Posted 03 May 2017 - 10:36 PM
The Everett-Seattle route is simply no good. It was basically built at the bottom of seaside cliffs... which is stupid. It's going to be flooded by sea level rise eventually. In the long run it needs to be replaced with an inland route. Unfortunately the inland route which used to exist (the NP route) has been severed in multiple places.
The mudslides between Vancouver WA and Tacoma are another mater, and are a newer phenomeon. That route's not bad. It ought to be possible to permanently fix them.
There are still some geology issues. Between Vancouver WA and Kelso the bluffs are largely fairly recent (in geologic terms) uplift hills with the river cutting through. The hills are made up of random inclined layers of clay, alluvial rock, some ancient seabed, volcanic debris, and lava intrusion. The clay tends to be fairly impervious to water so when water gets to it there is an instant slip zone and landslides. As there is not much room for both the railroad and the I-5 freeway we can still expect continuing issues, though with lesser frequency than Seattle to Everett.
I thought most of the cliffs, especially between Everett and Seattle, were mostly glacial deposits. Poorly sorted and not well stratified - a random collection of "particles" from clay-size up to VW bug size. Also, are the houses at the top of the cliffs (between Seattle and Everett) still on septic, with storm water from roofs and driveways also allowed to just percolate into the soil? If so, getting both of those water routes diverted could help immensely.
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