Oregonian Calls for High Speed Rail

This editorial worries that Obama’s plan doesn’t cut it and pushes for the real thing.

2 responses to “Oregonian Calls for High Speed Rail”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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