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Amtrak adds train to bypass I-5 bridge collapse

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HBJ staff
Published: Friday, May 31, 2013, 12:34 p.m.
SEATTLE — To help travelers pass the collapsed Skagit River Bridge severing I-5 in Burlington, the Amtrak Cascades train service will roll out two extra train trips daily between Seattle and Bellingham, starting May 31.
“Travelers need more options for travel and with the help of Amtrak, Sound Transit and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, we were able to offer this great travel option,” state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said in a news release. “We are so fortunate that we have the relationships to make this urgent service a reality so quickly.”
This third, temporary round trip will depart Seattle at 8:15 a.m. and departs Bellingham at 5:15 p.m. “Sound Transit is pleased to provide a Sounder trainset during the time this temporary service is in operation,” said Sound Transit Board Chair Pat McCarthy.
If passenger demand persists, the added round trip could remain in service until the Skagit River Bridge is permanently repaired, rail officials said.
Reservations are required and tickets are available now by visiting or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. The lowest-priced tickets for Seattle-Bellingham are $17 to $23 one way. One-way fares between Seattle and Edmonds are as low as $7. Customers will be able to receive the lowest fares by buying online more than two weeks advance.
“The performance of the additional service will be evaluated in two weeks and adjustments may be made at that time to meet customer demand,” said WSDOT rail division director Ron Pate.
Sounder trains are commuter trains rather than the European-styled Amtrak Cascades regular trains, so no food service will be provided. The Sounder train cars being used in the additional, temporary trips are extra coaches that Sound Transit will use for an added south line trip this fall, so current Lakewood-Seattle and Everett-Seattle Sounder service will not be affected.
Running time for the third round trip is two hours and 40 minutes.
In addition to station stops in Seattle and Bellingham, trains will also stop for passengers in Mount Vernon, Stanwood, Everett and Edmonds. Amtrak Cascades Thruway Buses also offer 10 more trips through the area daily.
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