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Washington state Point Defiance bypass construction begins

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Washington state Point Defiance bypass construction begins
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, March 04, 2016 4:14 PM

WA DOT, Sound transit, & Amtrak have finally started construction for Point Defiance bypass.  Work will start in Tacoma and proceed south even though the Freight house station building construction is still tied up in litigation over eminent domain issues.. When construction completed it is estimated that Cascades trains will cut 10 minutes off schedule time SEAttle - Portland. 

 

 

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/rail/pnwrc_ptdefiance/ 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, March 05, 2016 2:46 PM

This project seems to have started (at least two years ago?) when the line was upgraded for commuter service south to Lakewood. If Amtrak had any non-NEC $$ they would have done this long ago.

Interestingly, many of the grade crossings south of Lakewood are single track but two track panels are in - good planning ahead.

The obsession with using the Tacoma 'freighthouse' for an Amtrak station is puzzling. Perhaps a local knows why some other nearby property along the tracks wasn't bought for this purpose. Not an area infested with new high rise construction in the way .... Question

Map links ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, east of Tucson

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Posted by MikeF90 on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 5:09 PM

The former Milwaukee Road 'S curve' trestle was replaced by a modern structure this past weekend. This is the last local freight over the old trestle: http://www.railpictures.net/photo/606997/

The new bridge is now in service: http://www.railpictures.net/photo/607487   Demolition of the old trestle will begin shortly and then the second half of the double track bridge will be constructed.

Test trains are running during non-commute hours to validate the new grade crossing signals between Lakewood and Dupont.  Road driver 'conditioning' is a critical part; the 79MPH Amtrak Cascades will transfer to this line after the new Tacoma station is completed later this year.

No recent aerial photos are known yet, but it appears that there are several short sections of 2MT being built to allow meets.

 

Map links ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, east of Tucson

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Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, February 25, 2017 5:49 PM

Here's a very cool time lapse video of the G Street old bridge removal:

 https://vimeo.com/205651225

Plenty of heavy equipment action for us construction geeks!

Map links ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, east of Tucson

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, February 25, 2017 7:56 PM

MikeF90

This project seems to have started (at least two years ago?) when the line was upgraded for commuter service south to Lakewood. If Amtrak had any non-NEC $$ they would have done this long ago.

Interestingly, many of the grade crossings south of Lakewood are single track but two track panels are in - good planning ahead.

The obsession with using the Tacoma 'freighthouse' for an Amtrak station is puzzling. Perhaps a local knows why some other nearby property along the tracks wasn't bought for this purpose. Not an area infested with new high rise construction in the way .... Question

 

I was at the  Tacoma NRHS Convention in the summer of 2011, and I believe preliminary work on the Lakewood extension was already started.

Freighthouse Square was already the commuter station.  It appears that part of the former freighthouse was demolished for the new Amtrak station.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/Rail/pnwrc_PtDefiance/constructioncam/default.htm

 

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Monday, February 27, 2017 12:01 PM

No one has mentioned this so I will ask. From the old MILW depot to the former NP, which was the original transcontinental main line from Kalama, the line will have to cross a valley and climb a grade of at least 2%. This will be all new construction and the bridge will be the most spectacular part of the project.

I have not been to Tacoma to see it for years, but did spend one afternoon eyeballing the project. Does anyone have photos? Northwest??

Mac

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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, February 27, 2017 3:53 PM

PNWRMNM
No one has mentioned this so I will ask. From the old MILW depot to the former NP, which was the original transcontinental main line from Kalama, the line will have to cross a valley and climb a grade of at least 2%. This will be all new construction and the bridge will be the most spectacular part of the project. I have not been to Tacoma to see it for years, but did spend one afternoon eyeballing the project. Does anyone have photos? Northwest?? Mac

I don't have photos, but Google's imagery shows it pretty well:

Overhead view: https://www.google.com/maps/@47.2372294,-122.4367104,496m/data=!3m1!1e3

Track at right curving dowward is the former MILW, the old NP ROW continued top left parallel to Hood Street.

 https://www.google.com/maps/@47.2380066,-122.4381554,3a,71.6y,211.47h,67.17t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3LApYqTZ2WFE0HgzU7HYEg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

On Hood Street with former NP tracks in place, facing where the new line splits off.

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.237904,-122.4366106,3a,82.4y,181.9h,76.15t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxLs8vt-IosbxRLMDcHYZog!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

New crossing at C Street. Note new retaining wall construction. If one pans to the left, a huge sidewalk crossing and the new bridge over Pacific Avenue is visible.

