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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Washington DOT begins work to prevent landslides on Amtrak Cascades route

Construction has begun on a $16 million project designed to stabilize slopes and prevent landslides along the Pacific Northwest's only north-south passenger-rail corridor, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) officials announced Monday.

The federally funded project, which involves stabilizing slopes above the rail line near Everett, represents the first step in helping to eliminate landslides and maintain passenger-rail service on the route, state officials said in a press release.

Between November 2012 and January 2013, several landslides cancelled a record number of daily Amtrak Cascades trips. Rail line owner BNSF Railway Co. temporarily suspends passenger-rail service on the route to ensure safety when there is a high-level threat of a landslide or a landslide occurs after long periods of heavy rain.

WSDOT officials are working with government and railroad partners to review recent slope studies and historical slide data to determine all factors that contribute to landslides.

The construction project is part of $800 million in federal high-speed rail grants that were awarded for 20 projects designed to prompt more reliable, faster and frequent Amtrak Cascades service.

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More News from 8/21/2013