A look at population density suggests a preliminary check:

Approximate time estimation for the Natron Cutoff

In southern Oregon, most people are living near the Applegate Trail, on which settlers arrived since 1846, and along the original railroad track. The town of Medford, largest in Southern Oregon, came into existence by decision of the railroad, to cross the Bear Creek at a certain location. When the Natron Cutoff was finished, Southern Pacific did not have this kind of influence any longer.

Railroad lines on a population density map, left one crosses more population centers.
Population density map of Oregon.
Problem of the Natron Cutoff (on the right) are the sparsely populated areas around.

Only one city is connected by the Natron Cutoff: Klamath Falls with 21000 citizens. This situation is enough reason for a preliminary check, how much time the trains will need between those areas, that allow to expect a considerable amount of passenger exchange en route. On the southern side, this area extends to Redding (81000 citizens), on the northern side, to Eugene and Springfield (182000 citizens summed up).

Roadrailer freight runs through curves, forest on slopes around.
"Cutoff" does not mean, that there are no climbs or curves en route.

The Natron Cutoff was built less steep and curvy than the old alignment, but nonetheless, it is a steep and curvy mountain route, mixed with some fast stretches. Chico - Dunsmuir will be used for comparison. As with any rough estimation, there is a considerable margin of error. Pessimistic and optimistic estimations are going to mark this range.

Rough estimation for the Natron Cutoff, using comparison to achievable gains in another part of the route.
route distance Coast Starlight new time time saved % of former time
Chico - Dunsmuir 131 miles (211 km) 03:09 02:15 00:55 71%
the estimations:          
pessimistic 301 miles (484 km) 7:40 6:08 1:32 80%
Dunsmuir - Eugene 301 miles (484 km) 7:40 5:27 2:04 71%
optimistic 301 miles (484 km) 7:40 4:59 2:41 65%

The following table shows the time between points of considerable passenger exchange (Redding - Eugene) and between major cities (Sacramento - Eugene)

  pessimistic added up expected added up optimistic added up
Eugene 07:31 09:23 06:50 08:42 06:22 08:14
Redding 00:00 01:52 00:00 01:52 00:00 01:52
Sacramento   00:00   00:00   00:00

These numbers are perfect for overnighters, but very high for daytime passenger trains.

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