Yesterday, Amtrak and Seattle-area officials marked the completion of the first and second phases of a major upgrade to a Seattle maintenance facility, which will support Amtrak operations and maintenance agreements in the Pacific Northwest for Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Cascades and Sounder trains.
The upgrades will help improve capacity, efficiency and working conditions of the shops that perform inspections, testing and maintenance of locomotives and passenger-rail equipment, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.
“Improved service along the Cascade Corridor is an integral component of our overall strategy for improving the Pacific Northwest,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
The upgraded maintenance facility, the first of a four-phase project, is an enclosed structure over two tracks. The facility will be used primarily by Talgo to maintain Amtrak Cascades trains.
The second phase, completed in December 2011, involved a new, three-story maintenance warehouse and administrative office. Amtrak’s annual capital program funded the $37 million project.
Amtrak officials approved $1.4 million for the completed design of the third and fourth phases. The third phase will include construction of a service and inspection facility for Amtrak long-distance and Sound Transit trains. The fourth phase calls for building a new locomotive servicing and repair building.
Meanwhile, Amtrak will expand its Thruway Motor Coach service to eastern North Carolina to provide more access and destination options to riders. The new service will establish two eastern North Carolina routes: one to serve the communities of Greenville, New Bern, Havelock and Morehead; the second to serve Goldsboro, Kinston, Jacksonville and Wilmington.
Both routes will connect with the Amtrak Palmetto service at a station in Wilson, N.C.
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