Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grand Opening -- Stanwood Station!

It's three minutes to nine and I am bundled up and standing on the new train platform for the opening celebration of the Stanwood Station. The first train, a northbound Amtrak Cascades, is due to pull in at 9:03. I'll try to get a picture or two that I can post later in the day.

It's great to know that the train will be stopping in Stanwood, but I'm a little concerned about the schedule's practicality for commuters. Let's say you work in Bellingham. You will leave Stanwood each morning at 9:03 and arrive in Bellingham at 9:44. Unless you work in Fairhaven, where the station is, you'll probably need to arrange transportation to your job. Your train home doesn't leave till 7:40 in the evening, getting you back to Stanwood at 8:25. All things considered, you could work an 8-hour day, maybe 10:30 to 6:30, and would spend $24 a day on train fare.*

The Seattle-bound train is about the same for practicality. There will undoubtedly be people who can make the train work for the daily commute to the job, but it seems like it would be a better option for students. If you are attending college in Seattle you could leave Stanwood at 9:18 AM, arrive at 11:00, go to classes in the afternoon and return home on the 6:50 train, arriving back home at 8:14. You'd get a good three hours of study time in during the commute too, for a cost of $34 round trip.*

OK, so you may not choose to take the train every day, but at least you can hop on the train right here in Stanwood without driving to Everett or Mt Vernon, spend a few hours exploring Bellingham, Seattle, or Tacoma, or go to a sporting event, and not have to pay for gas or parking. It sounds like a plan!

Maybe you've got some other ideas of ways to get around on the train. Let us know. Maybe we can join you!

*(There are several categories of people who can get discounts on ticket prices, including senior, students and military personnel. This and other information is available on Amtrak's website.)

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