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Oregon Shuffles Train Schedules In Attempt To Boost Ridership

An Amtrak Cascades passenger train passes through Salem.
Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
An Amtrak Cascades passenger train passes through Salem.

Train passengers in Oregon will see new schedules take effect Saturday. The changes are an attempt to boost ridership on the Portland-to-Eugene corridor.

Ridership on the Oregon portion of the state-subsidized Cascades Corridor has dropped 15 percent over the past two years. State lawmakers want the Oregon Department of Transportation to reverse that trend with things like an ad campaign or schedule changes.

Kathy Holmes of ODOT's Rail Division said adjusting schedules took a lot of coordination, since Oregon doesn't own the tracks.

"We don't want our trains to not be on time, so it's in our best interest to work with the host railroads to try and get a schedule that works for both them and us,” Holmes said.

The initial schedule change is modest: Two weekend trains will run later in the morning to try to appeal to more leisure travelers.

Holmes said additional schedule changes are possible.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.