Mudslide prevention projects will take place along the entire corridor
Mudslide photo - see full size
- Between November 2012 and early January 2013, passenger trains operating between Seattle and Everett have experienced multiple service disruptions due to mudslides, cancelling a record number of daily Sounder and Amtrak Cascades trips.
- WSDOT is putting a new focus on understanding the root causes and potential solutions to mudslides.
- Project teams from WSDOT and BSNF are doing design and engineering work on a number of repair strategies like retaining walls, improved drainage systems and erosion control.
Amtrak Cascades operates more than 4,000 trains each year between Portland Ore. and Vancouver B.C. The service is popular in thenorthern segment between Seattle and Vancouver B.C., carrying 234,000 passengers in 2012.
WSDOT and BNSF are taking action to reduce these service disruptions including:
- Thorough research to review historic and predictive slide modeling, and BNSF and Amtrak slide disruption data
- Engineering and environmental work, to evaluate existing and potential slide locations
- Extensive geotechnical investigations
Why is WSDOT
working to increase the reliability of Washington's rail corridor?
Washington state recently received $16.1 million in federal funding to identify, design and construct slope stabilization needs along tracks between Vancouver, WA and the Canadian border. The work will be primarily focused between Everett and Seattle as a result of preliminary geotechnical work and repeated mudslides.
Immediately following a mudslide, BNSF Railway imposes an automatic 48-hour moratorium on passenger rail service to ensure that the area where a mudslide occurred is stable before sending passenger trains through.
The End Result
The project will reduce train disruptions due to mudslides and increase reliable on-time performance for Amtrak Cascades trains traveling between Vancouver, WA and the Canadian border.
- Improving reliability, enhancing safety.
- Fewer service disruptions from mudslides means more reliable passenger rail.
What is the project timeline?
Preliminary engineering and design work began in late 2012 evaluating slide potential between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. The team narrowed the focus to a 10 mile stretch between North Seattle and Everett. Project construction in at least one location is expected by late summer 2013.
WSDOT received federal high speed rail funds from the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act, administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
Project Budget: $16.1 million
How can I get more information?
WSDOT Rail Division
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407
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