Author Archives: All Aboard Washington

Expanded Amtrak Cascades service launches December 18!

The Washington State Dept. of Transportation has announce the two additional Amtrak Cascades roundtrips between Seattle and Portland will begin on December 18. There will be earlier trains and later trains departing both Seattle and Portland than what we now have. Running times will be reduced and on time performance will be improved. Here is the press release from WSDOT:

WSDOT adds two daily Amtrak Cascades roundtrips starting Dec.18

 Tuesday, October 3, 2017 – 13:00
 Janet Matkin, communications, 360-705-7966, 360-522-3114 (mobile)

Barbara LaBoe, communications, 360-705-7080

All trains move to new inland route between Tacoma and Olympia

OLYMPIA – Just in time for the holidays, WSDOT is starting two additional Amtrak Cascades daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland. Beginning Monday, Dec. 18, extra morning and evening trains will run in both directions – for a total of 12 trains every day.

“People can get where they’re going sooner, with more schedule choices and better reliability,” said Ron Pate, WSDOT Rail, Freight and Ports Division director.

This permanent change to the Amtrak Cascades schedule means travel time between the two cities will be reduced by 10 minutes to 3 hours and 20 minutes, thanks to the rerouting of trains between Tacoma and Olympia and the upgrading of tracks and signal systems. The new route takes trains on an inland corridor parallel to Interstate 5 through Tacoma, Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and DuPont. It eliminates a major chokepoint for passenger trains near Point Defiance in Tacoma and separates them from freight trains that will continue to use the old waterfront route. The results are shorter travel times and greater on-time reliability.

“WSDOT worked closely with many partners over the last six years to prepare for these new schedules. Dec. 18 marks a major milestone for passenger rail service in the Pacific Northwest,” Pate said. “While the scenic beauty of the Point Defiance route can’t be denied, we know passengers will appreciate the ability to make easier, and more reliable, day trips between Seattle and Portland. Spectacular water views are still available for passengers between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.”

WSDOT invested nearly $800 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to offer these new schedules, recently earning national recognition for the successful completion of this major railroad construction program.

The new schedule will see trains, pulled by WSDOT’s new Charger locomotives, leaving both Portland and Seattle every two to three hours. The first trains will depart Seattle at 6 a.m. and Portland at 6:20 a.m. The latest trains between the two cities will leave at 7:25 p.m. from Portland and 7:45 p.m. from Seattle. Station stops between the two cities include Tukwila, Tacoma, Olympia/Lacey, Centralia, Kelso, and Vancouver, Washington.

Amtrak Cascades also will continue to run daily trips to Vancouver, British Columbia, and Eugene, Oregon – serving a total of 18 cities on the corridor. December’s schedule changes will find later departures for some trains between Portland to Eugene to better connect with trains coming from Seattle, and to better meet passenger needs in Oregon.

Tickets for the newly added trains now are available for sale at Those booking early will receive the best prices, with special discounts available for children, students, seniors and the military.

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Stampede Pass Rail Study

UPDATE: The final report is available.

It’s been nearly forty years since the last passenger train linked the Tri-Cities and Seattle via Stampede Pass, and almost ever since then communities have been trying to get the trains back. Now with funding from All Aboard Washington, a passenger rail advocacy group, a study is underway to gauge public interest in this idea. We want to find out whether people would take a train on the Stampede Pass corridor, how often they would take the train, and where they would go. If this service is restored, it would link communities like Pasco, Prosser, Toppenish, Yakima, Ellensburg, Cle Elum and Auburn. In Auburn, the line would connect with trains north to Seattle and south to Tacoma and Olympia. In Pasco, the line would connect with the existing Amtrak service between Portland and Chicago. Restoring service won’t be easy or quick. It will require significant investments to make the corridor (which now carries only freight trains), compatible with passenger services. But it might be worth it. What do you think?

Thank you.
John Bowen
Geography Department
Central Washington University Ellensburg

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AAWA Pasco rail summit is September 16

All Aboard Washington’s annual Eastern Washington meeting, originally set for July 15, is now scheduled for Saturday September 16 at the TRAC Center in Pasco from noon until 4 p.m. The TRAC Center is located in northwest Pasco at 6600 Burden Blvd (I-182 exit 9), several miles from the Amtrak station and downtown Pasco.

This meeting will explore what will be required to restore regular passenger train service in the Yakima Valley, on the Stampede Pass line, which originates in Auburn at the BNSF Seattle-Portland mainline and heads east over Stampede Pass, serving Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Yakima, Toppenish and Pasco. Eventually service would go on to Spokane. State and local elected officials, including Washington State Senate Transportation Committee Chair Curtis King (R-Yakima), and community and business leaders from the Yakima Valley are invited.

For more information and to register click here or on the above Pasco Rail Summit link (in the red bar).

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All Aboard Washington Picnic Meeting Aug 12

All Aboard Washington’s annual picnic meeting will be August 12 in Lacey, near Olympia-Lacey Centennial Station. Time: 11:30-4:00.

Check here for details.

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All Aboard June event is for fun

Saturday, June 10 10am – 2pm.  Skykomish, WA 

GN&C Railway 101 N 5th St

This will be a fun event for everyone instead of a meeting. All Aboard Washington will be traveling to the town of Skykomish on US 2 east of Everett, and 45 minutes from Monroe.

We will be riding the Great Northern Cascade Railway, a 1/8 scale ride-on train. GN&C has over 2700 feet of track, with more on the way. The railroad sits directly adjacent to the BNSF Stevens Pass mainline.

GN&C RY photo

For more information Great Northern and Cascade Railway

Meet in Skykomish at 10 AM for rides and exploring the town, with lunch on your own. After lunch those who wish to hike the Iron Goat Trail to near the site of the Wellington disaster can do so and others can slip away to do what they wish.

Please note, you must have a Northwest Forest Pass if you use either the Martin Creek or Wellington trailheads on the “Iron Goat” trail.   If you use the Scenic Trailhead, no pass is necessary.

For more information Iron Goat Trail website

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Hans Mueller, founding member of AAWA, passes away

Hans Mueller, a founding member of the Washington Association of Railroad Passengers (what we now know as All Aboard Washington) passed away on April 7 at the age of 98. Hans was a dear and beloved member of our organization. He served on the board of directors for many years and was both treasurer and membership director in the 1980s and 90s. He is a recipient of our Tom Martin Award for his long time dedication to AAWA and advocacy for passenger rail service and balanced transportation.

When I joined WashARP in the early 80s Hans was the membership director. His database in those days was 3 by 5 index cards. His son Rick got him a computer about 1990 and we went electronic to manage the membership.

One of my many memories was when Hans and I traveled to the spring NARP meeting in Washington, DC, using VIA Rail Canada. We rode the legendary Canadian from Vancouver to Toronto and used VIA corridor service to travel to Montreal and Quebec City before heading south to DC. Here are additional thoughts about Hans.


Chuck Mott, president of All Aboard Arizona, and longtime member and former president and chairman of WashARP/AAWA:

Mary Jo and I were deeply saddened to learn of Hans Mueller’s passing away.

Hans was a faithful supporter of our organization during the entire time I served as your president and chairman, 1983-2008. He was the person who was responsible for me joining WashARP, back in November 1981.

Read More »

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  • Upcoming Events

    1. RPA Spring 2019 Washington, DC Advocacy Summit & Day on The Hill

      March 31 - April 3
    2. AAWA Board and General Meeting 4/2019

      April 13 @ 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM
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