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Amtrak Cascades train sees record ridership in Oregon in March

Passengers board the Amtrak Cascades train at Eugene Station.
Chris Lehman
Passengers board the Amtrak Cascades train at Eugene Station on April 30, 2024.

Amtrak says it experienced record ridership in Oregon this past March.

The Amtrak Cascades saw 14,263 riders in March on the section of the route that runs between Eugene and Portland. That’s a 57% increase over the same month last year. It’s also the best month the route has had in its 30-year history.

Shelley Snow with the Oregon Department of Transportation said Spring Break contributed to their record month. But there are other reasons for the boost, including high gas prices and a recent schedule change.

“We have improved the service on the train going northbound out of Eugene,” she said. “The train used to leave at 5:30 a.m. Now it leaves at 7:45 a.m. and we are absolutely seeing more riders on that 7:45 a.m. northbound.”

SNOW Shelley M

Snow acknowledged the train is not always on time. She said it's usually a better bet to take the train if you don’t have time constraints.

Shelley said in 2023, they saw seven months in a row of more than 10,000 riders per month.

“So, we’re back,” she said. “Passenger rail service is back in Oregon and we’re psyched about that. We hope that people who’ve never taken the Amtrak Cascades train will give it a try.”

Amtrak Cascades is operated as a partnership between ODOT, the Washington Department of Transportation and Amtrak. Its trains run daily between Eugene and Vancouver, B.C.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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