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'Amtrak Cascades': the good and the not so good

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#1 unitedstatesfan


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Posted 09 October 2016 - 10:29 PM

In August 2016 I travelled on the northbound 'Amtrak Cascades' twice: firstly from Portland, Oregon to Edmonds, Washington, and then from Edmonds to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


On Saturday 27 August, I observed Amtrak locos 117 and 176 departing from Portland on a 12 car southbound Train#11 'Coast Starlight' at 1431 with many passengers having boarded it there and a smaller number having alighted.


The doors to the platforms were then opened and I boarded the northbound 1450 hours 'Amtrak Cascades' which was the 'Mt Olympus' Talgo set.


Due to a late running Amtrak Thruway coach from Eugene, we did not depart until 1503.  


Just before vancouver (USA), we crossed a southbound 'Cascades' at 1522. 


At 1535, we crossed an intermodal with two locos put away in a loop, or as USA residents say, in a siding.  This was followed by another cross, this time with a southbound steel train at 1537.


I was by then tucking into my chicken teriyaki bowl purchased from the cafe car that was serving a steady line of passengers.  With a Pyramid Thunderbird India Pale Ale beer to accompany the rice bowl, my bill came to US$14.25 given that I received US#3 off due to travelling in business class.  


We crossed another southbound 'Cascades' at 1622 but lost time with the Olympia-Lacey stop being from 1711 to 1713 instead of the timetabled 1642.


We then crossed a very long oil train at 1733, then overtook a freight train (mostly containers, but not a 'pure' intermodal' at 1737.  


At Tacoma, 1747 to 1751, 5161-4444 and another two locos were on a freight.


At Clear Creek if I have the name correct, we crossed a 70 vehicle freight with five locos and mainly oil and box wagons.


There were severe speed restrictions approaching Seattle where the stop was from 1847 to 1900, making us 10 minutes late on departure, which was creditable considering that new stock was loaded into the cafe car.  Not sure why sufficient stock is not loaded when the train starts earlier in the day.


Edmonds arrival was about 10 late at 1927 where I alighted after some pleasant scenery.  It was a quick walk to my hotel.


I had travelled on an overnight Talgo set in Spain a long time ago but not in the USA.  The cars rode well, even though they are far from new.


Patronage of 'Amtrak Cascades' was reasonable on this Saturday afternoon trip, but subsequent trips on other days of the week were busier.



Edited by unitedstatesfan, 09 October 2016 - 10:29 PM.

#2 bobnjulie


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Posted 04 November 2016 - 08:51 AM

I really liked the Cascades when we went on it.... we went Vancouver to Seattle in the winter and it was dark most of the way.  We'd really love to ride it when you can see the scenery!

#3 GBNorman


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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:45 PM

Hopefully this segment on NBC Nightly News aired tonight will prove of interest


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