Could passenger rail services soon return to Central Washington, and how could that benefit the Ag industry? John Bowen teaches at Central Washington University. He and several of his students are conducting a survey to determine interest in returning rain service, connecting the Tri Cities, Yakima, Ellensburg and other communities to the greater Seattle area.
Bowen told the Washington Ag Network while many have expressed an interested in using the train to travel from east to west, there could also be a huge boon for local ag.
“One of the main markets this would serve is tourism to the wineries down in the lower [Yakima] Valley and beyond. Yeah, there’s just a tremendous capacity for this line if it comes to fruition, this could help to funnel tourist traffic throughout our region, including to the wineries.”
Bowen notes that while freight travel still exists , the last passenger train to serve Central Washington took place in October 1981. He said many would like to see a return of the service that put so many communities on the map.
“Nearly four decades since a scheduled passenger train went through that coordidor and almost ever since those services stopped, communities other stake holders have been interested in getting it back again.”
Click Here to learn more about the survey, funded in part by Olympia-based All Aboard Washington, or to participate.
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