May 4, 2012 at 6:24 AM
Mudslide halts passenger rail traffic through Seattle
A rare mudslide in downtown Seattle has halted passenger rail service at least until early Sunday.
The slide, triggered by heavy rains, sent mud up to four feet deep across a 50-foot section of track near Alaskan Way, near the north end of the downtown waterfront, about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, said Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF Railway.
Six freight trains were delayed before crews cleared the tracks enough for the trains to resume travel about 3 a.m. Friday. Under railroad policy, passenger service won’t resume until the tracks have been clear for 48 hours — 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the earliest.
Because of the heavy overnight rains, railroad workers were watching for signs of mudslides, which have been common on the tracks further north, particularly near Edmonds. Melonas said this was the biggest slide in about a decade inside Seattle.
The closure affects Sounder rail service from Everett and Amtrak service from Seattle north.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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