Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

NW mudslide season 2017-18


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 CHamilton

CHamilton

    Engineer

  • Gathering Committee Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,174 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle

Posted 19 September 2017 - 03:31 PM

Just a few days ago, we were battling heat, drought, and fires. Now the rains have arrived....

Rainfall Could Oust Eagle Creek Fire — And Start Landslides

http://www.opb.org/n...-end-landslide/


Amtrak can be better! Tell your local, state and national elected officials to support a more robust rail system. Join NARP and your local rail advocacy organization.
Where you'll find my posts: // All Aboard Washington (websiteFacebook) // Amtrak Unlimited Forum Group (Facebook) // Grow Trains (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Restore the Pioneer Train (website, Facebook, Twitter) // Save the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar (Again) (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Transit Riders of Puget Sound (Facebook) // Trains on FB (Facebook) // My Random Twitter Musings @HamiltonChas

#2 fairviewroad

fairviewroad

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,123 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:22 PM

For those unfamiliar with the area, the Eagle Creek Fire is not in a place that could potentially affect Amtrak service in the event of a landslide...however, the OP is certainly correct that landslides affecting passenger rail are certainty each winter in WA and (to a lesser extent) OR.

 

Still...starting a thread before an event actually happens...tsk tsk, ye of little faith. :P



#3 VentureForth

VentureForth

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,477 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond Hill, GA

Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:47 PM

Hasn't all the land already slid?

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#4 fairviewroad

fairviewroad

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,123 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:50 PM

Hasn't all the land already slid?

 

Unfortunately, it only requires a couple of buckets' worth of dirt to cause BNSF to shut down passenger traffic for 48 hours. There has been some work done to reduce the frequency of landslides in places, but Ma Nature keeps finding new ways to gum up the works.



#5 Devil's Advocate

Devil's Advocate

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,134 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Америка
  • Interests:Travel by Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Posted 27 September 2017 - 02:16 PM

I find the way passenger rail in the Northwest of the country is casually sidelined at the drop of a muddy hat to be rather curious and perplexing.  This complication doesn't seem to be getting better over time either.  Which makes me wonder if passenger rail is simply a bad match for a region where it can and will be repeatedly abandoned and embargoed over and over for months on end.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 27 September 2017 - 09:07 PM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#6 CHamilton

CHamilton

    Engineer

  • Gathering Committee Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,174 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle

Posted 27 September 2017 - 04:27 PM

Still...starting a thread before an event actually happens...tsk tsk, ye of little faith. :P

I like to think of it as "advance planning" :)


Amtrak can be better! Tell your local, state and national elected officials to support a more robust rail system. Join NARP and your local rail advocacy organization.
Where you'll find my posts: // All Aboard Washington (websiteFacebook) // Amtrak Unlimited Forum Group (Facebook) // Grow Trains (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Restore the Pioneer Train (website, Facebook, Twitter) // Save the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar (Again) (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Transit Riders of Puget Sound (Facebook) // Trains on FB (Facebook) // My Random Twitter Musings @HamiltonChas

#7 west point

west point

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,192 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 06:05 PM

Past history indicates its not a matter of  "IF"  but when !  Probably 1st or 2nd winter rain ?


Edited by west point, 27 September 2017 - 06:05 PM.


#8 Karl1459

Karl1459

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 424 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oregon
  • Interests:Trains, Antique Cars and Hot Rods, Firefighting, Bridge (the card game)

Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:04 AM

Past history indicates its not a matter of  "IF"  but when !  Probably 1st or 2nd winter rain ?

 

Probably not the first or second rain. Landslides are usually associated with soils that are fully saturated with water. With the relatively dry summer (ie wildfires) it may take a significant amount of rain over a relatively long period for saturation to occur. Next scenario is dry soil cracking to allow surface water into a slip zone. Rare but does happen, a very heavy early storm (before soil cracks close up from moderate rain) would be the trigger. Third is surface erosion and failure of vegetation to absorb water resulting in flash flooding and erosion debris slides. This is the concern from the Eagle Creek fire, however the threat is to the UP main and I-84 on the south side of the Columbia. It would have to be REALLY big to get across the river to impact the BNSF/Amtrak route on the north side. There are likely areas impacted by smaller fires if they occurred near a railroad that could be an issue but these are normally very small (unless concentrated in a canyon with an isolated watershed like Eagle Creek).



#9 Metra Electric Rider

Metra Electric Rider

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 527 posts

Posted 28 September 2017 - 02:04 PM

Isn't some of the problem the location of the tracks north of Seattle along the base of a soundside bluff?


