Yakama, WA Station

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Yakama, WA Station

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Sun May 31, 2015 6:02 pm

When was the last time that Yakama, WA station was used for regular passenger service? The platform, while obviously not used in a number of years, looks fairly modern.

Are there any other stations/platforms in the area that are still intact?
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Re: Yakama, WA Station

Postby vermontanan » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:31 pm

Yakima last saw regular passenger service at the end of October 1981, when Amtrak's Empire Builder between Spokane and Seattle was routed via Wenatchee instead.
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Re: Yakama, WA Station

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:33 pm

Does the line still see trains at all?
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Re: Yakama, WA Station

Postby vermontanan » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:52 pm

Yes, there is train traffic.
A BNSF local is based in Yakima, and weekdays there is a turn out of Pasco to Yakima.
But most traffic is eastbound empties train (coal empties, grain empties and crude empties). The loaded trains run via Wishram along the water level Columbia River route, while the empties trains are routed through Yakima.

--Mark Meyer
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Re: Yakama, WA Station

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:17 am

Interesting. Any reason for the different routes being used? Is it because they're both single tracked?
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Re: Yakama, WA Station

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:20 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:Interesting. Any reason for the different routes being used? Is it because they're both single tracked?


I would say there's a couple of reasons. Running via Yakima takes some operating stress off the Scenic Sub to the north, and the Fallbridge Sub to the south.
Second, loads [which are westbound] do better on the flatter RoW on the Fallbridge Sub, and empties [which are eastbound] have an easier time on the Yakima Sub grade.
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Re: Yakama, WA Station

Postby NorthWest » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:18 pm

Pretty much. Mark Meyer can give a far more detailed summary, but the operating plan is called the Iron Triangle.
BNSF can get away with using a lot less motive power by sending loaded unit trains through the Columbia River Gorge. Many of the empties are sent back over Stampede Pass, which is not cleared for double stacks. This allows Stevens Pass to be more open for stack trains (the Cascade Tunnel caps trains per day). Overall capacity is greatly increased without new infrastructure, which would be extremely politically difficult to create in the PNW today. Stampede in the past usually only got trains when the other routes were full, but I think this may have changed.
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