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Passenger Trains > "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA


Date: 11/01/07 19:14
"Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: KeyRouteKen

"Train to the Mountain" concept--Tacoma,WA...
Can history be repeated ???

Much has been written lately about the demise of the Washington State Dinner Train.. But for several years, a long time ago, the TRUE "Train to the Mountain" concept existed from Seattle to Ashford,WA at the gate to Mt.Rainier National Park.
The City of Tacoma and Tacoma Rail have had studies about duplicating this original service, way before Mr.Temple and his dinner train came about.

Could it really happen this time ?? Seattle to Ashford ??
READ ON....
Our Tacoma rail reporter (Macster) makes the most recent observations:

Well if this is a sign; I cut and pasted some of the more key points out,

I received an e-mail for a meeting in regards to the Train to the Mountain next month. According to the e-mail, a private investor is looking at starting train service from Seattle's King Street Station to Ashford, Washington in Spring 2009. Tacoma Rail, the City of Tacoma and the City of Seattle must willing to put in at least $55 million into track and infrastructure improvements and agree to purchase new equipment, such as the Colorado Railcar DMU or Colorado Railcar passenger rail equipment, repairing or replacing the Boxcar Canyon bridge, rebuilding a new Nisqually River Bridge.

Not sure if I will be able to attend this meeting but representatives from Colorado Railcar, Mayor of Seattle, Mayor of Tacoma, board members of the Mt. Rainier National Park, Tacoma Rail, and MTM Luxury Lodging will be present. Also present will be Weyerhauser, owners of lodges and hotels around the Elbe - Ashford areas.

"Brian"...

READ ON...

In the early 1900's,there was direct Seattle to Ashford service. The times showing here are GREAT because local dignitaries have said that a one-way trip would HAVE to be under THREE hours... So take a look and YOU be the judge:

"The Tacoma Eastern Railroad lost its identity when it was mustered out of federal control on January 1, 1919, as a fully owned part of the Milwaukee Road. Although the colorful name of the Paradise Valley Route was a casualty of the war, the new National Park Limited, which ran from Seattle's Union Station to Ashford over the same tracks, became a legend in its own right.
With elegant new passenger cars, linen and silver service, and a romantic destination that loomed in the distance during virtually the entire journey, the National Park Limited carried more than 100,000 people a year during the 1920s. The round-trip fare stayed at about ten dollars throughout the 1920s, with a steam train to Ashford and a motor coach from there to Longmire, Nisqually Glacier, Narada Falls and finally Paradise Valley. In 1924 the Limited left Seattle at 7:30 in the morning scheduled to reach Ashford at 10:45. It returned to Seattle at 7:30 in the evening.

-----------------------------------------------------
So what do our viewers think about THIS possibility ??

Cheers.
"Key Route Ken"



Date: 11/01/07 20:36
Re: "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: benthere

Three hours is an awfully tall order, but it seems possible given enough track improvements, although it might cost more than $55 million.

One thing for sure is that the grade near the Tacoma Dome would have to be re-designed so that helper engines would not be required, and that's a major project in of itself. Low ridership aside, the need for helper engines on this route was a major detriment to both the SOWDT and Golden Pacific operations.



Date: 11/01/07 21:51
Re: "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: NI030

What is in Ashford that people would want to ride the train to? I did a search on Google but did not come up with much.



Date: 11/01/07 22:20
Re: "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: a737flyer

silagi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What is in Ashford that people would want to ride
> the train to? I did a search on Google but did
> not come up with much.


Ashford is the town, er village just outside the gates to Mount Rainier National Park. There have been a collection of restaurants and inns including the famous Pappajohn's family restaurant that is now closed and for years ran the food service at the Paradise Valley Ski Lodge. It is there that the buses took the train passengers to either Paradise or Longmire, both of which had visitor accommodations. The Paradise Valley Inns should be completed with a year, just in time for the rail line to open. I doubt if Longmire will figure prominently in the accommodations brochure...



Date: 11/02/07 00:53
Re: "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: KeyRouteKen

I wouldn't expect Mr. Silagi to know much about Ashford.. I doubt if he has even visited our great State.. <g>

KRK



Date: 11/02/07 05:53
Re: "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: Macster

I figured this would come up =)

At this time, this is about all the information I can readily give. I can not give out names at this point until open discussion is brought forth in February 2008. I urge you that if you want this train and it's benefit to be a reality that you attend these meetings. Next year, there will be a website launched, along with ad's and many other items to promote this concept and further details about the entire scheme.

