State official apologizes for Amtrak delay

SEATTLE — The passenger-rail director for Washington state is apologizing for a rail blockage that left riders on an Amtrak train stranded for six hours in Ferndale, Wash.

Ron Pate tells The Seattle Times that he’ll discuss solutions with Amtrak as well as BNSF Railway. A disabled coal train clogged a single-track stretch of the main line. BNSF owns and operates the regional rail corridor.

Pate says Washington is investing “a lot of federal dollars in this corridor and we expect better service.” He says he wants to devise a plan for buses to shuttle passengers in case of a blockage.

Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said Tuesday night that Amtrak secured two buses to transport passengers from a northbound train affected by the Sunday night blockage. However, Cole says Amtrak wasn’t able to find a bus for southbound passengers on Amtrak Cascades Train 517, which left Vancouver, B.C., shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday with 98 passengers.

BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas also apologized for the inconvenience, calling the blockage a rare situation.

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