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New Amtrak Cascades Station at Freighthouse Square

Updated September 2016

Freighthouse Square Station Update


Watch time-lapse video of new station  construction at Freighthouse Square

You can now watch along as the new Amtrak Cascades station is built in Tacoma's Freighthouse Square. The video feed refreshes throughout the day and also allows you to go back and watch previous images.

WSDOT, Tacoma officials celebrate station construction kickoff July 13

July 8, 2016
TACOMA – City, state and railroad officials will celebrate the start of construction of the new Amtrak Cascades station in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square with a construction kickoff ceremony Wednesday, July 13 at the station.

Contract awarded for new station; construction starts in June.

May 11, 2016
WSDOT has awarded the construction contract for the new Tacoma Amtrak Cascades Station. Construction will begin June 6, with the new station opening in fall of 2017.

Amtrak Cascades station moving forward in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square

March 24, 2017
WSDOT is pleased to announce it has finalized a possession and use agreement with the owner of Freighthouse Square. This allows construction of the new Amtrak Cascades station to move forward while the courts settle on a fair purchase amount, as part of the eminent domain process.

The station construction project will be advertised for bid on April 4, with work beginning in June. The new station will open in 2017.

While the purchase price for the section of the building remains to be determined, WSDOT is pleased the legal process has helped keep this project on track and within federal grant deadlines.

February 2016

Amtrak Cascades Tacoma station pre-bid meeting materials, details

WSDOT held a pre-bid meeting on Feb. 12, 2016, for contractors interested in learning more about the upcoming advertisement for construction of the new Amtrak Cascades station in Tacoma. A PowerPoint presentation (pdf 4mb) and information about materials pdf 2mb) that will be used were presented at that meeting. Attendees of the pre-bid meeting.

The release of the advertisement has been delayed, pending resolution of negotiations to acquire the property. The project is now anticipated to be advertised in March.

Contractors bidding on this project will need to be pre-qualified by WSDOT. More information the prequalification procedures is available at:

Questions about this bid should be submitted to: 

Court proceedings begun to resolve stalled negotiations

WSDOT has begun court proceedings to resolve stalled negotiations for the section of Freighthouse Square identified for a new train station in Tacoma.

WSDOT still hopes to resolve the current impasse at Freighthouse Square. However, deadlines are looming, so we notified members of the citizens advisory committee Feb. 17 about our decision to seek legal action.

WSDOT remains committed to a Tacoma option for our Amtrak Cascades passengers.

Should we not be able to reach resolution on Freighthouse Square, we are actively investigating options such as additional funding to supplement the time-constrained federal funding, an unstaffed stop at the platform in Tacoma, or busing passengers from the existing station to the new platform. However, most of these are not long-term solutions and do not meet the future needs of Amtrak Cascades passengers and the community, so our main goal is to resolve the negotiations if possible.

We will post more details on the station progress as they become available.


Final Design Sketches Shared at Open House

November 2015

Freighthouse Square station Oct. 2015

Freighthouse Square station interior October 2015

Final designs for the new Amtrak Cascades station in Tacoma's Freighthouse Square were shared during an Oct. 27 open house on the UW-Tacoma campus. Participants got to learn more about interior and exterior designs, the timeline and the overall Point Defiance Bypass project.
Construction of the new station will begin in spring 2016. The new station will open in 2017.

 Oct. 27 Open House presentation (pdf 11 mb)

Previous station news

September 2015

Designs, materials shared with CAC

WSDOT officials and designers held their final meeting with Tacoma's Citizens Advisory Committee Sept. 14, 2015, with a presentation of the station design and materials and thanks for the CAC's interest and participation in shaping the new station's design. 

An open house to share the design with the public is scheduled for Oct. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Jane Russell Commons on the UW-Tacoma campus.
Sept. 14, 2015 presentation
 (pdf 2mb)

July 2015

FHS exterior sketch July 2015

Door, column rooftop designs shared with advisory committee

WSDOT officials and their design team met with Tacoma's Citizen's Advisory Committee subgroup in June and July while finalizing design elements for the new Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square. A series of opening doors, canopies and columns were among the items discussed. The group will next meet in September.
July 23, 2015 presentation (pdf 7mb).

May 26, 2015

Votes taken on proposed clock tower designs for the new Amtrak Station in Tacoma

The Washington State Department of Transportation is building a new train station in Freighthouse Square in Tacoma. One option considered was building a clock tower in front of the station. Tacoma city leaders conducted a public survey of three designs in conjunction with WSDOT.  conducted a survey about proposed clock tower designs for city leaders. The results were turned over to the city for further work/evaluation.

May 4, 2015

Stakeholders help reach consensus on Freighthouse Square station façade and interior design concept

Freighthouse Square facade concept


Freighthouse Square façade concept

Consensus on the face and interior design of the new Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square was reached in April thanks to participation and cooperation from several key stakeholders.The station is a critical part of a new, inland rail route that will reduce congestion and make passenger rail more reliable. The station and new route are part of the larger Tacoma-Point Defiance Bypass project, one of WSDOT’s to improve passenger rail service. WSDOT remains committed to involving stakeholders and the Tacoma community in the station project. To date, WSDOT has met three times with the subgroup of the city's citizen advisory committee (CAC), keeping members apprised of design progress and working through any challenges. A focused workshop in April brought the CAC subgroup, city representatives, Amtrak station experts and Sound Transit representatives together and resulted in a design solution with broad buy-in from all parties. This consensus is key to allowing the design process to move forward. Construction on the Tacoma station is scheduled to begin in early 2016, with the station opening in 2017.Another key method leading to successful communication and support for the project are one-on-one meetings with the WSDOT Rail Division managers, design team’s lead architect, CAC chair and city representative to discuss design issues and principles. Also in April, WSDOT Rail Division managers updated the Tacoma City Council on the project.

Preliminary design presentation 

An Oct. 30, 2014, public meeting featured the preliminary concept for the Tacoma’s new passenger rail station.
City Council Member Robert Thoms gave opening remarks, followed by a presentation (pdf 3 mb) by the WSDOT design team on the background of the rail improvements and the preferred preliminary design.
During the second half of the meeting, the 60 attendees met with WSDOT design team members at various display boards featuring elements of the new passenger rail station.
Prior to the public meeting, WSDOT met with the city’s citizen advisory committee (CAC) a dozen times, conducted an online survey, and incorporated ideas from letters, emails, and CAC’s questionnaire to their members. WSDOT also briefed City of Tacoma staff, city council members, mayor, legislators, Amtrak and Sound Transit officials, and the building owner and manager prior to the public meeting.
Next step is preliminary engineering submittal to the Federal Railroad Administration for review and approval. Then the final engineering phase begins.


Design Concepts Presented

Freighthouse Square Station design concepts (pdf 9 mb) presented at Sept. 16, 2014, Citizen Advisory Committee meeting.

Dome District design goals released

As part of the new Amtrak station discussion, a city-hired architect also presented station ideas as part of the overall Dome District design wish-list.
Dome District overall design goals (pdf 2 mb)

WSDOT recommends central location for Freighthouse Square Station in Tacoma.

Thank you for joining the conversation (pdf 65 kb) about the Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square and providing your feedback at the public meeting on June 26, 2014. WSDOT recommended the central location for the station and is now working on design.

Public Meeting for Freighthouse Square rail station planned for March 12

The Washington State Department of Transportation will share three concepts moving forward for a new Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square during a March 12 public meeting in Tacoma. Sketched drawings will feature a far west, central west and far east location.

“We will share major themes we heard from the public at the two previous station conversations in January and the February workshop,” said David Smelser, WSDOT’s Cascades rail program manager. “Based on the comments and further research, three locations were identified. The public will learn more about these concepts, view the draft sketches of the interior locations, and provide feedback.”

The meeting will be at the City of Tacoma, 747 Market Street, Room 708 on Wednesday, March 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. Those unable to attend the meeting can comment online.

This is the fourth public meeting for the Freighthouse Square station involving the Tacoma Dome District, Tacoma Historical Society, Freighthouse Square ownership, rail enthusiasts, public officials and the community. Feedback will be considered as WSDOT moves forward with a recommended design for approval by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Another public meeting will follow in July 2014 on the preferred building method and materials. The schedule (pdf 175kb) calls for preliminary design to occur July to October 2014, before it goes to the Federal Railroad Administration for approval. Construction is planned for late 2015 or early 2016, and WSDOT will complete the station one year later.

The station relocation is part of the Point Defiance Bypass project, which will reroute passenger trains to an existing rail line along the west side of Interstate 5 through south Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont. The project is one of several Washington state is delivering as part of nearly $800 million in federally funded rail corridor improvements. 

“Federal funding will pay for the new Amtrak station. For additional building improvements, private or public partners, like the city, will be needed,” said Smelser.

 crowd at Freighthouse Square Amtrak meeting crowd at Freighthouse Square Amtrak meeting 


Final designs for the new Amtrak Cascades station in Tacoma's Freighthouse Square were shared during an Oct. 27 open house on the UW-Tacoma campus. Participants got to learn more about interior and exterior designs, the timeline and the overall Point Defiance Bypass project.Construction of the new station will begin in spring 2016. The new station will open in 2017.