Amtrak Cascades ridership up record 7.4 percent

Amtrak Cascades ridership in 2007 increased to 676,670 — a 7.4 percent increase over 2006 and the highest annual ridership total since the inception of Amtrak Cascades service, according to a statement released Friday.
Officials said more convenient schedules and better connections, along with rising fuel prices for motorists influenced ridership growth. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) expects ridership to continue to increase with the extension of the current Portland-Seattle-Bellingham service to Vancouver, B.C in mid-2008.
“We are very pleased with the growth of the Amtrak Cascades service and the significant milestone that we have reached,” said Ken Uznanaski, WSDOT Rail Passenger Manager. “The trend is continuing into 2008 with both January and February ridership up over 13 percent compared to 2007 — the highest ridership totals for these months in the history of the service.”
Additionally, Amtrak and WSDOT have partnered to complete a major interior renovation on all coach and business class cars used on Amtrak Cascades. The $10 million project began summer 2007 and the first completed cars will go into service spring 2008.
Amtrak Cascades consists of four daily round-trips between Portland and Seattle, with service between Bellingham and Portland, via Seattle; between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland; and between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak under contracts with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. For Amtrak Cascades fares and schedules, visit .