Amtrak Cascades Service Development Plan

Find details on our Amtrak Cascades Service Development Plan, which will provide paths to improve the Amtrak Cascades service over the next 20 years.

Developing a new plan

Much has changed on the Amtrak Cascades corridor since the last long-range plan was created in 2006. A refreshed plan that accounts for growth, operational, and social changes is needed to guide future improvements. The first phase of an Amtrak Cascades Service Development Plan (SDP) process is underway now to create a preliminary blueprint for improving Amtrak Cascades service for the next two decades.

The Amtrak Cascades Preliminary SDP will provide a summary of possible alternatives to improve the Amtrak Cascades service over the next 20 years. It offers a blueprint for future capital improvements and service changes and is at the core of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements for improving and expanding passenger rail service on the corridor. Preparing a SDP will improve our ability to compete for federal funds for future infrastructure and service improvements.

In December 2023, WSDOT was awarded a Corridor Identification and Development grant from the Federal Railroad Administration. This application was submitted by WSDOT in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation. The $500,000 award designates Amtrak Cascades as a  national rail corridor that is now part of the federal funding pipeline for future intercity passenger rail projects. The CID funding will support preparation of the next phase of the process which is an integrated service-development plan for both Washington and Oregon that creates a blueprint for improvements along the entire corridor over the next 20 years. 

Preliminary SDP planning

In partnership with FRA and BNSF, WSDOT's started the SDP process with a Preliminary SDP document that is focused on the portion of the current Amtrak Cascades route through western Washington between Portland, OR and Vancouver, BC. 

Work on the Preliminary SDP includes these components:

  • Intercity passenger travel demand research to identify travel trends likely to affect ridership and develop future scenarios that reflect these trends.
  • Preliminary Purpose and Need development to explain the goals of the project and the needs it is intended to address.
  • Service option development to define options for changing Amtrak Cascades to address future travel trends and analyze how the current route would need to be modified to accommodate them.
  • Alternative development to forecast ridership for the service options under the different scenarios we developed, then use a screening process to determine which ones should be the focus of further SDP analysis.

Public review of the Preliminary Service Development Plan

Your feedback on the final Preliminary Service Development Plan is now being sought. Input received during this process will be used to complete the corridor-wide SDP which merges the Washington and Oregon plans into one document. 

Please use this comment form to submit your comments or questions on specific items in the documents. Comment form (Excel 19KB) or comment form (PDF114KB)

General comments can be submitted by email. Please include page number and line item if appropriate.

All comments should be submitted by April 18, 2024 via email to

Preliminary Service Development Plan (PDF 2028KB)

Appendix A - Preliminary Purpose and Need Statement (PDF 407KB)

Appendix B - Public Engagement Summary (PDF 659KB)

Appendix C - Initial Service Options and Ridership Forecasting (PDF 467KB)

Appendix D - Corridor Capacity (PDF 533KB

Information in other languages


Following the public review period, the Preliminary Service Development Plan will be finalized and submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration in Spring 2024.

Service partners

Several partners are directly involved in developing, funding, or operating Amtrak Cascades. They will be closely involved in developing this Preliminary SDP, contributing their expertise to the work.

  • Federal Railroad Administration
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
  • BNSF Railway
  • Amtrak
  • Sound Transit

Get involved

To be notified by email of updates as we continuing planning for the future of Amtrak Cascades sign up for our Amtrak Cascades Future Planning mailing list.

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