Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond and Oregon Director of Transportation Matt Garrett said they will create a corridor management plan to include governance, centralizing fleet management, scheduling, budgeting and capital planning, with a goal of improving passenger-rail performance that benefits riders and economies in both states.
This summer, Oregon will introduce two new 13-car Talgo trains into the fleet, providing the opportunity for improving schedules during peak demand. WSDOT recently secured nearly $800 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to make improvements on the BNSF rail lines that will result in higher passenger-train speeds and more reliable performance. WSDOT will be purchasing eight high-speed locomotives that will substantially improve overall corridor service by 2017.
With the ARRA funds, the goal is to add two daily Amtrak Cascades roundtrips between Seattle and Portland, for a total of six each day. The improvements are also intended to reduce travel times, as well as improve average on-time performance from the current 70 percent to 88 percent.