Just in time for the holidays travel crush, WSDOT is adding two additional round-trip runs daily between Seattle and Portland starting Monday, Dec. 18.

That will also be the inauguration of scheduled Amtrak trains using the Point Defiance by-pass, which will send 12 trains each day along the I-5 freeway through DuPont, Lakewood and South Tacoma up to a new train station under construction at Freighthouse Square.

This permanent route change for Amtrak Cascades service means travel time to Portland will be reduced by 10 minutes, as trains avoid a major chokepoint near the Port Defiance train tunnel. The shift will separate passenger trains from freight trains that will continue on the waterfront route along the Tacoma Narrows shoreline.

“While the scenic beauty of the Point Defiance route can’t be denied, we know passengers will appreciate the ability to make easier, and more reliable, day trips between Seattle and Portland,” says Ron Pate, WSDOT director for rail, freight and ports division.

The new Amtrak schedule will see trains first departing Tacoma southbound daily at 6:45 a.m. and stopping in Olympia and Centralia. A later return trip from Portland will arrive in Tacoma about 9 p.m. each day.

Check out the new schedule at this link or click here for more information about the inland corridor route.