OAKLAND – Amtrak has received approval from the Federal Railroad Administration to make recommended repairs on the Talgo-manufactured railcars used in the operation of Amtrak Cascades service between Eugene, Ore. and Bellingham, Wash.
As the trainsets are repaired, they will be rotated back into service one at a time starting this weekend. All trainsets will be expected to be repaired by early November. Amtrak anticipates that train schedules will return to normal in time for the busy Thanksgiving travel season.
“We have determined the appropriate solution and are moving forward with the repairs,” said Nora Friend, Talgo’s spokesperson. “Once the repairs are complete, the trainsets will gradually be put back into service and travelers will once again enjoy all the amenities available on the Amtrak Cascades service.”
During a routine train inspection in early August, small cracks were discovered in welds of the upper portion of the car body structure suspension support system of several cars. WSDOT, Amtrak and Talgo agreed to remove the trains from service as a precaution. After a thorough analysis, it was determined that the cracks were caused by welding techniques in the manufacturing process and did not compromise the safety of the passengers. The cracks are not deemed a safety hazard and will be repaired under warranty at the maintenance facility in Seattle.
Substitute train service is currently operating on the route at reduced speeds and does not include some of the amenities featured on the regular Amtrak Cascades service, such as business class, feature movies, checked baggage, or bicycle accommodations.
Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak under contracts with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. Under contract, Talgo has responsibility for the maintenance of the trainsets, and these maintenance operations are performed in Seattle.
Amtrak Cascades consists of four daily round-trips between Portland and Seattle, with service between Bellingham, Wash., and Portland, via Seattle; between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland; and between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
Amtrak will continue to operate trains 510 and 517 between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., utilizing Superliner train equipment.
Operation of the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight (Trains 11 & 14) and the Chicago-Portland/Seattle Empire Builder (Trains 7/27 & 8/28) continues on their normal schedules.
— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire