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Where to grab a train for fun and transportation

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While the weekend drive to Vancouver, B.C., or Portland, Ore., by car from the South Sound can be fraught with traffic, routine bathroom stops and possible detours, there is a faster and more relaxing way to enjoy the trip.

Take the train.

Amtrak Cascades offers daily trips to various cities throughout the Northwest along the Interstate 5 corridor. For environmentally conscious travelers, Amtrak Cascades locomotives feature low-emission production, computer-controlled fuel injection, an aerodynamic body style for low drag and a specially designed cab to insulate the crew from noise and vibration.

Children and adults can enjoy panoramic windows and natural tones inside the train - especially designed to showcase the spectacular Pacific Northwest views on the trip.

Passengers can watch the mountains, forests and open fields whiz by at 79 miles per hour, as all of the trains are built for high-speed rail service.

Amtrak Cascades trains even feature a special technology that uses gravity to tilt through curves while speed is maintained. The technology shortens current travel between Seattle and Portland by 25 minutes.

Passengers can catch the train to any destination along the 1-5 route at the Tacoma station, located at 1001 Puyallup Ave., just minutes from downtown. The train drops passengers off in Vancouver at the iconic Pacific Central Station near downtown, a transportation hub for buses and rail.

The station is also a short distance from Vancouver's SkyTrain, an automated light rapid transit system that offers fast, efficient service between downtown Vancouver and the suburbs. SkyTrain stations and cars are closely linked with bus service at almost all stations, and SkyTrain operates daily every two to five minutes.

The train stops in Portland at Union Station. There, passengers can link up with Portland's MAX Light Rail to travel around the city.

Trains run every 15 minutes from early in the morning until late at night, even on weekends. At many stations a live readerboard shows the destination and time-to-arrival of the next several trains, using data gathered by a vehicle tracking system.

To book a trip on Amtrak Cascades, visit or visit the Tacoma station.

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