- BNSF was able to take advantage of flexibility in crew and equipment schedules and start work in October on the first phase of work replacing the lesser quality track and upgrading track to accommodate trains at higher speeds.
- Installation of new track turnouts will begin in March.
- Work to replace ballast and rail cross ties will follow in 2014.
Why is WSDOT
working on railroad tracks in the Cascades corridor?
This project addresses deficiencies along the corridor by upgrading and improving track quality, reliability, and passenger ride comfort by upgrading track infrastructure with state of the art technology and equipment.
The End Result
The end result of this project is more reliable on-time performance for Amtrak Cascades intercity trains traveling between Seattle and Portland.
Major components of the work include:
- Upgrading track to accommodate faster train speeds
- Cleaning ballast and replacing ballast as needed
- Removing and replacing ties as needed
- Relaying and resurfacing rail as needed
This project will make a series of track upgrades to the BNSF main line tracks between Nisqually and the Columbia River. This work will allow Amtrak Cascades trains to maintain maximum speeds over longer distances, resulting in better on-time performance.
What is the project timeline?
Preliminary engineering and design work on different portions of work continues, with the first phase of rail replacement work underway. Work phases on rail ties and ballast will start in 2014. Construction on the entire project is expected to be complete by 2016.
WSDOT received federal high speed rail funds from the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act, administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
Project Budget: $91.8 million
How can I get more information?
WSDOT Rail Division
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407
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