The concept has been tossed around for years and years now. The City of Tacoma's desire to be back on the map in Western Washington as a strong and credible city where Technology could also be produced and look to which has inspired to put in so much money in the "Dome District". New condos, apartments, and housing are spurring more intense construction, next year Tacoma will build a massive 3,000 stall parking garage for preparations for the Tacoma Streetcar Network, Sounder to Lakewood, LeMay Auto Museum, a new Casino, and much, much, more. Tacoma's long range plans has always included a train to Mt. Rainier National Park but they needed attractions in Tacoma first to start things off. Tacoma Link was the first part of the idea. The streetcar would be the link to get people through Downtown, quickly. Minimal walking is required to get to your basic needs, jobs, etc. People can park at Tacoma Dome Station for free, go where they need to go or parking for the train. Next was the revamped Tacoma History Museum. Cleaning up the Theatre District followed shortly thereafter with a new conference center and high class hotels. The Museum of Glass was built and new condo's have continuously been built in that area. New night clubs has spawned up as well. With that moving, meetings started up on how to approach starting the Train to the Mountain. This started with Golden Pacific and failed. It was renewed after Golden Pacific ended with 2 investors from Redmond and Bellevue. It since has been a rolling idea with private meetings.

Out of the 5 meetings I have attended so far since I sent my idea to the Tacoma City Council, several private meetings have been made with public meetings starting in 2008 for comments and thoughts. Colorado Railcar is being a big player in this operation because of the DMU. It's fuel efficiency and ability to handle a 3 car train on a %3.5 with a single engine makes it attractive but the possibility of using regular locomotives and a 7-8 car train is there. The DMU would in long term save millions in operating costs and could run the cheaper bio-diesel.

The investment in track would be for passenger comfort, speed, and to assist Tacoma Rail in generating more traffic on the line. Businesses in Morton are dying for Rail Traffic back and while the funding would only be Freighthouse Square to Ashford and the Nisqually River Bridge, the speed and reliability of having freight back would help these businesses grow again. The goal is to travel from Seattle to Ashford in 2 hours, 45 minutes or less.

The City of Seattle comes in because they do also want to invest in this train, citing it could be a huge tourist boom for Seattle and Tacoma. Passengers have the option to board at King Street Station in Seattle or Freighthouse Square in Tacoma. Seattle would pay for the operating expensives along the 37 mile BNSF corridor and the City of Tacoma and Mt. Rainier National Park will fit the bill for operating expensives on the 55 mile Tacoma Rail portion. Food, beverage, and entertainment, along with on-board guides will be part of the train.

MTM Luxury Lodging has been interested in this project for 8 years and is pushing to have something done by Summer 2009 or will put the money set aside for this plan into another lodge in the Leavenworth area. MTM has initial design plans for a 3 story 220 room lodge located at Park Jct which would allow connections to the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. MTM would also put money aside for an additional track and platform for the GrandLuxe Rail Journeys train. It will include a Restaurant serving local seafood, world class wines, spa and sauna, large gardens, Olympic Sized swimming pool that is heated or cooled. A 18 hole golf course and luxury cottages off site is also planned. The lodge would be open year around.

The train itself would depend on what it is selected. If a DMU is choosen, there will be ecomany class and first class seating along with a lounge car/diner car that would serve basic food and snacks. Wine and cheese tasting will be available as well. If a standard passenger train consist, it would have the same as above but it will cater more of a full course meal on-board the train and on-board movies. First Class will have wider seating and soft leather seating that properly recline. Coach will have cloth seating with reclining seats as well. Coach seating would be 95 passengers, first class would be 85

MTM would contract out a current Charter Bus company to handle tours of Mt. Rainier from the Resort to the mountain. Mt. Rainier National Park services would handle passengers who wish to stay in Ashford lodging. MTM would put up a small amount of cash for the operator to purchase new MCI coaches for the tour operations. There will also be a coach or shuttle bus in Tacoma that will take guests to Sea-Tac Airport.

While it does seem that Park Junction would have the "glory" it is expected that Ashford would undergo a revitalization. The existing motel and hotels there have already expressed they would be more than willing to remodel if the train brought more guests. The station will be located in the town with an area for charter buses to greet passengers.

The train is only expected to run from Mid-Spring to Mid-Fall. Owners of Stevens Pass ski resort would like to use the train during the Winter Season as an experiment to see if a Ski-Train would work for them. Dropping passengers off at Scenic, Leavenworth, and Wenatchee with coaches picking passengers up at Scenic.

Welp, a lot of info, hopefully this is some in-sight to all that is going on and hopefully will happen.

Brian



Date: 11/02/07 08:44
Re: "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: NI030

KeyRouteKen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wouldn't expect Mr. Silagi to know much about
> Ashford.. I doubt if he has even visited our
> great State..

Wrong again :-) I have visited Washington state many times.



Date: 11/02/07 09:17
Re: "Train To The Mountain" --Tacoma,WA
Author: KeyRouteKen

C'mon Silagi-- You know KRK is "ALWAYS" right!! (grin)
Too bad I'm not still in the Bay Area-- we could meet at the local "donut shop" and chat about a common interest..

But seriously, I found a number of things about Ashford on Google. Maybe you expected more but that's ok.
Take care.
KRK



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