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Leavenworth hopes to open Amtrak station in September 2009

Post by Joe Turner on Nov. 17, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
November 17, 2008 1:27 pm

That’s what Leavenworth Mayor Rob Eaton told me just a few minutes ago. I caught Eaton on his cell phone. As luck would have it, he said he was in downtown Seattle, walking to a meeting with Amtrak folks.


And he’ll call me back when he gets out of that meeting.


But for now, let me report that Leavenworth plans to break ground on its Amtrak station in March 2009 and finish Phase I by September. Then, Amtrak trains on the Empire Builder route between Seattle and Chicago will resume their stops in Leavenworth.


The station and railroad tracks are about 1 mile outside the town with the Bavarian theme. And that’s where the new station will be. Right now, Amtrak doesn’t stop in Leavenworth, so you have to take a bus. Or take the train and stop somewehere else in Eastern Washington and backtrack.


Eaton said Leavenworth used to have a station in the late 1920s, but it closed in the early ’30s.


Just last night, the city held a fundraiser and private sources ponied up $32,000 toward the goal of $125,000 he said.


Eaton said the city already has gotten appropriations from the federal government, the state government and Chelan County. Those total about $1 million.


Phase 1 will cost $1.1 million, he said. The mayor said Leavenworth is the No. 6 destination in Washington, with between 1.5 million and 2 million visitors for the German theme stuff, plus another 1 million visitors to nearby campgrounds, mostly in the summer months.


This isn’t something I ordinarily write about because Leavenworth is not on my state government beat. But I’m following up on a telephone call that I got last week while I was the Reader Representative for The News Tribune. Lois Ballew of Edgewood wanted to know when Amtrak would open a station. The station was supposed to open this fall, but was delayed.


Eaton said the Federal Railroad Administration held things up for a bit.

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