Stanwood to get Amtrak stop

STANWOOD — Construction of the city’s new Amtrak platform can’t come soon enough for many people eager for transportation alternatives and the potential tourism revenue that the passenger train stop might bring.

However, some who live along Logen Road just north of the city limits are upset that the road might be closed where it crosses the railroad tracks. The closure would make way for the $15 million state-funded extension of a siding track that could decrease lengthy delays for passenger and freight trains that share the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks.

“The siding extension is necessary to enable the establishment of the Amtrak stop,” BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said. Extending the siding will allow Amtrak trains to stop at the station without disrupting freight service, he said.

Construction of the $5 million state-funded Amtrak station is expected to begin in January and be completed by June, state Department of Transportation project manager Kirk Fredrickson said. The siding extension also is scheduled to be done by June.

An agreement between Snohomish County and BNSF to close Logen Road is on hold until after a public hearing Oct. 30 on the road closure proposal. The draft agreement includes a deal with the state and BNSF to close Logen Road in exchange for improvements to the railroad crossing at 300th Street NW, which could be used as an emergency route, county spokesman Christopher Schwarzen said.

Dan Logen’s family has lived for generations along the road named for them and owns property on both sides of the railroad track.

“The road needs to be left open for the good of the community,” Logen said. “Some of the neighbors don’t like the train whistle at the crossing, but you get used to it.”

The railroad tried to close the rural crossing several years ago, but local emergency services personnel wanted it left open because it’s the closest crossing north of the city, Logen said.

It also allows him to drive his small tractor back and forth without disrupting traffic on Pioneer Highway or old Pacific Highway, the only other way around, he said.

State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen said she is sympathetic to the concerns of the Logen family, but she is ready for the Amtrak train station platform to be built.

Currently people in Stanwood have to drive to Everett or Mount Vernon to board the Amtrak Cascades train between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle.

“The citizens are really looking forward to the train coming back to Stanwood,” Haugen said. “The city has worked hard to make it happen and I was glad to be in a position to secure the funding for it.”

The Amtrak stop should result in an economic boost to the city, Haugen said.

Gallery by the Bay owner Gayle Picken agrees.

“I’ll be able to see the platform from my shop window,” Picken said. “Anytime we can provide an easy way for people to come and visit us, it’s very exciting.”

Mayor Dianne White hopes that someday Stanwood will have commuter rail service as well, and she wants to see extra trains put on the route during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

“We are going to need local people to use Amtrak when this platform goes up. Rail can take a lot of cars off the freeway and it’s going to be up to us to support it,” White said.

Emergency response personnel in northwest Snohomish County already are preparing for the new train station, North County Fire/EMS battalion chief Joel Smith said. They are scheduled to work with Amtrak to perform a passenger train disaster drill before the Stanwood service begins, Smith said.

Many others have been involved in preparing for the train platform, Mayor White said. She praised a citizen committee called Design Stanwood for its work to promote the platform and suggest its design, a barnlike look.

Trains first came to Stanwood in the late 1880s, but passenger service stopped in 1972, the mayor said.

“The old timers here like it that we’re finally going to be back on the railroad map,” White said.

Reporter Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427 or

Road closure meeting

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission has scheduled a community meeting to hear the public’s views on a proposal by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to close the Logen Road railroad grade crossing north of the Stanwood city limits.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Stanwood-Camano School District board room, 26920 Pioneer Highway, Stanwood. Representatives from the railroad, Snohomish County, the city of Stanwood, the state Department of Transportation and Utilities and Transportation Commission plan to be available to share information and answer questions.

Those unable to attend can e-mail comments to; submit a comment online at or mail comments to UTC, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504-7250.

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