Here’s an article from the September/October 2014 All Aboard Washington newsletter.
With the Pt. Defiance Bypass Project – which relocates Amtrak service through Tacoma from the Pt. Defiance line to the line used by Sounder to Lakewood – advancing, the Amtrak station for the city needs to be relocated to Freighthouse Square, where Sounder now stops. WSDOT has been working diligently with Tacoma Dome District stakeholders, Sound Transit, Amtrak, the City of Tacoma and All Aboard Washington (the advocates for the passengers).
Many locations in Freighthouse Square were analyzed and reduced to three options: the east end, the west end and a central location just west of the Sounder station area. Some in the neighborhood favor the east end but this location has many negatives. The major issues with the east end: a quick analysis by WSDOT indicates construction costs would be higher; annual operating costs are about double the other locations (which are estimated at $800,000 to $1 million); and the east end is the least desirable location for passenger convenience and comfort and for Amtrak operations.
WSDOT has selected the central location as the preferred alternate. This option will be forwarded to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) as a compromise that meets the expectations and requirements for an Amtrak station. WSDOT will continue to work with stakeholders during the design phase for the central location. A public meeting will be scheduled to share design concepts and to gather ideas on several design elements. Once approved by the FRA, construction will start in late 2015 or early 2016.
All Aboard Washington will continue to represent the needs and concerns of the rail passengers, which, after all, are the whole reason the trains and stations exists.