THE magazine of railroading

SEARCH TRAINSMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Mudslides season again north of Seattle.

7583 views
63 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Mudslides season again north of Seattle.
Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, November 30, 2014 1:38 PM

The second time this season a mudslide has closed Everette - Seattle service for 48 hours.  Passengers on EB have to leave / board train at Everette and bus to Seattle station.  Train set can DH to / from Seattle with no passengers.  Sounder alert.

 
 

Sound Transit Northline Sounder service between Seattle and Everett is canceled Sunday, Nov. 30 for the Sounders FC match and Monday, Dec. 1st for regular commuter service due to a mudslide. Riders going to the mat

 
Nov 29 at 10:37 PM
  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Monday, December 01, 2014 9:06 PM

Now the ground has frozen, making cleanup somewhat more difficult, but probably reducing slide potential. It barely got above freezing all day.

  • Member since
    December, 2009
  • 1,751 posts
Posted by dakotafred on Tuesday, December 02, 2014 6:30 AM

NorthWest

Now the ground has frozen, making cleanup somewhat more difficult, but probably reducing slide potential. It barely got above freezing all day.

 

I defer to your experience as a resident -- but doesn't it take more than a day such as you describe to freeze the ground? (It sure does in North Dakota.) I seem to remember slides on this route as a year-around threat.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, December 02, 2014 7:50 AM

Yes, it does. The slide happened on Saturday the 29th, which was the transition day from warm and wet to cold and dry. Things didn't fully freeze until yesterday. It is the wetness that causes the slides. So far this year we have had a cold and dry winter, so there have been few slides.

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 08, 2014 11:36 AM

Rain predicted for Seattle - Portland of over ~ 4 inches.  Wonder if more mudslides ?

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Monday, December 08, 2014 8:26 PM

Certainly more likely. The forecast calls for rain for the next few days, which is what seems to set them off.

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, December 11, 2014 9:04 AM

Northwest --  Appears another mud slide north of Seattle.  Is I-5 immune to slides or does it sometimes close as well? Looks like the rains will cause more slides all week?

Because of the slides BNSF has a system wide policy that no passenger carrying trains can traverse an area.  The equipment can ferry thru slide area but no paying passengers.  Do not know if any train is limited to just engineer and conductor. Anyone know?.

Here is Sound transit's notification.

 
 

Sound Transit Northline Sounder service between Everett and Seattle is canceled Thursday, December 11th due to a mudslide that occurred on 12/10/14. Sound Transit will provide special buses with direct service to/f

 
 
Dec 10 at 11:01 PM
  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, December 11, 2014 11:57 AM

Here is a Seattle times article about mudslide. Engineer of a Sounder train traveling about 1/2 mile south of Everette saw a mud slide put train in emergency and stopped with front of train in debris.  After about 1 hour was able to continue but all trains with passengers stopped from transiting at least to Friday night.  Once again the Empire Builder will have to bus passengers to / from Everette - Seattle.

 

 

 

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2014/12/mudslide-south-of-everett-blocks-railroad-track/

 

 

 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 2,000 posts
Posted by PNWRMNM on Thursday, December 11, 2014 1:44 PM

blue streak 1
Northwest -- Appears another mud slide north of Seattle. Is I-5 immune to slides or does it sometimes close as well? Looks like the rains will cause more slides all week?

Streak,

I am familiar with the geography and geology between Everett and Seattle. The entire area is a series of drumlins, a lovely word for elongated hills composed of unsorted glacial till. Till is a mix of sand, gravel, boulders, and mud with virtually no sorting.

North of the Ballard drawbridge all the way to Everett, about 25 miles, the railroad runs along the shore of Puget Sound, and the foot of the drumlins, at about 20 feet above sea level. Puget Sound is immediately west of the railroad and drumlins rise immediately east of the railroad. Drumlins extend 150' or so above the railroad. When the till gets wet on a steep side slope of the drumlins the material slides toward the sea as it has done since the glaciers retreated about 10,000 years ago.

I-5 is a few miles inland on top of the till. The till is stable under the freeway because it does not have a convient hole to slide into.

Mac McCulloch

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, December 11, 2014 8:16 PM

What Mac said. The till creates a bunch of rolling hills that aren't conducive to railroad building; the other railroad that built north (NP) went to the east of most of it. GN built essentially along the beach in most areas between Everett and Interbay. This creates its own problems, a couple weeks ago there were swells over the top of the line, which caused signal system outages.

I suspect only the crew is allowed on passenger equipment moves, my understanding is that liability is the reason for disallowing passenger trains. In earlier eras, GN trains went through.   

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 11,046 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:11 PM

Amtrak 513 along Puget Sound recently

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:29 PM

Well, that's an impressive picture. Most of the time, swells in the Puget Sound don't get over about two feet, and the ROW is high and dry. About 5 days a year a storm will whip up the water like this. I think trains are limited to 10 MPH when this happens. It is not normal.

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, December 12, 2014 12:34 PM

Another slide on early Friday morning which eliminates any passenger service until Sunday morning.  Posters we appreciate the lesson on Till.  Sounds like good soil for growing plants but takes in too much water allowing mudslides. 

