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High-Speed Rail Projects


Logo for Stay Back from the Tracks safety campaign
The new train service will bring trains through the DuPont, Lakewood and Joint Base Lewis-McChord neighborhoods along the Point Defiance Bypass starting in Fall of 2017. Please visit our Stay Back from the Tracks page for tips on train safety there and anywhere near tracks.

Workers building new tracks using concrete ties
Modern railroad tracks are built using concrete ties rather than wood.

One of the projects partners with the City of Seattle to renovate King Street Station
Seattle's King Street Station underwent a nationally honored complete renovation and seismic upgrade. WSDOT and several partners contributed to the project.

WSDOT is delivering critical rail infrastructure improvements to improve passenger rail travel choices, preserve the ability to move freight and foster economic growth across our state. The Cascades High-Speed Rail Program (pdf 974 kb) consists of 20 projects that will increase service reliability and add two Amtrak Cascades round trips between Seattle and Portland; for a total of six.

New service begins Dec. 18

Two additional daily Amtrak Cascades round trips between Seattle and Portland begin Dec. 18 – the culmination of the 20-project Cascades High-Speed Rail construction program. The start of new service also includes the debut of the new Tacoma Dome Station in Freighthouse Square, part of the Tacoma-Point Defiance Bypass project. The additional trips make the service more convenient and accessible for all travelers and allow more options for day trips along the corridor. Tickets for the new Dec. 18 options can now be booked on the new schedule on

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 locomotives

In order to meet the ever-increasing demand for more rail service and boost the rail manufacturing industry, Washington state is purchasing eight new passenger train 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.


WSDOT is investing nearly $800 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds to deliver critical rail infrastructure improvements that will expand travel choices and foster economic growth across our state.

Program Outcomes

  • Expand and improve Washington's Amtrak Cascades service between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Two additional daily round trips between Seattle and Portland, for a total of six.
  • Improved on-time performance and schedule reliability.
  • Shorter travel times.
  • Develop the passenger rail corridor for future growth.

Planning for the future

Long-range planning serves as a strategic blueprint for future investment in Washington's freight and passenger rail network.