Amtrak Cascades Service Resumes Normal Operations

OAKLAND — The last of the Talgo-manufactured railcars used in the operation of Amtrak Cascades service between Eugene, Oregon and Seattle, Washington returned to service on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007, after undergoing repairs at the maintenance facility in Seattle.

All Amtrak Cascades train schedules will be effective with Amtrak’s Fall/Winter Timetable that takes effect on Oct. 29.

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.

“We are glad the Talgo trainsets are back in service before the busy holiday season and thank Amtrak, WSDOT and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for all their cooperation and support through this period,” said Nora Friend, Talgo’s spokesperson. “All of us at Talgo moved quickly, focusing our experience and resources intensely to understand and fix the problem because we know how important this equipment is to the Pacific Northwest.”

With the return of the Amtrak Cascades equipment, the amenities featured on this service, such as reduced travel time, business class, feature movies, checked baggage and bicycle accommodations, are reinstated. During the disruption, substitute train service operated on the route and did not include some of these features.

“We are pleased that the trainsets were repaired and returned to service in time for the upcoming holiday travel season,” said Kurt Laird, Amtrak’s District Superintendent. “Amtrak Cascades passengers will once again be able to enjoy the many onboard amenities they’ve grown accustomed to on this popular service.”

“Governor Chris Gregoire and I feel that safety is a top priority and we took extra precautions by taking the trainsets temporarily out of service for inspection and repair,” said Paula Hammond, Washington State Secretary of Transportation. “The trainsets were repaired earlier than originally anticipated and train travelers will be delighted to get back to the faster train schedules.”

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, Washington, and Portland, via Seattle; between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland; and between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

Amtrak continues to operate trains 510 and 517 between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., utilizing Superliner train equipment.