WSDOT, Amtrak, and others are working with Canadian officials and BNSF to allow a second Amtrak Cascades train to Canada to begin in summer 2008.
On March 1, 2007, the Province of British Columbia announced an agreement with BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) and Amtrak to construct a project allowing a second daily Amtrak Cascades train between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. This new passenger rail service could begin operating in summer 2008.
British Columbia Ministry of Transportation media release dated March 1, 2007 (pdf 21 kb)
The Province of British Columbia, Amtrak, and BNSF are funding this $7.0 million project. The project will include a new 11,000-foot siding track near Colebrook Road in Delta, B.C. The new siding track will allow for passenger and freight trains to pass one another at this location.
In 1995 WSDOT and Amtrak began operating a single daily round trip train between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. In 1999 WSDOT and Amtrak began operating another daily round-trip train between Seattle and Bellingham, Washington. This second train went into service with the expectation it would extend to Vancouver, B.C. once rail line improvements were added in British Columbia. The March 2007 announcement by the Province of British Columbia refers to this long-anticipated project.
When the new service begins operations, Amtrak Cascades will depart from Vancouver, B.C. in the morning, travel to Seattle, and then continue on to Portland, Oregon. Each afternoon, another train will depart Portland, travel to Seattle, and then continue on to Vancouver, B.C. This service will supplement the existing train that makes a round trip between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
Washington communities served by Amtrak Cascades include Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Everett, Edmonds, Seattle, Tukwila, Tacoma, Olympia/Lacey, Centralia, Kelso/Longview, and Vancouver, Washington.
“This is an important step toward improving passenger rail transportation in Washington,” said Governor Chris Gregoire.
“We are extremely pleased to continue our long-term partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, BNSF Railway, and the British Columbia Provincial Government,” said Alexander J. Kummant, Amtrak President and CEO. “This project allows us to advance corridor development along an already highly successful Amtrak route. We look forward to enhancing our services to our passengers by extending a second frequency to Vancouver, British Columbia in the near future.”
A formal announcement of when the new service begins will be made sometime during the construction of the rail line.