New mudslide cancels train service north of Seattle

MUKILTEO, Wash. - A fresh mudslide has hit tracks north of Seattle, triggering yet another 48-hour moratorium on passenger train service between Seattle and Everett.

Passenger train service in the corridor had just been cleared to resume at about 4 a.m. Sunday following two mudslides that hit the tracks last week. The latest slide hit at about 9:30 p.m. Monday.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas said two freight trains in the area were alerted by a signal system and stopped short of the slide, which hit about two miles south of Mukilteo.

The spokesman says it's the 73rd slide along the rail tracks between Seattle and Everett since Thanksgiving. Sound Transit's Sounder service has had 19 full or partial service cancellations on their 26 service days since Dec. 1.

"The trips that we've had to cancel as a result of mudslides is 134 as of this morning," said Sound Transit spokesperson Kimberly Reason on Tuesday.

By Wednesday morning, the number of canceled trips will surpass 140.

"It has been remarkable," said Reason.

BNSF calls it the worst mudslide season in a generation.

"We have crews positioned to rapidly respond, and we are continuing to look at ways that we can help fight Mother Nature," Melonas said.

A $16 million grant secured by the state Department of Transportation is at work, looking for a better fix.

Sound Transit said the cancellations have not hurt its bottom dollar since it is paid, in large part, by subsidized dollars and most riders are pass holders.

"So in fact, we save money by not operating Sounder, which is not our goal; our goal is to be a reliable service for our passengers," said Reason.