Rail is an increasingly popular option for commuters between Seattle and Everett. But there’s one big drawback: the tracks are plagued by falling mud, rocks, and plant material. Last winter, slides delayed 81 Amtrak trains, and 206 Sounder commuter trains.
Now heavy equipment is clearing debris from the slopes above the tracks and building walls to catch small stuff that slides. They’re also beefing up safety fences, which act like tripwires on the hillsides that automatically stop trains when there is a slide.