Train wreckage from 1997 mudslide still litters beach

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by KING5.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 22, 2011 at 7:09 PM

EDMONDS, Wash. -- The cliffs above Puget Sound south of Edmonds are notorious for producing land and mudslides in heavy rains.

There have been more slides this year, but its nothing compared to 1997. Around midnight on January 17, a massive slide rumbled down the cliff, sweeping several cars from a Burlington Northern Sante Fe train off the tracks. The force was so great, it pushed the whole line into the surf and into Puget Sound.

It took months to get the tracks functional again, but 14 years later a large amount of the spilled cargo is still visible on the beach -- old tires swallowed by the sand, cases of spray foam insulation oozing out on the beach and yards of old fabric twisted around huge chunks train and track wreckage.

"You know, I understand that belongs to the railroad, the tracks," said frequent beachcomber Jerry McConnell, "but this is the environment, this belongs to everybody. It needs to be cleaned up."

McConnell first saw the mess after that spill back in 1997, but said there is no reason it shouldn't have been cleaned up by now.

"Why is this still here?" asked McConnell.

"This is the first I've heard about it," said BNSF Spokesman Gus Malonas, "we will be sending out engineers to inspect the scene first thing [Wednesday] morning."

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