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Saturday, August 4, 2007 - Page updated at 05:18 AM

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Amtrak cancels most Northwest trains this weekend for safety checks

Seattle Times travel staff

Amtrak has suspended much of its train service in the Pacific Northwest this weekend because of equipment problems, including most Seattle-Portland trains.

The canceled service affects all Amtrak Cascades routes in the Northwest, between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, B.C., that use the Spanish-made Talgo trains. The trains already had been canceled today.

There will be no Amtrak Cascades service through Sunday; limited service will start again on Monday and Amtrak is sending substitute railcars to the region.

However, Amtrak service between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., will continue on trains 510 and 517 since they are using different Superliner equipment. The daily Coast Starlight train between Seattle and Los Angeles also will continue running; it includes stops at Portland and other cities in Washington and Oregon.

The cancellations follow a recent monthly mechanical inspection of the Spanish-made Talgo trains. Cracks were found in the suspension of some, according to KGW-TV in Portland.

Amtrak said that the rail company and the states of Washington and Oregon, which help fund and run the Amtrak Cascades service, agreed to impose a service moratorium to inspect all the Talgo equipment. Amtrak Cascades normally has four daily round trips between Seattle and Portland.

Amtrak is trying to contact passengers to alert them, although some have been showing up at stations to find their trains cancelled. Refunds will be given, but no alternate transport is being provided at this time.

Travelers can check schedules and get more information at www.amtrak.com or phone 800-USA-RAIL.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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