Kirkland could derail plans for tourist train
SNOHOMISH - Unless advocates of a tourist train between Woodinville and Snohomish can talk the mayor of Kirkland out of it, Kirkland’s plans to tear up a nearly six-mile line of tracks will throw a major kink in their long-range plans.
Mayor Karen Guzak met with Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride last week to present the case to dissuade her from moving forward with her city’s plans to remove the tracks. McBride told Guzak that Kirkland residents prefer the plan for a recreational trail over expanding train service.
“It’s a not in my backyard viewpoint,” Guzak said at a Snohomish City Council meeting earlier this month. “It’ll be interesting to see if there is community support to rip out the tracks if they know the potential of an excursion train and the ultimate goal of the commuter train.”
Guzak is part of a group of rail and trail activists, winery owners and businesses who recently formed the Eastside TRailway Alliance.
The group wants to run a tourist train that would shuttle tourists and residents between the city of Snohomish and the wineries of Woodinville. Ultimately, Guzak said, the group hopes to add commuter service to and from Bellevue.
The entire rail corridor the group is working with stretches 42 miles between Snohomish and Renton and was purchased by the Port of Seattle and sold to various cities. The portion Kirkland now owns, however, isn’t fitting well with plans the other cities have come together to form.
“For those of us who have a bigger vision, this really messes with our vision,” Guzak said.
McBride contacted Guzak after the first meeting of the Eastside TRailway Alliance in January, which Guzak said may indicate her willingness to listen to other options.
Kirkland has taken the action to approve the removal of the tracks for the section that they’ve purchased, Snohomish City Manager Larry Bauman said previously, which may begin as early as this month.
“We need to act fast,” Guzak said. “We need to ask them to wait to rip out the rails in order to give us a chance to raise the money to connect this corridor and to work for the fundraising that needs to be done.”
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