Tourist train talks resume under new leadership
SNOHOMISH - Talks have restarted on stalled plans to bring a tourist train to town that would bring people from the wineries in Woodinville to downtown Snohomish.
City Manager Larry Bauman attended a meeting last week to discuss the possibility of a tourist rail line with Eastside Community Rail, the new company taking over the project after the initial company GNP Railway went into bankruptcy.
“The near-term objective is to get funding for track improvements that are needed for the excursion rail service and to begin working with the communities along the rail corridor to begin offering that rail service,” Bauman said last week.
He said there is no timeline at this point for meeting that objective.
At this point, the project is being funded by private investors.
The CEO of Eastside Community Rail, Doug Engle, is currently seeking financial help from a business association, Bauman said.
Bauman said the biggest challenge for the project is the city of Kirkland’s plans to build a trail on its section of the 44-mile stretch of former Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line that city purchased from the Port of Seattle.
“Kirkland has taken the action to approve the removal of the tracks for the section that they’ve purchased,” Bauman said. Kirkland is planning to remove the railroad tracks from the ballast and build a trail on top of them, which Bauman said would make it more difficult to reinstall tracks should Eastside Community Rail ever want to expand the tourist train service to Bellevue. Kirkland’s move would disrupt the corridor between Woodinville and Bellevue.
Kirkland is planning to remove the tracks in late February.
The original plan was to bring a tourist train to Snohomish in 2010, but the effort fell away when GNP went into bankruptcy.
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