the vancouver to seattle train running along the pacific coast

Vancouver to Seattle Train: 2023 Info & Tickets from $45.00

It’s 2023 and the Vancouver to Seattle train is back in action.

The 4.5 hour journey is a great way to avoid the hassle of driving, cramped buses, and long border lines – and you get some great scenery along the way.

Let’s take a deeper look to see if the Seattle train from Vancouver is for you.

The Vancouver to Seattle Train

The train from Vancouver to Seattle is better known as the Amtrak Cascades: a passenger rail service that connects the major cities of the Pacific Northwest.

In total, the line covers 18 stops along the I-5 corridor – most notably Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.

It offers daily service between Pacific Central Station and Seattle’s King Street Station. So you can travel from downtown Vancouver to the Emerald City in as little as 4 hours. 

This allows you to avoid the stress of driving and cramped bus lines.

Also, the trip aboard the Vancouver to Seattle train is much more than just a way to get from A to B.

In fact, it is known as one of North America’s most beautiful train routes. You’ll see incredible ocean and mountain views as you zip along the Salish Sea and Puget Sound into Seattle.  

Amtrak Cascades Amenities

  • Free Wifi and plugs to charge your devices
  • Larger seats and additional legroom (compared to airplanes and buses)
  • Room for up to four free luggage items per person (2 carry-on and 2 suitcases) 
  • A Bistro Car (for access to a variety of fresh, local foods and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages)
  • A lounge car to better enjoy the views (first come/first serve)

Vancouver to Seattle Train Schedule

Is the train from Vancouver to Seattle running?

After its post-COVID restart there’s only one daily service currently being offered between Vancouver and Seattle.

Unfortunately, the morning trip currently departs northbound from Seattle. So if you’re looking to head south, you’ll be looking at an evening arrival.

If you prefer to leave in the morning, check out our Vancouver to Seattle travel guide for alternatives. In the meantime, the schedule is available below:

*Amtrak has recently announced a second service as soon as staffing and equipment allow.

Expect a morning departure to be added as soon as March 2023 – we’ll keep you updated.

Vancouver to Seattle Train Price

Standard Vancouver to Seattle train fares vary depending on season, but in general you can expect:

  • Adult: from $45.00 ($108.00 business class)
  • Senior (65+): from $40.50 ($97.20 business class)
  • Child (2-12): 50% off with full adult fare
  • Infant (0-2) Free (on parent’s lap)

Military personnel and travellers with disabilities are entitled to a 10% discount on the Vancouver to Seattle train.

Check Vancouver Seattle Train Prices Now

Need a departure before 5:45 pm? There are currently about a dozen buses between Vancouver and Seattle every day, including multiple morning departures:

Check Vancouver Seattle Bus Times

Vancouver to Seattle Train Tickets

As mentioned above, Amtrak Cascades currently offers two classes of tickets.

Once aboard, seating is available on a first come first serve basis within your chosen class.

Coach 

You can choose between theatre or family-style seating that accommodates groups in tables seating up to four passengers.

  • Free Wifi
  • Baggage racks
  • Reading lights and power outlets
  • Reclining seats with back trays

Business Class Train

If you’re looking to travel in style for a few bucks extra, you can upgrade to business class where you’ll receive the ultimate in comfort and convenience, including:

  • Free Wifi
  • Priority boarding
  • Wider seats and additional legroom
  • Fewer passengers in each car
  • A coupon for $3 off any item in the on-board bistro

Book the Vancouver to Seattle Train

* Since the service has recently returned with only one daily service, tickets aren’t easy to come by. The link above will also provide access to Vancouver to Seattle bus options as an alternative.

Is the Vancouver to Seattle Train Worth It?

The Amtrak Cascades train from Vancouver to Seattle allows you to get between the two Pacific Northwest cities in as little as 4 hours and 30 minutes.

But how does it compare to alternatives like driving or the taking the Vancouver to Seattle seaplane?

Let’s look at a quick comparison in the table below:

Trip Duration/Cost

As you can see, the Vancouver to Seattle train isn’t the fastest way to get to Seattle.

However, as you go through customs in Vancouver, the train is unaffected by border wait times – which can increase dramatically during peak times, weekends and holidays.

In fact, when driving on weekends the line at the border can take an hour or more.

