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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tavisha Kochhar sews masks for her fundraising campaign, July 25, 2020. (Aziz Ladha photo)
PHOTOS: Call for Surrey COVID-19 submissions tops 300

Collection ‘highlights remarkable ingenuity, resilience, spirit’ during pandemic

White Rock RCMP conducted a point-in-time homelessness count on April 16 and 17, 2021. (White Rock RCMP photo)
Majority of White Rock’s homeless more connected to Surrey: RCMP report

Two-day count conducted in April located four unsheltered individuals; officers identify 24 overall

Fraser Health held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Surrey, which would be in what the BCCDC refers to as the Panorama community, on Friday, May 7, 2021. Roughly 400 people pre-registered to get their vaccine the week before. (Photo: Lauren Collins
Surrey communities recording more COVID-19 cases also seeing lower vaccination rates

Those same communities were highlighted in the SPEAK survey, which highlighted disparities in the city

Twenty-nine staff members at Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. in Newton have tested positive for the virus, according to an information bulletin from Fraser Health Saturday (May 8). The health authority issued a 10-day closure order, effective May 7. (Image: Google Maps)
29 staff test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey poultry processing plant

Meantime, outbreak over at Surrey Memorial Hospital

The College of Massage Therapists of B.C. says Van (William) Dinh, a registered massage therapist in Surrey and Langley, has had his licence suspended while an inquiry committee panel investigates allegations of sexual misconduct. (Unsplash photo)
Surrey massage therapist suspended amid sexual misconduct investigation

CMTBC received complaint Van (William) Dinh allegedly exposed ‘sensitive areas of the patient’s body’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Vancouver Giants earned a 6-2 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets Friday night, May 7, in Kamloops (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants down Kelowna Rockets 6-2

Two short-handed goals for Langley-based team

Most Read