All You Need to Know About Amtrak’s Cascades Service from Vancouver to Portland

When the brand new Tacoma Rail station opened in 2016, it marked a new era for Amtrak’s Cascades service. 

The route from Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia included just a single stop in Washington state: Tacoma—and that was the old one. 

The brand-new track opened in 1908 and connected downtown Tacoma with New Tacoma. 

It wasn’t until the 20th century that trains on this rail line became more than just a local affair; thanks to the Great Northern Railway and its subsidiary Northern Pacific Railroad. 

Today, there are multiple trains departing from different locations in the Seattle area that offer passengers views of Mount Rainier, Lake Sammamish, Snoqualmie Falls, and even Whistler as they head eastbound to Portland or westbound towards Vancouver. 

Read on to discover all you need to know about Amtrak’s Cascades service between Seattle and Portland…

What is the Amtrak’s Cascade Service?

The Amtrak Cascades service is a joint effort between Amtrak, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Oregon Department of Transportation, which own the service and infrastructure jointly. 

This partnership allows the train to act as an intercity transit system between the two states, while also serving as a commuter rail that shares tracks with freight trains. 

This section of track was upgraded from single track to double track to enable trains to travel at higher speeds and increase service frequency. 

From the Seattle to Vancouver section, the second track opened in September 2017. 

It’s anticipated that the second track will be extended to the Portland to Seattle section in the fall of 2019.

Why Take Amtrak’s Cascades Service?

There are many reasons why you should take Amtrak’s Cascades service, but here are a few of the most prominent: 

– It’s a Truly Scenic Route 

– The Cascades route between Seattle and Vancouver begins with a view of the Seattle skyline before sweeping towards the Cascade foothills, passing nearby Lake Sammamish and through the Snoqualmie Tunnel. 

In the other direction, it’s a similar story, with Mount Rainier looming large as your head towards Portland. 

– It’s Economical 

– The Cascades offers great value for money, with one-way tickets for as little as $19 and a variety of fares and discounts available for seniors, children, veterans, and more. 

– It’s Convenient – Thanks to the double track, Amtrak Cascades now provides more frequent and reliable service, meaning it’s the perfect option for anyone with a hectic schedule.

How to Get to the Tacoma Station on Amtrak’s Cascade?

The new Tacoma station is located at East 25th Street and South G Street and can be reached via the South Sounder Commuter Rail, which is served by Sound Transit. 

It also connects to the WA 5/WA 11 Express and uses the existing Sounder Station at Freighthouse Square. 

The Amtrak Cascades also stop at the Tacoma station, but they only run three times a week and don’t run on weekends. 

Amtrak recommends that you use the above information to take public transit to the Tacoma station. 

It’s a very short walk from the station to the Amtrak platform.

How is the Amtrak’s Cascade Train Itself?

The train itself has been completely revamped for the Cascades route. 

It consists of a single General Electric locomotive, a new coach car design, and two new baggage cars. 

The new locomotive is capable of 130 mph, whereas the old one could only achieve 90 mph. 

The new coaches feature a new interior, heating, and electrical systems. The new baggage cars are also capable of 130 mph. 

Finally, the route itself has also been completely rerouted. 

The original route that was used for over 100 years was single-track and difficult to upgrade. 

Instead, the Cascades route now uses double-track that was previously used by another Amtrak service. 

This route allows the Cascades train to travel at higher speeds and increase service frequency.

Where to Sit on the Amtrak’s Cascade Train?

This is a matter of personal preference, but if you’d like to sit and enjoy the scenery, the best seats are located at the front of the train, on either side. 

The only issue is that if you sit on the right side, you won’t see Mount Rainier. 

One good option is to sit on the left-hand side of the train, which offers the best views of both Rainier and Lake Sammamish. 

If you’d like to get some work done, then you can sit in the quiet car, which features only four seats. 

These are located on the left-hand side of the train, adjacent to the dining car.

How is the Food and Drink on Board Amtrak’s Cascade?

As for food, Amtrak has partnered with the local chain This Little Pig to provide food and drink options at stations and on board. 

There are also several dining car options, including Pacific Northwest specialties and more. 

Amtrak passengers can enjoy the same menu as passengers on the regular service. 

There are also several food and drink options available to purchase on board, including snacks, coffee, and even beer and wine. 

The selection varies depending on the time of day, but you should check before you make a purchase.

What are the Stations along the Amtrak’s Cascade Route?

There are two stations along the Cascades route, with stops in between. – Seattle – Located just east of the city’s downtown core, the Amtrak station is just seven minutes away from the King Street Station, which is an international gateway. 

Seattle is also just a stone’s throw from the airport, so the Cascades is a great option for those using the airport. 

– Vancouver 

– You can make connections to other parts of Canada from Vancouver, including Vancouver Island, Victoria, and the Rocky Mountains. 

Vancouver is just north of the border and has a population of over 600,000 people.

What’s special about Amtrak Cascades?

Amtrak’s Cascades service stands out among other rail services in the Pacific Northwest because of its speed, efficiency, and elegant trains. 

The trains operate on tracks owned by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific and pass through fascinating landscapes between Seattle and Portland.

Cascades departures are fairly frequent with departures every one or two hours throughout peak times (5 a.m.-9 p.m.) Monday through Friday.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find the right train on the right day. 

This guide will help you get started planning your trip, check schedules and buy tickets so you can get from here to there fast and stress-free.

June 2016 as part of a $10 billion infrastructure investment package known as the “New U.S.-Canada Partnership for Accelerated Collaboration in Transportation.” 

In this article, we answer all your questions about Amtrak’s Cascades service in the Pacific Northwest. 

We explain what Cascade trains are, where they go and when they depart from their stations. 

You will also learn about the benefits of the Cascades train services, what types of tickets you can buy to board it and how much each ticket will cost you.

Ntrip Final Thoughts

The Amtrak Cascades service is an excellent choice for anyone visiting the Pacific Northwest. 

It combines a scenic route with affordable ticket prices, but also offers great food and drink options for an all-around enjoyable experience. 

If you’re visiting Seattle or Portland, Cascades is an absolute must-do activity. 

It’s also a great option for heading to Vancouver, especially if you want to save money on flights. 

Book your ticket today to ensure you get the best seat on the train!

Brandon York
Brandon York
Articles: 28

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