Auburn is the one intermediate Sounder Station (except Tukwila that received it in 2001) to have had passenger rail service in the Amtrak area. It was an intermediate stop on the Empire Builder from Amtrak's founding until October 1981 when the Empire Builder was rerouted from the Stampede Pass route (via Yakima and Ellensburg) to today's more northern Stevens Pass route via the Cascade Tunnel. In town, Amtrak's Empire Builder stopped at two different locations from Amtrak's founding in 1971 (I assume, station addresses don't appear on the timetables until the October 29, 1972 timetable), first it stopped at West Main and C Streets, SW on the site of the current Sounder location. According to the October 30, 1978 timetable the location was moved to 4th and K Street and the stop renamed East Auburn. This location is a mile east of the Sounder station, on the beginning of Stampede Pass Route; its junction with the main north-south line is just south of the Sounder Station. The station is also one of the few to be unstaffed at the time (no checked baggage service).
Today's station consists of two side platforms for the two track line and runs from the grade crossing with West Main Street south to a bit before the overpass of 3 Street at its exit from the Expressway of WA-18. The platforms are both lined with unique green and glass gabled roofs. The Tacoma-bound platform is particularly unusual; it is extra wide with provisions for a third track. What would be the center track is the one in use. The area over what would be the third track is simple pavement with a tactile warning strip but no other furniture except a wooden extension across of the mini-high platform for ADA access. The actual end of the would-be side platform for the third stopping track has its own tactile warning strip and yellow line, giving the platform a ridiculous two. The station was designed this way (photos taken on the inaugural day). The two platforms are connected by a pedestrian bridge. It has the standard staircase and elevator up from the Tacoma-bound platform alongside its small parking lot but reaches the Seattle-bound platform via the third level of the 6 story parking garage that accommodates most of the station's 676 parking spaces. A neat touch of this garage is the first level is taken up by local businesses near where the stations bus loop is as well.
Photos 1-27 taken on 11 October, 2011, 28-59: 11 April, 2014
Last Updated: 26 May, 2014