Monday, December 16, 2013

We took a (virtual) ride on the Portland Express!

*Thanks to Travel Portland for inviting us to this event and giving us a fun goody bag of Portland-themed gifts.  I was not compensated in any other way and was under no obligation to write a blog post. All opinions posted here are mine and mine alone!

Last Friday, Vivian and I dropped off Ethan at school, hopped back in the car and headed downtown to Seattle's King Street Station. The last time I was at the station, the renovations were just beginning, to transform it back into its old state of glory. So when I walked in, my jaw dropped. The train station is gorgeous! It gleams with marble finishes and high ceilings covered with intricate designs.  It's really beautiful and is a great place to start your journey!

We were at King Street Station for a special event to celebrate the arrival of a beautiful new train to the Amtrak Cascades route.  It's called the Portland Express and is actually a pair of 13-car trains which are named "Mt. Jefferson" and "Mt. Bachelor". These trains, along with existing trains, are run by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation, in partnership with Amtrak. I've ridden these existing trains before and they were comfortable and pleasant, but these two new Portland Express trains are simply stunning!

Vivian is ready to check out the train!

Stopping for a photo op

The Portland Express trains feature comfortable seating with great lighting and WiFi access.  For families, several rows in each car face each other and even have a table in the middle that you can unfold for use and fold partially away to make more space.  There's a cafe car that features snacks and drinks from Portland-area companies.  Everything on the train is connected somehow to the beautiful city of Portland, and it will get you ready to have a good time in Portland once you arrive! Best of all, unlike in a car or on a bus, you can get up and walk around while you travel. Meet new friends! Stretch your legs! Enjoy a local brew in the dining car! Visit the large bathrooms equipped with changing tables! This is a great way to travel.

The beautiful dining room

Great seating for families

Vivian prefers to travel business class

Vivian and I left the event, both extremely interested in hopping on a train and heading to Portland immediately.  Portland is one of our favorite cities (and not just because I was born there). It has fun city life, great food, good beer and coffee and tax free shopping, to name a few reasons why we love it! If travel to Portland from Seattle is in your future (and it really should be), check out this information (from the Travel Portland website) to help you plan!
Starting in January, Portland-bound visitors who take the Amtrak Cascades line between Eugene and Vancouver, B.C., will have the chance to ride the Portland Express. The special car will be in service through March.

Plus, if you book your Amtrak Cascades train tickets at least two weeks in advance, you’ll get 25 percent off already-low prices – making a one-way trip to Portland only $24 from Seattle or $47 from Vancouver. Find more information on