Beginning Monday, Dec. 18, extra morning and evening Amtrak trains will run between Seattle and Portland, for a total of 12 trains every day. These additions create more options for travelers in the northern part of the Pacific Northwest.
In Oregon, current train schedules will be adjusted so that passengers can ride between Seattle and Eugene on the train.
The primary change in the Oregon schedule is that the morning southbound Amtrak Cascades train (Train 503) departure time will change from a 6 a.m. southbound departure from Portland to a 9:45 a.m. departure, Monday through Friday. The arrival time in Eugene will change from 8:35 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. The weekend and holiday southbound morning train (Train 505) will change from a 9:35 a.m. departure from Portland to a 12:30 p.m. departure. The arrival time in Eugene will change from the current arrival time of 12:20 p.m. to a 3:05 p.m. arrival time.
The evening daily northbound train from Eugene (Train 508) that currently departs at 4 p.m. will depart 30 minutes later at 4:30 p.m. after the schedule change.
This permanent change to the Amtrak Cascades schedule means travel time between Portland and Seattle will be reduced by 10 minutes to three hours and 20 minutes, thanks to the rerouting of trains between Tacoma and Olympia and the upgrading of tracks and signal systems. The new route takes trains on an inland corridor parallel to Interstate 5 through Tacoma, Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and DuPont. It eliminates a major chokepoint for passenger trains near Point Defiance in Tacoma and separates them from freight trains that will continue to use the old waterfront route. The results are shorter travel times and greater on-time reliability.
“Washington State Department Transportation worked closely with many partners over the last six years to prepare for these new schedules. December 18 marks a major milestone for passenger rail service in the Pacific Northwest,” said Ron Pate, WSDOT Rail Freight and Ports Division Director. “While the scenic beauty of the Point Defiance route can’t be denied, we know passengers will appreciate the ability to make easier, and more reliable, day trips between Seattle and Portland. Spectacular water views are still available for passengers between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.”
WSDOT invested nearly $800 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to offer these new schedules, recently earning national recognition for the successful completion of this major railroad construction program.
The new schedule will see trains, pulled by WSDOT’s new Charger locomotives, leaving both Portland and Seattle every two to three hours. The first trains will depart Seattle at 6 a.m. and Portland at 6:20 a.m. The latest trains between the two cities will leave at 7:25 p.m. from Portland and 7:45 p.m. from Seattle. Station stops between the two cities include Tukwila, Tacoma, Olympia/Lacey, Centralia, Kelso, and Vancouver, Washington.
Amtrak Cascades also will continue to run daily trips to Vancouver, British Columbia, and Eugene, Oregon – serving a total of 18 cities on the corridor. December’s schedule changes will find later departures for some trains between Portland to Eugene to better connect with trains coming from Seattle, and to better meet passenger needs in Oregon.
Tickets for the newly-added trains now are available for sale at AmtrakCascades.com. Those booking early will receive the best prices, with special discounts available for children, students, seniors and the military.