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2019 State Rail Plan

Draft 2019 State Rail Plan available for public review

Rail is an integral part of the statewide multimodal transportation system that keeps people and businesses moving. Serving freight and passengers, the rail system provides efficient transportation critical to maintaining our economy, environment and quality of life.

Every five years, the Washington State Department of Transportation prepares a State Rail Plan. The draft of the new State Rail Plan (PDF 19 MB) is now ready for review and public comment.

The Washington State Rail Plan comes during a time of change for rail transportation in the state, with the rail transportation system facing important near and long-term challenges that include:

  • Addressing issues related to the December 2017 Amtrak Cascades derailment at DuPont, WA
  • Meeting the increasing demand for passenger and freight rail services in Washington on the private rail network over which passenger and freight trains operate
  • Developing more efficient and effective connections between rail and other modes of transportation
  • Ensuring the economic sustainability of Washington’s public and private short line railroads that face infrastructure investment needs in order to preserve these important services to communities

Planning documents such as this represent a snapshot in the continuous improvement of the rail system in Washington. For example, the needs of the state’s rail program may change in light of upcoming transportation funding measures and effects from potential Snake and Columbia river dam breaching are still being assessed as this plan is being written. These issues could have significant implications to the state’s rail system and WSDOT may need to perform a technical update as appropriate prior to the next five-year plan update cycle.

About the State Rail Plan

The purpose of the State Rail Plan is to provide a framework for future actions that meets federal and state requirements.

The State Rail Plan:

How to comment

Written comments can be sent to: 2019 State Rail Plan, WSDOT Rail, Freight & Ports Division, P.O. Box 47390, Olympia, WA 98504-7390 or by email:

A comment form is available for use, but is not required.

Please note that the Draft State Rail Plan has line numbers to make it easier to identify the text in the document when commenting.

Comments will be accepted through Tuesday, February  18, 2020.

The final State Rail Plan is expected to be published near the end of the first quarter of 2020.