Portland and Vancouver, B.C. are now directly connected by the addition of a second Amtrak Cascades train. We have been working for over a year to get this new train on the rails. Amtrak typically needs 90 days to start up service, so getting the second round trip train to Vancouver, B.C. going within 45 days is a major accomplishment and incredibly exciting.
Previously, riders going up to Vancouver, B.C. had to deal with both a layover in Seattle and a train change. Not only is this new train is going to be a lot more schedule friendly for travelers along the corridor, it will be a fantastic transportation alternative for the 2010 Olympics. Not having to hassle with parking is going to be glorious (getting tickets to events, however, is another problem).
Bicyclists take note: bike racks are back! The Talgo trains with bike racks are back in service after having their interiors refurbished. Starting last summer we were substituting the Talgo trains with Amtrak Superliners. These trains did not have bike racks, which made bringing a bike along a complete hassle. So: bike racks, new interiors and a direct route to Vancouver - I see a weekend get away coming. Don't forget to double-check the items you will need for crossing the border.
Do you take the train? What was your experience like?
Will this new service change how you think about traveling? Let me know!