Sounder commuter rail

A southbound Sounder train waits at King Street Station in Seattle.
Simone Alicea / knkx

If voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties approve the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, they would approve an expansion of not only the light rail system but also the Sounder commuter rail.

Sounder trains share the track with freight and Amtrak trains, which is partly why they can't run in both directions all day. The two Sounder lines together see an average of more than 16,000 riders a day.

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. 

sillygwailo / Flickr

It's usually easy to find an empty seat on Sound Transit's Sounder commuter trains running between Seattle and Everett.

The trains are typically one-third full, serving about 1,100 passengers on four trains a day. That's about half as many passengers as officials expected in 2003 when they made the deal to expand the service 35 miles north.

The Seattle Times reports taxpayers subsidize the service at a cost of about $29 for each passenger trip. 

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.