Whether they travel by car or bus, Metro Vancouverites crossing the Canada-U.S. often face long drives-- but there is another form of ground transportation that isn't interrupted by rush hour traffic or highway accidents.
The Amtrak Cascades train takes locals down from Vancouver Pacific Central Station to King Street Station in Seattle, Washington. They may also decide to disembark the journey at other destinations along the 18-stop Pacific Northwest itinerary, including in Bellingham, Washington, and Portland and Eugene in Oregon.
The total journey from Vancouver to its terminus in Eugene takes 10 hours and 25 minutes and there are multiple trips daily.
Guests will be able to enjoy riding the popular route on a new fleet of Amtrak trains slated to arrive in 2026.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has released renderings of the new Northwest-themed Amtrak Cascades trains, showcasing eight new trainsets and two new locomotives.
The new trains have the traditional Amtrak Cascades evergreen and mocha colour scheme with a new "state-of-the-art design, which also adds graphics of Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier on each car," according to a news release.
"Amtrak Cascades is eager to welcome new trains to our scenic 18-city route linking Washington, Oregon and British Columbia," said Ron Pate, Director of WSDOT's Rail, Freight and Ports Division. "The branding of our new trains is unique to the Amtrak Cascades corridor, distinguishing them from others in the Amtrak fleet. Their arrival will herald a new generation of train travel in the Pacific Northwest."
With a focus on "comfort and efficiency," the new California-built trains will be more fuel efficient and produce "significantly less" air pollution.
They will also come equipped with a range of new amenities, including individual outlets, USB ports, onboard Wi-Fi, enhanced lighting, digital customer information systems, automated steps and touchless restroom controls.
Each train seats over 300 passengers and "prioritizes ergonomics," with large and sturdy tray tables, cushioned headrests, a dedicated water bottle holder, and a seatback tablet holder.
There is also a redesigned café car that will feature "local Northwest favourite foods" and also beer, wine, and spirits. There will also be additional table seating.
The new fleet will arrive in Seattle over several months after a thorough inspection process.
Vancouverites can ride on the current Amtrak Cascades route trains by booking tickets with Amtrak online. Prices start at around $250 for a return trip to the route's final destination in Eugene, Oregon.