Amtrak Resumes Cascades Route Service – Cruise Maven

Sandra L. Pouncy

I’m happy to report that after a two-year suspension on one of Amtrak’s most scenic trains, the Amtrak Cascades route service will resume in time for fall travel season.  

Amtrak Cascades route between Portland or Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. is incredibly beautiful and possibly even more scenic in the fall and winter. 

I’ve been on The Cascades several times in all seasons and this route is always amazing.  This post explains why this is such a beautiful train ride, where it travels and what to expect onboard. 

Sunset over water seen from Amtrak Cascades train

Amtrak Cascades Route Resumes Service to Canada

The first train to depart on Amtrak’s Cascades route departs on September 26, 2022 at 7:45 a.m. from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Along the way, the train has five station stops, and arrives into Vancouver at 11:45 a.m.  Tickets are available for purchase. 

Hugging the coastline for most of the route, Amtrak stations stops in Washington include Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon and Bellingham, before crossing the Canadian border.

Heading south with the same itinerary, the Cascades train departs from Vancouver at 5:45 p.m. and pulls into Seattle’s Union Station at 10:10 p.m. 

For convenience, there’s an Embassy Suites hotel adjacent to Seattle’s beautifully restored Union Station. 

Pre-pandemic, Amtrak Cascades route began in Eugene, Oregon, with several stops deep in Oregon, then onto Portland and continued up the gorgeous Pacific coastline to Vancouver, B.C.  

Amtrak Cascades route through Oregon.
Amtrak Cascades route through Oregon.

For now, Amtrak only offers the Cascades route from Seattle to Canada and back once a day.  A second departure will be scheduled when more train crew and equipment are added. 

Amtrak service between Seattle and Portland will also resume, with three daily roundtrips plus two daily roundtrips between Eugene and Portland.

Amtrak Cascades Observation Car in Eugene, Oregon
Amtrak Cascades Observation Car in Eugene, Oregon.

For Amtrak passengers arriving into Seattle on the Empire Builder or for those who prefer not to drive, Amtrak has four daily buses that run between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. 

While train enthusiasts love the California Zephyr for its spectacular vistas, Amtrak Cascades route can hold its own when it comes to breathtaking scenery.

Why is the Cascades Route So Scenic?

The Cascades route parallels the ocean for much of the 200-mile route, similar to the Coast Starlight.  When traveling inland from Eugene, Oregon, the Cascades train crosses the wide Columbia River Gorge near Portland, with views of Mount Hood in the distance.

Snow-capped mountain peaks, towering pine forests and several scenic switchbacks make this ride even more special. Especially when seen from the comfort of Amtrak’s oversized seats, complete with drop-down snack table and electric outlets.  

Amtrak provides complimentary Wi-Fi on the Washington leg of the Cascades route.  There will be a few areas where there’s no cell service, but that doesn’t last too long. 

Onboard the train, passengers can mosey over to the Café Car for snacks or meals.  Be sure to try the regional Pacific Northwest food and beverages offered on the Bistro Menu

What Documents Do I Need to Enter Canada or the U.S?

When crossing the border between the U.S. and Canada, for U.S. citizens over 16 years old, a passport is the recommended identification to enter Canada and back into the U.S.  Other acceptable forms of identification include: 

  • United States Passport Card
  • Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI)
  • Enhanced Driver’s License (issued only by Washington State, Minnesota, Michigan, New York and Vermont)

Please read Amtrak’s complete list of required documents for crossing the U.S. and Canada border aboard the Cascades train. 

Mandatory Heath Requirements to Cross the Borders

In addition to the above entry documentation requirements, the Canadian and United States Governments have specific health requirements.  To cross the border, you must meet these health requirements. 

Keep in mind that health and safety requirement are subject to change over time.  Know before you go.

  • Travel into United States: Non-U.S. citizen passengers must be fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Travel into Canada: All passengers must upload specific documents into the ArriveCAN app before travel.  Masks are required in Canada’s train stations and on board trains traveling through Canada.
  • Non-Canadian citizens must be fully vaccinated and carry the vaccination record that was uploaded into ArriveCAN.

If you’re taking Amtrak’s Cantrail thruway bus service between Seattle and Vancouver, there are also travel requirements. Cantrail’s website has a list of what you’ll need.

The restart of Amtrak Cascades route to Canada is another step towards full resumption of Amtrak train service in two years. 

Next up, Amtrak will restart their Silver Service Silver Meteor between Miami and New York on October 4.

When the Silver Meteor resumes, passengers with a westbound connection in Chicago won’t have to overnight in New York City.

Amtrak Restarts Maple Leaf Route Between New York and Toronto

Representing the second of three Amtrak services traveling to Canada, service resumption to Vancouver, B.C. follows the first Amtrak train to restart service to Toronto since 2020.  Traveling between New York City and Toronto, the Maple Leaf departed Toronto for NYC on June 28, 2022.

How Do I Purchase Tickets for an Amtrak U.S. and Canada Train?

Tickets for Amtrak Cascades or Maple Leaf to Canada can purchased at Amtrak.com, AmtrakCascades.comthe Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and Amtrak kiosks.  Or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.  Canadians can also book their tickets at ViaRail.ca, and through 1-888-VIA-RAIL.

Leave a Reply

Next Post

12 U.S. Airlines With the Widest Economy Seats

For as much attention as it gets, you’d think that being comfortable on a flight all comes down to legroom. We may stress over every quarter inch of pitch—but there is another factor to flight comfort that’s not nearly considered enough: seat width. Whereas a plane with tight legroom may […]
Condé Nast Traveler