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Fall 2017 Amtrak Cascades schedule


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#1 CHamilton

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:46 AM

 
WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar and Rail Division Operations Manager Jason Biggs publicly unveiled the new Amtrak Cascades schedules at the AAWA picnic meeting in Lacey today (Aug 12). WSDOT and Amtrak are looking at early December to implement the new service with 3:20 running times and contractual guarantee of 88% on time performance from BNSF (though delays outside BNSF's control that will not be counted against them). The attached schedule does not include the Thruway bus connections. Nineteen of the 20 infrastructure projects are complete. Only the new Tacoma Dome Amtrak Station and the Tacoma trestle remain to be finished.

 

 

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#2 Train2104

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:09 AM

I assume those different train numbers south of PDX are merely due to the difference in days of the week, and that on days when both segments run passengers will get a one seat ride?



#3 CHamilton

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:43 AM

I assume those different train numbers south of PDX are merely due to the difference in days of the week, and that on days when both segments run passengers will get a one seat ride?

I don't know. There used to be cross-platform transfers at PDX for some connections, due to operational requirements. 


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#4 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 02:23 PM

 

I assume those different train numbers south of PDX are merely due to the difference in days of the week, and that on days when both segments run passengers will get a one seat ride?

I don't know. There used to be cross-platform transfers at PDX for some connections, due to operational requirements.

I'm thinking the only thru train for a one-seat ride is highlighted in soft lavender-blue, color-keyed to the Oregon Department of Transportation. That's my interpretation; unsourced.



#5 keelhauled

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 02:36 PM



 



I assume those different train numbers south of PDX are merely due to the difference in days of the week, and that on days when both segments run passengers will get a one seat ride?

I don't know. There used to be cross-platform transfers at PDX for some connections, due to operational requirements.

I'm thinking the only thru train for a one-seat ride is highlighted in soft lavender-blue, color-keyed to the Oregon Department of Transportation. That's my interpretation; unsourced.

That is the Coast Starlight. So yes, but not related to ODOT.

Edited by keelhauled, 13 August 2017 - 02:37 PM.

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#6 west point

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 02:57 PM

Speculation   --  It May be the connecting train setup is for equipment rotations.  You can either run the train set thru just a train number change or substitute it go to train scheduled to SEA.  SEA train to go south ?



#7 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:59 PM

All Aboard Washington posts on Facebook

WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar and Rail Division Operations Manager Jason Biggs publicly unveiled the new Amtrak Cascades schedules ... looking at early December to implement the new service ... Nineteen of the 20 infrastructure projects are complete. Only the new Tacoma Dome Amtrak Station and the Tacoma trestle remain to be finished.

attachicon.gif20767909_10155366216854892_4721487675809326783_n.jpg

Whoa!!! Closer study of the various schedules shows that the SB Coast Starlight currently leaves Seattle at 9:35 a.m., arriving in Portland at 1:50 p.m. The newly announced schedule shows the Starlight will leave at 9:50 a.m., with the same 1:50 p.m. arrival. There's a full 15 minutes saved for the Coast Starlight and its passengers and crew! That's got to be good. And it's good for an LD train that Neroden calculates to be already approaching a positive contribution.

 

The Starlight should benefit nicely from other spillovers of the enhanced Cascades trains. Everyone likes more frequencies. Everyone likes new stations, or classic ones refurbished, like Seattle's King Street Station. Everyone likes shiny and new equipment, and here they get two new(ish) Talgo trainsets. Everyone likes trips a little faster, even just 15 minutes. Everyone likes more reliable trains. On this segment the Cascades have a horrible showing, with currently 1 out of 3 trains running late. By the new contract, only 1 out of 8 will be late. And the brands of Amtrak, the Cascades, and even passenger rail in general will all be boosted.

 

Another fine example, as well, of the general rule that more and better Corridor trains help Amtrak's Long Distance service. And of course, the high frequency Cascades service was built upon the existing single round trip of the LD Coast Starlight.  It's not either more Corridor trains/or more Long Distance, it's both.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 13 August 2017 - 04:02 PM.


#8 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 04:21 PM

 

 

 

I assume those different train numbers south of PDX are merely due to the difference in days of the week, and that on days when both segments run passengers will get a one seat ride?

I don't know. There used to be cross-platform transfers at PDX for some connections, due to operational requirements.
I'm thinking the only thru train for a one-seat ride is highlighted in soft lavender-blue, color-keyed to the Oregon Department of Transportation. That's my interpretation; unsourced.
That is the Coast Starlight. So yes, but not related to ODOT.

Thanks for getting me back on the right track, Keelhauled.

 

So on the forthcoming schedule, only one Cascades train each way goes thru Seattle-Portland-Eugene #505, and only one Cascades frequency goes thru Eugene-Portland-Seattle #508. Plus the Coast Starlight runs thru. But still no thru train end to end Vancouver, B.C.-Seattle-Portland-Eugene or vice versa.

 

This route could use another $800 million more investment, to save another 10 or 20 minutes, improve on-time performance, and add more frequencies. But if this first phase is as successful as I expect, it should be easier to fund phase two than it was back in 2009.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 13 August 2017 - 04:26 PM.


#9 fairviewroad

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 11:54 AM

 

I assume those different train numbers south of PDX are merely due to the difference in days of the week, and that on days when both segments run passengers will get a one seat ride?

I don't know. There used to be cross-platform transfers at PDX for some connections, due to operational requirements. 

 

 

It's called putting operational needs ahead of customer needs. Yes, a cross-platform transfer is "easy" but not if you are mobility-impaired, have several kids in tow, or just want to sleep. In those cases it's inconvenient, a hassle, and something that causes you to think twice about using the train next time. I truly hope the timetable is misleading in this respect.

