Deal clears way for Amtrak Cascades line upgrades

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Work to improve the Amtrak Cascades rail service between Seattle and Portland will begin this fall, thanks to an agreement signed Thursday by the Washington State Department of Transportation and BNSF Railway.

BNSF plans to build two tracks for freight trains entering the rail terminal in Everett, taking them out of the way of passenger trains. Using a portion of $781 million in federal stimulus funding, the state plans to begin initial rail work this fall. The goal is to add two daily round trips to the Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Portland for a total of six daily round trips.