Amtrak to resume round-trip service between Vancouver and Portland starting March

A conductor makes sure all is clear as an Amtrak train pulls out of the station in Freeport, Maine in December 2021. The U.S. government-owned service will resume round trips from Vancouver to Portland starting on March 7. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo - image credit)
A conductor makes sure all is clear as an Amtrak train pulls out of the station in Freeport, Maine in December 2021. The U.S. government-owned service will resume round trips from Vancouver to Portland starting on March 7. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo - image credit)

Amtrak is set to reintroduce a second round-trip on its passenger train service, from Vancouver to Portland, Ore., meaning the service will now run at pre-pandemic schedules.

According to a statement from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Committee of Transportation, the round-trip will resume on March 7.

The U.S. government-owned railway had already resumed service between Vancouver and Seattle, Wash., in September 2022 after more than two years off the tracks due to pandemic restrictions and subsequent staffing shortages.

Now, Amtrak says the Cascades service connecting the three Pacific Northwest cities will be fully operational by March.

 

According to a letter sent to officials, the service will also increase the number of trips between Seattle and Portland starting in the fall.

"I will work to make sure Amtrak meets its commitment to restore additional service to Vancouver, B.C., by March 7 and add two trips this fall," said Cantwell in her statement.

Prior to the pandemic, roughly 159,000 people rode the train route between Seattle and Vancouver every year. And nearly double that number of passengers boarded or disembarked at stops between the two cities.

Washington State Department of Transportation officials had told CBC News last year that more round-trips would resume if demand was high.

CBC News has reached out regarding ridership on the route after it resumed.

Both WSDOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation are responsible for the Cascades route service, with Washington overseeing the services running to B.C.

B.C.'s government has supported the idea of a high-speed rail connection from Vancouver to Seattle and Portland.

Then-premier John Horgan said in 2019 that a high-speed, one-hour trip between Seattle and Vancouver would "strengthen the relationship" between Washington state and B.C., and create "countless opportunities" on both sides of the border.

 

Amtrak asking for passenger input

In addition to resuming the round-trips, the Amtrak Cascades service is asking train users to provide input on the next two decades of the service, requesting them to take a survey about what Amtrak should prioritize along the route going forward.

Washington State Department of Transportation/Flickr
Washington State Department of Transportation/Flickr

Amtrak already plans to invest in new "mocha and evergreen" coloured trains starting in 2026, with eight new passenger cars set to hit the tracks then.

The trains will be built in California and will feature the peaks of Mount Rainier in Washington state, and Mount Hood in Oregon, on every car.