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Northwest mudslide season begins

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CHamilton

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Here in the Northwest, this week's weather has been no match for the east coast's -- for which we are grateful! Nonetheless, we've had heavy, persistent rains and significant winds. So I wasn't surprised to see this tweet from @Amtrak_Cascades earlier today.

Train 510 is being delayed between Edmonds and Everett due to a possible landslide. Track inspectors enroute to investigate.
Last year, such a situation would have meant an automatic shutdown of passenger train service on BNSF tracks for 48 hours. But today, we got this instead:

UPDATE- Single track operation in-effect between Edmonds & Everett due to mudslide. Train 510 departed Edmonds 2hrs, 14min. late.
Okay, a 2+ hour delay isn't good...but the trains were still running -- and have apparently continued to do so for the rest of the day. I've seen no further news, but let's hope this signals more cooperation between BNSF, the state, and Amtrak on this issue.
 
N

Nathanael

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Oooh. That's a huge improvement over BNSF's old "48-hour rule".
 

Trogdor

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Depends on the nature of the mudslide.

I was on train 510 a couple years ago when we hit a small mudslide (previously undetected) on track 2 (away from the water), and the result was that they embargoed passenger traffic on track 2, but still allowed it on track 1.

This could be a similar situation.
 

EB_OBS

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This was a pretty small event and only was over the rail on one main track where there is a double mainline. Passenger trains were allowed to continue operating through on the main track that wasn't affected by the slide.

As far as I know, BNSF has not changed it's policy of a "48 hour moratorium" whenever a spoonful of dirt goes over the rail.
 

CHamilton

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Sigh. In the Northwest, we're crossing our fingers that train service won't be disrupted by mudslides as we head into Thanksgiving week.



The latest tweet from @Amtrak_Cascades doesn't look promising.

amtrak_cascades: Train 513 departed Bellingham 21 minutes late due to train congestion. Further delays expected towards Mt. Vernon due to track problems.
 

NorthCoastHiawatha

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Well looks a mudslide hit this afternoon near Everett as usual 48 rule in effect until Wednesday afternoon. I'm supposed to be on the Thursday morning 513 from BEL to OLW betting a busititution. At least if there are no more mudslides there should be a trainset in Vancouver.
 
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Phil S

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One would think they could fix this after all of these years!!!!
I seem to remember reading mudslides were not a significant issue until they started building more houses on the bluffs above the tracks, totally messing up natural drainage and causing increased erosion.
I'd be interested in where you might have read that. When I lived there in the 70s I used to walk the beach and tracks below those cliffs and it seemed to me it was pretty fully built up back then. There's no way on earth to fix it. The cliffs are a hundred feet high and nothing but glacial mud. Assuming the house roofs and pavement all drain into storm drains, there might be less erosion than before. What I recall is seeps all over the cliff face, no water actually flowing down from the top. Then again I only got to know the couple of miles north from the public beach.

But the current storm is dumping a lot of water and there are more storms on the way. Not looking good for the holiday.
 

CHamilton

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Amtrak_Cascades 3:35pm via engage121

Service between Vancouver BC to Seattle disrupted due to a 48Hr Railroad Moratorium in place due to mudslides in area.
 

George Harris

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One would think they could fix this after all of these years!!!!
This sort of thing is fixable, but not necessarily cheaply fixable. You would also get all the "environmentalists' coming out of the woodwork claiming that the things that have to be done to the cliff face to keep it from sliding down piece by piece will bring an end to the natural universe.
 

NorthCoastHiawatha

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One would think they could fix this after all of these years!!!!
I seem to remember reading mudslides were not a significant issue until they started building more houses on the bluffs above the tracks, totally messing up natural drainage and causing increased erosion.
I'd be interested in where you might have read that. When I lived there in the 70s I used to walk the beach and tracks below those cliffs and it seemed to me it was pretty fully built up back then. There's no way on earth to fix it. The cliffs are a hundred feet high and nothing but glacial mud. Assuming the house roofs and pavement all drain into storm drains, there might be less erosion than before. What I recall is seeps all over the cliff face, no water actually flowing down from the top. Then again I only got to know the couple of miles north from the public beach.

But the current storm is dumping a lot of water and there are more storms on the way. Not looking good for the holiday.
It was in article I read a few years back don't remember where though.
 

gn2276

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There is also water over the tracks in 3 places between Seattle and EVR. As of 1030am Seattle had over an inch of rain and at 200pm it was raining very heavy.
 

Blackwolf

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gn2276 has a point. According to Status Maps, #8 is currently showing 'Overdue' at Seattle, where-as #28 is currently 1 hour and 28 minutes down after departing Wishram. Either this is going to be a very interesting train to watch (has the EB ever traversed the entire route with only the Portland section??) or the passengers on #28 are going to find themselves treated to an "Amtrak Special" by arriving into Spokane only to be told the train has been cancelled and all passengers are on their own to complete the rest of their trip. Not that something like that has never happened before...
 

jebr

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Couldn't they do some sort of turnaround with the set coming into Spokane tonight? Could be crazy operationally, but I would think that would be a possibility, considering that the 7 isn't running all that late. Could get on the rails with about a 3 hour delay, I would think.
 

NorthCoastHiawatha

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Couldn't they do some sort of turnaround with the set coming into Spokane tonight? Could be crazy operationally, but I would think that would be a possibility, considering that the 7 isn't running all that late. Could get on the rails with about a 3 hour delay, I would think.
Could work, just put the Seattle bound passengers on the bus the Spokane bound passengers just came in on,then swap Portland sections.It would be an odd set up and I don't know how restocking a train nearing the end of its journey would go.
 
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