SEATTLE — Amtrak service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia resumed Monday after being suspended since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The return of the Amtrak Cascades train is welcome news for travelers who have been relying on Amtrak's four daily buses. But service is returning slower to start, with one daily roundtrip service departing Seattle at 7:45 a.m. and leaving Vancouver at 5:45 p.m.
The route between Seattle and Vancouver will stop in five cities: Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon and Bellingham.
A second daily trip will be added in the future as Amtrak staffing and equipment allow. The service was supposed to begin earlier this year but staffing shortages made getting up and running difficult.
It's the second of three Amtrak routes into Canada that have been restored since the pandemic. In June, Amtrak restored travel between New York and Toronto. Amtrak has not yet announced a date for travel between New York and Montreal.
Still, there's excitement on the West Coast.
Monday's first train out of Seattle was 70% full by 6 a.m., and business class was sold out.
“I looked online a couple of weeks ago and I just saw some news that the train may come back and we had a little bit of luck that it fits perfectly in our trip,” said one traveler from Germany.
Travelers looking to take the entire Cascades corridor into Oregon will need to spend a night in Seattle.
For travel into Canada, all passengers must use the ArriveCAN app before travel and wear a mask in Canadian stations and onboard trains while traveling through Canada.
If arriving before Sept. 30, non-Canadian citizens must be fully vaccinated and carry the vaccination record that was uploaded into the ArriveCAN app. Canada will drop it’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement to enter the country on Sept. 30. However, masks will still be required on trains in Canada.
For travel into the U.S., non-U.S. citizens must be fully vaccinated with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration or WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine. These requirements were put in place by the Canadian and U.S. governments. Find more information on the Via Rail website.
Customers can purchase tickets at Amtrak.com, AmtrakCascades.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and kiosks, or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Travelers departing from Canada can also book their tickets at ViaRail.ca, and through 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1-888-842-7245).