OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Province of British Columbia, and Amtrak announced that the long awaited second daily Amtrak Cascades train between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. will begin service on Wednesday, August 19, 2009. The second train is an extension of the existing service between Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C.
“Amtrak typically needs 90 days to start up service, so getting the second roundtrip train to BC going so quickly is a major accomplishment for everyone involved,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “The August launch of the new service will give us a chance to encourage travelers to take advantage of this new service.”
The Canadian government approved the second train service as a pilot project until after the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games. WSDOT worked with Amtrak, BNSF Railway, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and other stakeholders to get the additional Amtrak Cascades service operational as soon as possible.
“More passenger train travel between Vancouver and Seattle is an important step towards helping boost cross-border tourism,” said BC Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations Naomi Yamamoto. “We’re very hopeful the expanded service will stay on the rails long past next March.”
The second Amtrak Cascades train service will begin on August 19 with a northbound arrival from Portland, Oregon into Vancouver, B.C. at approximately 10:45 pm. The next morning, the southbound Amtrak Cascades train will depart Vancouver, B.C. at 6:40 am arriving in Portland at 2:45 pm.
“We are extremely pleased to begin this pilot project in time for the Winter Games,” said Kurt Laird, District Superintendent of Amtrak’s Pacific Division. “Our passengers on both sides of the Canadian and U.S. borders will now have another daily Amtrak Cascades train option in the Pacific Northwest.”
With the addition of this second train service, travelers from Oregon will now have direct round-trip service between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, B.C.
Amtrak Cascades consists of four daily round-trips between Portland and Seattle, with service between Bellingham and Portland, via Seattle; between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland; and between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. For Amtrak Cascades fares and schedules, visit www.amtrakcascades.com.
Additionally, the current daily Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. route will see the return of Amtrak Cascades Talgo train sets that have been missing from this leg of the route since summer 2008. The Talgo train sets were substituted with Amtrak Superliner trains while WSDOT and Amtrak completed a refurbishment of the train interiors.