friday. Trains 510/513/7 will be affected the same, with normal service to resume for the afternoon/evening Friday trains.

    1. Apparently, barring any more mudslides, Train #510 will leave from Everett on Friday morning, with the passengers being bused from Edmonds and Seattle.

      They’re doing this so that the equipment will be in position for train #517 Friday evening.

      Train #513 will still be buses on Friday morning.
      Train #7 plays the same game as it has been, but #8 will resume the normal service, with passengers boarding in Seattle and Edmonds.

      By 2 pm Friday, everything will be back to normal.

    1. That’s a really good point. Unfortunately it still wouldn’t get you to DT Seattle without backtracking. Not so bad I guess on a temporary basis but the cost to bring the eastside corridor up to standards that would allow the Talgo train sets to use them safely would require some sort of daily use. As a commuter line it doesn’t intercept I-405 until Totem Lake. There was a spur that extended from Bothell to Woodinville but it would probably just make more sense to have one station in Woodinville that could intercept SR-522, SR-9 and SR-202. Even so we were told it couldn’t generate sufficient ridership.

      1. A shorter (but MUCH slower, albeit more scenic) detour would have been southeast from Everett on the Great Northern to Snohomish, south on the Northern Pacific to Woodinville, thence to the Seattle Lakeshore & Eastern (now the Burke Gilman trail) all the way to Ballard, back onto the GN just west of the locks drawbridge and on into King Street. We can always dream.

      2. West of the drawbridge? Wouldn’t that be East? BTW, North to the rest of us is Railroad East, and South is Railroad West on this subdivision.

        However, if it’s where Ballard Terminal Railroad interchanges, then it has to be equipment with controls on both ends, since they’d be going the wrong way at that point.

        Unless there’s another, now gone, bridge I didn’t know about. Which is possible, since I didn’t grow up here.

  9. Yeah, I made the first train in before the slide happened! Saw my inbox at work with a ST alert and could barely believe my eyes. I’m used to getting stuck behind them, not just barely being in front. And fortunately I had to come up to BC and stay here for Thanksgiving so I didn’t have to worry about getting back on the island at the end of the day.

    @Norman, glad you have your roads, but I’ll stick to the rails. Even walking along the tracks as a hobo is better than dealing with I5 in a car.

    As for all these detour suggestions, the one using the BGT is nothing new, something I’ve advocated for years. Converting it into a bicycle path was an enormous waste and inefficient use of public resources. It it were a commuter line like the Sounder the amount of pressure it would take off the north end streets to downtown Seattle would be immense, imho. Plus it could serve as an alternate route into town via Maltby to the GN Highline.

    BTW, I’m an avid cyclist.

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