Amtrak Cascades Pacific Northwest High

Amtrak Cascades
Pacific Northwest High-Speed Rail Corridor
Transportation Border Working Group
Kerri Woehler
Rail Planning and Strategic Assessment Manager
Rail Division
Ron Pate
Rail Division Director
Lynn Peterson
Secretary of Transportation
Katy Taylor
Chief of Staff
Detroit, Michigan
April 23, 2013
Amtrak Cascades Intercity Passenger Rail
467-mile corridor with service between
Vancouver, B.C. and Eugene through Seattle
and Portland.
2012 performance:
• 11 daily trains totaling 4,015 annually
• Ridership exceeded 830,000
• Ticket revenues exceeded $30 m
• FFY Farebox recovery 64.3%
Partnerships make it possible:
• BNSF and UP own the tracks
• Amtrak operates the service
• Talgo and Amtrak maintain equipment
• Who pays:
• The states of Oregon and
Washington, Amtrak, and
passengers pay for the service U.S.
and Canada provide funds for border
Keys to Success
• Incremental approach
 Adding daily service
one round trip at a time
 Strategic planning and
project development
 Seek grants and other
• Collaborative planning and
stakeholder engagement
• Supportive Governor,
stakeholders and legislative
• Use of all funding sources
available (state and federal)
Amtrak Cascades at the International Border. June 29, 2011. AaverageJoe/Michael Chu. Flickr. April
16, 2013.
• Effective cost management
Preclearance for Amtrak Cascades
Saves 10-minutes by eliminating international border train stop
• Reduced travel time
• Improved on-time performance
• Reduces risk of unanticipated delays
(can be up to 60 mins)
• Improves convenience for passengers
• Makes international rail travel a
stronger component of the
transportation system
• Supports strategy to increase
ridership in our 2nd largest market
Beyond the Border: full preclearance at
Vancouver, B.C. for passenger rail
Intercity Rail Connecting Major Economic Centers
Service to and from
Vancouver, B.C.:
• 2 daily round trips
• Vancouver, B.C. / Seattle
• Vancouver, B.C. / Portland
Vancouver, B.C. (Metro)
2.5 million residents
141,000 on/offs
*Second train introduced in 2009 to
support the Vancouver Olympic Games.
Made permanent in 2011.
• Seattle/Vancouver, B.C., is
biggest market for Amtrak
Cascades, contributing 13% of
total annual revenue
• Estimated annual economic
impact for Vancouver, B.C., is
$14 million
Seattle (Metro)
3.5 million residents
461,000 on/offs
Portland (Metro)
2.3 million residents
462,000 on/offs
Service is Key to
Future Growth
• Strong anchors in
population centers
• Supports regional efforts
to improve international
travel and trade
Key challenges:
• Passenger inconvenience
at the border
• Slow travel speeds due to
infrastructure needs north
of the U.S. border
Population density adjacent to Amtrak
Cascades stations, 2010/2011
Funding Responsibilities Will Change Dramatically
Cost Sharing for 2011-2013,
Based on Subsidy
October 1, 2013:
Section 209 of the Passenger Rail
Investment and Improvement Act
of 2008 (PRIIA) takes effect:
• Amtrak’s contribution to
operating subsides will be $0
• Washington and Oregon will
assume 100% of operating
subsidies for Amtrak Cascades
• It is estimated Washington will
pay up to $5 million more per
Addressing the Challenges
• Deliver consistently on customer expectations for fast, reliable, and affordable
high-speed rail
• Build revenue to cover the cost of operations
• Grow ridership in economic centers
• Pool resources for increased efficiencies
• Manage costs
• Capital improvements
• Washington and Oregon corridor approach
• Washington and British Columbia collaboration
High-Speed Rail Capital Investments Will
Improve Amtrak Cascades Service
• U.S. federal high-speed rail funds - $794.9 million
• Supports overall program goal of more frequent and
reliable Amtrak Cascades service
– Two additional round trips between Seattle and
Portland, for a total of 12 trains per day
– Improved on-time performance to 88%
– 10-minute time savings
• 20 projects in Washington building additional rail-line
capacity and upgrading tracks, utilities, signals,
passenger stations and advanced warning systems
• British Columbia: The province’s $67 million
investment in the South Fraser Perimeter Road
project will eliminate two at-grade crossings
Corridor Management Approach
Washington and Oregon
• Memorandum of Understanding
• Appointed Corridor Director
• Established on-time performance
task force
WA, OR, BC, Amtrak, BNSF, UP, Sound Transit, and
• State rail plan coordination
• WSDOT/ODOT monthly team
• Created and endorsed Cascades
Rail Corridor Management
• Work on tri-party operating and
maintenance agreements is
Cross Border Collaboration
Washington and British Columbia
Joint Transportation Executive Council,
established by Governor and Premier
Current work program focus:
Joint letter requesting the
implementation of integrated
customs and immigration preclearance for passenger rail in
Vancouver, B.C. per the stated
commitment in the joint federal
“Beyond the Border” Action Plan
Assess responses to financial
operating pressures resulting from
the elimination of U.S. Federal
Amtrak funding. Options include
increasing fares, reducing service,
or increasing partner contributions.
Amtrak Cascades over the Fraser Bridge heading to Vancouver, B.C. Rog45/Roger.
Boats N Stuff - Brownsville - Surrey BC. 28 September 2006. Flickr. April 16, 2013.
Deliver capital improvement
Priorities for Cross-Border Service
Eliminate stop at the border by
combining Immigrations and Customs
prior to boarding in Canada
• Unique needs for Amtrak Cascades
• Well-functioning system already
in place - implement the system
that already works
Other possible focus areas for TBWG working group on passenger rail:
• PRIIA Section 209 implementation and implications for cross-border
passenger rail
• Strategies for developing and strengthening operating partnerships between
states and provinces
• Rail infrastructure investments in Canada to improve service
Contact Information
For more information please contact:
Kerri Woehler
Rail Planning and Strategic Assessment Manager
Rail Division
(360) 705-6902
[email protected]

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