Hello friends. Today is the day that I leave for Vancouver for the New Year holiday. I’ll be boarding an Amtrak Cascades train a little before 3pm, which will whisk me away to the Terminal City.
Or at least that’s how it should happen.
I learned Sunday night that there is a landslide on the tracks between Seattle and Everett, WA, which is the route of the Cascades, the Empire Builder, and numerous BNSF freights. Landslides here are not unusual, as the tracks hug the shore of Puget Sound between the two cities, with steep cliffs looming overhead. While the routing is pretty, there are quite a bit of landslides every winter because the soil becomes saturated with water. And last I heard the tracks won’t be open until Tuesday.
In cases like this Amtrak will use shuttle buses. Last I heard the shuttle will be between Seattle and Everett, since the other tracks are clear. So I’m not worried about not making it to Vancouver, I’m worrying about my bike, because I’m bringing it along.
Now you’d think this shouldn’t be much of an issue, since the Cascades have room for ten unboxed bikes, and there are always bikes on the train. But when “emergency scenarios” happen,* sometimes these things are forgotten. Will there be space for a bike? Will they make me box the bike for the less-than-hour travel time between the two cities (and charge me $15 for that box?) I don’t know, and probably won’t know until I get ready to board at Portland’s Union Station. (Why yes, Amtrak has “customer service representatives”, but they are pretty useless in situations like this.)
*And can you call it an “emergency scenario” if it happens every month during the winter?