Youth enjoy free fares on Amtrak Cascades in Washington state

(file photo)

Train travel is now even more appealing for families and young adults riding on Amtrak Cascades trains. Passengers who are 18 years old and under now can ride free between any of 12 train stations in western Washington.

Amtrak Cascades joins Washington State Ferries and transit agencies across the state in offering free fares to qualifying youth. The first of its kind in Amtrak’s national system, this program is funded through the Move Ahead Washington transportation package and the state’s Climate Commitment Act, according to a news release.

The goal is to encourage youth and their families to experience the pleasure of train travel. Those 18 years and younger make up more than 20% of Washington’s total population. By making Amtrak Cascades cost free for youth, access to train travel becomes even more affordable for families and young people within Washington.

“We’re hoping to inspire an entire generation to consider trains as a viable choice when traveling along the Interstate-5 corridor,” said Jason Biggs, director of WSDOT’s Rail, Freight, and Ports Division. “With scenic views from comfortable seats and onboard food and beverage choices, train travel is enjoyable for parents and kids alike. It’s a great option for families and people who don’t or can’t drive. Plus, it’s much better for the environment than driving.”

With one-way adult fares between Seattle and Vancouver, Washington starting at only $27 and youth riding free, this is a cost-effective way to travel.

All passengers traveling on Amtrak Cascades must be ticketed. When purchasing tickets, simply select the proper category for each individual traveling in your group and the zero fare will automatically be applied for those 18 and under who are traveling within Washington state.

All children under 16 years old must be traveling with an adult to be eligible for the free fare. Unaccompanied minors ages 13 to 15 are not eligible. Please note free fare tickets must be acquired in advance and are not available onboard trains nor at ticket kiosks.

Free fares are only available on Amtrak Cascades trains and buses, and only for trips beginning and ending in Washington state. Those traveling beyond Washington’s borders must purchase separate tickets for each leg of their journey to take advantage of the free fares in Washington state.

Tickets for the youth fare program are available at, by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL, or from an Amtrak ticket agent at staffed stations. Note that tickets for the youth fare program are not yet available on the Amtrak Cascades nor Amtrak Oregon websites, but will be in coming weeks.

  1. I was so excited about this idea, I went through the site to book a ticket EDM -Leavenworth with my 13 yo and it is not free for them. Perhaps the system is not updated. Just something to note, when booking book a single adult/sr ticket and then add a minor to compare the pricing.

    1. Venus Fortenza: The train to leavenworth is the Empire Builder. The Amtrak Cascades is the bellingham to Vancouver line, So maybe go to Olympia for the day?

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