Laura Kingman , WSDOT rail marketing manager, 360-791-0984 (Olympia)
Lars Erickson , WSDOT communications director, 360-705-7076 (Olympia)
Vernaé Graham , Amtrak Media Relations, 510-238-4360 (Oakland)
Kimberly Reason , Sound Transit Media Relations, 206-689-3343 (Seattle)
Gus Melonas , BNSF Railway Regional Director Public Affairs, 206-625-6220 (Seattle)
WSDOT, Amtrak, Sound Transit and BNSF Railway team up to quickly help people travel through the I-5 corridor where the Skagit River Bridge collapsed
SEATTLE – To help travelers pass the collapsed Skagit River Bridge severing Interstate 5, the Washington state-sponsored Amtrak Cascades train service will roll out two extra train trips daily between Seattle and Bellingham.
“Travelers need more options for travel and with the help of Amtrak , Sound Transit and BNSF , we were able to offer this great travel option,” said state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. “We are so fortunate that we have the relationships to make this urgent service a reality so quickly.”
This third, temporary round trip will depart Seattle at 8:15 a.m. and departs Bellingham at 5:15 p.m.
"BNSF recognizes the significance of this regional transportation emergency and have made accommodations in this busy freight corridor to add a temporary train alternative for the publics," said Gus Melonas, BNSF Railway Regional Director Public Affairs.
“Sound Transit is pleased to provide a Sounder trainset during the time this temporary service is in operation," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "This additional service will help citizens avoid traffic congestion during the construction period, saving the public travel time as our organizations work together to bring a vital regional transportation artery back in operation."
If passenger demand persists, the added round trip could remain in service until the Skagit River Bridge is repaired, rail officials said.
“Thanks to the collaboration between Sound Transit, BNSF and WSDOT, Amtrak is pleased to be able to assist those who normally travel this heavy corridor by adding this additional round trip to the region,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.
Reservations are required and tickets are available now by visiting http://www.amtrakcascades.com/ or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. The lowest-priced tickets for Seattle-Bellingham will be between $17 and $23 one-way. Fares between Seattle and Edmonds are as low as $7 one-way. Customers will be able to receive the lowest fares by buying online more than two weeks advance.
“The performance of the additional service will be evaluated in two weeks and adjustments may be made at that time to meet customer demand,” said WSDOT Rail Division Director Ron Pate.
Sounder trains are commuter trains rather than the European-styled Amtrak Cascades regular trains so no food service will be provided. The Sounder train cars being used in the additional, temporary trips are extra coaches that Sound Transit will use for an added south line trip this fall, so current Lakewood-Seattle and Everett-Seattle Sounder service will not be affected.
Running time for the third round trip is two hours and 40 minutes.
In addition to station stops in Seattle and Bellingham, trains will also stop for passengers in Mount Vernon, Stanwood, Everett and Edmonds. Amtrak Cascades Thruway Buses also offer ten more trips through the area daily.
Hyperlinks within the news release:
Amtrak - http://www.amtrak.com/
Sound Transit - http://www.soundtransit.org/
BNSF - http://www.bnsf.com/
Amtrak Cascades - http://www.amtrakcascades.com/
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