Amtrak to Add Second Round-Trip to Vancouver BC by March 7

Cantwell: “I’m thankful that Amtrak is finally on the path to fully restore service in the Pacific Northwest”; Additional service pushed for by Cantwell will restore Amtrak Cascades service to pre-pandemic levels

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Amtrak announced in a letter to the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation that the company will add a second round-trip to Vancouver, B.C. beginning March 7, restoring full service on the Cascades line to pre-pandemic levels.

In the letter, Amtrak also stated that it will increase the number of daily trips between Seattle and Portland from four to six beginning in fall 2023.

“I’m thankful that Amtrak is finally on the path to fully restore service in the Pacific Northwest. I-5 corridor in the State of Washington is one of the most congested corridors in the nation and the Cascades service provides a convenient alternative to travelers. I will work to make sure Amtrak meets its commitment to restore additional service to Vancouver B.C. by March 7th and add two trips this fall,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Pre-pandemic, more 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 on March 7, 2023.