Seattle-Everett passenger train line re-opened

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SEATTLE — A Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman says the passenger train line between Seattle and Everett has reopened.

Gus Melonas says engineers have the go-ahead on Saturday in what they hope is a long-term clearing of the lines.

Pounding rain, mudslides and debris over the last few weeks has closed the line to Amtrak and Sound Transit trains. Melonas says that since Dec. 17, the line had been open only two days for passenger trains.

Melonas says crews are using the dry spell to continue working on short-term remedies, such as ditching and cutting trees that are leaning. He says BNSF is considering enhancing drainage along the line near Everett later on.

Nearly 80 slides have happened along the line since the rains started and about 40 reached the track.

Geothermal takes technological step forward

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Geothermal energy developers working on the flanks of an ancient Oregon volcano say they have taken an important technological step toward expanding geothermal energy into a major source of homegrown power.

AltaRock Energy, Inc., of Seattle says the data is still being analyzed, but they are confident they have created three geothermal reservoirs from a single well where none existed before, a key to development of the next level of geothermal energy development, known as Enhanced Geothermal Systems.

AltaRock President Susan Petty says still to come is showing these reservoirs can power a commercial geothermal power plant.

The U.S. Department of Energy is paying half the $43.8 million cost of the project as part of its efforts to do for geothermal energy what it did for shale gas.

Feds green light Mount Rainier upgrades

SEATTLE (AP) — The National Parks Service has approved long-awaited upgrades to Mount Rainier’s Camp Muir — one of the main stops for the thousands people who climb the mountain.

Pacific West Region director Chris Lehnertz determined that upgrading the high camp would have no impact on the park, giving the green light to replace camp’s non-historic structures.

Mount Rainier National Park superintendent Randy King told the Tacoma News Tribune the project will cost about $700,000 and take three to five years to complete.

Among the upgrades are replacing a shelter and toilets.

Camp Muir is the highest backcountry camp, located at an elevation of 10,080 feet. About 500 climbers visit Cam Muir a day during summer and it’s one of the main routes for people summiting the mountain.

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