Holiday Travel

Amtrak Adds Trains for Thanksgiving

Here are five reasons to ride the rails.

By Allison Williams November 18, 2011

Is this movie your life? We’re sorry.

Going home for the holidays? There will 11 extra train routes next week on Amtrak Cascades, giving you extra incentive to stay off the roadways.

Amtrak calls Thanksgiving week its busiest of the year. There are normally three daily round trips between Seattle and Portland, but there will be extra departures scattered between Wednesday, November 23 and Sunday, November 27, as well as bonus Thruway buses. Plus, an express (nonstop) train will depart Seattle at 11:59pm on Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday), arriving in Portland at 4:14am.

Why take the train instead of hauling the ol’ Volvo down to Turkey Day? We came up with five good reasons:

1. You’ll beat the traffic—and that’s no minor matter on Thanksgiving Day, when the WSDOT expects the southbound Olympia-to-Tacoma I-5 corridor to have "congestion or stop-and-go traffic" from 10am–3pm, with at least "moderate to heavy traffic" the rest of the day. It’ll get worse if the weather is bad.

2. You can score 15% discounts at two Portland hotels, should you want to crash somewhere that isn’t your childhood bedroom.

3. Amtrak is giving away two tickets to the December 12 Seahawks game. You don’t even have to ride to enter.

4. There are electrical outlets and free wifi on the train. Use your time to catch up on work or do a last-minute Google for "How to cook a turkey."

5. It frees you to drink during dinner. We’re not saying that booze is a holiday necessity for everyone, but most of us would appreciate pre-gaming with Deschutes Black Butte Porter or a snifter of Courvoisier in the Bistro Car on the way to the family reunion.

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