Tag Archives: train

Lots Of Light Rail Trains Ready To Go

I visited the Sound Transit operations and maintenance facility in the south part of Seattle for meeting recently.  This is the original facility but they have added one in Bellevue and another will be built in Federal Way in the coming years.  Plenty of the trains were parked in the storage tracks including the original cars and the new ones getting delivered by Siemens for the extensions due to open soon.  Too good to pass up the chance to grab some shots with my phone.

More Fuselages Arrive

I’ve posted photos of 737 fuselages on the delivery trains before so this is a repeat.  This time it was a collection of five fuselages on one train, possibly the most I have seen at once.  I saw the train across the field but thought I might have time.  I was getting something else and, since the train has to switch off the mainline south of the airport, it often has to wait for the route to be set.  I did get around just before the train moved which was handy.

With that many fuselages, I wanted to get a longer shot with a long lens.  That is something that can only be done well in the winter when heat haze is significantly reduced.  The overcast conditions mean that the green of the protective film on the fuselages looks a bit more vibrant than it does in bright conditions.

Sounder In the Fall At Picnic Point

One evening, while up near Everett, I had a bit of spare time on my hands.  I had noticed a park along the waterfront called Picnic Park and had noted that I would check it out at some point.  This was a good time to try finding out what it was like.  The weather was not great but, with time on my hands, I headed down there.  It is a small park along the water and there is a bridge across the railroad to reach it.  As I walked across the bridge, there was a nice view down to where the coast curves around and the trees along the shore had some nice fall colors.

With the sun popping in and out on a regular basis, I thought this would be a good place if a train was coming.  As it happened, the Sounder commuter rail train from Seattle to Everett was not far off so I decided to wait for it to come through.  A few minutes later it came in to view.  There was a family with a young child standing on the bridge waving to the crew and, when I looked at the photos at home, I could see both crew waving back.  It was a pretty short train.  The Sounder North has not been too successful and the commuter rail ridership is well down due to COVID.  I guess there is no need for more cars just now.

Old Trestle at Whatcom Falls

A railroad used to run through what is now Whatcom Falls Park.  While the tracks have now gone, a trestle bridge across the water still remains.  I may have lived in the US a long time now, the presence of trestle bridges still fascinates me.  They have a look of Victorian railroads about them but many have survived.  In the UK, old bridges are either iron or brick with multiple arches.  The trestles have a distinctly American feel to them.

There were some barriers around the end of the bridge while we were there.  Checking out some photos online, it looks like the rails used to be suspended across some of the space.  Maybe these have been removed to stop people getting up there.  Fortunately, the majority of the bridge is still intact.  I wonder what happened to the track bed.  The rails are visible up on the top with ties (sleepers) between them but no support which suggests. Train would have had a rough ride.  There must have been more there at some point.

It’s Trains, Not Planes, Honest!

I might be sneaking some planes in to a post that would normally be a non-aviation day but I am going to claim that this is a post about trains rather than planes.  If you don’t agree, I shall refund your subscription fee!  The BNSF main line runs alongside Boeing Field and I saw a train run past the north end of the field heading south with three 737 fuselages on their railcars.  I figured I wouldn’t be able to get around in time to see them up close but then the train seemed to slow.

I figured it was worth a shot and drove around.  The train has stopped but it was also behind another stopped train so I couldn’t see it easily.  Instead, I head further along the track to a location where you could look up towards the train and where you would have an angle on it as it moved again – assuming it did of course.  There was quite a wait for some passing commuter trains before it finally got going.  The three fuselages will probably have been switched out at the yard just south of where I was and then moved to the Boeing factory at Renton.

Cross Kirkland Connector

I was out on the bike doing a short trip to Bellevue to a) get some miles in and b) buy some new cycling gloves.  On the way back, I decided to take a different route and try out the Cross Kirkland Connector.  This is a bike and walking trail across Kirkland that uses an old rail route.  This is part of a network of trails which, when finished will take you from the Skagit county line, through Snohomish, down to Woodinville, on to Kirkland and then via Bellevue to Renton.  It will be a while before it is all open, though.

I have ridden on the connector once when we lived in Juanita.  It isn’t paved so is a little dusty but it is a good surface in the most part.  There is construction underway at one end where a bridge will soon take the trail across a larger road.  It feels remarkably secluded given that it is through some densely populated areas.  One part of the trail has what seems to be a railway halt.  There is a shelter and some old track and signals to show the heritage of what the line once was.  The right of way would be ideal for reintroducing passenger service but I think the objections to that would be strenuous from the trail’s users, even if tracks and trails could coexist.  I doubt it will happen in my lifetime!

Dead Railcar

A short distance from our house is an old railcar that is sitting on spare land gradually decaying.  It has been here as long as we have and I suspect a lot longer than that.  I’m not sure what it is resting on but it does seem to be listing a bit more these days than it was the first time I saw it.  I have driven past it on many occasions and often thought that I should take a picture of it.  I recently happened to be walking along the road rather than driving so figured I should stop and get a shot.  Since it is summer, the plants are grown up around the side of the road so it is a bit harder to get a clear shot of it.  I used the longer lens on the phone and stitched together some shots.  It would be better to shoot this later in the day when the light is nicer but we shall see if I make the effort to go back – and maybe take a better camera?

More Steilacoom Train Activity

Some previous rail photos from Steilacoom where the result of seeing trains while I was visiting for another purpose.  More recently (well, not that recent, but I am catching up on some stuff), I made a trip specifically to get a train shot.  I didn’t go all the way just for this but I was already down in Tacoma so a short extra leg was easy to do.  I actually planned on getting this shot so that we might use it for a future proposal.

I was going to head back to the same place I had been before but I came upon a parking lot for the beach which had a nice curve to the track and a crossing.  The view from above the crossing looked better so I went with that.  Fortunately, a freight service came through before the Talgo set I was after so I had a chance to get an idea of the angles and sighting time.  That meant I was better prepared when the train came in to view.  A couple of shots for those of your train fans that read this blog.

Mukilteo Rail Station

In all of my visits to the waterfront at Mukilteo, it would have been neglectful if I hadn’t had a quick poke around at the railroad station.  This is for Sounder commuter rail trains to Seattle and is across from the new ferry terminal.  It will be interesting to see whether WSDOT’s Amtrak Cascades trains stop there in the future to connect with the ferries but currently they do not (and, at the time of writing, the Cascades services north of Seattle are suspended anyway.)

The station is not that old since the Sounder service has only been around since the 2000s.  Consequently, it is a nicely thought out design rather than an old station that has been upgraded.  It includes some artwork with a local theme with stone sculptures of local boat designs.  A footbridge takes you over the tracks to the far platforms.  I doubt I will ever have the need to use it but it was fun to look around on a quiet weekend.

Trains Through Steilacoom

Another post for the rail fans out there.  My visit to Steilacoom has yielded posts about the ferry and McNeil Island but it would be remiss to not discuss the rail line that runs along the waterfront.  The weekend day I was there, there seemed to be a lot of traffic.  This is the BNSF line along the coast but it is also currently used by Amtrak services.  That was due to have stopped a while back with the Point Defiance Bypass having opened but, with an accident on the opening run, trains have continued to use the old route.  That will transition at some point this year, though.

A bunch of trains came through while I was there.  Most of these were freight services but one was an Amtrak Cascades train.  It was being operated with a Talgo Series 8 train owned by Oregon DOT and on which I have done a bunch of work over recent years.  Since only one train is running per day in each direction as a result of the pandemic, it was a lucky coincidence that I was there when it came through.  I did get a nice wave from the engineer.