The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I 405 widening continues as BNSF cuts it eastside line

BNSF Railway to cut Eastside line

By Ashley Bach Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Beginning today, the 42-mile rail line between Snohomish and Renton will be split in two.

BNSF Railway will remove one mile of track around the Wilburton Tunnel in South Bellevue over the next week, severing an Eastside line that has been active for decades. The removal has long been in the works as part of the state's widening of Interstate 405.

On Tuesday, BNSF ran its last trains on the complete line, carrying components south to the Boeing plant in Renton.

Parts of the Eastside rail line still will be used, including service up to six days a week on the Bellevue-Snohomish section for customers such as Safeway and Weyerhaeuser, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas.

The south part of the line, from Bellevue to Renton, probably will be used only for storage and moving equipment.

The trains to Boeing are now traveling through Seattle and Tukwila and finally, to Renton.

The ultimate fate of the rest of the 42-mile line is up in the air. The Port of Seattle is in final negotiations to buy the rail corridor from BNSF, but the tracks may or may not stay.

A group of advocates, including the Cascadia Center and Cascade Bicycle Club, are pushing to preserve and upgrade the tracks for a commuter rail line. King County Executive Ron Sims wants to tear out the tracks to make room for a recreational trail and perhaps a new rail line later.

Al Runte, director of special projects for All Aboard Washington, a pro-rail group, said he worries that BNSF will take out more track than the one mile necessary for the I-405 widening.

Melonas said BNSF will take out only the one mile but that plans for the rest of the track haven't been determined.

As part of the I-405 widening in South Bellevue, the Wilburton Tunnel railroad bridge will be removed in August, state officials said. The widening is expected to be completed in late 2009.

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