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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 traveled are the person miles traveled (PMT) specifically by Amtrak Cascades riders (excluding train staff) and reported by segments.

Amtrak Cascades on-time performance is the percentage of trains that arrive 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 are considered on time if they arrive at their endpoint station within 10 minutes of their scheduled arrival time. The endpoint stations for Washington trains are Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, and Portland, OR.



For details on the methodology used to calculate Amtrak Cascades passenger miles traveled and on-time performance, see Amtrak Cascades system performance methodology (pdf 5.9 mb).


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 12.1% between 2015 and 2019, going from 106.9 million passenger miles to 119.8 million.

Over the same five-year period, on-time performance for Washington's Amtrak Cascades trains decreased from 73.0% to 58.0%. Over 45% of minutes of delay in 2019 fell into one of three categories: slow speed restrictions due to track conditions such as 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 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 an increase of 3.0% from 2018 ridership at 731,000.

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, an decrease of 1.0% from 2016. Ridership in 2017 was about 728,000 an 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—Portland segment had the highest on-time performance, at 61.2%.

In 2016, Amtrak Cascades passengers rode 117.1 million passenger miles in Washington, an increase of 9.5% from 2015. Ridership in 2016 was about 735,000 an increase of 9.4% from 2015 ridership at 672,000, created by the weakened Candadian dollar.

In 2016, Washington’s Amtrak Cascades trains were on time 74.2% of the time, up from 73.0% in 2015. The on-time performance goal is 80%, but intertrain congestion consistently causes corridor delays.

In 2016, the Seattle to Portland segment had the highest on-time performance, at 78.4%.

In 2015, Amtrak Cascades passengers rode 106.9 million passenger miles in Washington, an decrease of 4.3% from 2014. Ridership in 2015 was about 672,000 an decrease of 4.0% from 2014 ridership at 700,000, likely due to lower gas prices and more intense construction on the rail corridor leading to longer trip times and schedule changes. Washington trains carried each passenger for an average of 110 passenger miles per gallon of fuel in 2015, based on a locomotive fuel use estimate of 1.2 gallons per mile.

In 2015, Washington’s Amtrak Cascades trains were on time 73% of the time, up from 70.3% in 2014, due in part to ongoing construction projects that reduced congestion and improve trip reliability with new bypass tracks for slower freight trains.

In 2015, the Seattle to Portland segment had the highest on-time performance, at 77.7%.

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