Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Half a billion dollars for Amtrak Cascades

In case you haven’t heard, as part of the US federal government’s high-speed rail corridor program, Washington State has received $590 million for passenger rail improvement along the Cascades’ corridor in its state on January 28th. What does this mean? Major service improvements for the Amtrak Cascades service.

The Cascade corridor runs between Eugene, OR and Vancouver, BC with major stops in Seattle and Portland. I have taken the train to Portland and Seattle, and now it’s the only way I travel to these places. I-5 sucks! The service is so popular that during peak times you can’t get a seat on the trains. These improvements couldn’t be timelier.

Since 1994, $331 million has been invested in improving the Cascades corridor. Today there are two daily trains between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, four between Seattle and Portland (five if you count the Coast Starlight), and the service has a 62 percent on-schedule performance. As a side note if Canada Border Services Agency doesn’t get their act together, BC may only see one train a day after the Olympics.

With the new US federal money, the Amtrak Cascades service will see up to 6 (7 w/ Coast Starlight) Seattle to Portland and 2 Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. daily round trips with 97 percent on-time performance. The Amtrak Cascade service will have more daily train then our West Coast Express! Anyway, it’s exciting times to be an American in the Cascades corridor. Let’s hope that the Canadian government allows us to be part of it. Check out the full mid-range plan for this service from Washington State.

1 comment:

Corey said...

Probably not coincidentally, this line was in yesterday's speech from the throne in the Legislature:

"The government will encourage the new high speed rail link between Vancouver and Seattle."

So they are definitely listening to what's going on south of the border, even if they're not putting any of our money forward...