BNSF Railway Company said Friday it wants to work with homeowners living along the cliffs above the main rail route running north from Seattle -- a section of rail that's been plagued by repeated landslides this year.
The most problematic area is in the Mukilteo slide zone, about two-and-a-half miles south of the ferry terminal. So far this winter, seven slides have occurred in that area, and a few weeks ago a relatively small slide came down as a freight train was passing, derailing it.
BNSF is specifically concerned about drainage pipes that carry water from properties above the tracks. The water destabilizes the slopes, and some of the pipes could be leaking while others may have been installed illegally.
The railroad brought in teams of geo-technical engineers this week to begin a serious review of the bluffs above the tracks.
The section of track between Seattle and Everett has been closed repeatedly in the past month, interrupting both freight and Sound Transit passenger service. BNSF said it spent millions last summer on culverts, retaining walls and other work to stablizie the hillsides.