May 2013 – Month in review
In this issue:
LIDAR of Seattle to Everett corridor
WSDOT’s photogrammetry group recently conducted an aerial survey of the rail corridor between Seattle and Everett, collecting LIDAR data. LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, involves using an airborne scanning laser rangefinder to create surface maps of a particular area. Data analysis will produce detailed terrain and surface models to identify areas for a mudslide root cause analysis. The detailed surface maps and data will provide support for future local agency design beyond WSDOT’s federally-funded mudslide project.
Grant for Hoquiam River Horn Spur
In early May, the Federal Railroad Administration approved a $350,000 grant to replace a damaged pier on the Hoquiam River Bridge. The pier, damaged in a 2009 flood, will be replaced with a dolphin barrier. The new barrier will prevent boats from hitting the bridge when it’s in the open position. Work is scheduled to be complete by February 2014. The Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad uses the bridge to transport goods to the Port of Hoquiam and other nearby businesses.
Update on planning for moving Tacoma Amtrak Station
WSDOT met with the Tacoma Planning Division in May to discuss station design for the new Freighthouse Square train station. In the weeks ahead, WSDOT Rail will continue to work with Amtrak, the city of Tacoma and the Freighthouse Square design team to progress design. The new station, part of the Point Defiance Bypass project, will be within the existing Freighthouse Square building. Construction on the station is scheduled to begin in early 2015.
Amtrak Cascade car upgrade project complete
The upgrades to Bistro and Lounge Cars on all Amtrak Cascades trains are complete. The work, which began in March 2012, included new floors and wall coverings, a fresh coat of interior paint, new leather seat upholstery, and updated fixtures. The last train to be completed, the Mt. Hood, went back into service on May 23. Thank you everyone for your patience while we used substitute equipment for Trains 510 and 517 during the upgrades. Special thanks to the work crews for doing a spectacular job!
Thurston County’s Centennial Station celebrates 20th Anniversary
On May 4, an estimated 300 train fans, community leaders, and train travelers celebrated the 20th anniversary of Thurston County’s Centennial Station. The facility, owned by Intercity Transit and staffed daily by a dedicated group of volunteers, commemorated the grass-roots effort that brought together the land, money, materials, labor and passion that resulted in a train station that continues to proudly
represent the people of Thurston County. Before Centennial Station opened in 1993, the region’s only operational train station was a small wooden shelter with a gravel parking lot. Today, the clean, well-kept station hosts 10 Amtrak trains each day and dozens of Intercity Transit buses. The May 4 event included live music, prize drawings, food, cake, and much good cheer. Congratulations to the Centennial Station Committee, Intercity Transit, and everyone who made the station a reality.
Amtrak hosts Great American Stations event in Portland
ODOT and WSDOT participated in Amtrak’s “Great American Stations Civic Conversation” in Portland. The meeting was intended to share Amtrak policies and processes for station management and development. Attendance included Amtrak national staff, BNSF, local
elected officials, and rail advocates. Participation from ODOT and WSDOT provided Amtrak with insight on how states should be included in conversations with communities about station development. As states become more responsible for corridor costs, there will be a need for cost-effective management of any new service change.
Strong turnout and candid discussion at Blaine Regional Rail Workshop
More than 60 interested community members, staff and elected officials from federal and local governments in Washington and British Columbia, and tribes gathered in Blaine to discuss the Washington State Rail Plan. The city of Blaine and Whatcom Council of Governments hosted the meeting while WSDOT Mount Baker Area and ODOT Rail Division staff
helped facilitate. Participants brought concerns and much of the discussion focused on a request to establish a new Amtrak Cascades stop at Blaine. Advocates for the stop presented a petition with more than 5,000 signatures. WSDOT emphasized the importance of developing objective criteria to establish a fair, transparent process for all communities and suggested that Blaine focus its efforts on securing funds to conduct an analysis and create a business proposal. Participants gave WSDOT positive feedback about the session, noting they appreciated the state’s efforts to come to Blaine and provide advocates an opportunity to share their views.Customer compliment
I love taking trips on Amtrak Cascades
. The train makes it easy ...and even more fun. Mike S. via Facebook