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Passenger Train Operations

WSDOT is responsible for the successful operations of the Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service. Through the management of partnerships, budgets, performance goals and customer service needs, WSDOT is able to provide passenger service that meets state requirements and passenger expectations.

WSDOT is working to recognize and implement opportunities for improvements within financial constraints and explore options for opportunities, which reduce costs and increase revenue. Information is also available regarding train safety.

Business Model

PRIIA 209 (pdf 44kb), a federal act eliminating federal funding for state-supported trains, became effective Oct. 1, 2013, requiring states to absorb more costs. By working to reduce costs and increase revenue, WSDOT will reduce the financial impacts to the service.

WSDOT has defined four core focus areas for the Amtrak Cascades business model. These four areas help guide the implementation of new service and are used to measure proposals for new station stops, added amenities and additional trips:

  • Improve customer service.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Increase revenue.
  • Reduce taxpayer subsidies.

Corridor Management   Amtrak Cascades travels through scenic Washington

The Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (PNWRC) runs from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Eugene, Oregon. WSDOT is working with corridor partners to develop agreements to manage the service using a corridor approach, rather than WSDOT managing Washington's and British Columbia's portion, and ODOT managing Oregon's portion. WSDOT and ODOT developed the Cascades Rail Corridor Management Workplan. This workplan allows for the development of a Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor plan between the states. WSDOT will continue to work with British Columbia to add them to the partnership. Managing the service using a corridor partnership approach has many advantages for planning and funding support that would not occur otherwise. WSDOT and ODOT are currently updating the workplan.

WSDOT and ODOT each developed a new federally funded state rail plan. These plans look at freight and passenger rail systems at a policy level. Working as a partnership with plan developers provided opportunities to reduce costs and produce better end products. WSDOT State Rail Plan>>  ODOT State Rail Plan>>

 

Faster U.S./Canada Border Crossing with Pre-Clearance

As part of the United States-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan, WSDOT is working with Amtrak and British Columbia, United States and Canadian federal agencies to implement pre-clearance at the international border. Pre-clearance allows immigration and customs to happen at a single location prior to boarding the train (similar to how airlines handle Customs) and could shave 10 minutes off travel time in the north corridor. 

National Standards for Equipment

Washington state was invited to participate on a national committee to develop processes, practices and standards for procurement and management of new equipment. The committee is sanctioned by federal law under PRIIA Section 305.  

Work with the committee continues, including the development of standards for fleet management that will be applied to the new locomotives and a trainset to be procured with federal funds for the Amtrak Cascades service. The Fleet Management Plan (pdf 1.5mb) will help ensure the most efficient use of equipment for the corridor and manage maintenance requirements to keep equipment running optimally.

 


Want to ride the train? Visit www.amtrakcascades.com/ to plan a trip, view schedules, and make a reservation. For fares and reservations, you can also call 1-800-USA-Rail.