Responses via website
(Many more responses from petitioners on "LATEST NEWS" tab)
Hello Everyone. The momentum is building and we have some important meetings coming up. We are in our last two weeks of the petition drive, all signatures will be handed over to WSDOT on the 30th of May at the City Hall Rail Meeting, and it's at 9am-Noon in Council Chambers. Please come if you can and show your support! To all those businesses and their employees who have taken the extra effort to bring the petition to the attention of their customers and got them to sign, a Huge Thank You goes out. You're being pro-active on such an important topic for our town is commendable and it is likely to help the process of gaining a regular Amtrak Stop in our restored depot in the long run. Keep up the good work and thank you to all that have signed! Every one of you that has signed is part of something very important for Blaine! All your voices are important, if you haven't yet signed, there are many businesses in Blaine taking the petitions; see our website, (main page) for the list. Or you can sign online.
See you at the meeting!
Restoration is a fine idea
A station in Blaine would be of tremendous benefit, both to the City and residents of Whatcom County. Additional revenues would be generated to support a frail tax base in Blaine and the convenience for trips to/from Seattle and Vancouver would be a big benefit to the citizenry.
As the Executive Director of the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce I see the re-opening of the Blaine Station to be good for local businesses which contributes to a vibrant community. Blaine is a lovely community and will suffer greatly with the loss of this facility along with the airport and the Semiahmoo Resort.
The experiences of Spain and other countries with high speed rail promises transformative economic and community benefits bringing great cities closer together in business time and people time. This is what major US federal grants to Washington state and Amtrak envision for the Amtrak Cascades route, BC to Oregon. Understandably, the grant recipients are focused on the stated purpose of the grants.
But there was another great outcome in Spain and elsewhere. The mid-size cities and smaller towns without air service on the fast rail connections among the cities soon became much more vibrant part of the extended urban community: A good place for more diversified businesses serving the whole region and the global market. Also for regional community events, shopping and homes nearer the city but farther from its frustrations. So we should be finding a way to include the Peace Arch border communities in high speed rail plans!,,For the doubters: Automobiles are never likely to become much faster, driven by humans on roads. Self driving cars we hear about, but we don't know where that road goes yet. In Spain, the fast trains have actually greatly reduced some of the auto use and congestion and cut heavily into competing airline and bus use. The winner from this is the regional economies, which compete better in world markets with speedier and lower cost interconnections. Even more so, smaller towns on the routes also strongly benefit.,,It's exciting to visualize in only about a decade a two hour ride between Seattle and Vancouver. Seems that as time goes on however, there will need to be both express trains and still very fast trains that stop at local stations such as Blaine.
Judging by comments from just across the border from Blaine, potential for self-supporting additional trains just between Seattle and Blaine might be just waiting for the product to be for sale. You could even have the Blaine trains cover the local stops and make that Seattle-Vancouver run non-stop. In Canada, Vancouver has a great light rail system. It reaches Surrey and looks to be more than halfway to the border already. Canadians clearly support their rail systems. Additional future choices in more continuous regional local rail connections can be visualized.
The business world is no longer mostly about nations, but more about a few dozen world economic 'mega_regions' with co-located talent, capital, infrastructure and great enterprises capable of competing in the global market. These urban conglomerations are supposed to be visible from space as contiguous paths and pools of light at night. You can definitely see this in the satellite photos for our region, including Seattle-Vancouver BC. But we could still stand to brighten up that connection by filling in the economies along it!,,Perhaps the only thing really uncertain in the long run is the fate of the historic rail station in Blaine. It would be so great if a legacy of the first golden age of rail be around to greet the likely return of trains to a more central role in our communities and economy. But even more important are the ties between us.
Bryn Beorse, Seattle
There is a ton of support for the train station. So what's the hold up for getting the train to stop there. It only makes sense to get the train to stop in Blaine. Let's do this!
Once saw a sign in an antique store "You had it once and threw it away so don't complain about the price"
Great to see so many positive comments on preserving your Station and what would be a great vehicle for urban regeneration.
Blaine has tremendous potential, with the Harbor, the nearby mountains and close proximity to White Rock, Vancouver and Bellingham. Renovating the train station alone would add greatly to the area, but resuming train service would be huge here. I'm all for it.
We sure appreciate those that have taken the time to post their supportive thoughts and comments on our website. The louder the voices the more the politicians listen.
There is good news ahead coming end of this month, that is all I can say now, but we keep positive and keep the momentum going forward.
Please keep those letters coming, and if you can, copy and paste them to all the members of Blaine City Council at email@example.com and the local paper letters to editor section at firstname.lastname@example.org, and or any other paper you can get it posted in in our area.
It's important and your messages really count.
If you are a business, and would like to post a flyer in your window, either come into my shop Horseshoe Coins & Antiques here on Peace Portal and Martin in downtown Blaine, or contact me at email@example.com, and I can send you one (or more) if you need!
Keep positive folks, I think we can win!!!
Horseshoe Coins & Antiques
We are senior citizens and we travel very frequently down to Portland OR to visit our children and grandchildren, each time we make the journey especially in bad weather we always comment on how much safer we would feel if we were traveling by train. We know we would be using less gas and by extension contributing less pollution into the atmosphere. This must be true for all of those who make the I5 journey to all points south of Blaine..... There would be potential economic benefits to other businesses in town..... All in all a win win for passengers and business owners in the Blaine area. I am totally in support of having an operating station in our wonderful Blaine.
We have just recently moved to the area and it seems pretty obvious to us that there could stand to be more foot traffic in downtown Blaine. The shops in town are great and it would just seem logical that a train stop would add more business to the local markets without an increase in vehicular traffic. Blaine was our destination and we are glad of that, and the value of the local area is apparent every time we walk outside, so why not help encourage local business and possibly create even more local opportunity?
Josh and Ayla Peterson, Blaine
Developing this project properly can turn what is now a blight into a high level resource for our town. Try as I might, it's difficult to find a downside which can't be overcome with thoughtful planning and execution.
Louis Ruoti , Blaine
I believe firmly that the Blaine Railroad Station should be restored to its full operating condition as soon as possible so that regularly-scheduled rail service into and out of Blaine can be established. I'm informally representing those residents of Blaine and the surrounding area whose lives would be greatly improved if regularly-scheduled railroad service is available. I am a resident of an assisted living apartment in Blaine. I do not have a personal vehicle for my use; transportation provided by the assisted living organization is very limited and; the county-wide bus service is very inadequate in terms of the time required to go from and return to Blaine. (I recently had an appointment at 2pm with a medical doctor in Bellingham. I checked with the public bus service and was told that in order to be on time for my appointment I would have to leave downtown Blaine at 8:15am and would not return until 5:30pm. I've concentrated so far an getting to and returning form points south of Blaine. I also have a need or a desire, at times, to travel north to to meet with friends at locations in British Columbia. These folks, whose transportation opportunities are also severely limited, I am sure will appreciate the possibility that train service will be available so they come to Blaine to visit me and to enjoy the opportunities for pleasure and/or business here in Blaine the surrounding area. I am limiting my supportive statements here to some of the benefits to an individual, handicapped individual. I am convinced that there are numerous benefits that will be available to many individuals and businesses with regular train service into and out of Blaine via the restored train station.
Guy Hughes, Blaine
I am all for getting Amtrack to stop in Blaine as a drop and pickup point for foot traffic, makes good logic, with the restaurants we have and the new business Ken Imus is bringing to Blaine, why not bring in as much foot traffic as we can.,People will come from Bellingham and Seattle and Vancouver BC by train to spend the day in this great area plus those workering and shopping could take the train to Bellingham on a monthly pass which should be cheaper then driving with gas prices going up, so let's get the train to stop in Blaine Wa. Let's keep the train station make it look new again and make Blaine a great place to live and to visit!
Gordon Ames, Blaine
I saw the Northern Light's letters to the editor today. There was someone from Edmonds who wrote it to show support of saving the station. She said she looks forard to coming to Blaine for lunch on a day trip. How great is that. This is a very important project and I fully support it. This could actually save our town! thanks for all you are doing. I will do what I can. I've been meaning to for a long time! Please let me know if there is anything in particular that I can do to help.
Allie Ryser, Blaine
- 1/26/2012 I am 100% in favor of the restoration of a working train station in Blaine. I have often seen the train stopped just before Blaine at the US Customs building and thought how easy it would be to have it stop just a few feet further along. I agree with prior letters that praise the idea of being able to easily travel to Vancouver, Seattle, or Portland and of the possibilities of tourist dollars coming to Blaine. We are a town with a most wonderful marina, and waterfront park, yet we aren't taking full advantage of their potential. The train stopping here would improve our lifestyle, bring the possibility of new businesses opening in Blaine and increase the revenues of existing businesses trying to survive here in a depressed economy. The train station and train stop would revitalize Blaine. Let's all "get on board".
I am totally in support of having the Blaine Station restored for use as a stop for the Amtrak and I would certainly make use of it for train travel into the U.S. as I know would many, many Canadians!. Thank you for your efforts in making this dream come true!
I live in White Rock and fully support this initiative. I remember taking the train from Blaine to Seattle in the late 1970s and what a pleasant journey that was. Since then the amount of vehicle traffic on I-5 has increased to the point where a drive to Seattle is something I avoid. I would definitely use the train again and wish you success in your campaign.
I think having a stop in Blaine is a brilliant idea! It would be good for the environment (less car emissions -- the train already passes through our town), would provide more reasons for people to come to Blaine (we've had thousands of businesses close down in the past five years due partially to poor customer traffic) and it preserves the history of our little town, which is so important. What are the bad sides??? UM NOTHING!!!! Let's get to work and make this a restored, historic, functional train stop!!
As 20+ year residents of Blaine we have watched it clean-up, grow and begin to shine as the jewel it is. As the need for better mass transit becomes a reality (we don't have the room to add ANY more lanes of freeway to our existing overcrowded roadways) - it becomes obvious that a rail-stop in Blaine would be a great addition to the "lineup" of stops along the railway. We are the mid-way point between Vancouver and Bellingham - our existing depot building can still be saved and while not on the historic register would add a historic flair to an otherwise "modern" line of rail depots. Can Blaine afford NOT to get behind this development concept? I think not.
I Live in White Rock and I would definitely take the train from Blaine. I always wanted to take the train but it does not make sense for me to drive to Vancouver and back again. I cross a lot and it would be nice to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
There is a wonderful opportunity to create an indelible legacy for Americans and Canadians alike by revitalizing the Blaine Station. Please consider all that is to be gained by expanding tourism for Washington State in this way. A large part of my childhood memories involve trips down to Seattle for the weekend to shop and take in all the attractions. The idea of being able to catch a commuter train to Seattle is very practical and exciting for me and my family. Please consider the upstream benefits of revitalizing the Blaine station.
Hello Bill Becht. I'm clearing up paper work and found the clipping about your idea. I live in White Rock and think your proposal is very interesting. I don't believe White Rock will ever get permission allowing boarding here and to first go to Vancouver makes no sense. I've taken the deluxe bus by the border but would prefer the train. I no longer find driving to Seattle fun as I once did when I was younger and traffic wasn't so dense. My wish, since I have nexus, would be to drive to Blaine and then be able to park my car inexpensively and safely there and then hop on the train there. Or, be able to park my car right by customs and then walk across. Good luck. Sincerely,
It just makes too much sense! Blaine stands to benefit from increased visitor flow on foot that is on foot, not just stopping for gas, and I might actually go to Vancouver every now and again if I knew I wouldn't have to drive! Committing to a viable strategy for bringing people to the main street of Blaine ensures that it's unique character and dynamic function as the border town is not lost to becoming a simple pass through. I hope that we have the collective prudence and foresightedness to take advantage of this opportunity.
Tomasina de Vitis
Blaine is a surprisingly spirited town with a wonderful and strategically valuable location at the NW corner of the United States. How could we let the Blaine Train Station disappear? Blaine and the surrounding community would no longer be the last stop before entering Canada or the first stop upon entering the United States. The Blaine Station, or more specifically passenger rail service, is extremely important to connect Seattle & Vancouver and to support growth on both sides of the border. Blaine is a diamond in the rough, with so many natural assets. Reliable passenger rail service will really help the community grow. I support the Blaine Train Station project!
John De Vitis
My daughter and I recently took the Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle just for the novelty and romance of riding the train. We live closer to White Rock or Blaine than we do to the Vancouver station so having to access the train in the wee hours of the morning in Van. and then backtracking a couple of hours on the way home really took away from the adventure. Opening the Blaine station would entice us to travel by train again.
We are your neighbour is Surrey British Columbia and would love to see the station saved and the train stopping there.
George & Midge West
Strongly support reopen Blaine Station.
We are White Rock residents and have spent many hours in Blaine and it's surroundings. We fully support the Restore Blaine Station as a train stop for Amtrak.
Audrey and David Meek
Every time we pass by the Blaine Station we express a longing for the Amtrak to stop at that location. We are not willing to drive from Surrey into Vancouver for a train trip which would take us back to Surrey again, but would enjoy the ease and comfort of travel on Amtrak from Blaine. We definitely support this initiative.
This is such a great idea and well overdue. It would be so nice to be able to take the train to Seattle rather than driving there. And maybe one day we could catch the train from White Rock?? (one can dream....)
I just picked up a recent Peace Arch newspaper and read with great interest regarding the article of saving the Blaine station. I would dearly love to be able to use the train to go to Seattle. Such a treat it would be. We live right beside the border so we could walk right there. Please, please save it.
I read the article in the Leather dated December 27, 2011. I like the idea to save the station in Blaine so that people that live around surrey area don't have to go all the way to Vancouver to take the train in order to travel to Seattle. Please don't demolish the station building.
I hate the drive to Seattle, and as a result never go. but I could easily board the train in Blaine, and then I'd enjoy riding the train into town. it would be fun. Being from surrey I could get to Blaine in a half hour.
I live in Canada, within 20 minutes of the border, and my family often makes trips to Seattle and Portland. We would use the train service often from Blaine if the option existed!
Please save the Blaine Train station from demolition, thus retaining it's heritage value to the City of Blaine, and possibly including it as a stop on the Cascade run between Portland & Vancouver with all the economic spin-off it would bring to the city, plus the added convenience of not having to travel to downtown Vancouver or Bellingham to board it. Thank you,
- I support your concept for a Blaine terminal passenger service. It would benefit White Rock and South Surrey (Canadian) residents as well as Whatcom County folks.
I've been blogging about Amtrak service to Vancouver for a long time, and am a frequent user of Amtrak to Seattle and Tacoma. Here's my take on this subject: link
As a White Rock, BC resident we would love to see the station retained and an Amtrak stop added there! For those of us who live in this southern most portion of the Vancouver area we must either drive all the way to downtown Vancouver (a 45 to 75 minute drive depending on traffic in the opposite direction of the trip so a waste of time & not very green!) or to Bellingham. I know that a lot more people from the growing Surrey/Delta/Langley area would be much more inclined to take Amtrak to Seattle & Portland if we could simply travel across the border and hop on at Blaine! Not only would it save time & effort, it would also limit automobile emmissions. Here's hoping that BNSF & Amtrak will see the merit in this concept and save the Blaine station!!
Gail Terry, White Rock
I see that this train goes to Eugene Oregon which just happens to be the home of a world class 450 table knife show put on by the Oregon Knife Collectors Association every April. There are many knife collectors in BC that would love to use this service to attend the show as well as collectors in Washington's northwest. My sister attends a quilting show every year in Seattle and knows many quilters who would jump at the chance to avoid the traffic hassles of driving to Seattle. That's just two examples of travellers who would use this service and barely scratches the surface of the potential in northern cascadia. Just think of the number of car clubs, carving clubs, railroad enthusiasts, antique collectors and on, and on, and on who have annual, bi-annual or monthly shows or meetings with members just waiting for a service like this. Many Canadians attend Seahawks and Mariners games now and just think what will happen when Seattle or Portland get a NHL hockey team and develops a rivalry with the Canucks. You'll need more trains!
