Press "Enter" to skip to content

By train via Stampede Pass to Yakima and beyond

Regarding Tom White and Bill Moyer’s article about passenger trains, I understand that it was focused on a comparison between improving current N-S Cascades service and the proposal for Ultra High Speed Rail that would essentially parallel the current Cascades N-S route but on “dedicated” track.

The article references the State’s Long-Range Plan for AMTRAK Cascades. That plan isn’t limited to improved and more frequent N-S service on our side of the state. It also calls for restoring E-W service over the Stampede Pass route, down the Yakima Valley and on to Spokane. This route was active until 1981, when AMTRAK shifted to the current Empire Builder route, which goes north from Seattle to Everett, then crosses the Cascades to Wenatchee and heads straight east. Yakima is the largest community in the state without passenger rail service.

I’ve been involved for many years with All Aboard Washington, an educational nonprofit that advocates for improved and expanded passenger rail service. The restored E-W route would provide service to many communities whose residents have few if any affordable intercity travel options. The latest “state of play” I’ve heard during this year’s legislative session is a House Transportation Plan that includes sufficient money to plan and cost out improvements to the route that will satisfy Federal grant application requirements. If this budget item survives the House-Senate reconciliation process, the planning process would be ideally timed to tap the Biden Administration’s proposed infrastructure funding for improved passenger rail service nationwide.

Thanks for bringing this issue to your readers’ attention. Cascades service Seattle to Portland/Eugene is available to local residents via Intercity Transit’s FREE bus service to the AMTRAK station on Yelm Highway. Once the border reopens, Vancouver BC will again be the end of the line. Try it!

Mark Foutch


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We will run issues monthly with a maximum length of…