Find Posts By Topic

City Light Joins MTRWestern, Amtrak and WSDOT to Unveil First-Ever Electric Bus in the Amtrak National Network

MTR Western’s new electric bus sits outside King Street Station in Seattle.

Yesterday, Seattle City Light joined partners from across the state to unveil the first-ever electric bus in the Amtrak National Network as it prepared to embark on its inaugural journey.

Operated by Amtrak’s regional partner MTRWestern, the bus will provide a round-trip, midday service for travelers heading from King Street Station in Seattle to Fairhaven Station in Bellingham. It will be powered by clean energy from Seattle City Light, charging at MTRWestern’s facilities in south Seattle.

As a replacement for an internal-combustion powered bus, the electric coach will save 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and keep 109 metric tons of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere annually.

Kara Oldhouser, Amtrak Sustainability Director, speaks at the event. Behind her, from left to right, Rep. Rick Larsen, Amy Scarton, Deputy Secretary of Transportation of WSDOT, Mike Haynes, interim CEO and GM of Seattle City Light, Jeremy Butzlaff, President of MTR Western.

“This is a first of its kind,” said Kara Oldhouser, Amtrak Sustainability Director. “We’re all trying new things, and I think there’s an optimism in that. People want to do better, they are excited about trying something new, and innovation is always inspiring.”

Mike Haynes (left) with members of City Light’s Electrification and Strategic Technology team.

The project is a partnership between Amtrak, MTRWestern, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Seattle City Light, who provided incentives and free advisory services through our Fleet Electrification Program.

“Seattle City Light is proud of this significant milestone to bring more sustainable and accessible transportation to the Puget Sound region,” said Mike Haynes, interim General Manager and CEO of City Light. “This project meets one of our community-set priorities outlined in the Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan to provide equitable, carbon-neutral, and modern transportation options extending beyond personal vehicles to include transit electrification. It is our pleasure to have partnered with Amtrak and MTRWestern on the first of what we hope are many groundbreaking projects in transportation electrification.”

The bus’s electric-powered battery will hold enough charge for a full back-and-forth service to Bellingham.

On hand to help celebrate this momentous occasion was Rep. Rick Larsen, whose constituents will benefit from the new electric bus along the Cascade Thruways route with stops in Everett and Mt. Vernon as well as Bellingham.

Innovative projects like these modernize and electrify local and regional transit, benefiting communities who most rely on public transit by reducing air and noise pollution where impacts are greatest. The bus began its midday run on August 16, and plans are underway to expand electric bus operations further throughout Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region. Introducing the first-ever electric bus into operations will help Amtrak advance its pledge to become net zero by 2045.