Amtrak is relaunching trains from the U.S. to Vancouver, Canada for the first time since Covid was declared a pandemic and cross-border movements came to a halt. Soon enough, Americans will be able to take trips out to the trendy British Columbia city, famous for its mountain backdrop and artsy scene, once again.
This year, train travel is experiencing a revival as passengers seek safer, more reliable alternatives to the ongoing airport chaos. After going through a rough patch, going as far as pleading for a $5 billion-dollar relief to stave off bankruptcy, Amtrak has re-emerged from the ashes stronger than ever, rebuilding its rail map and boosting frequency on a number of routes.
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s the West Coast’s turn to have its severed rail links reinstated:
Vital West Coast Link Re-Established
Starting September 26, Amtrak is resuming operations between Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, B.C., a popular route that had been suspended amid the Covid surge and strict border closures. Officially, this is the second cross-border service between the United States and Canada to be relaunched this year.
Earlier this summer, New York regained direct trains to Toronto, Ontario, marking the first time Amtrak carried passengers over the world’s longest land border in more than two years. Prior to the relaxation of measures, border movements were severely restricted to private vehicles or air arrivals, as demand for international travel slumped.
Without a question, the return of the Toronto trains boosted Northeastern connectivity, and naturally, Amtrak’s next step was to reconnect Seattle to its sister hub of Vancouver. According to Amtrak, this will be initially a ‘daily round-trip service’, though frequency could be increased ‘in the future’ once more staff is brought in.
Besides Canada, Amtrak is investing in a number of intra-U.S. routes. Recently, they launched a brand new service to the historic Burlington, Vermont, from Penn Station, as well as a cross-state line cutting through New York and terminating in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Its USA Rail Pass, unveiled back in March, also helped rekindle interest in the company.
What Are Some Of The Journey Details?
The ‘Cascades’ journey lasts just under 3 hours – more precisely, 2h57 – and it includes free WiFi and a cafe, making it one of the best-equipped trains in Amtrak’s collection. When booking tickets online, on the Amtrak app, station kiosks, or over the phone (1-800-USA-RAIL), customers can choose between two seating categories, namely Coach and Business.
Traveling Coach, they have 3 options of tickets:
- Saver (the cheapest, non-refundable, change fees apply)
- Value (slightly more expensive, refund options available, change is free)
- Flexible (pricier, fully refundable, change/cancelation are free)
On September 26, the inauguration date, Saver tickets are being sold for as little as $27 one-way, while the Flexible fare starts at $65. We would recommend passengers booked Business instead, only $2 more expensive than Flexible and including all of its perks, plus more comfortable seats with extra legroom and footrest, and complimentary drinks.
U.S. And Canada Entry Restrictions
When traveling from the U.S. to Canada or vice-versa, travelers are reminded there are still restrictions in place. Even though a majority of Western countries has completely lifted their Covid rules, Anglo-America continues to apply strict border measures, and not all Americans, or Canadians, may be allowed to board an Amtrak train this fall:
Visiting Canada from the U.S. if you’re an American
- Hold a valid passport or an enhanced ID card
- Wear a face mask during the entire trajectory
- Present a vaccine certificate as proof of eligibility for travel
- Download the ArriveCAN app
Visiting the U.S. from Canada if you’re Canadian
- Bring a passport, birth certificate or Canadian citizenship certificate
- Present proof of vaccination with an FDA or WHO-approved scheme
When taking a city break in Vancouver over an extended weekend, Americans can immerse themselves in the local art scene, strolling the hippy streets of Granville Island or paying the Vancouver Art Gallery a visit. If seeking nature, they can kayak in Jericho Beach, choose from a myriad of parks, and even explore the impressive North Shore Mountain range.
Even better: you can do all that on a budget by following these tips.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com