Restoring Seattle's King Street Station

Officials view King Street Station renovations 
Seattle’s King Street Station, with its grand interior and ornate decorative features, opened in May 1906 with the focus on passengers and their travel experience, rather than merely loading and unloading cargo. Fast forward more than a hundred years to a time when pulling into Seattle’s King Street Station will once again generate excitement and anticipation for a new generation of rail travelers.

Federal, state and local officials converged on the station this week to commemorate the start of construction on the largest phase of an ongoing historical restoration of the 100+ year-old building. WSDOT is investing $16.7 million in federal high-speed rail funds to strengthen King Street Station and its clock tower to better withstand earthquakes. The project also restores the station’s main hall as originally built in 1906 with white marble walls, decorative lighting and other features removed during “modernization” of the station more than 50 years ago.

The restoration, managed by the city of Seattle, is an ongoing partnership between WSDOT, FRA, Amtrak, Federal Transit Administration, 4Culture services agency and the city. Since 2008, nearly $30 million in federal, state and local funding has been invested to improve the station and restore its unique historic character.

The King Street Station Seismic Upgrade project is one of five federally-funded capital rail projects under construction in 2012. Since 2009, Washington has received nearly $800 million in federal high-speed rail funds to increase the frequency and reliability of Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service between Portland and Vancouver, B.C. This investment supports 19 projects along the 300-mile corridor creating jobs in communities up and down Washington’s I-5 corridor. When the projects are complete in 2017, travelers will see more frequent service between Seattle and Portland, reduced trip times and fewer delays.

Having this new station….requires putting up with construction equipment, noise and a little dust. Because the popular station will be in full operation during the renovations, WSDOT and Amtrak are working closely with the city to minimize disruptions to travelers.