Massive mudslides block major street, knock train off tracks


MUKILTEO, Wash. - Massive mudslides over the weekend knocked a passenger train off its tracks in Mukilteo and brought mud pouring down onto Rainier Avenue South.

 Roads are closed and train service is shut down while crews wait to see if the hillsides will hold.

One slide happened around 8 p.m. Sunday between Renton and Seattle and is blocking four lanes of Rainier Avenue South.

 Crews have been there all night monitoring the moving hillside.

 Rocks and mud are on the road just south of Chinook Beach Park in the Rainier Beach neighborhood.

 There's concern that the trees on the hill above are leaning and might fall.

 Chelsea Stephens’ home is the only one considered to be in the direct path of the slide.

 Stephens is waiting for word that the hill is stable.

 “The police came down, and they told me (they’re) going to have the geologist come out and see what would happen, and they actually didn't have the geologist come out, because he couldn't assess the situation,” said Stephens.

 Meanwhile, earlier Sunday, a pile of earth slammed 100 feet onto the railroad tracks near Howarth Park in Mukilteo, causing headaches for commuters that will continue after additional slides covered the tracks on Monday.

Commuters will be riding buses between Seattle and Everett while the line is repaired.  Amtrak said it hoped to resume service Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Sunday's 30-foot-long and 15-foot-high landslide hit the tail end of an Amtrak train that morning, tipping the last few cars just enough to startle passengers, though no one on board was hurt.

 A $16 million federal project to shore up several spots along the line is supposed to start later this year.

 But state transportation officials have said more needs to be done to completely prevent mudslides.