Bellingham, WA's Fairhaven Station is located south of downtown next to the Port of Bellingham that inclues the Alaska Highway Ferry's one port in the Lower 48. This means passengers can make an easy transfer from Amtrak and reach the state of Alaska in a few days without flying and without ever having to go through Canadian customs! This doesn't mean the station is not connected to downtown Bellingham; the Whatcom Transportation Authority's Go Line Red Line #401 runs every 15 minutes to the downtown transit center directly from the station. There is also a nice little modern town center of Fairhaven with a few restaurants and bookshops that are an easy walk from the station for any waiting passengers on layovers. Amtrak Cascades service to the station is twice-daily with service to Vancouver and Seattle, the morning departure and evening arrival extends all the way to Portland (but only direct motor coaches to Eugene unless one waits for two hours for a train). There is also one midday Throughway Bus to and from Seattle only that connects with a Eugene train. The station is fully staffed and both trains (but not the bus) offer baggage service.
The depot itself is a modern transit center completed on July 21, 1995 in a former vintage warehouse. The station was partially opened for the Mount Baker International that was the early name of the now just branded Amtrak Cascades service to Vancouver that began operations that same year shortly before the transit center was dedicated. This same train (not using the modern Talgo equipment) was also operated by Amtrak between 1971 and 1981 (called the Pacific International) but stopped in downtown Bellingham at the BN Depot at Roedor and D Streets, this historic building still is in existence. Inside the depot are ticket counters for Amtrak, Greyhound and a local taxi company as well as Coffee Junction. The second floor and basement of the building have a couple of private businesses. This depot is directly along a single canopied platform that runs between the grade crossings of Harris Avenue and one that leads into the port and is used by vehicles boarding the Alaska Highway Ferry. This low-level platform has a decorative non-straight platform fence with tactile warning strips and signs at either end near the grade crossing (where it goes down to street level) saying do not enter. There is a small modern brown wheelchair lift enclosure structure as well. The only way to access the platform is through unlocked gates that say "Do Not Enter Until Passenger Train Has Come to a Complete Stop." and announcements are made of this rule before a train's arrival by the station agent as well. Signage along the platform is non-standard as well with little Bellingham, Wa. Signs where the new Amtrak logo was simply put over to cover the old pointless arrow. Also along the platform is a parking lot with a few bus bays for Greyhound buses and a small parking lot.
All photos taken on 12 October, 2011
Last Updated: 7 December, 2011