Second Amtrak Train was supposed to be in service by now

I have never had the good fortune to ride the Amtrak Cascades train from Vancouver to Seattle and back, but I would love to one day. I have looked at prices and times before and the worst is the times. Get up at an ungodly hour to reach Seattle at a decent time.  Then to return to Vancouver, you do not arrive until midnight.  Eeks.

The Vancouver Sun has a recent article outlining that the train is delayed.  There is a new siding built that allows for 2 trains to pass each other. Apparently, this was a pre-requisite for having a second Amtrak Cascades train in service to Vancouver.  The article also says that there is something to do with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).  However, it is not more specific than that.

Stephen Rees Blog has a post on the same topic.  He quotes directly from a Transport 2000 newsletter

1 – Transport 2000 asks Stockwell Day to look into delay of Amtrak Vancouver Train

Jon Calon, the Editor of the Western Newsletter of Transport 2000 has written Stockwell Day, the Minister responsible for the Canadian Border Security Agency to protest the delay to the startup of the second Seattle to Vancouver B.C. Amtrak train. The train was to debut today.

The CBSA reportedly wants $15,000 per day to clear the train, calling it a new facility despite the existence of a first train with all the necessary facilities. Airports are grandfathered but CBSA has a different standard for rail transportation.

Transport 2000 British Columbia and Transport 2000 Canada have hired Ken Rubin to make an Access to Information request to find out more. BC invested $3.5 million dollars in a new passing siding to make the second train possible, and it is now losing the tourist dollars it expected.

A letter has also been sent to Suzanne Hurtubise, Deputy Minister.

So it looks like there is something very bureaucratic holding up this additional second train.  If the schedule is better, I might consider a train ride into the States.  In fact, they say you can carry up to 5 pieces of luggage (2 carry-on and 3 checked) onto the train.  That would be nice after spending a shopping weekend in Portland.  Heck, I might as well buy new luggage while down there.


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