SJ - Norra Stambanan, Nordvästra stambanan, Södra stambanan, Dalabanan

NSB- Bergensbanen, Kongsvingerbanen, Rørosbanen, Dovrebanen, Flåmsbana, Roa–Hønefossbanen

Amtrak - Floridian, San Francisco Zephyr, Southwest Limited, Illini, State House


#10 CHamilton

CHamilton

    Engineer

  • Gathering Committee Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,174 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle

Posted 30 September 2017 - 03:47 PM

http://www.thenewstr...e176351211.html
No mention of 502 with a bunch of AUers. We turned at OLW and are heading back to PDX.
Amtrak can be better! Tell your local, state and national elected officials to support a more robust rail system. Join NARP and your local rail advocacy organization.
Where you'll find my posts: // All Aboard Washington (websiteFacebook) // Amtrak Unlimited Forum Group (Facebook) // Grow Trains (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Restore the Pioneer Train (website, Facebook, Twitter) // Save the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar (Again) (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Transit Riders of Puget Sound (Facebook) // Trains on FB (Facebook) // My Random Twitter Musings @HamiltonChas

#11 jis

jis

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,923 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
  • Interests:Trains, Planes and Travel

Posted 30 September 2017 - 06:59 PM

Scuttlebutt is that it was not a mudslide, but error in repairing a culvert by BNSF which caused it to collapse under the weight of newly laid track. But mudslide was a good cover story covering all concerned's respective hind ends.


Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

#12 CHamilton

CHamilton

    Engineer

  • Gathering Committee Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,174 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle

Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:07 AM

BNSF Railway and state doing more to stop mudslides

http://www.king5.com...lides/482647028


Amtrak can be better! Tell your local, state and national elected officials to support a more robust rail system. Join NARP and your local rail advocacy organization.
Where you'll find my posts: // All Aboard Washington (websiteFacebook) // Amtrak Unlimited Forum Group (Facebook) // Grow Trains (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Restore the Pioneer Train (website, Facebook, Twitter) // Save the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar (Again) (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Transit Riders of Puget Sound (Facebook) // Trains on FB (Facebook) // My Random Twitter Musings @HamiltonChas

#13 neroden

neroden

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,137 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Ithaca, NY
  • Interests:Please feel free to moderate my posts

Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:12 PM

I find the way passenger rail in the Northwest of the country is casually sidelined at the drop of a muddy hat to be rather curious and perplexing.  This complication doesn't seem to be getting better over time either.  Which makes me wonder if passenger rail is simply a bad match for a region where it can and will be repeatedly abandoned and embargoed over and over for months on end.

There's a complication which perhaps isn't entirely obvious here.  The thriving passenger rail route is Seattle-Portland, and there is pretty loud outcry on the rare occasions when it is embargoed.  (It does have a few segments with occasional mudslides, but it's pretty uncommon.) 

 

(You'll notice that the culvert failure between Tacoma and Olympia was repaired fast and trains were running the next day.)

 

Most of the mudslides, however, are *north* of Seattle on the Seattle-Vancouver, BC route (also used by the Empire Builder for Seattle-Spokane).  The political climate between the US and Canada turned chilly in 2000 and hasn't thawed out since then.  This accounts for the toleration of these embargoes.


Edited by neroden, 12 October 2017 - 12:14 PM.

--Nathanael--

Please feel free to moderate my posts.

#14 zephyr17

zephyr17

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,291 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington State

Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:21 PM

 

I find the way passenger rail in the Northwest of the country is casually sidelined at the drop of a muddy hat to be rather curious and perplexing.  This complication doesn't seem to be getting better over time either.  Which makes me wonder if passenger rail is simply a bad match for a region where it can and will be repeatedly abandoned and embargoed over and over for months on end.

There's a complication which perhaps isn't entirely obvious here.  The thriving passenger rail route is Seattle-Portland, and there is pretty loud outcry on the rare occasions when it is embargoed.  (It does have a few segments with occasional mudslides, but it's pretty uncommon.) 

 

(You'll notice that the culvert failure between Tacoma and Olympia was repaired fast and trains were running the next day.)

 

Most of the mudslides, however, are *north* of Seattle on the Seattle-Vancouver, BC route (also used by the Empire Builder for Seattle-Spokane).  The political climate between the US and Canada turned chilly in 2000 and hasn't thawed out since then.  This accounts for the toleration of these embargoes.

 

I seriously doubt that for all sorts of reasons.  It is baseless conjecture.

 

First, the main passenger train impact from the closures of the the slide prone stretch between Seattle and Everett is not Amtrak, either the Cascades or the Empire Builder.  It is the Sounder commuter trains.  Local news stories about the closures and slides are always about the impact to the Sounder service.  They usually mention Amtrak in the last paragraph of the story as something like "Amtrak service to Bellingham and Vancouver, BC is also suspended."  Amtrak impact is a footnote, service to Canada even more so.

 

WashDOT is helping to fund the slide mitigation measures partly as measure to improve the service on the Cascades (which they fund), but in large part to improve the reliability of the Sounder.

 

With regard to the Cascades, I ride the Cascades fairly often.  Not everyone on the Cascades north of Seattle is going to Vancouver.  I don't have statistics, but I see a LOT of passengers bound for destinations short of the border, particularly Bellingham.

 

BNSF's motivation is primarily CYA to mititage liability exposure from mudslides.  When the slopes get saturated and unstable, there are often multiple slides in the same location.  The frequency of mudslides in the stretch is a combination of somewhat naturally unstable geography (those bluffs are not exactly granite), coupled with some poor drainage engineering in the developments on top.

