One of the most scenic rail routes in the West, the Amtrak Cascades, is coming back into service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 26.
The Amtrak Cascades trains actually run parallel to the I-5 from Eugene, Oregon all the way up to Vancouver, B.C., but the route north of Seattle had been suspended due to border restrictions between Canada and the U.S, put in place amid the pandemic.
For autumn leaf-peepers and those who love the Pacific Northwest’s sylvan splendors, this train trip offers an immersive experience of the PNW’s majestic mountains, forests, lava fields, waterways and wildflower meadows.
Riders can also experience some of Washington State’s most distinctive cities and spectacular attractions, with stops in Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon and Bellingham before crossing the border into Vancouver, B.C.
Of course, the impending restart could be impacted by the threat of a strike by freight rail workers, which was averted (at least for the time being) yesterday after the White House helped broker a tentative deal between the labor union and rail companies, following a bitter dispute that could have dramatically worsened existing supply-chain problems and further blighted the nation’s economy.
Amtrak had already begun canceling some of its long-distance and state-supported intercity trains in anticipation of the freight rail workers’ strike. While neither Amtrak nor its workers were actually involved in the labor standoff, its intercity service would have been substantially impacted by the shutdown, since its trains outside of the Northeast Corridor (where it owns and operates its own track) run on track owned, maintained and operated by the freight railroads.
Of course, travelers who opt to take their trips by rail these days also benefit by avoiding the prospect of chaotic airport and plane travel experiences, and unusually high airfare pricing; which is predicted to only worsen as we approach the end-of-year holidays, as fuel costs remain high and carriers continue to operate at reduced capacity, due to staffing shortages and other challenges.
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