By TJ Martinell, Lens Media; June 24, 2020
A consulting group will soon release a final report on its study of passenger rail service from Seattle to Spokane via the Stampede Pass corridor through Yakima and the Tri-Cities. A draft report shared at the state Joint Transportation Committee’s June 23 meeting indicated that while there’s strong public interest in the idea, practical issues remain regarding rider demand, costs, and operations.
The Stampede Pass corridor is a 230-mile single rail line currently owned and operated by Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) Rail. A passenger rail train service used to operate on that line until 1981 when the Amtrak Empire Builder was rerouted to Stevens Pass. In recent years, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has explored reopening service on that line.