Rail - Cascades Trainsets Overhaul

Project news

  • The suspension balloon replacement project was completed in August 2017. Suspension balloons are large rubber rings placed between railcars that are filled with compressed air. The balloons help make the train ride smooth and comfortable for passengers.
  • All of the illuminated train and car number panels near the exterior doors will start being replaced in spring 2018.
  • WSDOT, Amtrak, and Talgo are developing plans to overhaul the Power Car generators, upgrade the Bistro Car refrigerators, and upgrade the waste storage tanks beneath the cars.

Why is WSDOT overhauling the Amtrak Cascades trainsets?
A trainset is a grouping of passenger rail cars, not including the locomotive. There are four original trainsets in the Amtrak Cascades fleet, comprised of groupings of  13 cars. WSDOT owns two - the Mt.Rainer and Mt. Baker - and Amtrak owns two – the Mt. Hood and the Mt. Olympus. Two trains purchased by Oregon have been added to the fleet for a total of six. These trains operate over the 467-mile rail corridor that connects Eugene, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

Amtrak Cascades trains are heavily used and require periodic upgrades so they continue to provide amenities for Pacific Northwest travelers. The overhaul work extends trainset life so they continue to provide public benefit well into the future.

Since 2008, WSDOT, Amtrak, and the trainsets’ manufacturer, Talgo Inc., have worked together to renovate the Business and Coach Class cars of the original fleet, upgrade the restrooms and vestibules, add safety features, and made upgrades to suspension systems and on-board computers. In 2011, we added Wi-Fi service and installed new video monitors. In May 2013, the upgrades referenced above were complete.

The End Result
The Amtrak Cascades fleet of equipment will continue to be safe, clean, and attractive to the travelling public.

Needs & benefits

  • Continued operation of Amtrak Cascades routes between Eugene, OR, and Vancouver, B.C.
  • Extended service life of the publicly-owned trainsets


  • Upgrades to the fleet began in 2009 and will continue through 2019.


This project is funded through the following sources:

  • 2005 Partnership Funding (Weight Fees) - $9 million
  • Total Funding From All Sources - $9 million


Kirk Fredrickson, Cascades Passenger Services Manager
WSDOT Rail, Freight and Ports Division
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407

Visit: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Rail

View photos of a trainset with upgraded Bistro and Lounge cars.