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Friday, February 11, 2011
Andrew Wood, State Rail Office, 360-705-7938
Vickie Sheehan, WSDOT Communications, 360-705-7904
OLYMPIA – Thinking about taking your valentine to Vancouver, B.C.? Heading into the spring travel season, Amtrak Cascades is offering ticket promotions, free food vouchers on some routes and upgraded amenities in a push to improve service throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Starting Feb. 14, Amtrak Cascades will offer travelers a free food voucher to use when riding to and from Vancouver, B.C. Amtrak Cascades “Bistro Bucks” can be redeemed for up to $10 in food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases in the Bistro car. The offer continues through March 18 and more details are available at AmtrakCascades.com/BistroBucks.
Additionally, upgrades are under way on all video systems on Amtrak Cascades trains. New flat screen monitors will replace outdated systems, improving communication between passengers and Amtrak staff and providing passengers with more real-time travel information.
Last month, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Amtrak added free Wi-Fi service on all trains. Passengers are enjoying the new service, which is expected to attract more riders and business travelers. The Wi-Fi service operates via cellular 3G technology using high gain antennas and multiple cellular carriers, allowing passengers to connect to the Internet for general Web surfing and access to e-mail.
The Wi-Fi service and new video system, provided jointly by Amtrak and WSDOT, is part of a long-term project to refurbish all the trains and extend their service life for the next 20 years. Completed work so far has included outfitting each set of trains with new leather seating, updated interior color schemes and paneling, and new flooring. Future work includes improvements to the Bistro and Lounge cars.
Ridership on Amtrak Cascades finished 2010 with a 16-year high of 838,251 passengers. Annual ridership increased by 10 percent compared to 2009, or 76,641 passengers. Ridership figures set record benchmarks eight months out of the year in 2010.
Amtrak Cascades operates three daily round trips between Portland and Seattle; one daily round trip between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and one between Portland and Vancouver, B.C.; and daily service between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. For Amtrak Cascades fares and schedules, visit AmtrakCascades.com.
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