April 20, 2009
Oregonian Calls for High Speed Rail
This editorial worries that Obama's plan doesn't cut it and pushes for the real thing.
April 21, 2009 10:27 AM
The Amtrak Cascades trip between Portland and Seattle takes 3 1/2 hours, a time competitive with driving and flying. Basic track upgrades, sidetracks, grade separation, could reduce that time by 1 hour. Then, additional trainsets could run daily and complete service to Eugene and Vancouver BC. The Cascades 'TALGO' trainsets are technically high-speed and can reach 135mph with the right locomotive. It's the track that limits their top speed.
I'd like to see the Amtrak Pioneer return to service. Rather than continuing via Denver to Chicago, It could run to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The TALGO trainsets now running on the Cascades line once ran between LA and Las Vegas. This trip would pass Zion and other fabulous national parks in Utah, also Boise and Twin Falls in Idaho, Baker City, La Grande and Pendleton in Oregon.
The Amtrak Zephyr leaves the Bay Area once-a-day for Chicago and arrives in Salt Lake City at 3:am! Yikes! A 2nd Zephyr would arrive in SLC at a more civilized hour. An additional daily Zephyr would interconnect well with this Pioneer route between Portand and Los Angeles.
The environmental benefits of electrification are moot through these mostly rural routes. Track upgrades are the main expense. Electrification amounts to about 30% the entire cost. Nix electrification and go for basic track upgrades. Non-electrified trains can reach 150mph, fast enough.
April 22, 2009 4:24 PM
Jason McHuff Says:
It could run to Las Vegas and Los Angeles
I believe the Desert Wind did that, but like the Pioneer, it was attached to the Zephyr to/from Chicago (and going east, all three trains had to get to SLC in order to proceed). It would basically be a Pioneer/Desert Wind that doesn't couple to/uncouple from the Zephyr.
The TALGO trainsets now running on the Cascades line once ran between LA and Las Vegas
I don't think they actually did. A "Las Vegas Talgo" was made, but TALGO says that the set was moved up here instead.
April 22, 2009 4:40 PM
Douglas K. Says:
I'm basically okay with Obama's plan. We don't need a bullet train here. As long as Portland to Seattle is faster than driving and (taking into account boarding and deboarding time) almost as fast as flying, I'm happy. We don't need a bullet train for that; as Wells pointed out, improvements in the existing system could trim an hour off the current travel time.
What I want to see locally is a new train station next to the Rose Quarter, to facilitate future higher-speed travel along the Cascade corridor. I'd much rather see our Mayor pushing public funds for that one instead of a new minor league ballfield.