Amtrak trains pass through White Rock but don't stop. Years of lobbying have failed there

B.C. allies back Blaine Amtrak station

Passenger train Stop near Peace Arch more convenient for many outside Vancouver

Efforts to get a White Rock stop for Amtrak passenger trains have so far failed, but a new push is now on to use Blaine’s historic train station just a short stroll across the border.

The idea is that Canadians – particularly from cities like Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford – could park near the Peace Arch border and board trains there to Seattle.

“It would have heavy Canadian usage as they could cross the border by foot or bike even,” predicts Bill Becht, one of the Blaine residents behind the campaign to restore the shuttered station.

The issue has become urgent in Blaine since BNSF Railway applied for a permit to demolish the old station building.

The city has postponed the decision one year while the building’s significance is assessed.

“I just want to get more awareness and hopefully there will be a groundswell of support,” Becht said. “Tearing a historic train station down is an asinine thing to do.”

He thinks Canadians will be key allies in the fight.

The current Vancouver-Seattle service, which has no intermediary stops north of Bellingham, is much less convenient for the 600,000-plus South of Fraser residents who must first get to Vancouver’s Main Street train station to board Amtrak or else wait in border lines and drive to Bellingham to connect.Blaine station pictured in 2010, courtesy blainestation.com

Surrey resident Gordon Hall notes Amtrak’s morning trains leave Vancouver too early for anyone from Surrey to get to the station on public transit.

“If we could park north of the border, walk to customs and get on the morning train headed south, then return on the evening train, it would work very well,” he said.

Numerous Canadian supporters have already posted on the blainestation.com website.

“This concept would bring hundreds of BC residents into Blaine for travel to Seattle and further,” predicted White Rock’s Christy Grant.

“We would love to take the train south but driving to downtown Vancouver or Bellingham doesn’t make sense,” added Bill Hughes.

“It would be far more efficient and convenient to use my Nexus pass to cross the border and hop on a train to Seattle, or points south, than to catch a plane from Vancouver International Airport where I would have to spend two hours or so clearing security,” wrote Kane Scott.

Metro Vancouver residents also suggested TransLink buses run an extra eight blocks east from White Rock to the Peace Arch to support the service.

Others said the stop may even reduce pollution and lineups at the Peace Arch crossing.

Amtrak now runs two daily trains in each direction between Vancouver and Seattle.

Amtrak has opposed adding another stop because it would lengthen run times.

A proposed stop in White Rock was even more challenging because of the need for passengers to clear customs – a problem that would not exist in Blaine.

“They’d have a leg up there,” White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said. “But it’s certainly not going to be a cakewalk.”

He noted hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to upgrade the passenger rail line to reduce the travel time.

View Larger Map

Blaine’s old train station is near the intersection of Marine Drive and Peace Portal Drive.

Just Posted

Fire ban expanded to include charcoal briquettes in public places

Some gas and propane barbecues still allowed in Mission

SLIDESHOW: Motorcyle ride raises funds for bereavement camp

Annual Poker Run held Sunday by Mission Hospice Society

Kids’ business camp makes cents

Young Entrepreneur Training program offered in Mission

‘What’s needed is vision, not sight’

Six-term Mission councillor Jenny Stevens wants everyone to have a voice

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Drug-checking started as pilot in four B.C. communities to test for fentanyl

Substance is mixed with water on test strip, and result is revealed in minutes

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Most Read