Amtrak Cascades | KNKX

Amtrak Cascades

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Federal investigators have begun a two-day hearing into last year's fatal Amtrak Cascades derailment in Pierce County.

Elaine Thompston / AP Photo

Experts are still searching for lessons from an Amtrak derailment in Pierce County that killed three people on Dec. 18, 2017. 

Some blame the lack of a computerized safety system called positive train control, which was not yet operational on the route. Others question the design of the just-opened track, where the train was making its inaugural trip with passengers. 

Zack Willhoite, left, and Jim Hamre died in Monday's derailment of an Amtrak train near DuPont. Both were active in organizations that promoted passenger rail travel.
Photos provided by Pierce Transit; Rail Passengers Association / via Associated Press

Authorities have confirmed three deaths in Monday’s Amtrak derailment near DuPont. On Tuesday, the public learned the identities of two of those people.

Zack Willhoite was 35. He worked in customer service at Pierce Transit. James Hamre was 61, and a retired civil engineer. They were on the inaugural run of Amtrak’s new route between Seattle and Portland because they were rail enthusiasts.

On Monday, Amtrak opens its Cascades trains to cats and dogs between Eugene, Oregon, and Bellingham, Washington. But there are some guidelines.

Zargoman photo / Flickr

Mudslides continue to shut down train tracks, and halt passenger rail traffic north of Seattle.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas says tracks between Seattle and Everett have been shut down for passenger trains 95 percent of the time since Thanksgiving. 

Associated Press

Climate experts have predicted a colder and wetter than normal winter on the way for Washington, thanks to a second year in a row of La Nina’s effects. 

While some people in the area will be happy about a surge in showers, a lot more are probably disappointed or worried.

SP8254 / Flickr

The late train from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia, will no longer be coming to a stop.

The nightly service was scheduled to end on October 31, when Canadian officials said they expected Amtrak to start paying for the extra border staff it requires. The Canada Border Services Agency wanted $1500 a day to compensate for keeping patrol agents around later into the evening, according to Railway Age Magazine:

WSDOT

Today is the deadline for Washington and other states to apply for a share of more than $2 billion in federal high-speed rail money that Florida rejected. State officials hope to use some of that money to tackle landslides that have made rail travel this winter unreliable.

KCWTD / Flickr

Making headlines this morning:

  • Investigation Begins into Port Orchard Shootings
  • King County's 'Brightwater' Grinds Toward Completion
  • All Aboard: Amtrak Ridership Gains in Northwest