SEATTLE – Amtrak and its partners – the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Sound Transit, Talgo and BNSF Railway announced plans to upgrade the Seattle King Street Coach Yard Maintenance Facility that supports Amtrak operations and maintenance agreements in the Pacific Northwest, including for the Empire Builder, Amtrak Cascades, Coast Starlight and Sounder commuter trains.
Amtrak anticipates the contract award and start of the six-year project will be in spring 2010. In addition, it is estimated 150 construction jobs will be generated annually during the life of the project.
“This investment by Amtrak demonstrates a strong commitment to our employees, partners and passengers in the Pacific Northwest that we will operate a system that is greener, safer, and healthier,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman.
The upgrades will dramatically improve the capacity, efficiency and working conditions of the shops that perform inspections, testing and maintenance of locomotives and passenger rail equipment. It will be a modern and efficient facility capable of handling the current work levels as well as projected future service expansions.
The first phase of the four-phase project will consist of the construction of an enclosed structure over two tracks and large enough to allow an entire train to be serviced indoors. It will be primarily used by Talgo to maintain Amtrak Cascades trains. Currently, this train equipment is serviced using a much smaller building that requires part of the train to remain outdoors making maintenance difficult in inclement weather conditions.