Bob Patrick, Surrey, BC
As President of Tourism White Rock, may I offer our support for a Amtrak stop in Blaine. This would encourage tourism both in Blaine and White Rock. If we are not able to have Amtrak stop in White Rock, stopping in Blaine would be the next best thing. Please advise if there is anything we can do to assist.
We would love to see the Blaine station reopen for business. We live in White Rock and visit Blaine/Bellingham weekly.,We would love to be able to jump on the Amtrak right here in White Rock as well and hope that some day this train station opens up again as well.,,We would definitely use the Blaine station to visit our friends in Seattle and Portland and it would be a great tourism attraction for many other areas as well. Visiting the beautiful area like LaConner and surrounding places would be so much easier and it's such a beautiful drive/ride through the great Northwest. ,,We hope you will be able to reopen that station and ours too!,What are the chances of this happening, and if so, when?
Howard family, White Rock, BC, Canada
I remember the station in the early 1960's, always was active and the famous Northern Pacific Cascade train, always coming through at Cresent Beach,B.C. Great idea to hurry up and save the heritage of Blaine Train Station. Should be a huge impact on rail ridership / passenger count and for all local business community. With the 2012 tourist season approaching,this is a project that needs to be completed, asap. Hopefully we can all appreciate the station's re-opening soon. Keep up the hard work on this project and keep updating your website.
It would be great to see the old station restored. It would also be an economic "shot-in-arm" to the town (both as restoration project and use as a possible ongoing museum/public space as well a stop on the high speed rail. Good Luck! Brian Denman
As Blaine Mayor and private citizen, I am fully supportive of the effort to save our train station from the wrecking ball. If BNSF and WSDOT and/or Amtrak agree to a train stop in Blaine, the possibility of preserving the station becomes much more real. Ongoing citizen and political pressure will be needed to make it happen. Although our City budget doesn't have the dollars it takes for such an effort, I'm sure grants can be found for renovation; ongoing funding for maintenance and operation may be a little more difficult. I know some restored stations are staffed by local volunteers (Olympia and Centralia, for example). I am appreciative of your group's efforts to save the Blaine station. You have made a great start at spreading the word with this impressive website. It can be done! Please keep the momentum going!
Bonnie Onyon, Mayor - City of Blaine
My wife and I have taken a few trips by train to Seattle and Portland using the Bellingham Amtrak station. We would take more trips to Seattle if we were able to leave from Blaine. Save the station, add Blaine to Amtrak's stops, and move BNSF freight operations east to their Sumas-Huntington rail corridor. BNSF continues to bully local governments along its coastal shoreline route. Its dangerous and hazardous cargo has been increasing in the last 6 years. Local governments should insist that BNSF conform to US regulations regarding alternative routes for shipments of dangerous/hazardous cargo. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is now 100% owner of BNSF. Write him personally.
Phil Le Good
A very strong case needs to be made to save the station and add it as a Cascades stop before it is gone forever. Vancouver and Bellingham are just too far for many people who would choose rail as a travel option. The argument that it would lengthen the trip to either Seattle or Vancouver doesn't wash because people would just have to board the train without any customs checks. It could be a 5 - 8 minute stop at most. The train already travels slowly through that area so it is not like they have to make a stop in a 90 mph speed zone. The increase in passenger load would be well worth it. A thorough study should be done on all aspects of this proposal. All the power to those behind this initiative. It is a huge uphill effort but certainly not impossible.
Sounds like a great idea, and i'm from Canada! We would definatly use it to get to places such as Oregon and Washington. There is no reason to tear a 100 year old heritage building down.
I wish this becomes a reality during our lifetimes. My wife and I frequently travel to Washington to do our monthly grocery, gas up, and just browse around Barnes & Noble and Walmart in Bellingham. ,,We would love to be able to go further south to Seattle and Portland but it is too much of a drive. A train line with affordable rates coupled with efficient border services and most important of all: equitable currency exchange rates between US and Canada would certainly benefit Americans and Canadians. This is an excellent idea! Let us make it a reality!
Anton del Rosario
I think it would be fabulous to cross the border and jump on a train in Blaine and be able to head to Seattle for the day/night....or other destinations also. What a relaxing way to travel, enabling all to enjoy the sights and services. Let's get it rolling and keep it rolling ! Tks.
I would definitely be a user of this service!
The time has come, we need a more convenient connection to AMTRAK for Valley residents. Currently I drive to Fairhaven, and Blaine would be MUCH more convenient. Let's get aboard on these efforts!
As a long-time resident of Marine Drive in White Rock and e supporter of the return of passenger train service to White Rock, I'd say it's pretty much a lost cause. The fact that it took such a spectacular effort to have the Canadian federal government back down from charging half a million dollars a year for customs services shows the disinclination of the Canadian or BC governments to back passenger rail. I am very happy to hear of the effort to get a stop in Blaine, not only to have a passenger rail stop in the local area, but to save the historic station. I've been crossing the border to Blaine for decades and love it there, and I'm all for giving Blaine a little economic boost.
As a regular rider of the Amtrak Cascades train to Seattle for my annual girlfriends day trip I have I have always had to drive from my home in Surrey BC to Bellingham (the closest US station). Yes...I realize Amtrak does have trains from Vancouver BC...but have you seen the difference in time and money?? I save money and 2.5 hours of travel time and train time. Driving to Blaine Washington would be a godsend....only 12 km from my home in Surrey, instead of 35 km to Bellingham or into Vancouver BC. Blaine Washington NEEDS this train as many Canadians that don't live in Vancouver in my boat do. Thanks.
As a Canadian, if this station was operational I would definitely be taking advantage of this, as I know a lot more would as well.
My husband and I live in white rock and we shop in Blaine and fill up our gas tanks weekly. We would love to be able to take the train from there. Currently we drive to Bellingham and catch the train. I have just read about this in the Peace Arch News. It seems like this would bring a lot of business to your community. Hopefully you will receive a large response. Sincerely,
R & W Moore
How wonderful it would be to travel to our neighbors in the south by train!! Our family lives in White Rock BC and quite often travel to Bellingham and Seattle--what a joy it would be to leave the car at home and travel comfortably by train without the wait in border lineups (with motors running)with time to enjoy the views, and arriving relaxed and ready to enjoy the visit.,The Blaine station must be saved and re-opened! People on both sides of the border would definitely choose to travel this way - it would become part of the whole holiday experience. Count us as regular users should this happen. Thanks kindly.
Hope Takacs and family
I have two reasons to agree that the train stopping in Blaine would be a terrific idea.
First, I live in South Surrey just across the border. If the train can't stop in White Rock, then a very close second-best would be a stop in Blaine. We would love to be able to take the train without having to go to Vancouver or Bellingham.
Second, I am a travel agent, and I just know that I would have no trouble recommending and selling train tickets from Blaine - it's a no-brainer for most people. I have always admired Blaine, and I've always seen your potential for the development of tourism. Having the train stop there would go a long way toward that. I wish you luck in not only saving the station, but making it an important part of your community again.
I would love it if we had an opportunity to take the train from White Rock to Seattle.
I hope you can save the rail station. It would be great to see a rail station in Blaine or White Rock. It is a long distance between Vancouver and Bellingham and cyclists from Surrey would like to be able to ride across the border and pick up the train in Blaine to go to other places in Washington by train.
I would like to cast my vote to save the Blaine Station. As a resident of White Rock B.C. who looks out on Semiahmoo Bay and Washington State, I would so like to be able to catch the Amtrak train as it goes through White Rock and take it down into Washington State. We continue to lobby for an Amtrak stop here in White Rock, but failing that it is nice to know that we could drive across the border and catch the train in Blaine. Please do not destroy such a wonderful landmark.
A station stop at the border would be perfect for Canadians trying to have a relaxing day in Washington towns rather then fighting the long border lineups to get in and out with waits of 1-3 hours for cars. If we could park north of the border walk to customs and get on the morning train headed south, then return on evening train would work very well! The train leaves Vancouver too early for people to be able to get to the station in Vancouver on Transit. A large part of the Greater Vancouver Population is south of the Fraser River so not much point in driving to Vancouver and no safe parking around Amtrak station to take train south. Does not make sense to have train stop in Surrey or White Rock as customs hassles. Currently if you get train in Vancouver, train still stops at border for customs long delays. Station just across the border would be perfect. Also I am with the Surrey Cycling group in Surrey that promotes bike safety routes etc. An Amtrak stop in Blaine is something that we have discussed and wanted to work to pushing to see happen. Many riders like to travel Washington roads. An Easy ride to border past the hours car wait and normally fast walk through customs clearance would allow cyclists to take bikes on train for stops and rides from all sorts of stations down the line. Having more Canadians riding would fill the train up headed south from border as they get off in different towns south would be room for more to ride getting on at these stations headed south help to make the train a lot more functional and full for much of the trip. Many local Canadians are deterred from shopping or visiting Washington due to the long vehicle waits getting into states. If we are able to get across the border and ride train hassle free a lot more people would be willing to do it. Note that Surrey is expected to be a larger city in population than Vancouver in a few years, and south of the Fraser the population continues to grow. Let me know what I can do to help this cause and get the station open and Amtrak stopping here.
I have lived in the White Rock, South Surrey area for over 40 years now and would love to be able to catch a train in Blaine to go to Seattle. Having this opportunity open to not only people in Blaine but also in White Rock area would be a boon not only to Blaine but Seattle as well. Driving into Vancouver and then trying to find a place to park a car means that I and my husband do not take the train. We see it pass through White Rock but that is all. Would love to see the Blaine Station operating.
I read about this exciting possibility in The Peace Arch News, Dec.15. One cannot imagine not supporting your efforts. There are so many positives about this idea for both sides of the border. Maybe Mr. Buffet will chip in! Good Luck! From a neighbour!
Rosaleen Mac Fadden-Cann
We would love to have this train service across the border between Blaine and Seattle, and would certainly make use of it.
I would be very interested in using rail service from Blaine to Seattle and points south. I live just north of the border, and the BNSF tracks are quite close to our house - we can hear the trains quite clearly. It strikes me as crazy that I need to drive an hour into Vancouver and pay for expensive parking if I want to take the train to Seattle. Catching the train at White Rock or Blaine would be a huge improvement from my viewpoint.
We would like to travel to Seattle by train and stay down for a night or two for shopping and sightseeing. We would do so several times per year if it were convenient. However, we are NOT going to get up at 4:00 a.m. to drive from White Rock/South Surrey all the way in to Vancouver to go through customs and catch a 5:30 a.m. bus or 6:40 a.m. train to Seattle or Portland. I can understand why the Government of Canada is not prepared to pay the large cost of providing Border Security Officers to screen all boarding passengers in White Rock. So why not let me drive 10 minutes to the border, cross myself and board the train in Blaine. No more security needed. I know others who have said they would as well. The building is there already so all you need is some parking. The spinoff will be more folks shopping in Blaine for gas and groceries before they go back into Canada and others stopping for a meal or snack before heading home. BC stats indicate that there are 625,000 people living south of the Fraser River in just Surrey, Langley and White Rock. The vast majority of these folks are from 10 to 30 minutes from the Peace Arch or Pacific Border crossings. The result would be more passengers and profit for the BNSF Railway and business for Blaine merchants. You have my 100% support.
I believe you would see a tremendous influx of tourists visiting USA. There are plenty of people in Canada who would make use of a station in Blaine to travel to Seattle and Portland. It makes absolutely no sense for many of us to travel to downtown Vancouver and then pass thru White Rovk, Surrey, Delta!
If we could board the Train in White Rock, it would make it so much easier for residents in South Surrey and White Rock to travel to southern points on the West Coast. Example Seattle. It would cut down on pollution by not having to use our cars, even lighten up the Peace Arch border crossing by having less cars going across. It all makes sense. Let's do it. The time has come. I would use it.
I read about the efforts to designate Blaine as a passenger rail stop in a letter to the Editor in the Peace Arch News in White Rock, B.C., Canada. I will write to your legislators urging support. For me, 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 2 hours or so clearing security. I cannot support your legislators with a vote but I can support the economies of Blaine, Washington state, and the USA with my tourist dollars.
A gift it would be to establish a Blaine Station. White Rock,has not been successful in their attempts to regain local service. Blaine Station would efficiently accommodate our lower mainland Many Senior Tours are organized through Community Centers. It would offer opportunity and enjoyment,to a large number who still prefer train travel. Too often we lose sight of ways and means of keeping what is,so special. Saving Blaine Station is exactly that. Every effort must be made to establish Blaine Station as a gateway to your wonderful country. We would be go grateful.
Blaine station (along with White Rock station) could be extremely important to improving the rail service along the west coast of both the USA and Canada. If you look at it from a business point of view ... it's a no brainer. The issue concerning of "crossing the border" must simply be worked out. Actually I would think it would be easier to process a few hundred at a time on a train, rather than have those same people in 100 vehicles.
What a loss it would be to lose this historic station. I believe restoring Blaine station would be a wonderful opportunity to bring more tourism to Blaine and surrounding areas by giving people easier access to Seattle.
We would love to see White Rock and Blaine to join forces, for train service to Portland & south!
As a 20 year White Rock resident I remember several family outings from the Inn At Semiahmoo when they ran a charter boat to Orcas Island. The train station is a home run idea. I regularly travel to Seattle for baseball, and Pike Market shopping trips. This concept would bring hundreds of BC residents into Blaine for travel to Seattle and further. Look how well the Bellingham Airport is doing. We would give all our support to the idea and maybe someday White Rock train station may be a secondary stop.
I recently moved to White Rock from Jamaica with my 16 year old daughter. Last weekend we had the pleasure of exploring Blaine, thanks to our first package pick-up at Hagen's of Blaine (my daughter is a big fan of Victoria's Secret). Since we were there, and hungry, we decided to eat at that Thai place right on the waterfront (which was excellent, by the way). After that we wandered into the antique shop next to Hagens, where we learned about the possible demolition of the old Blaine train station. Of course we had to go and see the building in question, and we both thought how sad it would be to lose such a valuable piece of Blaine's history, and how short-sighted would be its destruction. From a purely selfish perspective, I would love to take the train to Seattle and Portland, but at the moment our options are limited to departures from Vancouver or Bellingham. Service from White Rock or Blaine would be so perfect, not just for my daughter and me but for all of us in the lower mainland who hate driving into Vancouver and paying exorbitant fees for parking. And since White Rock doesn't have much in the way of space for long term parking, I'm pretty sure the Amtrak Cascades service will not be stopping here any time soon. The Blaine station would be the perfect place for that train to stop: convenient, educational, and just plain smart. Please try to save the Blaine station.
Can you also approach Translink with a request to extend bus service just 8 more blocks south to the Peace Arch Crossing, to connect to the station and the proposed train service? Traffic to and from the Lower Mainland BC may be essential in keeping this station viable.
We would love to take the train south but driving to downtown Vancouver or Bellingham doesn't make sense. A stop in Blaine would make all the difference. Secure Parking for a car would be a necessity. Good Luck with your effort.
Note: It will be looked into.
I would love the train to stop in Blaine! It would help in several ways. It would bring more people to Blaine who would begin their destination here; it would be more convenient than driving 25 miles to South Bellingham and it would preserve a landmark and make a wonderful entry point to the harbor area. Look at our neighbor to the north, White Rock. They preserved the station and have a museum, gift shop and food vendors. It is a beautiful building. Not an eyesore, another ordinary modern building or parking lot. We could have this here in Blaine and have a functional and practical transportation hub. I will write to representatives to support preserving this building..... one of the few remaining pieces of Blaine history!
The Northern Light - letters to the editor
- February 16 - 22: The Editor:
Last week I and a group of friends from the White Rock/South Surrey area drove to Bellingham to go by train to the Seattle Boat Show. Others that we know from the lower mainland also traveled to Seattle.
Driving past the boarded up station on the way, we thought how great it would be to be able to utilize the station to travel to points south for day or weekend trips, have breakfast or dinner at one of your great dining establishments and support the local economy. Blaine is a fun place to visit, with the marina and its lovely park by the water.
The trip was great; lovely scenery, and the ability to relax without the hassle of highway driving was an experience we’ll repeat soon.
The station is already there, the parking is there, and it could be part museum/art gallery like White Rock’s, and part actual working railway station. Just imagine!
Florence and Ken Penny
White Rock, B.C.
- January 26 - February 2: The Editor:
I read with enthusiasm Jeremy Schwartz's article in the January 19 issue of The Northern Light concerning community efforts to save the Blaine train depot and to establish Blaine as a regular passenger train stop on the north/south rail corridor. Our town is uniquely situated to offer passenger service to both Vancouver and Seattle to residents of our area. As one who grew up living around New York and Boston, where riding the train to the city is a way of life, a train stop in Blaine appears to be a no-brainer. Ask people why they don't go to Vancouver more often and they will tell you that the border is too great a hassle, and that traffic and parking in Vancouver are a nightmare. Seattle is an additional hour away and involves even greater traffic snarls and parking charges that are outlandishly high. Offering train service from Blaine would draw people to our community, would offer them a relaxing and stress-free travel experience, and would ignite their interest in using Blaine as a launch point for further visits north and south. Additionally, as we look for ways to energize Blaine's economy and "put it on the map," our "Borderite" location offers an opportunity that no other city can claim. Add a rail line and a depot waiting to be refurbished and reopened, and you have a recipe for community growth. Not only will area citizens use Blaine as departure point, Blaine will become a destination, a place to visit and enjoy, or a launch point for vacations in neighboring communities. Either way, the impact on Blaine would be significant and positive. I urge our city council members to support this effort, and for all Blaine citizens to recognize the benefits of a functional train depot in our town and regular passenger rail service north and south. Please contact your elected officials and ask them to support this project, an undertaking that will be a winner for the residents of our community and for Blaine.
Bryan Johnson, Blaine
- January 26 - February 2: The Editor:
All aboard! Wouldn't it be nice to catch the train right here in Blaine at the historic Blaine Depot? Imagine relaxing along the water to points south, visiting friends, business, a sports event, entertainment, shopping or a romantic night out on the town. Why fight traffic? Just sit back and enjoy the view, just like in olden days – it's less stress and better for the environment. Please show your support. Join the many others who feel this would be a great asset for our community and for all citizens! Write a letter or make a phone call. You can make your voice heard by going to www.blainestation.com. It's very easy to type your thoughts and add it to the list of other supportive letters. Also, copy and paste your letter to the Blaine City Council members at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Blaine mayor and city manager at email@example.com, and to the letters to the editor section of your local paper – Blaine's paper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now is the time to voice your thoughts, support this just, much-needed project! Our community has a chance at having its train depot restored and turned into an operating depot once again. This has to be one of the most important possible successes this area may see in many years. Our politicians want to hear from you! They are listening. This is a win-win for our citizens, our businesses, our visitors and our northwest! Write that letter!
Bill Becht, Blaine
- Nov 3rd - 9th
I attended the Blaine City Council meeting on Monday, October 24, and was very satisfied to find out that the City of Blaine fully backs all efforts to retain the train station and establish a commuter stop. They are negotiating with the railroad at this time, but need help from the citizens of Blaine, and that help comes in the form of submitting either written letters or email letters to individual government representatives requesting assistance. You can find the ideas and suggestions on the new website at www.blainestation.com.
I urge each and every person in Blaine and all surrounding communities to visit the website and take a few minutes to read and educate themselves and then forward to the named representatives your thoughts, suggestions and concerns. This can be accomplished with the entire community of Blaine, Birch Bay, Custer, Ferndale, Point Roberts and White Rock working together.
I would also like to invite each and every one of you to the next meeting at City Hall at 6 p.m. on November 14, to further show the council our support.
- Oct 27th - Nov 2nd
Although I endeavor to support the local merchants in Blaine as much as I can, it would seem that Blaine City Council has delusions of grandeur with regard to Amtrak or BNSF opening a passenger station in town. I could well see that some people might take advantage of the service by taking the train south to Seattle, Tacoma or even Portland. Their round trips, however, would be viewed by the rail line providing service as only 50 percent of possible income. It would be looking for the other 50 percent to come from the south to Blaine. But what’s the attraction in Blaine at this point in time?
Perhaps Ken Imus was right – make Blaine a destination first. Simply having a station doesn’t mean the people will come.
