The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Amtrak are replacing a diesel-powered bus with an electric vehicle (EV) on the Amtrak Cascades route.
Daily midday buses provide additional connectivity beyond the morning and evening train service between Seattle and Bellingham. The Cascades Thruway buses also stop in Everett and Mount Vernon and connect with trains heading to and from stations south of Seattle.
As the first-ever EV in the Amtrak National Network, the bus — owned and operated by MTRWestern — can make the nearly 200-mile roundtrip on one single charge.
“At Amtrak, we strive to give our passengers reliable, comfortable, and sustainable travel options. By incorporating environmental considerations into our current operations and as we work with our partners to reach more of America, we continue to make Amtrak an even ‘greener’ mode of transportation,” said Amtrak Sustainability Director, Kara Oldhouser.
The MTRWestern Partnership
MTRWestern contracted with Amtrak to provide a more sustainable connection to travelers. An ideal trip length for an electric bus, the connector will save approximately 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, cutting CO2 emissions by 109 tons annually.
The charging hub, installed at MTRWestern’s Seattle facilities, sits on land once used to store large petroleum tanks.
“The future is electric, and we are committed to delivering carbon-free intercity and group transportation throughout the Pacific Northwest. We consider the collaboration on this route a transformational step towards even greater EV regional transit,” said MTRWestern President Jeremy Butzlaff.
WSDOT seeks to operate an efficient, high-quality intercity passenger rail service while being sensitive to community and environmental impacts and business costs.
In a continual push to provide efficient, safe, and cost-effective alternatives to higher emissions travel, Amtrak Cascades is adding even more trains to its service later this year. The announcement follows restoration of pre-pandemic service levels, including the popular daily roundtrip train between Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC.
Amtrak’s Green Pledge
Introducing the first-ever EV bus into the daily Thruway schedule helps Amtrak advance its pledge to become net zero by 2045. The company is examining other routes within the National Network for EVs and alternative fuels.
Amtrak released the Fiscal Year 2022 Sustainability Report in June, which details how Amtrak reduced diesel usage and air emissions alongside increased purchases of carbon-free energy. The results support a company-wide climate commitment to consider the environment in all business decisions.