Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver

Jan 17th, 2016, 01:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 73
Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver

Hi all, can anyone advise if the Amtrak service from Seattle to Vancouver is reliable? I'm thinking it would be a good way to cut out one flight on a multi-city trip, but not if the service is prone to cancellations and bad service. We have used the service from NY to Philly and that was good, but want to check if this was a one-off, and if there are any added complications going from the U.S. to Canada?

Many thanks in advance!
MissMandy is offline  
Jan 17th, 2016, 01:44 PM
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Hi MissMandy,

One thing to be aware is that the number of actual trains daily between Seattle and Vancouver is quite small (one at 7:45 am and the second at 6:50 pm). All other Amtrak itineraries for this route are actually buses; I wanted to leave in the early afternoon/late morning and the only option in my desired time frame was an Amtrak BUS between Seattle and Vancouver. The bus left Seattle on-time and I had no issues with it (traffic was heavy coming into Vancouver but that's not the fault of Amtrak). Now while I can't speak specifically to the Amtrak Cascades portion of track between Seattle and Vancouver (and yes things CAN go wrong with Amtrak as with all other sorts of transport conveyances), my experience having taking scores of Amtrak trains over the years has been positive, including two Amtrak Cascades trains I took between Portland OR and Seattle (which incidentally is a beautiful ride!).

Have fun deciding! Daniel
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Jan 17th, 2016, 02:21 PM
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We took the train in the opposite direction; Vancouver to Seattle in the summer 2014
We really enjoyed the train ride which was on time and when researching we saw no red flags about delays or cancellations.
sassy_cat is offline  
Jan 17th, 2016, 02:32 PM
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Sometimes, (usually in the spring) there is a small landslide that blocks the tracks. The usual way of handling this is to run a bus trip to replace the train.
Either the bus or train take 4 hours.
Amtrak has all of the passport information transmitted to the Customs and Immigration before you reach the border.
You do have to put your own bags onto the conveyor belt to go inside for inspection. Once it has been inspected they will load it back under the bus for your journey onward.
The train equipment Amtrak Cascades uses is Talgo which is very good compared to some older Amtrak trains.
If the bus is on time pulling out of Customs, they will stop for about 10 minutes at the duty free shop but don't count on it.
tomfuller is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 11:37 AM
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What time of year are you going? In the rainy season there can be mudslides that close the tracks, but as others have said, in that case they will substitute a bus.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 07:09 AM
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I've done this trip 8-10 times in both directions and have never been late. On the train, as opposed to the bus, you will clear customs at the Vancouver train station. For that reason, I always pay the extra fare for business class because that gets you to the customs lines before the rest of the passengers on the train. If the train is full, which it often is, that can save you considerable waiting time.

Its an easy, relaxing trip and for parts, scenic.
dwooddon is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 09:00 AM
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We also took it in the opposite direction. Train was on time and the best part was seeing wildlife during the ride. I saw at least eight bald eagles along the way.
wtm003 is online now  
Jan 25th, 2016, 03:47 AM
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Thank you all! Apologies for the slight delay in responding, but my message alerts weren't updating. This trip is planned either last week of August or first week of September 2016.

Also, do you think being a UK citizen will have any impacts on immigration? And so therefore is it better to fly?
MissMandy is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 06:00 AM
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Also, do you think being a UK citizen will have any impacts on immigration? And so therefore is it better to fly?

No impact; thousands of overseas visitors take this train every year. The train is a MUCH better way to travel than flying: half the cost, about the same time once you add the airport security scrum, roomier and more scenic.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 11:44 AM
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Sorry but Fodor's does not have message alerts.
jamie99 is offline  
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