Serving Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, and intermediate points
Amtrak train numbers: 195 and 196, then 795 and 796, then 796 and 797
Predecessor railroad train numbers: Various Northern Pacific Puget Sound Line trains
The Northern Pacific Railway ran fairly frequent service on its main north-south line between Seattle and Portland, with some of the trains carrying dining cars and one carrying through cars from the Southern Pacific Cascade for Seattle-San Francisco service.
With Amtrak's takeover in 1971, service was down to the Coast Starlight from San Diego three days a week, and two nondescript Seattle-Portland daily trains, the Mount Rainier and the Puget Sound.
The Coast Starlight's frequency was eventually increased to daily, and the Puget Sound was replaced by the Pioneer; meanwhile, the Mount Rainier was the one constant train on the corridor, although for a time in the late 1970s, it only ran northbound while the Pacific International served the route southbound.
In the early 1990s, the states of Washington and Oregon became interested in developing the corridor as a high-speed rail line. The first step toward the goal was extending the Mount Rainier to Eugene in October 1994.
Oregon senator Mark Hatfield then suggested to Amtrak president Tom Downs that the train being named for a mountain in Washington didn't accurately reflect its extended route. With the October 29, 1995 timetable, it became the Cascadia.
Condensed historical timetables:
READ DOWN READ UP
(1972) (1979) (1987) (1994) (1994) (1987) (1979) (1972)
5:30P ----- 5:30P 5:10P Dp Seattle Ar 12:45P 11:50A 12:20P 9:15P
6:20P ----- 6:24P 6:05P Tacoma 11:39A 10:50A 11:20A 8:19P
9:15P ----- 9:20P 9:10P Portland 8:50A 8:00A 8:30A 5:30P
----- ----- ----- 11:45P Ar Eugene Dp 6:10A ----- ----- -----
The Amtrak Train Names Project