Those who recall the Spirit of Washington dinner train, which plied the so-called Eastside rail line from 1993 to 2007, may well wonder what happened to their fond memory and the tracks it ran on. It’s a long story.
What will happen with the Eastside Snohomish-Renton line, a bone of much contention since its transfer to public ownership three years ago, remains anyone's guess. The freight rail operation along the Snohomish-Woodinville segment of the so-called Eastside line may soon have a new owner, resolving an acrimonious Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Still, a thicket of legalisms, politics and finance must be negotiated before any comprehensive transportation corridor can be reestablished.
The right-of-way, typically 100 feet across, has been publicly owned since 2009, when Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway transferred its ownership to the Port of Seattle. GNP Railway, a small freight company with three principals, then began operating freight trains on the line, but was forced into bankruptcy in February 2011.