New passenger trains coming to the I-5 corridor

Rendering of the new train

A new fleet of Northwest-themed Amtrak Cascades trains will transport passengers in style between Seattle, Vancouver, BC, Portland and other stations along the I-5 corridor when eight new trainsets and two new locomotives arrive in the Pacific Northwest in 2026.

Newly released renderings of the new trainsets show the traditional Amtrak Cascades evergreen and mocha color scheme incorporated in the state-of-the-art design, which also adds graphics of Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier on each car.

“Amtrak Cascades is eager to welcome new trains to our scenic 18-city route linking Washington, Oregon and British Columbia,” said Ron Pate, director of WSDOT’s Rail, Freight and Ports Division. “The branding of our new trains is unique to the Amtrak Cascades corridor, distinguishing them from others in the Amtrak fleet. Their arrival will herald a new generation of train travel in the Pacific Northwest.”

The new trains are part of a larger transformation that will revolutionize the national Amtrak experience. Manufactured at Siemens in California, the new trains are funded as a part of the Federal Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act awarded to Amtrak for their procurement. The Amtrak Cascades trains will be the first delivered by Siemens, with equipment for routes in the eastern United States following. The new trains will arrive in Seattle over a period of several months, entering into service once they have been thoroughly inspected, tested and approved.

According to a Washington State Department of Transporation announcement, the new trains are more fuel efficient and produce significantly less air pollution

Amtrak Cascades is a partnership between WSDOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation, who sponsor the service operated under contract by Amtrak. It serves 18 stations between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.

  1. 2026 can’t come soon enough. How wonderful to have this enhancement to an already great option to driving or flying, as I described in a blog I posted years ago:
    https://lorahein.com/door-to-door-by-ground/
    The train route stops in the most walkable parts of the towns and cities along the way. Most also offer easy access to local public transit, making it easier to leave the car at home and skip the hassle of air travel.
    The bonuses are many, including being able to watch the scenery instead of the road and bumper of the car ahead, seeing otherwise inaccessible landscapes, catching a few winks, reading or getting work done with less time spent parking or standing in line.
    We are fortunate in Edmonds to have this opportunity.

  2. Love this. A great way to travel and rest on the way to your destination. I LOVE the design, beautifully done. Glad to see these are more fuel efficient. Someday I expect the grid to be electrified and hopefully all of these can be retrofitted. In time I hope to see this all over the country. Cut down on Airplanes which probably are a long way from being a clean mode of transportation for travelers. Way to go Amtrak and WSDOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

  3. I’m an enthusiastic railroad buff, and I love traveling by train. These new cars will be great – BUT they will operate on the same, old, dilapidated rails, with the same problems of slow traffic through urban areas, deference to freight, etc. Don’t get me wrong: I look forward to riding. But the system needs more than new cars, and new cars, which no matter nice-looking, won’t get you there any faster.

    1. Rails and right of ways owned by RR companies are maintained perfectly. Liability, lawsuits. The reason they go slow thru Urban areas is for safety for the citizens who live and play near these tracks. This is also why they blow signals. Signals are a code. A code taught and learned to move up in rank and a test taken to show you passed. You do not want a train going fast thru your towns or cities. They cannot stop fast enough if people are stuck on the tracks. Signal failure is rare but I can assure you it does happen. Deference to freight. Well, we hope so if we want product delivered. However Amtrak thru the over 60 years I have known about, ridden, had many friends who worked for Amtrak and transferred from BNSF to go on Amtrak. Very seldom do you see an Amtrak off schedule. They split rails and often put the freight out and let Amtrak pass. It’s called switching out cars. Then they go back on the track and follow. You aren’t going to make any friends with BNSF calling their tracks dilapidated. Main Co HDQTS not HERE. Ft Worth, TEXAS. 12 branches hiring.

      1. I am aware that trains need to go slowly through urban areas – I’m also know that European and UK railroads are arranged so that in many cases trains do not need to slow down for towns.

        My experience has been that Amtrak, bless ’em, are almost always late: on my Seattle-LA-New Orleans-New York-Chicago-Edmonds trip, we were late at every city, usually around 3 hours, but double that arriving in Edmonds. In every case, the “split rails” you mention were where we sat for half an hour or more waiting for a freight train to pass.

        I’m not really concerned about friendships with BNSEF, though research shows that they are indeed doing good work with keeping the rails well repaired – you are right there and I was mistaken! I love trains, and I appreciate Amtrak. But it is indisputable that much US passenger rail is not up to modern world-wide standards. There are reasons for this – distances, preference for cars, freight-over-passenger rules. But as an Amtrak fan, I think it’s fair to say that things could be better.

  4. Keeping in mind I’m totally nuts, (I absolutely loved the 55 mile per hour speed limit of the 70’s and rarely drive over 65 mph now, whether trailer towing or not), I love riding Amtrak. That said, Amtrak is not for anyone who tends to be impatient or expects to get anywhere on time or has a schedule to meet. On my last trip to L.A. with my late wife someone decided to light the Santa Barbara overpass wood supports on fire and we arrived in downtown L.A. around mid-night instead of the scheduled 3:00 PM. Try renting a car in downtown L.A. around midnight from a train depot.

  5. Hoping new trains are friendlier and more usable for wheelchair and other disabled people. Haven’t seen any specifics.

  6. I know that’s just a “rendering” of the new train, but it’s a little misleading to depict it passing in front of Mount Shuksan, as if you might actually have such a view…

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