Amtrak Cascades - Passenger miles traveled & on-time performance


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Measures of Amtrak Cascades performance, including passenger miles traveled and on-time performance

Passenger miles traveled & on-time performance

Amtrak Cascades passenger miles measure the person miles traveled by Amtrak Cascades riders between their origin and destination stations along the corridor.

Amtrak Cascades on-time performance is the percentage of trains that arrived on-time at their endpoint station. Prior to 2018, trains were considered on-time if they arrived at their endpoint station within either 10 or 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, depending on route length. Beginning in 2018, trains overseen by WSDOT were considered on-time if they arrived at their endpoint station within 10 minutes of their scheduled arrival time.

For details on the methodology used to calculate Amtrak Cascades passenger miles traveled and on-time performance, refer to Amtrak Cascades system performance methodology (PDF 5.9MB).

Source: WSDOT Rail, Freight and Ports Division.

Multi-year trends

Passenger miles traveled on the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Portland, OR and Vancouver, B.C. increased by 3.4% between 2017 and 2019, going from 115.9 million passenger miles to 119.8 million. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger miles traveled in 2020 dropped to 23.9 million, down 80.1% compared to 2019. In 2021 passenger miles traveled saw some recovery from the previous year of 34.8 million, up 45.6% from 2020.

Between 2017 and 2021, on-time performance for Washington's Amtrak Cascades trains increased from 46.5% to 50.9%. Over 45% of minutes of delay in 2021 were because of speed restrictions (due to track conditions, congestion, raised bridges, and weather); freight train interference (which occurs when a freight train needs to use the same section of track as an Amtrak Cascades train); and passenger train interference.

Annual highlights

In 2021, Amtrak Cascades passengers rode 34.8 million passenger miles in Washington, an increase of 45.6% from 2020.

In 2021, Washington's Amtrak Cascades trains were on time 50.9% of the time, down from 62.3% in 2020.

In 2020, Amtrak Cascades passengers rode 23.9 million passenger miles in Washington, a decrease of 80.1% from 2019. Ridership in 2020 was about 156,000 a decrease of 79.4% from 756,000 in 2019.

In 2020, Washington's Amtrak Cascades trains were on time 62.3% of the time, up from 58% in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant reductions in ridership and passenger miles traveled in 2020. Pandemic mitigation efforts resulted in reduced non-essential travel, new safety protocols to protect passengers and staff (including limiting ticket sales to 50% of available seats), closure of the Canadian border and significantly reduced service levels.

In 2019, Amtrak Cascades passengers rode 119.8 million passenger miles in Washington, an increase of 3.2% from 2018. Ridership in 2019 was about 753,000, a 3.0% increase from 731,000 in 2018.

In 2019, Washington's Amtrak Cascades trains were on-time 58% of the time, up from 50% in 2018. In 2018, Amtrak Cascades' on-time performance goal was changed from 80% to 88%. This goal was contractually negotiated by WSDOT, Amtrak, and BNSF.

In 2019, Amtrak Cascades trains between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia (the portion of the Amtrak Cascades corridor which WSDOT oversees) experienced 133,312 minutes (over 2,221 hours) of delay, which negatively impacted on-time performance.

In 2018, Amtrak Cascades passengers rode 116.1 million passenger miles in Washington, an increase of 0.2% from 2017. Ridership in 2018 was about 731,000, an increase of 0.4% from 2017 ridership at 728,000.

In 2018, Washington's Amtrak Cascades trains were on time 50.3% of the time, up from 46.5% in 2017. While the on-time performance goal is 88%, several factors caused delays in 2018, including speed restrictions due to track conditions, landslides, and train interference.

In 2017, Amtrak Cascades passengers rode 115.9 million passenger miles in Washington, a decrease of 1.0% from 2016. Ridership in 2017 was about 728,000, a decrease of 1.0% from 2016 ridership at 735,000.

In 2017, Washington's Amtrak Cascades trains were on time 46.5% of the time, down from 74.2% in 2016. While the on-time performance goal is 80%, several factors caused delays in 2017, including speed restrictions due to track conditions, landslides, and train interference.

In 2017, the Seattle-to-Portland segment had the highest on-time performance, at 61.2%.

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