Coal trains + mudslides = blocked waterfront

Feb 05, 2014


A headline in today's Seattle Times that should give us pause: "Mudslide shuts down Amtrak and Sounder service between Everett and Seattle."

It's a rough stretch of track to keep open, and with our weather, mudslides seem to be a fairly regular occurrence, sometimes shutting down the tracks for up to two days.

Friends of mine from BC who wanted to visit in Edmonds and then catch the train down to Portland found rail service cut off a week or two ago; so we had a Keystone Cops dash to Seattle to pick the train up there, but it was by the skin of our teeth that we made it.

How many times has this happened so far this winter?  In a wetter, normal winter we could expect even more frequent shutdowns.

Imagine a two-day (or even a two-hour) shutdown with the projected 16 mile-long coal trains!

I imagine the railroad would do everything possible not to park trains waiting for a clear track between Edmonds and the waterfront, but equally, it could happen.

Can the railroad guarantee it won't happen?  Do we have any plans for dealing with it, if it does?

Nathaniel Brown


Comments (2)
Posted by: Randy J Hayden | Feb 09, 2014 14:42

I agree Mr Brown, that's why we need to put an emergency overpass for emergency vehicles now. It seems the plan is to spend 2 million dollars over the next 2 years in studies, but that dosen't solve getting someone over the tracks who needs critical care.

Posted by: Nathaniel R Brown | Feb 17, 2014 12:23

More mudslides and blocked rail lines again this week; add all those up-coming coal trains, and one may be pardoned for wondering how long it could take to un-clog all the backed-up trains – and where they might park?

Mudslides halt Seattle-Everett train service through Tuesday


On another, though related issue, though I will undoubtedly be excoriated for quoting mere newspapers, the following two articles are worth a glance

Climate change: mitigation, adaptation

Climate change is here, it is happening, and it is the future. Lots can still be done to mitigate the changes, but policy is moving to adapt to impacts.

James Lovelock: 'enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan'

The climate science maverick believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do? By Decca Aitkenhead



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