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Rail - Corridor Reliability Supplemental Work

project is in construction
Pacific NW Corridor map

Mudslide prevention projects will take place along the entire corridor

thumbnail photo of mudslide under TNB

Landslide photo - see full size


December 2014

  • WSDOT has put a focus on the root causes and finding potential solutions for service disruptions due to landslides on the rail line between Seattle and Everett. Information includes the  Landslide Mitigation Action Plan (pdf 2mb) and a landslide prevention informational brochure (pdf 340 kb).
  • This map (pdf 236kb) shows the six current projects, including those designed and those completed.
  • An open house (pdf 2mb) for landowners was held Oct. 9 in Edmonds.
  • Project teams from WSDOT and BSNF are working on a number of repair strategies like retaining walls, improved drainage systems and erosion control.
  • Construction began in August 2013.

Amtrak Cascades operates more than 3,500 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, and
  • 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 landslides. 

Immediately following a landslide, BNSF Railway imposes an automatic 48-hour moratorium on passenger rail service to ensure that the area where a landslide occurred is stable before sending passenger trains through.

The End Result
The project will reduce train disruptions due to landslides and increase reliable on-time performance for Amtrak Cascades trains traveling between Vancouver, WA and the Canadian border.

Project Benefits

  • 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 two locations began in August 2013.

Financial Information

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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