August 8, 2012

Amtrak upgrades Seattle maintenance facility

Amtrak and its partners completed phase one and two of a major upgrade of its Seattle maintenance facility. The facilities support Amtrak operations and maintenance agreements in the Pacific Northwest for the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Amtrak Cascades and Sounder commuter trains.

The upgraded and new facilities 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 is a modern and efficient facility capable of handling the current work levels as well as projected future service expansions.

“Improved service along the Cascade Corridor is an integral component of our overall strategy for improving transportation options for commuters and enhancing economic growth throughout the Pacific Northwest,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “This new facility is a great investment in moving our rapidly growing region forward and providing economic opportunity for our families and businesses.”

The upgraded maintenance facility, the first phase of the four-phase project, is an enclosed structure over two tracks. It will be primarily used by Talgo to maintain Amtrak Cascades trains however, the Amtrak long-distance and Sounder commuter trains will benefit from this investment. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation.

Phase two, completed in December 2011, is a new three-story maintenance warehouse and administrative office that replaced functions formerly performed in trailers. The $37 million project was funded by Amtrak’s annual capital program and provided for approximately 200 construction jobs.

Amtrak has approved $1.4 million for the complete design of Phases three and four.

Phase three will include a construction of a service and inspection building for Amtrak long-distance and Sound Transit trains. Phase four involves construction of a new locomotive servicing and repair building. It is estimated 150 construction jobs will be generated annually during the life of the project.

In the past year, Amtrak has completed major upgrades at two other maintenance facilities in Los Angeles, Calif., and Hialeah, Fla.

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