 

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Mudslide-hits-railroad-tracks-near-Edmonds-5952737.php

 

Amtrak bulletin

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Alert_C&pagename=am/AM_Alert_C/Alerts_Popup&cid=1251627293344

 

 

 

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, December 25, 2014 5:27 PM
Mudslide season continues.  Sounder northline cancelled Friday Dec 26..   This means that Amtrak Cascades and Empire Builder cancelled Everette - Seattle as well as Saturday.  When will it ever end ?
 

Sound Transit Northline Sounder service between Everett and Seattle is canceled for Friday December 26, 2014, due to a mudslide. Sound Transit will provide special buses with direct service to/from Northline Sounde

To
me

 

 
Today at 5:10 PM
  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • 1 posts
Posted by IRT4train on Friday, December 26, 2014 5:17 AM
Is there a greater chance of derailment when water penetrates in this way?
  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, December 28, 2014 8:31 PM
And the beat goes on the Sounder cancellation means Amtrak buses all passengers Everette - Seattle.
 
Copy of Sounder press release below.
 

Sound Transit Northline Sounder service between Everett and Seattle is canceled for Monday December 29, 2014, due to a mudslide. Sound Transit will provide special buses with direct service to/from Northline Sounde

To
me
 
Today at 4:55 PM
  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, January 06, 2015 4:18 AM
  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, January 06, 2015 7:45 AM

There have been quite a few slides as of late all over Western Washington, with many not affecting the railroad. Many of the rivers are in full flood stage.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 11,046 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, January 06, 2015 8:53 AM

TV news is making it seem that all of Western Washington is a slide area.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, January 06, 2015 8:21 PM

Typical media. Well, no. Only a few areas had slides, just more than usual for a large rainstorm. Blue Streak asked above when it will end. The answer? When the rainy season begins to taper off, or about April.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 2,000 posts
Posted by PNWRMNM on Tuesday, January 06, 2015 9:12 PM

September and the first couple of weeks of October are usually dry on the wet side of the Cascades.

Mac

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, February 08, 2015 7:20 PM

Another slide cancels SEA - Everett thru Monday afternoon.

But as well Kelso - PDX cancelled due to another slide.

 

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Alert_C&pagename=am/AM_Alert_C/Alerts_Popup&cid=1251627624851

 

 

 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 2,000 posts
Posted by PNWRMNM on Sunday, February 08, 2015 8:28 PM

Streak,

Everett does not end with an "e".

Mac

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 12:09 PM

And now another north of Everett.  Cascades only cancelled Bellingham - Vancouver BC. 

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Alert_C&pagename=am/AM_Alert_C/Alerts_Popup&cid=1251627640207

 

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 8:05 PM

Thanks, I had not heard. Most likely occured along the bluffs in White Rock, BC.

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 1:54 AM

Another slide cancelling SEA - Everett Wedensday - Thursday

 

Northline Sounder service is canceled tomorrow, 2/11/15 due to a mudslide that occurred this evening, Feb. 10th. Sound Transit will continue to monitor the situation, if there are no additional events, service is expected to resume Friday, 2/13/15.

 

Please visit www.SoundTransit.org/alerts for updates to Sounder Northline service prior to your commute.

 

Sound Transit will provide special buses with direct service to and from Seattle. Riders may also take regularly scheduled bus service. Evening bus service for 2/11/15 will be provided tomorrow in the early afternoon.

 

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, March 16, 2015 8:19 AM

another slide cancelling pass trains today and tomorrow.  situation must be getting better.  Went almost 5 weeks without one.

Northline Sounder service is canceled tomorrow 3/16/15 due to a mudslide. Sound Transit will continue to monitor the situation, if there are no additional events, service is expected to resume Wednesday, 3/18/15.  Please monitor www.SoundTransit.org/alerts for updates to Sounder Northline service prior to your commute.

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,749 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Monday, March 16, 2015 8:59 AM

blue streak 1
situation must be getting better. Went almost 5 weeks without one.

Well, there were 4 weeks of unseasonably warm and dry weather that culminated in a dramatic rainstorm yesterday, which dumped far more rain than a typical one. That seems to be what sets them off, but usually mudslide season is over by this time of year.

I was wondering why so many trains were stacked up south of Argo.

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,787 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, March 16, 2015 10:08 PM

The count is up to 5 for this weekend's count and another this Monday afternoon.  Now no passenger service until Wedensday afternoon.  All passengers will be bused to / from Everret - Seattle.  Here are some fairly good videos of the latest.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/5th-landslide-closes-tracks-north-of-Seattle-296508601.html

 

 

  • Member since
    December, 2009
  • 1,751 posts
Posted by dakotafred on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 6:18 AM

Northwest, Mac and others:

I wonder to what extent BNSF could be "proactive," as they say, about this chronic problem. The drumlins aren't going away (except down onto the track), and it's always going to rain a lot on Seattle-Everett.

Do the hills tend to slump in approximately the same places over and over, or is the entire mileage vulnerable? If the former, how about some localized dynamiting to bring the troublemakers down? (I'm assuming any people living up there tumbled onto the tracks a long time ago.) How far back and up does the railroad property go?

I've ridden the line many times, and it is surely one lovely ride. However, one would think it would be the  despair of headquarters.

 

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Trains free email newsletter
NEWS » PHOTOS » VIDEOS » HOT TOPICS & MORE
GET OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Connect with us
ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

Search the Community