A big kudos to WSDOT, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and Sound Transit for figuring out how to pull this new service together on short notice:
To assist travelers affected by yesterday’s I-5 highway bridge collapse in Skagit County, Amtrak Cascades will add one round trip route between Seattle and Bellingham, Wash., in the coming weeks.
Amtrak, the Washington State Department of Transportation, BNSF Railway and Sound Transit are working together to add this service, a morning departure from Seattle to Bellingham with an early evening return, to help those who normally drive this route. More details will be released as they become available.
Amtrak Cascades provides four trips each day over the Skagit River Rail Bridge, which is fully functional. Amtrak Cascades Thruway buses add ten more trips through the area. For schedules, reservations and tickets, visit AmtrakCascades.com or call 800-USA-RAIL.
WSDOT’s rail office had previously been working on plans for a third daily round trip between Seattle and Canada’s Vancouver, but yesterday’s events have necessitated an acceleration of the timetable. We look forward to hearing more details.
The third round-trip train will only go as far as Bellingham according to the announcement; British Columbia-bound travelers should continue to take the No. 510 (morning) or No. 516 (evening) trains out of King Street Station.
Presumably, the new train will make all regular stops between Bellingham and Seattle, which are Mount Vernon, Stanwood, Everett, and Edmonds.
The announcement doesn’t say if this new train will stop in Mukilteo. Sounder North stops in Mukilteo on its way to and from Everett, but Cascades currently does not.
It’d be nice if this third Cascades train stopped in Mukilteo too.
Sound Transit’s taxing district does not extend beyond urban Snohomish County, which is why ST doesn’t provide any commuter rail service to points north of Everett, like Mount Vernon or Bellingham. ST sensibly does have a partnership with Amtrak Cascades, however. That partnership is definitely going to make a difference for North Sound commuters in the weeks and months ahead. ‘
More rail service is exactly what Washington State needs. We applaud this announcement and encourage any readers who are able to take advantage of this new service to do so once it begins. In the meantime, have a chuckle on us by watching this fantastic Amtrak commercial, titled “Kids Repeat”.