Amtrak platform work resumes in Stanwood

STANWOOD — The Amtrak platform project is back on track.

After a minor delay this spring, construction on the project is under way again, said Kirk Fredrickson, project manager with the state Department of Transportation.

“We had a delay when we encountered a small area of lead-contaminated soil where the platform will be,” Fredrickson said. “The rail line has been there for over 100 years, so it could have been there for a long time.”

Because of the time it took to follow state regulations to remove the soil, the project completion date was moved from late September to November, he said.

Amtrak service is scheduled to begin as soon as the passenger platform is done.

The concrete footings for the platform have been poured, and Interwest Construction crews from Burlington are now building the storm-water detention pond at the north end of the station site, Fredrickson said.

The project began in April, four years after the state Legislature provided the money for the $5 million train station platform. Design problems and negotiations with Burlington Northern Santa Fe accounted for much of the delay.

When completed this fall, the passenger platform will allow Amtrak Cascades trains to stop in Stanwood several times a day. Passengers can buy their tickets online or over the phone and board the train with their reservation information in hand.

In addition, a second daily Amtrak train is set to run between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., through the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The transportation department announced last week that the Canadian government approved the second train as a pilot project that will be evaluated after the February games to determine if it will continue.

Amtrak Cascades trains connect Eugene, Ore.; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., including stops in Edmonds and Everett. The run, which began in 1999, is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon transportation departments.

The 600-foot-long train passenger platform will include covered ramps, railings, shelters and seating, with lighting and landscaping.

If construction of the platform is completed under budget, any money left over could go to construction of a small restroom nearby.

Island Transit and Community Transit buses also could use the passenger station. In addition, constructing a rail stop in Stanwood now is the first step toward future intercity commuter rail service, Fredrickson said.

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