Sounder from Seattle to Bellevue?

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#1
I have always wondered since the Sounder began running, how hard would it have been to link Seattle and Bellevue via the BNSF rail line? If I remember correctly the BNSF line used to be the NP [corrected] that connected up to the Everett (Scenic Sub) area. And up till recently the home of the Washington Dinner Train out of Renton. As of today the line is cut-off by I-405 in Bellevue and some other locations.

Would it have paid off, if the line had been upgraded, new bridge over I-405 and newer crossings put in so the Sounder could run up and down the line. Like what ST is doing in Tacoma to connect Lakewood to Seattle. Instead of adding the Light Rail Line onto I-90 and drilling tunnels under Bellevue?

So my question to everybody, what's your thoughts? I am just being a dreamer or is a plan there? Do you have any ideas or suggestions on this?
 
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#2
This route is former NP. The line actually ran all the way to the Canadian frontier at Sumas. I suspect lot of back room politics has been involved over the thing. Too bad BNSF couldn't ever see fit to upgrade for a back door around Seattle and the all too frequent winter slides between Seattle and Everett... It was never an especially fast line, and there are a lot of curves, especially between Renton and I90. I'm not holding my breath, but maybe the state and rr will figure it out and put it back in service, maybe, someday...
 

BNSFEng

Locomotive Engineer!!!
#3
I have always wondered since the Sounder began running, how hard would it have been to link Seattle and Bellevue via the BNSF rail line? If I remember correctly the BNSF line used to be the NP [corrected] that connected up to the Everett (Scenic Sub) area. And up till recently the home of the Washington Dinner Train out of Renton. As of today the line is cut-off by I-405 in Bellevue and some other locations.

Would it have paid off, if the line had been upgraded, new bridge over I-405 and newer crossings put in so the Sounder could run up and down the line. Like what ST is doing in Tacoma to connect Lakewood to Seattle. Instead of adding the Light Rail Line onto I-90 and drilling tunnels under Bellevue?

So my question to everybody, what's your thoughts? I am just being a dreamer or is a plan there? Do you have any ideas or suggestions on this?
The state saved $34 million by not building a new bridge over I -405 for BNSF and there are too many rich homes next to the right of way that would have to be bought to allow double tracking and straightening the slow sections. Max speed had been 30 MPH is certain areas for passenger. A fenced in right of way with plenty of over and under passes would have been necessary to cut down on possible pedestrian and car conflicts along the entire route. BUT never say never, 20 years from now they may need the route no matter what the costs.
 
#6
Thanks for all the reply's so far everyone, its great hearing what people think. I figured there would have to be sufficient work done to the old line to have it be used by passenger service. Maybe one day the line would be rebuilt and used by freight and passenger use.

Looking back even just five years, you could see that a better system of transportation was needed between Seattle & Bellevue. And a way to cut back on buses and cars is to put passenger service in. So I see why ST choose the LRV way to cross I-90 to go into Bellevue. Ya and maybe going down and around Lake Washington would have seamed or does seam like a roundabout way. But I think, like today's rail transit, that it helps in less cars on the road and less crowed buses. I just wished ST would have done so earlier that way today you would have been able to ride a train to and from Bellevue. Now lets see how fast and how well ST does the East Link!?
 
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#7
Thinking Out Loud...

IF (and only IF) ST/BNSF were to upgrade and re-activate the line, IMO, the commuter service would be more economical with self-propelled railcars (a la the old Budd RDC's) than with locomotive-hauled equipment.

This is one thing I hate with American passenger trains--the assumption that "If it's uneconomical with locomotive-hauled equipment, it's not economical at all."

What do you guys think?
 
#8
@ Sean R Das: I can agree with you on that front. There are several ways for trains to run on rails, LRV, Budds' and street car type's and maybe more. In fact I was reading a proposal from WADOT (just a inquiry study right now) about running a single car like system from Covington/Maple Valley to Auburn.

Personally, I think that would be a great idea. The bus system that links those towns is just not working, and if adding more would just clog the roadways.

Anyhow back to the main topic, I could see using a single or double car like system in use over the old line. But I guess ST and WADOT really wanna push LRV's, so that's what they're going with. Too bad it really came too late, it needs to be in service today not ten years from now.
 


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