Amtrak Restores Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., Service to Pre-Pandemic Levels, With Additional Trips to Portland to Come

“This meaningful milestone isn’t the final stop,” says Cantwell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Amtrak Cascades route between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., is once again running at pre-pandemic levels, with two round trips per day. Previously, Amtrak was running just one round trip along the route.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, has consistently pushed Amtrak to restore the service. She released this statement:

“Finally, Amtrak Cascades service is restored to pre-pandemic levels, providing travelers a convenient transportation option to skip traffic along the I-5 corridor. But this meaningful milestone isn’t the final stop. Amtrak has committed to adding two additional trips between Seattle and Portland this fall providing commuters even more travel options.”

Pre-pandemicmore than 750,000 annual riders utilized the route connecting the State of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia – a critical connector for the region’s businesses and travelers. The route from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. was suspended altogether in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2022, as the country recovered from the pandemic, Sen. Cantwell spoke with Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner and urged him to restore service between the State of Washington and Vancouver B.C.

Amtrak restored one of the two round-trips in September 2022. Shortly after, Sen. Cantwell pressed the nominees for Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors in a committee hearing on how they planned to restore full service.

“We had a pandemic and we had disruption of services in key areas across the West,” Sen. Cantwell said“We cannot simply say we don't have enough conductors, we don't have enough baggage handlers… We're not messing around here. We're not messing around here when it comes to the reestablishing (of) these services.”

Throughout the pandemic, Sen. Cantwell was a champion of the nation’s freight network. Due to her leadership, the bipartisan infrastructure bill provides $66 billion for rail grants she authorized as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, including $22 billion for Amtrak. Currently, USDOT is accepting applications for the Federal-State Partnership Passenger Rail grant program which can be used to improve the Cascades service or build a new rail route in Washington state. The applications are due tomorrow, March 7, 2023.