Checking in for the Train and Checking out Seattle’s King Street Station

As you may have read, we gave train travel with a toddler a try on a recent weekend trip to Portland, Oregon.  While we may still be undecided on whether or not it’s a better option for us than taking the car, we know one thing for sure: It beats flying.

Travel by Train |

While Slaed dealt with getting the car parked downtown, I was charged with getting us settled at the station.  This involved checking us in for our train ride down to Portland, dropping our bags to be checked, and scoping out our seating situation because we were riding coach and didn’t yet have an assigned seat.  All these great responsibilities needed to be taken care of with Bergen riding along in the backpack carrier.  Sounds like an ordeal, right?

But would you have guessed getting those tasks accomplished took all of about 5 minutes?

  • First, I checked us in at the counter.  No line.  All I needed was identification and my confirmation information, and Slaed (my travel companion) didn’t even need to be present. 
  • Next, at that same counter, the friendly gentleman took our two roller bags.
  • Finally, I walked over to the kiosk near our departure door and waited for the seat assignment process to start.
  • When it was time to board, we just simply walked through the door, and climbed into our assigned train car. No security.  No scanners.  No required rules about staying seated,  and paying attention to this or that.

TIP: When riding coach, if you are concerned about your seating assignment, arrive at the station early to get in line.  If you don’t care about your seat, I wouldn’t worry about it.  If you want to know your seat assignment ahead of time, pay the extra money and ride business class.

What a breath of fresh air compared to the airport shenanigans we go through.

Since we were early, I was second in line.  Waiting really didn’t matter to me though because from where I stood, I could take in the King Street Station’s new (or in fact, old) look.

Seattle's King Street Train Station |

Seattle's King Street Train Station |

Seattle's King Street Train Station |

Seattle's King Street Station |

The King Street Station recently went through extensive restoration to bring the station both up to date, and back to the beauty it exuded at it’s beginning in 1906.  Of note, the ceiling was restored and recreated to match it’s original look, the floors were cleaned and restored, and “modernized” light fixtures were removed to make way for fixtures that fit the character of the building and architecture.

The result is quite impressive, and I felt lucky to get to experience the station in all it’s glory.

Where have you traveled by train? Share with us one of the noteworthy train stations you have experienced!

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This post is linked to Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Traveler’s Sandbox.


8 thoughts on “Checking in for the Train and Checking out Seattle’s King Street Station

  1. we recently took the train from NY to Baltimore. on the way back the train was crowded and we wound up sitting in one of the books in a dining car they weren’t using. For a long ride (NYC-Montreal) it wouldn’t have been comfortable but for a 3-hour ride with a 5YO it was perfect. we had some room to spread out and could use the table for eating, playing games and coloring; much easier than the airplane like seats in coach with their puny fold-down trays.

  2. We took the train from Paris to Geneva for a day trip last year and were amazed at how easy it was – we showed up 45 minutes early in case there were issues and then just stood around and waited for about 40 minutes! Emma and I also took the train from Toronto to Ottawa last spring and it was wonderful – free WIFI even!

  3. Wow, what a beautiful station!

    Love train travel, do it as often as possible. To me, the Acela – the express between Boston and Washington — is just too civilized for words. Wi-Fi, quiet car, fewer stops than the regular train – it’s always, for me, just what the doctor ordered. Hoping to take the Amtrak from NY to TBEX next month. Love the views of the countryside from a train.

    The experience for me begins at the station — I do enjoy a sumptuously designed station. Union Station in DC gets me all the time.

    I took the Eurail between London and Paris — can’t remember what section I was in but I was disappointed how small and cramped my seat was.

  4. I like how clean and white the station looks. They did an excellent job on the restoration. How does the cost of a train ticket compare to flying? I assume cheaper, and as you pointed out earlier, much more child-friendly to be on a train. The train system down in Texas doesn’t seem to be very well developed as no one I know ever seems to take it. In Malaysia, the train from Penang to Kuala Lumpur takes 7 hours compared to 4 hours driving, so we always just drive.

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