The Pacific International at Bellingham in 1973
|First service||July 17, 1972|
|Last service||September 30, 1981|
|Start||Vancouver, B.C., Canada|
|End||Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|Distance travelled||156 miles (251 km)|
|Average journey time||4 hours, 30 minutes|
|Catering facilities||Cafe car|
The Pacific International was a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. It was Amtrak's first international train service, operating from 1972 until 1981. After its discontinuance Vancouver service did not return until the inauguration of the Mount Baker International in 1995. As of 2014[update], the Amtrak Cascades links the two cities.
Amtrak did not retain any cross-border services when it assumed control of most intercity passenger trains in the United States on May 1, 1971. As part of its 1972 appropriation for Amtrak the United States Congress directed that $2 million be used for the establishment of service to Vancouver, Montreal (the Montrealer), and Nuevo Laredo (the Inter-American). The Burlington Northern Railroad's International had served the Seattle–Vancouver route up until the creation of Amtrak, and resuming service posed no significant challenges. The first Pacific International, Amtrak's first international train, ran on July 17, 1972. The train was scheduled to connect with the Los Angeles–Seattle Coast Starlight in both directions. Between October 1979 and April 1980 the southbound Pacific International began departing from Vancouver in the middle of the day and terminated in Portland, Oregon.
The Pacific International struggled to attract riders throughout its history. In 1975 the United States Department of Transportation said it was the worst performer in the system, with a deficit of 47 cents per passenger mile. Critics of the train noted the influence of Senator Warren Magnuson (D-Washington) in establishing the service. When in early 1979 Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams proposed eliminating 43% of Amtrak's route network, the Pacific International was on the chopping block. In the end Congress agreed to fewer, though still significant, cuts, and the Pacific International survived for another two years. Amtrak discontinued the Pacific International on September 30, 1981, as part of another restructuring.
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- "Passenger trains operating on the eve of Amtrak". Classic Trains. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
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- Glischinski, Steve (October 27, 2015). "Amtrak 'Cascades' celebrate 20 years in service". Trains News Wire.
- Thoms, William E. (1973). "Amtrak Revisited: The 1972 Amendments to the Rail Passenger Service Act" (PDF). Transportation Law Journal. 5: 143.
- Goldberg 1981, p. 17
- Rood, Mick (September 24, 1976). "What Is the Future of Amtrak 'Experimentals'?". Garden City Telegram. p. 11. Retrieved October 4, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Congress Sympathetic To Cuts In Amtrak Service". Santa Cruz Sentinel. February 1, 1979. p. 36. Retrieved October 4, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Huntingdon Passenger Service To Continue". The Daily News. Huntington, Pennsylvania. October 1, 1979. p. 2. Retrieved October 4, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Not All Changes In Effect; Some Start With New Year". Pharos-Tribune. Logansport, Indiana. October 1, 1981. p. 1. Retrieved October 4, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
- Solomon 2004, p. 52