Amtrak Cascades won’t travel between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., until later this year, due to staff shortages

 Amtrak Cascades won’t travel between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., until later this year, due to staff shortages


Amtrak will postpone the restoration of Cascades passenger train service between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, until December due to staff shortages.

The service gap occurred despite the Biden administration’s $ 66 billion allocation to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to continue to sustain and expand Amtrak’s national rail service to new towns including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Columbus and Nashville, The Seattle Times reports.

Railroad spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation Janet Matkin said Washington state transportation officials expect the trains to operate again in the summer or even in late spring. .

Amtrak does not have enough conductors, mechanics and onboard service staff to operate the trains, even if new classes of conductors are in training, according to a letter to train directors at Washington and Oregon from Ray Lang, a vice president of Amtrak.

An estimated 159,000 people each year rode between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, before the pandemic, or 290,000 if stations between major cities were included, according to Matkin. Fares traditionally account for about two-thirds of the cost of the operation, while states account for the rest.

“Amtrak’s lack of support for the Amtrak Cascades service is unsustainable and Amtrak’s plans to delay the resumption of service in Canada for seven months or more are not acceptable to WSDOT and ODOT,” the statement said. response signed by WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar and Oregon Department of Transportation Director Kris Strickler, proposing at least partial service at present.

Amtrak is now announcing 18 jobs in Seattle, such as coach cleaners, chefs and electricians, among nearly 450 open positions nationwide.

Washington state lawmakers this year approved $ 150 million to study and plan high-speed rail between British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, possibly replacing Amtrak in the future. But it is estimated to take at least $ 42 billion and decades to build.



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