Oregon’s Amtrak Cascades ridership sets recordOregon experienced its highest ridership in its 30-year history

First published 28 April 2024

Oregon’s Amtrak Cascades ridership sets record

For more information: Shelley M. Snow, ODOT Communications, 503-881-5326

SALEM– Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service in Oregon experienced its highest ridership in its 30-year history in March. With 14,263 riders – a 57% increase over March 2023 – this accomplishment builds on the continuous growth in ridership throughout 2023 and early 2024.

“It’s clear that more people are discovering the advantages of train travel in Oregon, which is good for the state and good for the environment,” said Suzanne Carlson, administrator for ODOT’s Public Transportation Division. “Both residents and visitors are opting for train travel, as I often do, where it’s easy to relax and enjoy the trip. We are thrilled to see people making a choice that avoids congestion along the busy I-5 corridor and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Willamette Valley.”

Amtrak Cascades is operated as a partnership between ODOT, Washington Department of Transportation and Amtrak. The train began in April 1994 with service between Portland and Seattle. Service expanded into other parts of Oregon in October 1994. Today there are 12 daily trains between Seattle and Portland, four between Portland and Eugene, and four between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Several factors are contributing to this high ridership,” said Kathy Holmes, ODOT’s Passenger Rail Program manager. “Spring break vacations in Oregon and Washington always present a good opportunity for people to take the train. We believe a spike in gas prices is also pushing some travelers toward trains, as it has historically done.”

In addition, Oregon’s Amtrak Cascades has a website, social media presence and ongoing outreach to encourage ridership. In January 2023, the fares for taking the train in Oregon were reduced, and those lower rates have drawn new riders to the service. Post-pandemic growth continues

Post-pandemic growth continues

In 2023, the Oregon portion of the service saw ridership growing month after month. By December, the service had experienced seven months in a row of over 10,000 riders.

“Our 2023 ridership for the Oregon portion of the Cascades was over 125,000 riders,” Holmes noted. “We haven’t seen annual ridership this high since 2012.”

Other factors in Amtrak Cascades’ popularity include additional trains between Portland and Seattle and a later departure for the morning northbound train from Eugene. These changes went into effect in December. Travelers in the Willamette Valley also have options with the POINT Cascades Bus, which offers four daily trips and one daily express trip between Eugene and Portland.

A big thank you to our loyal riders and new riders who have experienced the easy travel options on Amtrak Cascades. We offer travel to great Oregon cities, including Oregon City, Albany, Salem, and Eugene. For more options to the coast or easter Oregon, check out our Point bus service as well.

Leave the car at home and forget the hassle of traffic, gas prices, and parking. Amtrak Cascades has daily departures between Eugene, Salem, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver BC, making exploring Oregon is easier than ever.

Ridership Chart