A double stacked container train barrels through Bellevue on an overcast afternoon in April 2007. Headed by two powerful diesel electric road switcher locomotives, it will soon pass through the NE 8th Street crossing. Only a few cars of the much longer train are visible because of the slight curvature of the track and the use of a telephoto camera lens.
The southbound train was moving at an estimated speed of 20 to 25 mph. This is pretty impressive, especially considering the claims by some well known public officials that the track is in decrepit condition and basically useless and should thus be torn out and replaced by a bicycle trail (at a cost of many tens of millions of dollars to the taxpayers). Interestingly, the train was also traveling much faster than the virtually gridlocked southbound lanes on the roughly parallel I-405 freeway.
I-405 is possibly the most congested freeway in the entire Northwest, and traffic is expected to continue to worsen despite billions being spent on successive widening projects. Launching a transit service on the railroad could benefit growing numbers of frustrated commuters; it could also be one of the least expensive and most effective steps that could be taken to slow the continued deterioration of air quality on the Eastside and to fight global climate change.
(Photo: Eastside Rail Now!)
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Created April 14, 2007. Updated April 18, 2007.
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