Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, which is served by Amtrak Cascades. (Credit: Stephen Fesler)

Amtrak will restore international Cascades train service to Vancouver, British Columbia on September 26th. Initially, Cascades service will only be one roundtrip daily between Seattle and Vancouver, but Amtrak will increase that to twice daily when available staffing and equipment levels allow. Bookings for the restored service are already available.

Cross-border Cascades service has been suspended since the Covid pandemic began in March 2020. Amtrak had planned to restore service earlier this year, but persistent staffing challenges thwarted that. Amtrak Cascades-aligned bus service, however, did restart last fall with four daily roundtrips between Seattle and Vancouver. That bus service will continue along with daily train service.

In late June, Amtrak restored the first of its three cross-border international routes with Maple Leaf service between New York City and Toronto. However, a date has still not been set for Amtrak’s third international service, the Adirondack, between New York City and Montréal.

With the restart of regular service on September 26th, Cascades train service for Vancouver will depart Seattle at 7:45am. The northbound train will arrive Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station at 11:45am. In the evening, the southbound train to Seattle will depart Vancouver at 5:45pm and arrive in Seattle at 10:10pm. Trains will serve five other cities (Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham) on the way.

The train schedule, however, doesn’t allow for through-service to Portland. Passengers wishing to take trains through the whole Cascades corridor will need to overnight in Seattle.

For cross-border travel, passengers will need to comply with additional American and Canadian federal requirements beyond passports or other approved travel documents. Non-citizens traveling into the United States will need to provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19. All passenger traveling into Canada will need to complete a travel notice via the ArriveCAN app prior to departure and wear masks while traveling through Canadian territory and facilities. Non-citizens traveling into Canada will also need to provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

Customs and passport control is done in Vancouver at the station both ways since it features a secured immigration area and United States preclearance.

Regular fares between Seattle and Vancouver are priced as low as $34, but they already appear to be going quickly.

As an added bonus, the service can be used for regular transit rides between Seattle, Edmonds, and Everett on weekdays under the Rail Plus program with Sound Transit. The program is available to ORCA cardholders with monthly transit passes. Given the schedule, these Cascades trips offer a reverse service compared to normal Sounder N Line service.

Article Author
 | Website

Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.