April 2013 – Month in review
In this issue:
King Street Station upgrades complete
A long-overdue restoration project is now complete as Seattle's 100-year-old King Street Station embarks upon its second century of service. This restoration creates a more modern facility while protecting its historic character - a key step toward improving and expanding rail service between Portland and Vancouver, B.C. The multi-phase restoration was a partnership over many years between Washington state, the federal government, the city of Seattle and numerous local agencies, including support from the state's high speed rail program. WSDOT contributed $16.7 million in federal high speed rail funds to this phase of the renovation which improves the station’s ability to withstand earthquakes. Visit www.AmtrakCascades.com to plan your trip and check out the beautifully restored station.
Rail signal project readies for construction
Design on WSDOT’s federally funded Advanced Wayside Signal System project is nearly complete and BNSF crews will begin construction this summer. The project includes upgrades to control points, sidings, and turnouts with state-of-the-art digital components, resulting in increased operational flexibility, added safety, increased reliability and the potential for future higher speed travel. These signal upgrades are being applied throughout the 300 mile corridor in Washington. The $60.1 million project will be the third of six projects going to construction in 2013 following switch replacement work in the Corridor Reliability South project between Vancouver, WA, and Nisqually, WA. The signal upgrade work is scheduled for completion in 2015.
Major progress at the Port of Vancouver2012 Rail Performance Report posted on WSDOT website
Crews completed the first phase of work in late April on a new rail track at the Port of Vancouver. The new track will reduce Amtrak Cascades delays by separating freight and passenger trains. Phase one included driving 276 steel piles and building retaining walls. In the second phase, crews will drive more piles and build a trench superstructure. WSDOT contributed $15 million in federal high-speed rail funds to the Port of Vancouver’s $40 million project, with all work scheduled to be complete in February 2015.
The 2012 Rail Performance Report is now available online
. In this report, you can view statistics on ridership, revenue, on-time performance, operating costs and farebox recovery. Station on-offs show the number of passengers that got on and off at each station on the corridor in 2012. You can view individual pages of the report online and the full report is also available in pdf format.
New Amtrak Cascades trains coming: ODOT asks for public to name the trains
The Oregon Department of Transportation invites the public to help name its two new trains, scheduled to arrive in the Pacific Northwest this month. Oregon’s two new 13-car trainsets will join five other trains on the Amtrak Cascades corridor, providing service from Eugene to Vancouver, B.C. Two of the trains currently in service are owned by Amtrak (Mt. Hood and Mt. Olympus) and three are owned by Washington (Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier). Each of the new trains offers seating for 275 passengers, a bistro car, a dining car, bicycle storage, business class seating and other amenities. After route testing and employee familiarization, the trains will be rotated into revenue service, anticipated for sometime this summer. ODOT has photos and more details about the trainsets online at www.oregon.gov/ODOT.
Washington State Rail Plan Regional Workshop May 30 in Blaine
The public is invited to discuss passenger rail transportation and help develop the next statewide rail plan at a public workshop from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, May 30 at Blaine City Hall. WSDOT will provide an update on ongoing technical analysis and discuss priority needs with a focus on long-term plans for Amtrak Cascades intercity passenger rail.
Groups unable to attend the workshop are encouraged to use the contact information below to request a briefing or visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Rail/staterailplan.htm to view project materials and submit comments. Those planning to attend are strongly encouraged to fill out a short RSVP form to help us ensure we have adequate space and materials for all who wish to participate. Access the RSVP form here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WSRP_Blaine30MayRSVPs
For more information about the meeting, please contact Blaine Public Works Department at 360-332-8820 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the State Rail Plan, please visit the online project page.
“BIG shout out to Conductor Kelly on the 517 from Vancouver to Bellingham and Seattle today. So helpful when I was in pain with my hip. I truly appreciated all your help and outstanding service.” Suzanne P. via Facebook