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Amtrak Cascades service returns to Vancouver for first time in years

The northbound Amtrak Cascades train rolls across the Interstate 5 overpass in DuPont, Wash., on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. The overpass was the site of the fatal train derailment in December 2018. (Tony Overman /The News Tribune via AP) The northbound Amtrak Cascades train rolls across the Interstate 5 overpass in DuPont, Wash., on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. The overpass was the site of the fatal train derailment in December 2018. (Tony Overman /The News Tribune via AP)
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A cross-border passenger train connecting Vancouver to Seattle has entered Canada for the first time in years.

Amtrak Cascades service to Vancouver was suspended early in the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned to the city Monday on a new schedule that includes a single daily round-trip.

The train currently departs Seattle at 7:45 a.m. and arrives in Vancouver at 11:45 a.m., then departs Vancouver at 6 p.m. and arrives in Seattle at 10:10 p.m., with stops at five U.S. cities along the way.

But travellers can't take the Cascades directly between Vancouver and Portland as they used to, at least for the time being.

Trains from Vancouver arrive in Seattle too late to make any southbound connections, and trains from Portland arrive in Seattle too late to make any northbound connections.

It's unclear whether direct service from Vancouver to Portland will return. CTV News has reached out to the operator for more information.

Last month, Amtrak Cascades issued a statement promising a second daily trip to and from Vancouver would eventually be added when "staffing and equipment allow."

For now, there are three daily round-trips between Portland and Seattle, two daily round-trips between Eugene and Portland, plus bus service between Vancouver, Seattle and Bellingham.

Prior to the pandemic, about 159,000 people rode the Cascades between Vancouver and Seattle annually.

The service boasts "spectacular" views of forests and ocean, along with a bar car, hot food and free onboard Wi-Fi.

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