Earlier today, Jack Delay of Communitywise Bellingham emailed me to clarify his stance on the potential routing of coal trains to the Gateway Pacific terminal at Cherry Point.
In an earlier article, I had erroneously suggested that Delay was proposing sending the trains full of Rocky Mountain coal through Canada, via the BNSF line that runs from Burlington to Sumas mostly alongside Highway 9. That route would take the trains into Canada and then down to Cherry Point, crossing back into the U.S. at Blaine.
That notion got Delay a testy email from a Blaine resident who didn’t relish the prospect.
Delay noted that in his written analysis of possible rail route alternatives, he favors a different approach: the completion of a cross-county rail connection that would enable the trains to go up the South Fork Valley and then head east toward Cherry Point without going all the way to Canada.
The existing east-west spur ends at Lynden. Extending that line west to the BNSF main line at Custer would mean coal trains rumbling through Lynden, I suppose.
Far-fetched? Check out Map 15 in Chapter Six of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan. It shows an “east-west rail proposal” as a dotted line from Lynden to Custer. (The map is on Page 23 of the pdf linked above.)
Also, on page 6-14 of the plan, Policy 6P-2 states: “Consider proposals for an east/west rail freight corridor.” (See pg. 14 of the pdf)
My next job: Finding out what “proposals” our county planners were referring to.