The International Mobility and Trade Corridor Program

Cascade Gateway Rail Study

Status: Completed in 2002

Overview

The Cascade Gateway Rail Study’s examined  freight and passenger cross-border rail traffic which could be attracted to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line over the next 10 years.

Location

The study area focused on rail crossing the Cascade Gateway along the primary Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway parallel to Interstate 5, and the secondary rail line east near WA State Route 9.

Why this project was needed

As roadway congestion worsens on the travel corridor between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, interest has grown in improving the corridor’s rail systems so that rail can increasingly serve significant shares of passenger and freight travel demand.

The Cascade Gateway Rail Study’s purpose was to identify the freight and passenger rail traffic which could be attracted to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line over the next 10 years, determine the minimum capacity improvements needed to handle this traffic, and quanitfy economic and societal benefits of diversions to rail for investment purposes. Secondary objectives included an assessment of the  potential of a cross-border commuter rail service running between Bellingham, WA and downtown Vancouver, BC, and to assess the potential of a Scott Road Amtrak station in Surrey, BC.

Results

The findings from the study produced recommendations in a final report which included pursuing the extension of the Amtrak Cascades train from Bellingham to Vancouver (completed); and studying the feasibility of eliminating all vertical clearance obstructions for high cube double-stack trains on the main line. The study determined no need for a commuter rail service between Bellingham and Vancouver (at either Pacific Central Station or Waterfront Station).

Cost

$125,000

Funding & Partnerships

This project was funded by: