I posted this one in the Portland MAX thread, talking about its impact on local transportation, but here it is to talk about the Amtrak Cascades:
Vancouver, Washington Amtrak is the most difficult train station for travellers. It is in a railroad wye, with three railroads tracks to cross to get out of it. Immediately outside of that is a warehouse district, and then after crossing through a governmental complex, you would be in downtown.
This is a great contrast to Eugene, for example, where you literally have 100 feet between the doors of the Amtrak station and a bar, and where you are basically right in the entertainment district.
What this means for travellers is that if you are getting off or getting on, or if your train unfortunately has a delay and is stuck at a station---in a city like Eugene, you can actually go out and do something fun. In Vancouver, if you had to wait...you would be waiting in the middle of a warehouse district.
Here is a list, from my experience, of how easy it is to access things from the Amtrak Station:
1. Eugene -- super easy and fun
2. Albany -- a short walk to downtown, one difficult underpass to cross
3. Salem -- pretty close to the state capital and downtown
4. Portland -- right next to light rail, close to some restaurants, can be a bit of a sketchy neighborhood at times
5. Vancouver -- as seen, pretty bad
6. Kelso/Longview -- I've never gotten off here, it seems pretty medium
7. Centralia -- Right in the middle of a downtown area with dining
8. Oympia -- Not actually in Olympia, like 10 miles from downtown Olympia
9. Tacoma -- In a railroad district, but there is some stuff around
10. Seattle -- In downtown Seattle, but kind of on the edge of town