Amtrak train service in the Pacific Northwest is returning to normal with its Talgo railcars back in service more quickly than expected...

Share story

Amtrak train service in the Pacific Northwest is returning to normal with its Talgo railcars back in service more quickly than expected, Amtrak officials said today.

All Talgo trains were sidelined in early August after cracks were found in the suspension system of some railcars. They were inspected and repaired in Seattle, with the last returned to service on Sunday.

Schedules should be back to normal, with speedier travel times and more amenities aboard the Talgo trains, starting Oct. 29 when the fall/winter timetable takes effect.

“We are pleased that the trainsets were repaired and returned to service in time for the upcoming holiday travel season,” said Kurt Laird, Amtrak’s district superintendent.

Older Superliner equipment was substituted on routes between Seattle and Oregon; that meant amenities such as business-class seating and a sit-down dining car were not provided on the trains.

Amtrak Cascades offers four daily round-trips between Portland and Seattle plus service north to Vancouver, B.C. and south to Eugene, Ore. It’s operated by Amtrak under contracts with the Washington and Oregon state Departments of Transportation and uses the modern and popular Talgo railcars.

However, Amtrak trains between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., will continue to use the older Superliner, not Talgo, trains, because of scheduled maintenance that continues through Dec. 31. That means there’s no business-class seating, no sit-down dining car service, and no movies (which are provided on Talgo trains). It’s also more difficult to travel with a bicycle on a Superliner train; unlike the Talgo cars, they have no bike racks. On Superliner trains, bikes must be boxed.

Kristin Jackson: kjackson@seattletimes.com