A consultant's study of what it would take to boost east-west passenger rail service across Washington state effectively threw cold water on the envisioned trains. The report to the state legislature predicted high costs and relatively low ridership.
A holiday wish of many Pacific Northwest rail fans is more roundtrips on the Amtrak Cascades schedule with greater speed and reliability. But in order to beef up train service between Seattle and Portland, a bypass route south of Tacoma needs to be reopened. There is still no fixed date to return Amtrak trains to those tracks where a deadly derailment happened just over two years ago.
As scenic train rides go, it would be a plum ticket. Pacific Northwest passenger rail buffs are gathering in La Grande, Oregon, this Saturday to drum up support to bring back part of a long ago canceled Amtrak route, the Pioneer.