As I write this we are just pulling out of Bellingham station. I opted for business class tickets in the short legs on either end of my trip, since the extra cost was negligible (from Bellingham to Seattle it was 5$ extra, and from Buffalo to Toronto only 4$). My feelings about this choice are mixed – the business class car is very well upholstered, quiet, and with individual seats. There are curtains and wood panelling – perhaps not 2010’s idea of modern luxury, more like an updated 1980’s luxury. And it’s not just quiet in here – it is fantastically silent. On the other hand, however, it means that I can’t sit with the interesting man traveling to Alaska (via a Seattle flight to Anchorage) that I met on the platform. It’s quite possible that more interesting people take coach class. Or at least more people – it’s almost completely empty in here. But things are not so bad, the ticket has earned me a 3$ coupon for the Bistro, and my new Macbook pro doesn’t feel out of place at all.
The trip to the border was uneventful. We bought cheese and fuel at the Chevron in Blaine, and some groceries at Hagen for the first leg of the journey. I wasn’t too concerned about stocking up, since i have a 5 hour layover in Seattle when I can visit pike place market.
The train is clipping along swiftly (if I could only remember where I packed my GPS) along the ocean, over dikes and through tunnels. The ride is very smooth even over this relatively rough track – it feels this car is better engineered than the via coaches I’ve ridden in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor.
The scenery here along the Puget Sound, across from the San Juan islands and the Olympic peninsula, is fantastic – a world more dramatic than the Interstate. Also, on the interstate there is no conductor to discuss the local scenery over the intercom.