Vancouver to Seattle Roudtrip on Amtrak

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Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver
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Seattle, WA
1,865 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Figure out your contingency plans if Amtrak doesn't stay on schedule. I've heard the southbound run is rarely impacted, because it's the beginning of the run, but the northbound run can easily get "derailed" in a big way, and Amtrak customer service is atrocious: no one will announce the delays in the station, and if you're getting text alerts, they'll keep delaying the arrival by 30 minutes every 30 minutes, without being realistic about it. We waited almost 1.5 hours then gave up and rented a car; the train did finally go 7 hours late from what Amtrak told me. They do switch to buses if there's a delay, but I gather that they bring the train back to the last station it could get to, then transfer everyone to buses, then resume the route, stopping at each station as it if was the train.
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Oklahoma City
8,058 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Originally posted by martincath
Unfortunately yes - the only time I've ever experienced that is during the annual servicing of the TALGO rolling stock. For a short time each year they run regular Amtrak carriages instead - so if you've ever taken a normal 2-deck Amtrak train you know what you'll have to deal with.

There's more legroom on these than the coach seats on the TALGOs, but the carriages tend to be much older with less comfy seats so unless you're basketball-player-tall, the TALGO coach seats are better. There's also a greater chance of delay as the TALGO carriages lean so they can safely corner faster - regular Amtrak carriages used to add about 20-30mins, but I haven't experienced a non-TALGO trip since all the track improvements (which included making a few corners smoother) were finished.

It's possible that there's some issue with just business class carriages of course, but the timing is right for the annual service - it's usually in Sep/Oct that the swap happens.

Edit - check pricing! They probably rebooked you on the most expensive Coach tickets. If Saver is still available you should ask to rebook at those rates instead (technically if you COULD have booked Saver at the time you booked Bus Class they should rebook at the lowest rate, but depending when that was unless you took a screengrab it might be hard to argue...)
Thanks for the information! I was concerned so I called Amtrak and it was a good thing I did as they could not rebook me without hearing from me, so if I ignored the email notice I could have been out of luck!

They honored the coach fare at the time of my reservation, which is now much higher and is actually $10 more than the business class fare I paid. It ended up that I saved $46 (for 2 people), so I guess thats fair.

The Amtrak agent was very nice and helpful. It was a very easy phone call, but again, I sure am glad I called.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
386 Posts
Joined May 2005
So thanks to all. We did exactly the trip I inquired about and it went off without a hitch. The trains all left as expected with the exception of southbound being 11 minutes late.

The Vancouver Pacific Station is theoretically open at 5:00 am but only in so much as you can enter the building. We were not allowed to approach the customs desk for check in until 5:20 am.

Our group found the trip acceptable and we're glad we did it but it did make for a long day. However if your group wanted to try it I would go for it. Thanks again everyone.
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