 

The mitigation measures have been pretty successful.  There were comparatively few incidents last year compared to some earlier years (really bad year was 2 or 3 years ago), when slides cause the line to be closed to passenger trains more than it was open.  The severity of that year is what caused the state to start funding mitigation.

 

Finally, while mudlslides are more frequent in the zone just south of Everett, they are far from unknown on the line south of Seattle.  The about-to-be bypassed stretch around Point Defiance is a culprit, as is an area near Kelso around Castle Rock.


Edited by zephyr17, 12 October 2017 - 04:34 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#15 fairviewroad

fairviewroad

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,123 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:55 PM

First, the main passenger train impact from the closures of the the slide prone stretch between Seattle and Everett is not Amtrak, either the Cascades or the Empire Builder.  It is the Sounder commuter trains.

 

Surprisingly, there are actually more Amtrak trains between Seattle and Everett in a typical week than there are Sounder trains. There are 8 Sounder trains each day (4 each way), but it only operates on weekdays, for a total of 40 weekly trains. There are 6 Amtrak trains each day (three each way), but they all operate seven days a week, for a total of 42 weekly trains.

 

But yes, very likely there are more actual Sounder passengers affected than Amtrak passengers, and certainly in terms of weekday commuters, the impact to Sounder passengers can be significant during a disruption.

 

And yeah, I agree that the Canada-US relations theory is a bit out there.



#16 zephyr17

zephyr17

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,291 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington State

Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:31 PM

Yes, almost forgot about the Builder.  7/8, 510/517, 513/516


Edited by zephyr17, 12 October 2017 - 04:32 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#17 Maglev

Maglev

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 226 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Orcas Island, Washington
  • Interests:Trains, environmental science, planetary volcanism.

Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:33 PM

There are only 4 Amtrak trains a day.  2 each way (510/517 and 516/513).

Between Seattle and Everett, there's also the Empire Builder.


Northeast corridor Heritage, Amfleet and Acela, CN Super Continental, Broadway Limited, Lone Star, Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, San Joaquin, Southwest Limited, National Limited, Champion, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Wolverine, Crescent, Empire Builder, Cascades, Lake Shore Limited, Silver Meteor, Cardinal. 

#18 zephyr17

zephyr17

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,291 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington State

Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:37 PM

Thanks, Maglev, remembered it just after I posted it.


SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#19 neroden

neroden

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,137 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Ithaca, NY
  • Interests:Please feel free to moderate my posts

Posted 13 October 2017 - 05:32 AM

The north section of Sounder is deeply underperforming and one of the least used services provided by Sound Transit; they're probably glad when it gets cancelled.  This is in contrast to the south section of Sounder, which is wildly successful.  Again, they're much more willing to tolerate closures on the line north of Seattle.

 

While quite a lot of money has been put into landslide mitigation north of Seattle, it's nowhere close to what's needed.  South of Seattle, by contrast, they're actually doing what it takes to eliminate the problem.  (It is a smaller problem there, however.)

 

This isn't a coincidence.  It's also not a coincidence that of the major projects in the old Washington State long-term passenger rail development plan, most of the south-of-Seattle projects are done, and few of the north of Seattle projects are done, including none of the projects in Canada.  Sucks for Bellingham but unsurprisingly Portland-Seattle is considered more important.


Edited by neroden, 13 October 2017 - 05:33 AM.

--Nathanael--

Please feel free to moderate my posts.

#20 zephyr17

zephyr17

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,291 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington State

Posted 13 October 2017 - 11:51 AM

The mitigations that are continuing, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in the slide zone, are at least partly motivated to stabilize and build the ridership north of Seattle, which was not good due to the unreliability.  Sound Transit is trying to build ridership, and the trains are actually full, though short (3 cars).  They added another train fairly recently, moving from 3 to 4 round trips between Everett and Seattle.  Sound Transit itself shows no inclination to reducing or eliminating the service.

 

What, specifically, are they doing to eliminate the mudslide problem south of Seattle?  Do not say the Pt. Defiance Bypass because mudslide mitigation was not at all the reason that is being done, but rather BNSF's insistance to get off the Pt. Defiance line, which is a choke point, in order to expand the Cascades schedule.

 

Yes, there are more improvements between Seattle and Portland, such as the Point Defiance Bypass and the third track at Kalama near Kelso, and there is more traffic SEA-PDX and a much busier stretch of railroad for freight, but that does not mean that the north end is being neglected, or is not part of the larger plan.  There is always going to be more traffic between SEA and PDX.  The big thing between SEA and VAC was the addition and retention of the "second" train, which, by the way, the City of Vancouver and the government of British Columbia were instrumental in pressuring the Canadian Federal government to maintain CBSA staffing at Pacific Central Station in order to keep the service.

 

The main capital improvement in BC that Washington was paying for was the work on the Colebrook siding, which was completed awhile ago.

 

Cite some specifics and some sources.

 

BTW.  I live in Everett, WA, follow the issues in the local media and the local groups like WashARP.  While some of the facts (greater investment SEA-PDX) are true, the interpretation you are forcing on the facts does not make a whole lot of sense from my viewpoint or is lining up with the information I am getting here.


Edited by zephyr17, 13 October 2017 - 11:53 AM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users