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Author Topic: New Tacoma Amtrak Station
yukon11
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There seems to be a lot of controversy over a plan for a new Amtrak station in Tacoma. It would require tearing down the historic "Freighthouse Square" building:

You may get 10 sec. of commercial before the newsclip:

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/controversy-over-tacomas-amtrak-station/nc2fy/

I have to agree with the people interviewed. I don't think they should demolish the Freighthouse Square building. The proposed new Amtrak station looks kind of plain and boxy. Too bad, way back when, they didn't elect to renovate the old Tacoma Union Station for Amtrak to use.

Richard

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Vincent206
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WSDOT has since revised their proposals and there will be a public meeting on Oct. 30 to unveil the latest drawings and plans for the new Tacoma station at Freighthouse Square. The old Tacoma Union Station would be a great place to catch a train, but there are 2 things preventing Amtrak from using it now: 1) it's been remodeled and it now houses the Federal Courthouse for Tacoma, and 2) it's on the Pt. Defiance line, which means that after 2017, Amtrak won't be running by the old Union Station anymore. It's still a beautiful building and one of Tacoma's best architectural assets, but it can't ever be a train station again.

Freighthouse Square was once just a railroad warehouse (for the Milwaukee Road, I think) with very little commercial activity (other than railroading) going on in the neighborhood. But since Sound Transit established Freighthouse Square as the bus/rail/streetcar hub for Tacoma, there is a lot more commercial activity in the area. The UW/Tacoma is nearby and downtown Tacoma is a short streetcar ride away from Freighthouse Square, so adding Amtrak to the neighborhood should be a welcome addition--provided the new station doesn't detract from the neighborhood.

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yukon11
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My sister went on a tour of the Tacoma Union station, a few years ago. Besides housing a federal courthouse it also has some sort of art museum which she thought quite interesting. Was the westernmost terminus of the Northern Pacific RR.

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Richard

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yukon11
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It looks like it's going to be the big box:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/10/31/3462321/new-tacoma-amtrak-station-design.html

Richard

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Vincent206
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Basically a glass shoebox. The existing Freighthouse Square is a long narrow box and the new train station is going to replace a 180' section of the single-story wooden structure with a glass box Amtrak station that can be opened up during the nice weather months. The existing Sound Transit facility (TVMs and schedule racks) will remain and the new station will be connected to downtown Tacoma via the Tacoma Link streetcar (shown in the drawing). The drawing also shows some of the other proposed amenities (canopies, clock tower, pedestrian bridge) in faded white lines. If funding is available, some of those items may be built.
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sojourner
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Yikes! I went down to Tacoma from Seattle just to SEE the old train station . . . and the glass museum. . . . I sure hope they don't tear it down and support all the controversy!
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Vincent206
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Check out this video for a look at the current rail approach to what will be the new Tacoma Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square. Freighthouse Square is the blue/green building to the right of the yellow freight cars. As part of the station upgrade, the wooden trestle will be replaced with a double-tracked concrete bridge. Currently, Sound Transit uses the wooden trestle and Freighthouse Square for its commuter trains and Amtrak will be switching to Freighthouse Square in 2017. The existing Tacoma station is off to the right of the camera's location in the video (not visible in the video, however).
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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by yukon11:
Was the westernmost terminus of the Northern Pacific RR.

Richard

Richard, I believe you will find that Tacoma was the "end of the line" for the MILW, and not the NP. Seattle was served by the Olympian, but it was over UP trackage in part to Seattle Union Station. The electric locomotive locomotive was simply run around and attached to the rear and the train was handled backwards TAC-SEA.
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Vincent206
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I know that most of Tacoma Rail's Mountain Division is ex-MILW trackage, as are the trestle and the Freighthouse Square building. On the TR map, the Mountain Division is the line from Tacoma to Chehalis or Morton via Frederickson. I don't know if passenger service was ever offered on those routes (seems highly unlikely) or if those lines were electrified (possible, those are some steep grades).
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Vincent206
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Just checked my email and there's an opinion survey about the proposed clock tower at Freighthouse Square (apparently funding has been found for the project). Three possible designs are presented and you can comment on each and choose which one you would like to see built at the new station.
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yukon11
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I don't like any of the clock towers, as well as the new glass box station. However, I would choose the ghost clock tower amongst the three.

Richard

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palmland
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Agreed, Richard. Looks like they worked very hard to disguise any railroad heritage. Perhaps it will be better if you can see it. And certainly better than an Amshack.
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Vincent206
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A new, revised and perhaps final design proposal for the new Tacoma Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square has been presented for community consideration. This new planmoves the station from the west end of Freighthouse Square to the middle of the building and it eliminates altogether the plan for a clock tower next to the station. The plans look good to me and I'm happy to see that none of the proposed clock towers made it past the preliminary design stage. 2017 is when the new station has to be ready to open, so construction will need to begin soon.
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yukon11
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I hope the new plans, Vincent, do preserve some of the historic Freighthouse Square (?). I agree that the plan looks ok but I think the entrance will look a little like a Safeway. The inside looks nice.

I still would have hoped that the old station could have been renovated. Glad they eliminated the clock tower, as I didn't like any of the 3 possible designs. I guess I am a little too negative, it must come with old age.

Richard

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Vincent206
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There seems to be bump in the road regarding negotiations between WSDOT and the owner of Freighthouse Square.

from The News Tribune:
quote:
“Negotiations to purchase the identified portion of the building are at an impasse and any further delays that impact the construction process will make it impossible for WSDOT to meet deadlines for building the new station,” Janet Matkin, WSDOT’s rail division communications manager, wrote to advisory committee members.
and

quote:
Brian Borgelt, Freighthouse Square owner, said the price the state was willing to pay for a middle portion of the 1,000-foot-long former Milwaukee Road warehouse was not enough to compensate him and the merchants in Freighthouse Square for the disruptions during the construction process and to make the building viable as a retail and restaurant destination after the station opened. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Currently, Freighthouse Square is basically a dump with very little retail other than a few struggling lunch spots and some other non-food businesses. Amtrak would be a dramatic improvement for FHS.
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Vincent206
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Construction is now scheduled to start in June of this year. WSDOT and the building owner have agreed to allow construction to start while the courts decide the fair price for the property.

from WSDOT:
quote:
The building’s owner has signed a possession and use agreement for the center section of the building. This agreement allows WSDOT to start work while the courts determine a fair purchase price for the building as part of eminent domain proceedings. WSDOT started the legal process last month after purchase agreement talks reached an impasse. The federal grant paying for the station has strict completion deadlines, which were in jeopardy when negotiations stalled.

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