WSDOT is delivering critical rail infrastructure improvements to improve travel choices, preserve the ability to move freight, and foster economic growth across our state. The Cascades High-Speed Rail Program consists of a series of projects that will increase service reliability and add two Amtrak Cascades round trips between Seattle and Portland; for a total of six.
Enhancing rail safety
This set of rail projects will improve track quality, eliminate track defects, and upgrade wayside horns along the corridor to direct audible warnings toward cars and pedestrians at railroad crossings. Electronic upgrades will help prevent signal failures and set the stage for 21st century train control technology.
Relieving rail congestion
The same way highways jam up when there are too many cars, rail lines jam up with too many trains. Larger, slow-moving freight trains usually can pull over onto another track to move out of the way of faster passenger trains, but not always. There are a number of projects in Washington state aimed at relieving congestion by building bypass tracks or passing lanes or by extending siding tracks.
Building American-made trains
In order to meet the ever-increasing demand for more rail service and boost the rail manufacturing industry, Washington state is purchasing new passenger coaches and locomotives, designed and built in the United States. This "next generation" rail equipment will feature better fuel efficiency, added passenger comfort, travel conveniences and safety upgrades.
Upgrading passenger stations
As the demand for reliable passenger rail travel increases, stations are being expanded and refurbished to serve growing numbers of passengers and to provide them with enhanced security, comfort and timely information.
Planning for the future
Long-range planning serves as a strategic blueprint for future investment in Washington's freight and passenger rail network.