Amtrak service between Vancouver and Bellingham cancelled due to mudslide
No passenger trains running until Sunday afternoon
For the second time in two weeks, weather has knocked out Amtrak passenger train service between Vancouver and Bellingham, Wash.
BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas says the latest disruption was caused by a mudslide just north of White Rock in a remote area of south Surrey that is only accessible by rail. He says passenger service won't be restored until Sunday at the earliest.
"All trains are halted now," he said. "We expect to have the debris removed probably by later tonight," he said.
Melonas says heavy rain over the last month is the reason the slide came down from a cliff that's roughly 60 metres tall.
He says crews are working to remove a debris field that's about three metres deep and 20 metres wide.
Last month, Amtrak passenger service, as well as 17 freight trains that run along the route every day, was also temporarily cancelled due to the massive waves that battered White Rock at the height of a storm Dec. 20
Abundance of caution
Melonas says if slope stability experts determine the route is safe, freight trains could be running again by Friday night.
He says, however, passenger trains won't run until at least Sunday afternoon.
"We'll inspect after 48 hours to ensure it's safe for passenger movement," he said. "The slide came down around noon, so inspection will be around 12 o'clock on Sunday."
Heavy rain and saturated soil are also to blame for a slide that came down on the southern section of Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail in Langford.
The southern portion of the trail is closed, but the northern portion remains open.