Amtrak will resume train service between Seattle and Portland on Monday, after railway crews cleared a landslide from a set of tracks just south of Tacoma.
BNSF Railway lifted a temporary moratorium on passenger trains between the two cities as of Sunday afternoon, giving Amtrak permission to continue running trains along the Cascades and Cost Starlight routes.
Amtrak had offered shuttle buses to passengers during the suspension and will keep the last scheduled buses on their same departure times as the normally scheduled trains — 6:10 p.m. in Seattle and 7:05 p.m. in Portland.
“We’ve given the green light, and [the tracks] will open up for all train movement,” BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said earlier Sunday.
The railway placed a 48-hour suspension on all trains between Seattle and Portland on Friday morning after a landslide covered one set of tracks about 8 miles south of Tacoma. The debris was 50 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet deep, according to Melonas.
The railway couldn’t access the site with vehicles and had to send cranes on the rail to clear the debris, Melonas said.
“This is the first slide of the year in this area that has impacted train movements,” he added. “It’s been a relatively light year… but hopefully we’re done with that rainfall.”
The National Weather Service reported Friday morning that 2.44 inches of rain had fallen in Tacoma in just 24 hours, elevating the threat of landslides. By Saturday, the weather service declared Friday the fifth-wettest day on record, with rainfall reaching 3.25 inches at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The moratorium affected 20 trains along the Cascades and Coast Starlight routes, according to The (Vancouver) Columbian.