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Friday, March 26, 2010

Amtrak awards contract to upgrade Seattle maintenance facility

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Amtrak is awarding a $37-million contract to PCL Construction Services, Inc., of Bellevue, Wash., for Phase I and Phase II of a major upgrade of its Seattle King Street Coach Yard Maintenance Facility. The facility supports Amtrak operations and maintenance agreements in the Pacific Northwest, including for the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Amtrak Cascades, and Sounder commuter trains.  

The work is scheduled begin on April 1 and will dramatically improve the capacity, efficiency and working conditions of the shops that perform inspections, testing and maintenance of locomotives and passenger rail equipment. It will be a modern and efficient facility capable of handling the current work levels as well as projected future service expansions.

The first phase of the four-phase project will consist of the construction of an enclosed structure over two tracks and large enough to allow an entire train to be serviced indoors. It will be primarily used by Talgo to maintain Amtrak Cascades trains. Currently, this train equipment is serviced using a much smaller building that requires part of the train to remain outdoors, making maintenance difficult in inclement weather conditions. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation.

The second phase, which will be constructed concurrently with the first, will be a three-story structure that will include a new materials warehouse for the storage of parts, administrative offices and facilities for the 133 mechanical personnel and more than 200 transportation personnel who work at the site.  These functions are currently housed in mobile trailers. 

Phases I and II are expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

The first two phases are funded by Amtrak's annual capital program.  Construction of the final two phases is dependent upon federal funding.  Phase III will include a construction of a service and inspection building for Amtrak long-distance and Sound Transit trains.  Phase IV involves construction of a new locomotive servicing and repair building. It is estimated 150 construction jobs will be generated annually during the life of the project.

Amtrak recently announced two other contract awards, with a combined value of $49.5 million, for major upgrades of its maintenance facilities in Los Angeles, Calif., and Hialeah, Fla. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus program is funding both of those projects.

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