Amtrak Cascades Celebrates 10 Years of Passenger Rail Service in Pacific Northwest

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Amtrak and the Oregon Department of Transportation are celebrating 10 years of Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service in the Pacific Northwest (Eugene, Ore. to Vancouver, B.C.).

Amtrak Cascades is commemorating its 10th anniversary May 9 with a special celebration during the National Train Day event on at Seattle’s King Street Station.

“Amtrak Cascades has proven to be a valuable transportation option for Washington travelers,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “Whether people are exploring unique Northwest towns and attractions or making an important business connection in urban centers, this rail line is a fast and economical way to travel.”

Passenger rail service along the I-5 corridor began in 1993 when Amtrak started offering one daily Seattle to Portland round trip. Amtrak Cascades debuted in 1999, providing intercity passenger rail service in the Pacific Northwest from Vancouver, B.C. to Eugene, Ore. Today, Amtrak Cascades consists of four daily round-trips between Portland and Seattle, with connecting service between Portland and Eugene and between Bellingham and Seattle, and one daily round-trip between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

More than six million passengers have ridden Amtrak Cascades over the last ten years, resulting in a 71 percent increase in ridership since 1999. In 2008, ridership reached nearly three quarters of a million passengers, making it the most successful year in the history of the service.

Washington State is one of 13 states that provide operating funds to Amtrak for intercity passenger rail service. Amtrak Cascades uses five European designed Talgo trains for daily operations. Three of the five trains are owned by Washington State, and the other two are owned by Amtrak.