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Passenger Rail Partnerships

Operating and maintaining the Amtrak Cascades service requires many partnerships.

Service Sponsorship and Management

WSDOT and ODOT sponsor and manage the Amtrak Cascades service through a Memorandum of Understanding. WSDOT is primarily responsible for service in Washington and in British Columbia. ODOT is primarily responsible for service in Oregon.

Track Ownership

Amtrak Cascades trains run on privately owned rail line:

  • BNSF owns the tracks in Washington and British Columbia. BNSF also provides the dispatching in Washington.
  • Union Pacific owns the tracks in Oregon and provides dispatching in Oregon.
  • Canadian National provides dispatching in British Columbia.

Service Operator

WSDOT and ODOT pay Amtrak to operate the service and provide oversight of certain maintenance activities. 

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Train Ownership Amtrak Cascades rolls past Puget Sound

  • WSDOT owns three of the original trainsets.
  • Amtrak owns two of the original trainsets and all the locomotives (though these are being phased out with new WSDOT locomotive purchase).
  • Oregon owns two trainsets. 
  • Washington has purchased eight new locomotives which began service in fall of 2017.

Funding Partners

The states of Washington and Oregon and passengers pay for the Amtrak Cascades service. The United States and Canada pay for border security.

Train Equipment Maintenance

Washington pays Amtrak and train-manufacturer Talgo to maintain Amtrak Cascades equipment.

Multiple Contracts and Agreements

To manage the Amtrak Cascades partnerships we have several contracts and agreements in place. These documents specify the responsibilities of each partner.