Monday, March 23, 2009

Amtrak gets funding for Western services

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Amtrak will receive $137.2 million in federal funding for two of its West Coast services, the long-distance Coast Starlight and its Pacific Northwest Cascades service. The Coast Starlight, running between Los Angeles and Seattle, will receive $81.1 million; the Cascades, supported in part by the states of Oregon and Washington, will get $56.1 million.

For fiscal year 2008, ended Sept. 30, Cascades service carried 760,323 riders, up 12.8% from the previous fiscal year. Four Cascades trains each way link Seattle with Portland, Ore.; two of those reach further south to originate and terminate in Eugene, Ore. One additional frequency runs between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia; the state of Washington, province of British Columbia, and Amtrak are in discussions to add a second cross-border train.

The venerable Coast Starlight, often one of Amtrak’s better long-distance performers, notched a 2.9% ridership gain to 353,657 riders in FY08.

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