Officials say Amtrak services have been temporarily disrupted between Vancouver and Kelso in southwest Washington because of a series of landslides that stranded about 1,000 train passengers.
Heavy rains and over-saturated land brought down debris and halted passenger and freight service Monday night, about 4 miles north of Vancouver. A second landslide struck the same area Tuesday morning.
BNSF, the freight company that owns the railway, said the landslide caused a debris pile 8 feet high and 30 feet across. Spokesman Gus Melonas said this is a heavily trafficked area and is the main rail corridor between Vancouver and Seattle.
“This is a busy corridor, we can run as many as 60 trains in this corridor in a 24-hour period,” he said.
“We know we operate in an area that gets a lot of rain,” Melonas added. “When you get day after day after day of record rainfall, it becomes a challenge.”
Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said the company is assisting travelers with alternate transportation, such as buses. When asked whether Amtrak will reimburse affected passengers, Graham said people should refer to the Amtrak refund policy on its website.
After Tuesday morning’s landslide, a delay on passenger trains in the area was extended until Thursday morning. BNSF said freight traffic should resume Tuesday afternoon.
Normal rail operations continue south of Portland to Eugene, Oregon.