Amtrak Cascades Path to Increasing Speed and Frequency

Train traveling next to a body of water

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) released a Preliminary Service Development Plan (SDP) for the Amtrak Cascades route, a step towards creating a blueprint for improving the route over the next twenty years. 

The Amtrak Cascades service, which connects Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, is a great candidate for improvements. Currently the service operates at a max speed of 79 mph and only operates two daily round trips between most segments (excluding Portland to Seattle, which now operates six daily round trips). Despite this, the service saw over 800,000 annual riders (prior to the pandemic), showing that there is a lot of potential for growth. Improving the frequency and speed of the service, while also planning for high-speed rail, is critical to the entire region’s economic vitality, sustainability, and livability.

In December 2023, both Amtrak Cascades and Cascadia High-Speed Rail were accepted into the Corridor ID Program, which provides a pathway to federal financial support and technical assistance for developing passenger train routes. Now that they have been accepted, the next step is to use the $500,000 grant to develop the scope, schedule and budget for the full Service Development Plan. The full SDP will look at different service alternatives. This includes the number of trips, stations served, travel times, and the capital costs for implementing each alternative. The preliminary SDP has identified five alternatives (picture on the right) that merit further analysis as WSDOT prepares to develop the full SDP.

If you’re interested in learning more, please review the preliminary Service Development Plan and submit your comments by April 18, 2024 via email to [email protected]

Read More:

Amtrak Cascades Service Development Plan 

Making the Most of the Corridor ID Program

High Speed Rail in the Northwest

The Latest from HSRA

Our Latest Blog Posts

Check out the latest news, updates, and high speed rail insights from our blog!