WSDOT: Landslide prevention efforts will improve passenger train service

EVERETT, Wash. - Work is currently underway to prevent heavy rain and mudslides from wreaking havoc on passenger rail service between Everett and Seattle during the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) says crews are in the process of stabilizing the slopes along the Pacific Northwest's only north-south passenger rail corridor after a record number of trips were canceled earlier this year.

The state received $16.1 million in federal money to help identify, design and build a number of safe guards on the 10-mile stretch of tracks between Everett and North Seattle. WSDOT says this particular corridor became a focus of passenger providers after Amtrak Cascades and Sound Transit were forced to cancel hundreds of trips due to landslides. According to Sound Transit, 170 Sounder North trips between North Seattle and Everett were disrupted last year. Amtrak Cascades, operated by WSDOT, was forced to cancel 131 passenger trips - 77 more trips than the year before.

BNSF Railway institutes an automatic 48-hour moratorium on all passenger rail service where a landslide has occurred; making sure the area is stable before service resumes.

Work started earlier this month to build new retaining walls and improve drainage systems and erosion control along the North Seattle/ Everett line.