Train rides in Pierce County are losing their scenic views | KUOW News and Information

Train rides in Pierce County are losing their scenic views

Dec 15, 2017

Amtrak riders in Pierce County are getting a change in scenery. The roughly 30 mile train ride between Tacoma and Olympia is being rerouted.

Right now the  trip hugs the coastline along Point Defiance with views of Puget Sound. 

But starting Monday, December 18, passengers will no longer see the water. They'll be looking at Interstate 5, waving at the cars, after the trains move inland a few miles.

This is the last weekend to see Puget Sound from the train on the old route, and people like Bruce Martin are rushing to catch the views before they're gone.

"It goes beneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and it goes through a tunnel here at the north end of Tacoma. So that's why we're riding it today —  to get that last piece of waterfront before they shift the tracks over on Monday," he said.

Passengers used to see eagles along the waterfront; sometimes you could catch a glimpse of an orca.

So why leave those views behind? Speed. Amtrak says travel times will be faster, and there will be two more runs.

Amtrak says trains will travel faster on a route with fewer corners.

Martin and his wife are going to miss the slower train. They like to ride to Centralia for lunch.

"For the reason that we use the train I'd rather have the views, but I think that it's moving primarily to separate it for freight traffic. So I guess if it that's what needs to be done to make it more practical and useable, overall it's a good move, but we'll miss the views along the way. One last look at it before it goes away," Martin said. 

Along with the move Amtrak is opening a new station in Tacoma to connect with Sound Transit light rail.