Work starts on landslide solutions for Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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To address the immediate threat of mudslides, BNSF and WSDOT are starting work to help reduce the potential for mudslides, including preventative drainage maintenance, cleaning culverts and debris removal.

Work is underway to help stabilize slopes and stop landslides along the Pacific Northwest's only north-south passenger rail corridor.


Construction on a $16.1-million federally funded project began in early August. The project, which helps stabilize slopes above the rail line near Everett, Wash., represents the first step to help eliminate landslides and keep passenger rail service moving.

During long periods of heavy rain, BNSF temporarily suspends passenger rail service to ensure safety when a landslide occurs or a high-level threat of landslide exists. Alternate transportation is provided when rail service is suspended by landslides.

Between November 2012 and early January 2013, landslides cancelled a record number of daily trips. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is working with government and private rail partners to review recent slope studies and historical slide data, with a goal of determining all factors contributing to landslides.

These projects are part of the $800-million federally funded high-speed rail grants, awarded for 20 projects that will deliver more reliable, faster more frequent Amtrak Cascades rail service. The grants are part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act high-speed rail program administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.


Categories: Class 1, Intercity, OFF Track Maintenance