Portland to Centralia to Portland, A Quick Round About

During the Thanksgiving Holidays Amtrak rounds up some extra passenger cars and runs an extra train between Seattle or Portland.  The train usually consists of a few Amfleet 74 Seat Passenger Cars & a snack car with about 10 business class seats.  I believe the train often runs on the day before and day after Thanksgiving with even more cars, number 7-8 of the above passenger cars and the same snack car.  The extra passengers number between  300-1400 per day during the long weekend and days off.  The irony being, if we had the equipment full time Amtrak could very likely fill up the trains even then.

My father and I rode up and I’ve put together a story line of pictures for the trip.  Click on any of the photos to see a larger image.

My segment started at home.  I walked out and across a few blocks to board the north bound MAX to Union Station.  The first train that came along was a Yellow Line MAX.  During that time I say three streetcars go by which I snapped a few photos of.  I also decided a bit of sugar and caffeine was in order, so I stepped into the Seattle’s Best at PSU while waiting.  There I snagged a sellable couple of photos and sat watching the streetcars & buses roll by.

With the arrival of the Yellow Line I boarded and enjoyed by 8 minute ride to Union Station.  At this time of the morning, on a Thanksgiving Holiday, almost nobody was around.  I was the first on the LRV, which I took a shot of since it is a rare thing to see a truly empty MAX.  Upon arriving I entered the station to see, as expected, a massive line of passengers waiting to board the #502 extra.  Again, I sat and waited for the line to dissipate, and once there was only 2-3 people left, I stood up, walked to the counter and got my seating assignment.

Off to the train, seated, and rolling at a precise 9:00am, as scheduled.  We left Portland and arrived in Vancouver on time, were father boarded the train and joined me.  A short time later we arrived in Centralia, on time.

In Centralia we walked about the small one street downtown.  There is a coffee shop with their own grounds, St Lucia, that is a cool little place.  We got some hot beverages and then stepped outside to watch some freights rolling in and out of Centralia Station.

We noted the Kansas City Southern engine working the freight load, which is odd being that Kansas City Southern (KCS) is not often running anything out in these parts of the country.  After watching this train do some shoves and pulls we arrived back at the station where I took some Twin Transit photos.

After our short 45 minute wait, the Coast Starlight pulled in nonchalantly into the Centralia Station.  Everyone boarded in a a timely and orderly way, and with a few seconds to spare we were back rolling on the rails.

On the way back we enjoyed lunch on the train, with some pleasant co-riders heading to Portland themselves.  This being their first train trip I had to ask them how things were going.  Everything had been top notch for them so far, and they were much relieved that it was nothing like air travel.  Even waiting in lines wasn’t an issue while waiting for and riding the train.  I’m always glad to hear a first time rider who loves train travel.

Another train trip for the books.


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