OLYMPIA – Due to a severe drops in ridership, WSDOT is reducing service of Amtrak Cascades trains. Two daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland are the only Cascades trains that will continue to operate in Washington.
The Seattle-Portland evening trains 507 and 508 were suspended as of March 21 and beginning Thursday, March 26, trains 517 and 518 also will be suspended until further notice. The trains that will continue to operate between Portland and Seattle include trains 500, 501, 504, and 505. View schedules for those trains at www.AmtrakCascades.com by clicking on the Buy Tickets button. There is no purchase necessary to view schedules.
In addition, all Amtrak Cascades trains north of Seattle were suspended beginning March 17, in conjunction with the closure of the Vancouver, British Columbia train station by Canadian officials. Daily Cascades thruway buses continue to offer service between Seattle, Everett, Mt. Vernon and Bellingham. Amtrak long-distance trains continue to connect Seattle, Edmonds and Everett.
In Oregon, train service between Eugene and Portland is reduced to one daily roundtrip (trains 500 and 505) and will be running on the weekday schedule seven days a week. All other Amtrak Cascades trains in Oregon are suspended. ODOT’s POINT thruway bus service continues daily service between Portland and Eugene, but with limited tickets to maintain social distancing recommendations.
The Amtrak long-distance train, the Coast Starlight, will continue to connect Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and other cities in between via one daily roundtrip.
All trains will continue to stop at all stations between Seattle and Eugene. However, in Olympia/Lacey and Kelso only the platforms will be available, with no access to the station buildings. Passengers can still board and detrain at these stations, but services normally offered by a volunteer staff, such as ticketing and boarding assistance, are not available at this time.
Food service suspended
Amtrak Cascades also suspended onboard food and beverage services. Passengers are welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages onboard the trains.
Amtrak is deep-cleaning trains and stations and wiping surfaces frequently. With reduced ridership, there is room to easily maintain personal distances.
Amtrak Cascades trains carry an average of 2,300 people per day and as many as 3,600 each day during peak periods. Recent ridership logs in at less than 300 people per day, representing more than an 85% reduction in ridership.
Passenger rail is designated by the Department of Homeland Security as a “critical infrastructure asset” so some trains are likely to continue running despite low ridership. However, additional service changes may be forthcoming as WSDOT monitors ridership levels and implements direction from state and national officials.