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.2386526,-122.4352542,3a,75y,170.56h,79.7t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDB0O6Y9I74kf5IPwYVBS9w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

New bridge at Pacific Avenue.

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.2391042,-122.4306761,3a,50.5y,276.6h,79.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPVUT2L_l_HnbXGtagZxUzA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Different (!) C Street crossing showing the tie-in point where the ex-MILW splits off at left and new construction continues straight.

Test trains are currently running on the route using Cascades equipment.

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Monday, February 27, 2017 5:04 PM
They got by with much less bridge over Pacific Ave than I had expected, but did a few thousand feet of side hill relocation below the old NP main. Mac
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Posted by MikeF90 on Monday, February 27, 2017 5:40 PM

Thank you, @Northwest for confirming my suspicions. I knew that the NP line used to extend up through UofW, but I was unsure about the previous ownership of that line that curves south. Plug 47.2370791,-122.4372421 into ACME mapper and select the Topo view to see where the new trackage had to go.

PNWRMNM
From the old MILW depot to the former NP, which was the original transcontinental main line from Kalama, the line will have to cross a valley and climb a grade of at least 2%.

It doesn't look that steep in the Google street views. Looks like the NP surveyor chose a natural watercourse and then followed the bluff down to the waterfront, kind of.

BTW the proposed Sounder extension to Dupont with just two new stations is projected to cost over $300M to support a whopping 1000 new riders. Looking at the project details they require a new layover yard (expected) and a 7.8 mile long second main track all the way from Lakewood (huh). Four AM and four PM trains plus the Cascades, hmmm.

Map links ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, east of Tucson

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Posted by MICHAEL KLASS on Monday, March 06, 2017 7:13 PM

Yeah, Sound Tansit is very good at spending too much monty for very little.

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Posted by pwkrueger on Friday, March 10, 2017 9:24 PM

MikeF90

[snip]

The obsession with using the Tacoma 'freighthouse' for an Amtrak station is puzzling. Perhaps a local knows why some other nearby property along the tracks wasn't bought for this purpose. Not an area infested with new high rise construction in the way .... Question

 

 

There aren't really any other straight, level streches of track near downtown Tacoma that are long enough to accommodate the Coast Starlight.  As it is, WSDOT had to have ST include a platform extension in their Tacoma Trestle project so the train wouldn't block D Street.  

There is about a 20-30 foot elevation change across the tracks from Freighthouse Square, so building there probably would not have been as cost effective as taking out a chunk of the freight house and building the station there.

This location also has the advantage of having convenient connections to al the buses that serve the Tacoma Dome transit station, the ST Tacoma Link streetcar, and the ST Sounder commuter rail trains.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, March 11, 2017 4:01 AM

Well too bad the bypass is not complete.  Mudslides along the present route causing the usual 48 hour service disruption.  

https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Alert_C&pagename=am/AM_Alert_C/Alerts_Popup&cid=1251649145097

 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, March 11, 2017 6:03 PM

pwkrueger
There aren't really any other straight, level streches of track near downtown Tacoma that are long enough to accommodate the Coast Starlight. As it is, WSDOT had to have ST include a platform extension in their Tacoma Trestle project so the train wouldn't block D Street. There is about a 20-30 foot elevation change across the tracks from Freighthouse Square, so building there probably would not have been as cost effective as taking out a chunk of the freight house and building the station there.

Thank you for the details. I was not aware of the elevation rise south of the tracks; now the plan makes sense. Sounds like the rest of the new bridge will have to be complete for a CS platform extension. Since they will have many more trains, perhaps ST/Amtrak will build a south side platform and pedestrian bridge in the future (haven't checked ST plans yet).

Map links ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, east of Tucson

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, March 11, 2017 6:03 PM

any one with more info on what is called a major landslide ? any pictures ?

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Posted by pwkrueger on Saturday, March 11, 2017 10:16 PM

MikeF90

Thank you for the details. I was not aware of the elevation rise south of the tracks; now the plan makes sense. Sounds like the rest of the new bridge will have to be complete for a CS platform extension. Since they will have many more trains, perhaps ST/Amtrak will build a south side platform and pedestrian bridge in the future (haven't checked ST plans yet).

 
The second platform is under construction now.  Passengers will have to cross the tracks at D Street.
 
You can learn a bit more about the project in this pre-advertisement presentation that WSDOT has on the project web site.
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/3D666132-C3D0-4868-8AD6-227AAEC5115A/0/Tacomastation21216PreBidConferenceMTGUpdate.pdf

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