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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Washington DOT reduces travel time for Amtrak Cascades route


This summer, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) expects to shave 10 minutes off travel time on the Amtrak Cascades route between Seattle and Portland, Ore.

From July 11 to Sept. 13, several daily Amtrak Cascades trains will arrive at their final destinations in three hours and 40 minutes, compared to three hours and 50 minutes previously.

WSDOT previously added extra time to some routes to accommodate rail improvement construction projects, but those interruptions will be limited this summer, department officials said in a press release.

The shorter travel times will help travelers during the state’s peak travel season, said Ron Pate, WSDOT’s rail division director.

Once all improvements are finished in 2017, the Amtrak Cascades corridor will gain two additional daily round trips between Seattle and Portland, with travel times of three hours and 20 minutes. WSDOT also hopes to boost on-time performance.

Additionally, Amtrak's Cascades service in Seattle will depart 35 minutes later than the current schedule. The permanent change was designed to better accommodate business travelers and allow visitors to spend more time in Seattle, WSDOT officials said.