The Amtrak Cascades route, spanning from Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, British Columbia, through the Interstate-5 corridor, returned to its full service on March 6, Amtrak announced.
The northern section of the route, running from Seattle and through Bellingham, closed in May 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions against all non-essential travel and reopened in September 2022 to accommodate passengers traveling from Washington to Canada.
Previously, riders utilizing the full route from Oregon to Canada would have to transfer trains in Seattle to continue their route, but now, passengers have the ability to travel directly from Portland to Vancouver, or any of the several stops north of Seattle.
The two round trips offered per day from Portland to Vancouver will work to accommodate more passengers in hopes to return to pre-pandemic levels, Amtrak stated.
In 2019, the Cascades route served more than 750,000 passengers per year, with that number diminishing to just over 150,000 passengers in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The approximate eight-hour commute from Portland to Canada allows riders to bypass interstate traffic and reduce their personal carbon footprint in the region. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Amtrak trains are 45% more energy efficient than personal passenger vehicles and 34% more energy efficient than domestic air travel. The railroad also has a commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
In addition to the restoration of the northern route, Amtrak is expected to increase the number of daily trains traveling south of Seattle later this year.