Cascades by Stephen De Vight
Cascades by Stephen De Vight

With the launch of the second Vancouver B.C. train, Washington State and British Columbia have came together to bring a great deal on getting to Canada. For a limited time, tickets are 25% off normal prices, making a very attractive deal for those going to Canada. Purchase tickets by December 31, 2009 and travel by January 31, 2010 to take advantage of this deal.

Sample one-way fares to and from Vancouver, BC include:

  • Portland, OR: $34.50
  • Tacoma, WA: $26.00
  • Seattle, WA: $26.00
  • Everett, WA: $17.00
  • Bellingham, WA: $9.50

This deal was announced on Friday, October 9, 2009 with the Governor Christine Gregoire and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell to promote the new train service at King Street Station. So far, the train is averaging only 60 passengers on weekdays and about 90 on weekends.

For more information, check out the promotion for further details and blackout dates.

This will also be a great time to check out the new Canada Line and some excellent dining options along the line.

Also, don’t forget that this Fall is double Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Great way to earn free travel and other perks for our more frequent rail travelers.

27 Replies to “25% off Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver B.C.”

  1. Tip 1: You can’t use your other discounts in addition to this deal. I usually get 15% off Amtrak due to my ISIC card, but for the duration of this deal, putting in ISIC, Senior Citizen, etc… on your passenger type will be more expensive. Only “Adult” gets you the 25% off.

    Tip 2: Really take advantage of the RailPlus program. I never buy a ticket from Seattle to Vancouver ($52 round-trip). Travel as far as Everett on Amtrak with your PugetPass and have your paper ticket be from Everett-Vancouver ($34 round-trip)

      1. You bet it works, and it makes traveling home to the parents in Bellingham on the weekends way cheaper.

    1. Take note of this bullet point:

      “Seating is limited, seats may not be available on all trains at all times.”

      It means that this discount will work only when the lowest fares apply.

      Jim

    1. Did you see The Transport Politic? He rips it apart, basically saying they didn’t say anything of value.

      1. I agree, completely, totally underwhelming and embarrassing. If I had a high school student turn this in for a research report, I *might* give it a C. Nothing in it can’t be found on Wikipedia.

      2. Thanks for the heads-up Ben. I just finished reading the FRA “Plan-No-Plan”, and have to agree it’s not much more than a overview of the current system and an assembly of points to ponder.
        We’re hearing the FRA gears grinding, as they attempt to shift from a mostly regulatory agency, to one that invests in both freight and pasenger rail. It’s a tough transition, as most of the nations infrastructure is owned by the private sector, who are facing congestion on their systems when the ecconomy rebounds.
        Integrating 50 states rail plans into a comprehensive national plan is equally dificult, given the huge differences between the states enthusiasm for passenger rail programs. Washington has been a leader in that regard.

      3. It certainly seems clear that the Big Railroads are already working behind the scenes to keep “higher speed” trains of their rails, knowing full well that there is not (and probably never will be) the half trillion dollars needed to be able to do HSR and a national network of feeder trains and overnight trains correctly.

    1. As it stands, yes. I’d expect we’ll have Olympia interested in extending that during the session, though.

  2. its a “test” and if it does well it will continue to vancouver. if it is not successful the train will be scaled back to belingham, washington once again.
    let’s hope it stays!

  3. Notice that travel has to be completed by January 31st. The deal is not good through the Olympics.

    It also doesn’t help when trains have to be canceled because of trackwork. I am scheduled to take 510 to Vancouver on the 24th and I received an email from Amtrak saying that the train will be canceled and replaced with bus service. This certainly doesn’t help ridership any. How much single track is there along the route? I’ve never been on this route so I am not familiar with how much single track their might be. Couldn’t they just operate single track around where the work is being done? Also, not sure why they could’t run the train as far as Bellingham and bus from there.

    The other thing that is troubling is that I also bought the Business Class upgrade and there was no offer to refund that portion of the ticket.

    1. You can definitely call them and get the difference back. Just call 1-800-USA-RAIL and bug them.

    2. Paul,

      The line is single track from Everett to Pacific Central…so roughly 90% of its trip is all within single track territory.

      It is “technically” double track from Everett to Seattle with several short 1 mile segments of single track with most of those segments to be double tracked by 2016.

      As for the Business Class, I would highly recommend calling and asking to speak to a manager. I have had to refund my business class tickets before and got the full amount back with no hassle. You can also hold on to that ticket and use it for a later travel date.

      1. Brian is correct. I have had Cascades trains cancelled twice and I’ve always used the Business Class surcharge as credit toward my next trip. There’s never been a problem on the phone or at King Street. Keep your ticket stub and always write down the name, date and time of anyone you speak to on the phone.
        Those are scary low passenger counts. Does anyone know if Clipper Vacations is doing any deals for Canadians coming south as they have done with their Clipper boats to boos passenger numbers? They often have some very good deals for US visitors; weeekend hotel specials for just a few dollars over regular rail fare – worht checking out.

    3. A- the work has to be done sometime or the track breaks and theres no service at all

      B- its not amtraks tracks and its not up to them

      thems the breaks

  4. I’m on the 516 Cascades *right now* heading to BC for the weekend! Too bad we got these tickets before this promo started, but at least there’s the 10% AAA discount.

      1. Let us know what you think of it. I would guess right about now you are nearing Bellingham!

    1. I dont blame you for using the AAA discount, but I’ve never understood why Amtrak gives a discount to an auto lobby group’s members.

  5. I am sure the low ridership on the second train is due to poor promotion. I have noticed this with the Leavenworth announcement – that Amtrak has a habit of just suddenly announcing things such as new service with very little preparation or buildup. They need to get the word out well in advance for these events so that people have the chance of looking forward to them and being able to prepare properly.

    The other drawback of course, is the disgraceful situation throughout the approach and departure into and out of Vancouver. Manually throwing the switches seems like something that definitely needs reforming to me and correction.

    1. Yeah, how can the BC Premier come down and have a self-congratulatory summit with Gregoire to celebrate a service in which his government has no desire to invest?

      1. Exactly. I think “photo op” comes to mind. Campbell is infamous for canceling BC’s own passenger rail service several years ago, and passenger rail throughout the province is almost non-existent now, so I find it somewhat ironic that he’s promoting this new service. From what I’ve read off of WSDOT’s website, a lot of the improvements to increase service along the Vancouver (BC) to Seattle line lay on the Canadian side of the border. Although, you have to give his government some credit; they helped fund a new siding with BNSF on the Canadian side for this second train. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Freight/News/2ndTrain.htm

  6. BTW Brian, that’s a pretty tight turning radius in the photo! Looks like it could negotiate most downtown streets :)

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