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NW 2020-21 Mudslide Season

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Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
1,023
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
There is a 48-hr passenger moratorium on the tracks between Mukilteo and Edmonds due to a mudslide. Sounder service is suspended, and Amtrak passengers on the Empire Builder will be bussed to and from Everett.

 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
692
The past few days were the first serious rain we've had this season. And so it begins...
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
692
There is hope that in the future, landslides will cause fewer problems for rail traffic. There is a landslide mitigation project underway, now in its second phase, using 11 million dollars of state and federal money, which is designed to prevent landslides adjacent to rail lines. Already in the past two years there have been landslide events that have been stopped from blocking the rails north of Seattle as a result of phase one work, so maybe landslide season in the future will not be as disruptive as in the past.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
692
We've been having epic amounts of rain in the Seattle area recently, so it is not surprising that we've had mudslides. What is surprising is how well the extensive landslide mitigation near the rails has worked. Landslides used to render commuter rail north of the city unreliable in the extreme during our rainy season; that has decreased markedly, and once the last of the scheduled projects has finished, landslides should be much, much less of a problem for Amtrak and commuter rail.
 

Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
1,023
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
More shutdowns north of Seattle...

 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,297
The last couple seasons though landslide problem was close to solved. Well best laid ideas always fail !
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
692
Even though a lot of money and care has been spent, when you have record breaking rain, well--all bets are off. We had about a half million people without power over the last couple of days. Once the ground is completely saturated, it's not possible to prevent landslips. I will say, though, that the vulnerable areas are smaller, and that means fewer disruptions than would be the case otherwise.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,957
Location
Ithaca, NY
The landslide zones south of Seattle have mostly gotten permanent fixes which seem to be working.

North of Seattle, there are no permanent fixes; the line needs to be relocated inland. It's an inherently bad location.
 

Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
1,023
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
The landslide zones south of Seattle have mostly gotten permanent fixes which seem to be working.

North of Seattle, there are no permanent fixes; the line needs to be relocated inland. It's an inherently bad location.
The main mudslide problem and mitigation is between Seattle and Everett. I have not read through this report, but all the localities listed in the "Acknowledgements" are north of Seattle: (https://wsdot.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2017/03/08/LandslideMitigationActionPlan.pdf)
There a few stretches south of Seattle with mudslide threats, but other then some work BNSF did on the Point Defiance route, I am not aware of any mitigation south of Seattle.
I am not sure what a "permanent" fix would be--but the "temporary" mitigation seems to be working well, and I am under the impression that recent mudslides are in areas without mitigation. Regarding relocating the line, there is probably billions of dollars of real-estate interest in moving the line inland to give property owners waterfront (instead of railway-front) property.
 
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