Amtrak Cascades Evening Train to Continue Permanently

Image: WSDOT Flickr

The evening Portland-Seattle-Vancouver BC train will continue indefinitely, Canadian and Washington officials confirmed yesterday.  The future of the run was in doubt due to security inspection costs incurred by the Canadian Borders Services Agency. (See “Canada Gives 2nd Amtrak Train One Year Reprieve” from October 2010 for background.)

Earlier this month Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced the run would continue, but it was unclear for how long (see Amtrak Cascades 2nd Train, Seattle to B.C., Will Continue for more background.)

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire and DOT Secretary Paula Hammond, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and other Vancouver and British Columbia officials, the organizations Cascadia and PNWER, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Rick Larsen, and many businesses on both sides of the border advocated for the continuation of this service.

The Seattle PI’s Scott Gutierrez notes that

“Since 2008, ridership on the entire run between Vancouver and Portland has increased by 60 percent. In July, it hit another record number of monthly passengers at 86,193 — an 18 percent increase over July 2009. The number of riders between Seattle and Vancouver was 28,612 between August 2010 and July 2011. That’s more than the 26,837 in the first year of operation.”

Wash. State DOT’s rail office spokesperson Laura Kingman commented that  “I-5 is finite resource and with population continuing to grow, there was going to be an increase in the need to move up and down that corridor. Rail is very cost effective and efficient and environmentally friendly.”

Farebox recovery grew from 54 percent in 2009 to 61 percent in 2010, according to the WSDOT Passenger Rail website.

Governor Gregoire’s news release

Second Amtrak Cascades train to Vancouver, B.C., will continue,” Scott Gutierrez, Seattle PI

Seattle to Vancouver train remains a viable travel option“, Vancouver Sun

Related stories:
Can High-Speed Passenger Rail Cover Its Operating Costs?, June 2011, July 2011

Can High-Speed Passenger Rail Cover Its Operating Costs?