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Mudslide cuts key rail link between B.C., Washington state

Click to play video: 'Aerial footage of mudslide that stopped Amtrak train from reaching Vancouver' Aerial footage of mudslide that stopped Amtrak train from reaching Vancouver
WATCH: A mudslide likely triggered by heavy rain on Friday forces the suspension of Amtrak route between Bellingham, WA and Vancouver until at least Sunday. Aerial footage from Global BC helicopter – Jan 4, 2019

A mudslide has interrupted a key rail link between B.C. and Washington state.

According to BNSF Railway spokesperson Gus Melonas, the slide happened around noon on Friday, and was likely triggered by the recent heavy rain.

Melonas estimated the slide to be about 3.2 kilometres north of White Rock, nearly 20 metres wide and about three metres deep.

READ MORE: Rail line reopens following 15-car train derailment in Yoho National Park

The slide prompted BNSF to put a 48-hour hold on all Amtrak traffic on the line, and the passenger rail carrier was forced to turn back a Bellingham-Vancouver train on Friday.

Amtrak said passengers of Train 516 were being provided alternate bus transportation to Vancouver.

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The slide is also interrupting freight traffic. Melonas said BNSF usually runs about 15 freight trains along the right of way in a 24-hour period.

READ MORE: Northern B.C. community copes after being cut off by landslide

He said crews from B.C. and Bellingham were on site Friday afternoon clearing debris. Track inspectors and a geotechnical team will then inspect the line and the slope above for safety.

Melonas said if there are no safety issues, freight traffic could be running by Friday evening, but he said the company would wait until Sunday to reassess the Amtrak situation.

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