SEATTLE, Wash. – Washington state, British Columbia, BNSF Railway Co. and Amtrak have reached an agreement to make infrastructure improvements that will permit a second daily Amtrak Cascades train between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
Governor Chris Gregoire and Premier Gordon Campbell made the announcement June 8 at the King Street Station in downtown Seattle.
The Province of British Columbia, Amtrak, and BNSF are funding this $7 million project, which includes construction of a new 11,000-foot siding track near Colebrook Road in Delta, B.C. The new siding track will allow for passenger and freight trains to pass one another at this location. The new passenger rail service could begin operating in summer 2008. Construction is scheduled to begin next month.
In 1995, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Amtrak began operating a single daily round trip train between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. In 1999, WSDOT and Amtrak began operating another daily round-trip train between Seattle and Bellingham, Wash. This second train went into service with the expectation it would be extended to Vancouver, B.C. once rail line improvements were added in British Columbia.
When the new service begins operations, Amtrak Cascades will depart from Vancouver, B.C. in the morning, travel to Seattle, and then continue on to Portland, Ore. Each afternoon, another train will depart Portland, travel to Seattle, and then continue on to Vancouver, B.C. This service will supplement the existing train that makes a round trip between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., departing Seattle in the morning.
Washington communities served by Amtrak Cascades include Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Everett, Edmonds, Seattle, Tukwila, Tacoma, Olympia/Lacey, Centralia, Kelso/Longview, and Vancouver, Washington.
“This is an important step toward improving passenger rail transportation in Washington,” said Governor Chris Gregoire. “The additional service between Seattle and Vancouver will provide more options for Pacific Northwest travelers, as well as visitors coming to our region for the 2010 Winter Olympics.”
“We are extremely pleased to continue our long-term partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, BNSF Railway, and the British Columbia Provincial Government,” said Alexander J. Kummant, Amtrak President and CEO. “This project allows us to advance corridor development along an already highly successful Amtrak route. We look forward to enhancing our services to our passengers by extending a second frequency to Vancouver, British Columbia in the near future.”
Amtrak Cascades service extends 466 miles from Eugene, Ore., to Vancouver, B.C. The corridor service is provided in partnership with the states of Washington and Oregon.
— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire