PT buses in Tacoma, photo by by and by

In 1979 Pierce Transit was formed when Pierce County voters approved a 0.3% sales tax increase for public transit. PT currently levels a .6% sales tax and operates more than 50 routes, paratransit, and vanpools as well partnering with Sound Transit to operate Tacoma Link and some Sound Transit Express buses.

Also in 1979, Amtrak introduced the Superliner rail cars on the Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago and later that same year, Amtrak discontinued the North Coast Hiawatha from Seattle to Minneapolis.

12 Replies to “79 Days”

  1. Man, 30 years since the North Coast was discontinued – what a great train that was!

    1. Now you have to take the Empire Builder the whole way to Milwaukie, and take a bus to Minneapolis :(

      1. It seems you’re correct. I guess I don’t remember the empire builder stopping there, but it was about 10 years ago when I last took it. I wonder what the difference between the EB and the North Coast was?

      2. The EB follows the old GN mainline and the North Coast followed the old NP mainline.

      3. North Coast went west from the Twin Cities through Fargo, Bismarck, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Missoula to Spokane, Tri-Cities, Yakima and Auburn to Seattle. The Builder has had some minor modfications in its route over the last 8 decades, but basically west from the Cities to fargo, Minot, Havre, Glacier Park to Spokane, Wenatchee, Everett and Seattle. Each train also sent cars to Portland along the north bank of the Columbia River.
        For the traveler from the West Coast to the Twin Cities are beyone, you could go one way on the North Coast, and other and Builder – delightful! Both were immaculately maintained and operated right up through 30 April 1970 when Amtrak came into existence.

    1. Logic played no role in the Carter Administration’s decision. The Builder was and is one of Amtrak’s top money makers (far more $ per passenger mile and $ per average trip than Acela) and the North Coast would be too, along with the Coast Starlight and the CA Zephyr. But, then as now, MT has only two senators and one representative, where as the NE corridor travels through 8 states (16 Senators) and nearly a quarter of the membership of the House. So, Amtrak’s stated mission to operate a national system began to erode as more and more federal largeses was poured into the glorified commuter trains of the NE corridor, to the degredation of most other Amtrak services.

      1. Would not the impending completion of a “free” federally-funded limited-access interstate and “defense” highway running through the southern regions of Montana have also led to the discontinuation of any “subsidized” rail service?

        Oh, and since I haven’t mentioned it on this entry: FLU! FLU! FLU!

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