 

At least in the old days of AGR, the cross-platform transfer in PDX netted you an extra 100-point segment minimum for the same amount of money as a through train. Now, even that little "goodie" is no more.

 

All that said, the PDX-SEA portion of the timetable is a remarkable improvement. Also good to see the early morning southbound departure out of PDX has been replaced with something at a more sensible hour. It's bizarre that ODOT ever thought that was a good idea in the first place. It will be interesting to see this timetable once the accompanying Thruway busses are included.

 

Any word on a start date? I have a Cascades trip booked in early September to make sure I take the train along the Puget Sound between OLY and TAC one more time before its routed inland. I assume I'm "safe" but would be good to know an ETA for the new routing.


Edited by fairviewroad, 14 August 2017 - 11:56 AM.


#10 CHamilton

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 12:15 PM

Any word on a start date? I have a Cascades trip booked in early September to make sure I take the train along the Puget Sound between OLY and TAC one more time before its routed inland. I assume I'm "safe" but would be good to know an ETA for the new routing.

We're hearing that the new schedule won't start until December, pending final work on the Tacoma trestle and station.


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#11 west point

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 08:02 PM

I see a neglect by our posters noting that there will be better connections to / from the Builder at both Vancouver, WA / PDX and Seattle.
Also isn't there still some single track between Tacoma and Vancouver, WA ? If so additional funds may allow another 10 minutes schedule reduction ?

#12 desertflyer

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 09:04 PM

I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but when do the Cascades start using the new bypass? Is that date set?



#13 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 10:15 PM

I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but when do the Cascades start using the new bypass? Is that date set?

In the very first post at the top of the thread, the semi-official announcement includes this info:

 

"WSDOT and Amtrak are looking at early December to implement the new service with 3:20 run times."

 

They could start using the by-pass sooner, but, "the new Tacoma Dome Amtrak Station and the Tacoma trestle remain to be finished." So they might hold off.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 14 August 2017 - 10:34 PM.


#14 Big Green Chauvanist

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:16 AM

I see a neglect by our posters noting that there will be better connections to / from the Builder at both Vancouver, WA / PDX and Seattle.
Also isn't there still some single track between Tacoma and Vancouver, WA ? If so additional funds may allow another 10 minutes schedule reduction ?

 

There will be some stretches of single track on the new bypass from Tacoma to Nisqually, where the new route rejoins the mainline, but freight traffic on the bypass will be minimal, so overall planned reduction in travel time between SEA-PDX should not be affected. And on-time arrival percentages should increase. South of Nisqually to VAN is all double tracked.  I think there is even a little (new) triple track in the Kelso/Longview area.



#15 seat38a

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 05:45 AM

According to Wikipedia, the eventual travel time between SEA and PDX is 2:30 from the 3:20 in 2017. What else is left where they can shave off  50 minutes from?



#16 CHamilton

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:45 AM

According to Wikipedia, the eventual travel time between SEA and PDX is 2:30 from the 3:20 in 2017. What else is left where they can shave off  50 minutes from?

There is currently about :45 padding in both directions. Much of that can be removed or reduced. According to WSDOT, 18 of the 20 ARRA-funded projects designed to improve speeds along the Cascades corridor have been completed. When all are finished, we can expect to see further time reductions (I would guess sometime in 2018). The fall schedule is somewhat conservative; I imagine that they're waiting to see how well things go this winter before making further changes.


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#17 desertflyer

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:50 AM

 

I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but when do the Cascades start using the new bypass? Is that date set?

In the very first post at the top of the thread, the semi-official announcement includes this info:

 

"WSDOT and Amtrak are looking at early December to implement the new service with 3:20 run times."

 

They could start using the by-pass sooner, but, "the new Tacoma Dome Amtrak Station and the Tacoma trestle remain to be finished." So they might hold off.

 

 

Thanks for clearing that up. I had read that, but I wasn't sure if the new run time coincided with the bypass, or if with other track upgrades.



#18 Maglev

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:56 AM

They could start using the by-pass sooner, but, "the new Tacoma Dome Amtrak Station and the Tacoma trestle remain to be finished." So they might hold off.

 

 

 

 

 

I am still confused on when the by-pass will open.  If use of the bypass involves a change of stations, I would think that the timing of the changeover is not flexible but must be made public well in advance.


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#19 seat38a

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:53 PM

 

According to Wikipedia, the eventual travel time between SEA and PDX is 2:30 from the 3:20 in 2017. What else is left where they can shave off  50 minutes from?

There is currently about :45 padding in both directions. Much of that can be removed or reduced. According to WSDOT, 18 of the 20 ARRA-funded projects designed to improve speeds along the Cascades corridor have been completed. When all are finished, we can expect to see further time reductions (I would guess sometime in 2018). The fall schedule is somewhat conservative; I imagine that they're waiting to see how well things go this winter before making further changes.

 

Oh wow, didn't know they had 45 min up their sleeves. That would be huge if they got the time down to 2:30 min. Its almost like the travel time cuts when a new HSR line opens up in Europe.



#20 zephyr17

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 01:29 PM

 

They could start using the by-pass sooner, but, "the new Tacoma Dome Amtrak Station and the Tacoma trestle remain to be finished." So they might hold off.

 

 

 

 

 

I am still confused on when the by-pass will open.  If use of the bypass involves a change of stations, I would think that the timing of the changeover is not flexible but must be made public well in advance.

 

No "if" involved.  The current Tacoma station is not on the new route, which diverges at Reservation.  The new Amtrak station is at Freighthouse Square on the old Milwaukee.


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