Amtrak Launches Its First Electric Bus on Cascades Thruway Route

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Amtrak are collaborating to replace a diesel-powered bus on the Amtrak Cascades route with an electric vehicle (EV).

The Amtrak Cascades service provides daily midday buses to offer 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.

Amtrak's first battery-electric bus
Amtrak’s first battery-electric bus

This new electric bus is the first EV to operate as part of the Amtrak National Network. It is owned and operated by MTRWestern and can easily complete the nearly 200-mile roundtrip on a single charge.

Amtrak Sustainability Director, Kara Oldhouser said:

“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.”

In its Fiscal Year 2022 Sustainability Report, Amtrak detailed how it has already reduced diesel usage and air emissions from its operations. Introducing an electric bus into the Thruway schedule will now further advance the company’s pledge to become net zero by 2045.

As part of the Amtrak Cascades service, customers can travel between Seattle and Bellingham on a single charge
The new electric Van Hool bus is powered by Proterra batteries

Meanwhile, it is also examining other routes within the Amtrak National Network that could incorporate EVs and alternative fuels.

Washington Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar said:

“WSDOT is pleased to be the first in the country to offer electric bus service on an intercity route that’s part of Amtrak’s National Network. Amtrak Cascades trains already operate with locomotives that meet the EPA’s highest standards – reducing emissions by 86% after replacing older locomotives in 2017. Adding a bus to our fleet that is powered by clean energy further affirms our commitment to offer environmentally friendly travel options in the Pacific Northwest.”

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