BNSF freight train. (File photo)

‘Freak’ mudslide north of White Rock suspends passenger trains

BNSF spokesman says slide was unusual because of weather patterns

Passenger rail service between Vancouver and Seattle has been suspended after a mudslide north of White Rock.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas told Peace Arch News Thursday that a mudslide occurred about eight kilometres north of White Rock at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday.

“The debris was five feet (1.5 metres) deep and 60 feet (18 metres) long, covering the track,” Melonas told PAN, adding that there was a crawler crane stationed just north of the slide, which was immediately used to clear the debris.

Melonas said that the debris was removed by 4:15 a.m. Wednesday and freight traffic resumed.

However, Melonas said that Amtrak passenger service has been suspended for 48 hours and could re-open tomorrow, depending on the results of an engineering assessment of the area.

The slide, Melonas said, was unusual considering the recent weather patterns.

“Interestingly… this was a freak slide as there hasn’t been heavy saturation that would typically lead to this type of land movement,” Melonas said.

He told PAN that geotechnical engineers are now studying the area.

Melonas, who gave PAN an interview while he was in transit, said he wasn’t able to identify the exact location of the mudslide.

He said the slide occurred adjacent to a 200-foot (61-metre) slope.

Last January, Amtrak service was suspended after a mudslide near White Rock.



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

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