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2012 Restoration for Historic King Street Station

Seattle’s King Street Station has been in operation since the early 1900s and more than a century later, the station remains an important fixture in the Amtrak Cascades service.  As the case with any passenger train station, King Street Station would not be able to maintain its current status as one of the busiest train stations in the Pacific Northwest without remaining modern and passenger friendly.  In 2008, nearly $30 million was used to replace the station’s roof, restore the clock tower to working order and to complete other small restoration projects.  While the improvements in 2008 were notable, advocates for King Street Station still have many other restoration goals. In order to meet these goals, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Amtrak and the city of Seattle have combined efforts to embark on an important phase of the restoration project in the next two years.

A local news source, the Lake Stevens Journal has reported that an agreement has been made between the FRA and WSDOT to secure nearly $17 million in federal funds for the next phase of the King Street Station restoration project.  The funds will be used to improve the station and clock tower’s earthquake resistance, in addition to modernizing the electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems in the station.  Money will also be used to restore the station’s most historic features, such as the main hall’s white marble walls, decorative lighting and other features that have been absent from King Street Station for 50 years. The project is expected to begin in 2012 and will create more than 100 jobs over the course of the two year project.  King Street Station will remain open for the entirety of the restoration project and those involved insure that service disruption will be minimal.

Officials are very pleased that the next phase of restoration for King Street Station will soon be underway.  According to Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, “Passenger stations are an important part of the travel experience and act as the gateway to communities served throughout the Northwest Cascades corridor.” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also addressed the positive impact this restoration project will bring.  LaHood said, “Projects like these critical upgrades to historic King Street Station will employ local workers, make it easier for passengers to reach their destinations safely and quickly, and lay a strong foundation for future economic growth.”

King Street Station has been servicing passengers for 105 years, so its great to see funds going to restoring the station. The recently approved phase of the restoration project will correct some of the mistakes made 50 years ago that retracted from the station’s character by returning many of the station’s historic features.  There will be some minor inconveniences during the two year project, but hopefully, the half a million passengers that pass through King Street Station on a annual basis will soon be able to take great pride in the beauty of their iconic station. In a time where so many transportation groups have different goals and different agendas, it is also great to see  the FRA, Amtrak, WSDOT and city of Seattle working together to make their vision for King Street Station a reality.

      

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