Toss in a stop or two for food and gas you’ll be adding some serious time to the drive time quoted above.

When you’re on the Cascades however, 4.5 hours means 4.5 hours – from downtown to downtown.

And while at first glance the bus is faster, you’ll have to pay a premium for a direct trip. If you opt for the cheapest option you can be looking at as much as 6-7 hours on the bus – trust me, that isn’t fun.

Experience

If you’re a visitor to the region, the trip to Seattle is not just about the time you spend on the train, but also the experience you will have along the way.

When travelling by train there are no worries of driving through the border. You can just sit back, relax, and take in the scenery.

The Amtrak Cascades train route offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Pacific Northwest. As you travel down the coast you’ll see:

  • The Cascade Mountains
  • Snow-capped peaks
  • Lush green forests
  • Lovely ocean views.

This is definitely preferable to the rather drab drive down the I-5, which has little to offer besides fast-food restaurants and motels.

Admittedly, the train can’t compete with the scenery of the Vancouver to Seattle Seaplane, though this is naturally a luxury option at several times the price.

Should I Take a Train from Vancouver to Seattle?

Assuming you’re not willing to spring for the seaplane, the Amtrak Cascades is the travel option that offers the best mix of speed, comfort, convenience, and affordability.

Both the train and tbus offer a convenient way to travel between the two cities. However, if you are looking for a comfortable and scenic ride with the least border hassle, the train is the best option for you.

You can simply sit back, relax, and take in the scenery while the train makes its way to Seattle. Plus, the train offers amenities such as Wi-Fi and food service to take your journey to the next level.

Tips for Taking Trains from Vancouver to Seattle

  1. Vancouver to Seattle train tickets should be booked online well in advance to secure a seat and avoid a last-minute rush. The service has been very busy since returning… this can’t be overstated.
  2. Arrive at the station at least one hour before your scheduled departure time to allow for security checks and boarding procedures.
  3. Bring a valid passport with you, as the train crosses the US-Canada border. You’ll be required to go through customs prior to departure.
  4. Once aboard, try to secure a seat on the west side of the train to receive the best ocean views. In Vancouver, the west always equates to your lefthand side when facing the mountains.

Train from Vancouver to Seattle FAQs

Is there a train from Vancouver to Seattle?

Yes, there is a train service between Vancouver BC and Seattle and it is run by Amtrak Cascades. Currently there is one southbound train every day that departs Vancouver Pacific Central station at 5:45 pm.

How much is the train from Vancouver to Seattle?

One-way coach tickets from Vancouver to Seattle currently start at $45.00 USD (just over $60.00 CAD) – with return tickets naturally costing double. Business class tickets are available from $108.00 USD (about $145.00 CAD)

How long is the train from Vancouver to Seattle?

The train time from Vancouver to Seattle is 4-4.5 hours. This accounts for the time it takes to cross the 192 kilometres between the two cities and complete the 5 stops in between.

But remember, always show up an hour early to give yourself plenty of time to clear customs.

Where is Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station?

Pacific Central Station can be found on the fringes of downtown at 1150 Station Street. It is a short walk from the Main Street-Science World Skytrain Station which is served by the Expo Line. Alternatively, it is a short Uber ride from most Downtown Vancouver hotels.

Where is King Street Station in Seattle?

King Street Station is located at 303 S. Jackson Street near Pioneer Square in Downtown Seattle’s South-end. In addition to serving the Amtrak Cascades, the station serves as a local transit hub which includes Link Light Rail from International Village/Chinatown Station and Seattle Street Car service.

Is the train from Vancouver to Seattle running?

Yes, in 2023 the Vancouver to Seattle train has resumed service with one departure in each direction daily (Vancouver at 5:45 and Seattle at 7:45 am.

Is the train from Vancouver to Seattle scenic?

Yes, along the way train passengers can expect to see a variety of scenery outside the train such as the Cascade Mountains, dense Pacific Northwest forests, and even seaside views.

Ready to Board the Vancouver to Seattle Train?

I hope I’ve covered everything you need to know about taking trains from Vancouver to Seattle.

If you have any additional questions about travelling to Seattle or anything else related to Vancouver, hit me in the comments below.

Have a safe trip 😊

Julian

I've used online guides on five continents to find the world's greatest travel spots and this is my chance to give back - with insider info on my home, the mighty Vancouver BC!

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