- Oct 20th - 26th
I absolutely agree with Bill Becht in his letter to the editor published in the Oct 13-19, 2011, edition of The Northern Light. First, I find it quite disturbing that Amtrak wants to demolish our station, and secondly I am even more disturbed that the City of Blaine has waited so long to consider such an environmental change. My concerns are not just about keeping our train station building because of its history but also, and more importantly, about transforming it into a profitable enterprise. Anyone from White Rock, Lynden, Birch Bay, Custer or Ferndale must presently drive to Bellingham (Fairhaven) to board the train for Seattle (or even Vancouver). If our station were operational again, the increase in revenue for Blaine would be astounding. People would drive into Blaine at any time during the day or evening (not bypass us) and shop, eat or visit our city before or after boarding their train. A long-term fee-paying parking lot can be established to take care of any overflow parking problems. We can reinvent our parking structure and number each parking space on Peace Portal, H and G streets up to 3rd Street, which will put more money into the city. Fairhaven charges up to $6 per day and an hourly rate of $1. Been to White Rock recently? They charge $3 per hour to enjoy their waterfront and its shops and restaurants. Guess what – people pay it and enjoy themselves. Statistical data shows approximately 66,000+ people ride the Amtrak train yearly out of Fairhaven. I believe the convenience and the revitalization of the Blaine station would bring a great percentage of those travelers to Blaine for no other reason than the geographical convenience.
We have already increased our visitors to Blaine thanks to Jack and Christine Niemann and their Black Forest Restaurant.
Can you just imagine the business this would bring to Blaine? We could not only increase our daily population and visitors to our city, but also open the door to new businesses and increase the revenue of existing ones. It would be a total win-win situation.
Everyone should attend the meeting in City Hall on October 24 at 7 p.m. to voice their individual opinions. The City of Blaine needs to know exactly what the citizens of Blaine want them to do in this situation – whether “for” or “against.”
Bill and I will be there. Will you?
- Oct 13th - 19th
I have talked with hundreds of folks, many from the lower mainland, all in favor of saving the historic Blaine depot and remodeling it in place.
How we would all love to jump on the Amtrak for points south. Imagine the economic boost to the community, to have literally hundreds of folks a week coming down from Canada, either by bike, walking or auto, and riding the train to points south, ball games, shopping and day trips.
It would be great for the city of Blaine, Whatcom County, the state, the citizens, even BNSF. Also, customs would benefit, as there would still be duties paid, etc.
This historic building is part of the city’s heritage. Moving it or tearing it down would be a great loss and sadness for the community.
Now is the time to rally, write letters, insist that the city work hard to preserve this jewel in the rough, pressuring the railroad to accept the fact that this is our heritage and there is a great need for rail travel and a stop in Blaine.
The I-5 is projected to get even more plugged up here in the short-term future.
Rail travel is an excellent alternative and real energy-saver.
Also, if you would like to speak out about this, there is a council meeting planned for the 24th of October, at City Hall, 7 p.m. Support the depot and please show if you can. Time is of the essence.
Oct 13th - 19th
Please know that I am in favor of remodeling the Blaine train station for historic and commercial use.
Gayle Mac Arthur
- Dec 15th - 21st
Wouldn't it be nice to jump on a commuter train southbound to watch a ball game at Safeco Field? Wouldn't it be nice to take friends, family or a date down south to Pike's Place Market, downtown Seattle for a nice dinner, the Seattle Art Museum, the Space Needle, or any of the other big city places to visit? Wouldn't it be nice to catch a train, right here in downtown Blaine at the old historic maybe soon-to-be-remodeled train station, and visit points south, as far down as San Diego, and other points along the way? Well, we have a bit of a window now to make our opinions known to those in the positions of making it happen! I believe it would have heavy Canadian usage, as they could cross the border by foot or bike even. Imagine jumping on the train and have a relaxing and enjoyable trip, without the hassles of dealing with traffic, weather, etc. Visit www.blainestation.com. You can copy and paste the same letter to the mayor, city council members, Jason Overstreet in Olympia, the local papers, make your voices heard. The need is there, and I believe it would be a win-win situation right on down the board. If we don't step up now, we may never have another chance. Please take just a few minutes to write a short note and visit the website, you can make a difference. Help support Blaine, and the entire community!
Responses from representatives
As a former, 5 year city councilman, I can tell you that there is much history here. There was at one point in the not-to-distant past, much work done to accomplish this very thing. In the end, the city council said no. Now we are up against the Federal government and their desire to eliminate a customs inspection point. None of this means its out of the realm of possibility. The best place to start would be with a clear decision by the city council to support such a plan. Without that, it won't happen.
Rep. Jason Overstreet
11/21/2011: In response to a letter to Governor Gregoire, (forwarded by her staff to WSDOT), the Rail Operations Manager replied:
Dear Mr. Dolk:
Thank you for taking the time to write and express your concern to have Blaine, Washington, be a railway station on the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor. I am sorry Blaine is experiencing economic decline. Unfortunately, our state sponsored rail service is also struggling financially to make the service viable. The money from the federal government covers track and safety improvements that are already allocated to specific projects and none of that money can be spent on operations or subsidies. We are looking at which business model will maximize revenue and reduce costs. More station stops reduce the speed of the service and make it less attractive to passengers. In addition, there is a Congressional Act that may end all funding to Amtrak in October of 2013. If this happens, Washington State will have to cover the expenses Amtrak currently pays which could reduce the existing farebox recovery by a significant amount. We have to figure out how to reduce service or make up that funding difference; adding more stops is counter to that effort. The good news is Blaine has a nearby station stop only twenty minutes away in Bellingham. I apologize I wasn't able to fulfill your request at this time.
Sincerely, Ron Pate
Washington State Department of Transportation
Rail Operations Manager
In reply to an enquiry from Kelly Sinosky of the Vancouver Sun, Ron Pate said no formal request has been received but the department would consider the move if it was viable.
"We want to keep stops to a minimum where people go from major city to major city", he said. "We'd certainly look at it, but we'd have to justify a stop".
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