OAKLAND – Amtrak is adding Thruway motorcoach service on a portion of the disrupted Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight route, beginning Feb. 29.
The Thruway motorcoach service will connect the Coast Starlight route segment between Sacramento and Portland, Ore., making connections with the Coast Starlight train at Sacramento and other Amtrak train service at Portland. The Thruway motorcoach will connect with the Chicago-Portland Empire Builder at Portland.
Train service on the Coast Starlight route was suspended between Los Angeles and Seattle on Jan. 19, due to massive mudslides over the railroad north of Chemult, Ore. Union Pacific Railroad, the owner of the line, is working to restore the tracks affected by the slides. All railroad traffic through that area is currently suspended.
Amtrak restored train service over a portion of the route on Feb. 1, between Los Angeles and Sacramento, with no alternate transportation north of Sacramento. Amtrak will extend the service via motorcoaches, with the first southbound motorcoach, representing the Coast Starlight, Train 11, departing Portland on Feb. 29.
The first northbound motorcoach from the Coast Starlight, Train 14, will depart Sacramento for Portland on March 1. Motorcoaches will make stops in both directions at Sacramento, Medford, Eugene, Salem and Portland, Ore. The motorcoaches will also make meal and rest stops to accommodate passengers along the route.
For the train section of this special service, only Coach class will be offered. No sleeping car accommodations will be available. Food and beverage service will be available in a lounge car. The more formal dining service will also be suspended. The Coast Starlight will continue to operate as an all-reserved train and passengers will be able to check bags at stations that normally offer that service.
The railroad route is not expected to reopen through the mudslide area until April.