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Sound Transit Plans New Tacoma Trestle for Passenger Trains

On Thursday Sound Transit will host an open house to discuss the replacement of the Tacoma Trestle east of Freighthouse Square.

The 100-year-old, single-track, wooden train trestle runs nearly two-thirds of a mile east of Freighthouse Square. The old trestle will be replaced with a modern, double-track trestle to improve capacity and reliability for the Sounder passenger trains.

The track will also carry Amtrak trains once the Point Defiance bypass switch has been made, and the new WSDOT station constructed at Freighthouse Square. Recent funding is allowing Sound Transit to bump up the expected completion date for this project from 2023 to 2017, which, coincidentally, is also the year WSDOT expects to have the Amtrak re-routed.

After the kerfuffle over inital design plans for a new Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square, the City made a request that WSDOT work with Sound Transit to explore the possibility of incorporating an extended platform into the trestle project. The request comes out of conversations around moving the planned Amtrak station from the west end of Freighthouse Square to the east end. Such a move would likely impact street traffic unless it could be incorporated at the raised level of the trestle project. The agencies are looking into the question.

At Thursday's meeting, Sound Transit staff will share why a trestle is needed, along with conceptual elements of the trestle project. They will also take public comment on the look of the new trestle.


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Comments

Jesse

They should really put this on a berm.

(Just kidding)

February 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Kevin M

Here’s the part I do not get…  Why is a double-track trestle needed?  The bridge over Pacific Avenue only has one set of tracks so the purpose of having a double track trestle defeats itself with the diminished capacity only a few hundred yards away.  If Sound Transit says that the Pacific Avenue bridge would need to be expanded,  I am going to be furious that it was not already designed with that expectation in its long-term future.

February 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Dan

There are two tracks just west of Freighthouse Square.  One set, owned by Sound Transit, crosses Pacific Avenue the other, owned by the City of Tacoma, turns south towards Fredrickson.  There are two sets of tracks again by the time you get to Portland Ave.  I imagine they want double track to allow freight to pass while the Sounder, or Amtrak is stopped for boarding.  Even if current freight volumes don’t require double tracks, you would want to plan for the future.  Considering the last Trestle lasted 100 years the next may be around for a while.

February 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Chris

The D-M street stretch can have double track when the time comes.

February 11, 2014 at 11:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Kevin

Now it makes sense!  I did not realize that freight trains still operated on those tracks owned by Tacoma Rail.  I was under the impression that all freight trains in Tacoma were routed through the holding yard where the current Amtrak station is.    Thanks for clearing that up.

February 12, 2014 at 9:52 am / Reply / Quote and reply


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