Residents living along the Point Defiance Bypass train tracks between Tacoma and DuPont should be prepared for testing of tracks and signals that will involve trains traveling at 50 mph starting Saturday, July 15 continuing throughout the weekend.
The tracks that parallel I-5 will go into full-time use by Amtrak Cascades passenger trains in the fall. In preparation, tracks and signals have been undergoing testing at various speeds. Sound Transit, which owns the tracks and is managing the Point Defiance Bypass construction project for the Washington State Department of Transportation, conducted most of the testing in January and February.
Starting this fall, the Point Defiance Bypass will be used by Amtrak Cascades and Amtrak long-distance trains, including a stop at the new Tacoma station at Freighthouse Square. The bypass is one of 20 passenger rail improvement projects overseen by WSDOT, paid for with nearly $800 million in federal funds. Once complete, the 20 projects will add two additional daily Amtrak Cascades roundtrips between Seattle and Portland, cut travel time between the cities by 10 minutes and improve on-time reliability.
Residents should be prepared for the test trains, which will come from either direction, at varying times of the day. Drivers and pedestrians alike are urged to always follow good rail safety.