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I'm looking at options getting from Vancouver, BC to San Diego and have discovered that a) there is (or was) a train between the two cities and b) flying from Seattle to San Diego is half the price compared to flying from Vancouver.

So I'm trying to formulate a plan - cruise disembarks in Vancouver 6am (so probably more likely 8am by the time we can actually get away. Amtrak schedule says Vancouver to Seattle is 9:00am-12:45pm, and then there are flights at 3:30pm or 5:30pm

Now if the cruise terminal was next to the train station, and the train went to the airport, I think all of this would be do-able (I am fully aware this is still risky with lots of potential delays).

So now I need to fill in the gaps. I know I need to get from Canada Place to the Pacific Central Station, however once we get to Seattle I don't know how to get to Sea-Tac airport. We arrive at King Street Station, but when I search the Seattle light-rail for King Street Station to Sea-Tac it comes up with nothing (which surprised me). So I'm wondering if I need to be starting from a different station in Seattle?

Is what I'm proposing manageable in a single day (I don't think it is, we probably need to overnight in Seattle), and if so how do we get from King Street Station to Sea-Tac?

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The cruise ship terminal in Vancouver is a couple of kilometers away from Pacific Central station; you could walk in about half an hour, or take a taxi. I'm not sure why your search failed, but King St. Station in Seattle is connected to the International District/Chinatown station on the light rail system, from which you can catch a direct ride to SEA airport; the trip takes about half an hour, plus waiting time.

However! Cross-border service on the Amtrak Cascades is currently paused. Connecting bus service may be available, but it does not look like there is any currently offered at the times you suggest. Amtrak's website says service will resume "in early 2022", so it is possible you may get lucky and service will be available at the time of your proposed trip, but it is not certain at this point.

Note also that, when cross-border train service is available, US customs and immigration processing takes place in Vancouver, so you are advised to get to the train station an hour before your departure time. I do not know how strict they are about this.

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    Thanks @mlc, it was the Amtrak website that gave me the times and prices for the Vancouver to Seattle leg, so maybe it's still to be re-launched (my searches were for late April). I'll definitely need to verify that part!
    – Midavalo
    Mar 11, 2022 at 14:29
  • @Midavalo as recently as yesterday, the team running the Amtrak Cascades Twitter account did not know when service would be re-launched, but it certainly would not be the first time Amtrak has no idea what it was doing
    – mlc
    Mar 11, 2022 at 23:05
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    @Midavalo I searched in late April and I did see an Amtrak service at 9am leaving Vancouver for Seattle but it is actually a bus (see on the left side of the page, "8907 Connecting Bus"), not a train. Of course, that will get you there just as well.
    – ajd
    Mar 12, 2022 at 16:01
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    The Cascades train seems to have come back in late Sept 2022 and is now in service. Jan 1, 2023 at 20:04
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As another option: the "Quick Shuttle" bus will take you directly from the Canada Place Pier to Sea-Tac Airport (with several intermediate stops but no transfers). According to their schedule, they leave Canada Place at 9am and arrive Sea-Tac at 2:35pm. A search in late April says they're offering tickets for $23.50; I'm not sure what is typical. (I am not affiliated with this bus company; I have heard of them as a good option for cross-border trips between BC and Washington state.)

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  • Thanks for this - while mlc's answer answered my specific question, we actually ended up taking this Quick Shuttle bus from Vancouver to Sea-Tac, and I can confirm that they are a good option
    – Midavalo
    Apr 29, 2022 at 13:30
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Is what I'm proposing manageable in a single day (I don't think it is, we probably need to overnight in Seattle)

Yes. Ample time for it.

then there are flights at 3:30pm or 5:30pm

The last non-stop SEA->SAN flight departs at 8:55 PM.

and if so how do we get from King Street Station to Sea-Tac?

King Street Station --1-min walk--> Int'l Dist/Chinatown Light Rail Station --light rail--> SEA.

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  • Thanks @FranckDernoncourt, I guess the main part I was missing was that I need to get to the International District/Chinatown station.
    – Midavalo
    Mar 11, 2022 at 14:31
  • And yes I was aware of later flights, however we still have another leg to the journey which includes uber in TJ which we would definitely want to do earlier in the evening than a later flight would allow
    – Midavalo
    Mar 11, 2022 at 14:31

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