Two Wins for Amtrak

  1. ODOT is taking $35M saved from lower than expected bids on Federally funded stimulus project and is using it to buy trains for the Eugene-Portland run.
  2. WSDOT is putting on a second train daily to Vancouver, B.C. (starting at Portland)

21 responses to “Two Wins for Amtrak”

  1. Great news, especially item #2. BC-bound passengers originating south of Seattle won’t even have to change trains.

    I’m wondering if a reinstatement of the Pioneer is any closer to reality.

  2. I they would run a train that you could actually sleep on, I might ride it. Having seen that stretch of countryside dozens of times already I think I would otherwise skip it.

  3. Bids are coming in lower so the savings is spread to other projects.

    I wonder if the underbidding contractors employ only legally eligible workers? There have been numerous violations of that in various industries, lately, forcing other companies to either underbid or go out of business. Not fair at all to law abiding businesses. E-Verify provisions were not enacted for projects getting Stimulus funding thanks to Pelosi, Reid and crew…. How do they propose to protect American workers in a time of high unemployment?

  4. I wonder if the underbidding contractors employ only legally eligible workers?

    If you have probable cause to reason that any aren’t, call the authorities. They handle situations like this for a living.

  5. EngineerScotty Says:
    Off topic, Ron.

    I think my comment is of critical importance. After all, we do have laws pertaining to whom companies can hire, and I am aware that many companies willingly violate those laws, particularly in the construction industry. An economic issue was raised pertinent to transportation I was providing a plausible economic answer. ES, maybe you should be a mall cop….I am guessing from your other posts that you think certain US laws are trivial.

    Dave H,
    Perhaps you are not aware that the federal government prioritizes law enforcement activities according to Executive Branch direction. Sometimes it takes them awhile to identify a matter. Now you know.

  6. Ron,

    The site moderators have suggested that immigration is off-topic. Whether the construction industry obeys the law is largely not relevant here–although I suspect that union shops are probably less likely to employ undocumented workers than non-union shops. (Workers with forged documentation are another matter). Outfits that knowingly hire illegals are probably breaking the law in numerous other ways as well (paying under the table, evading taxes, and violating numerous provisions of labor law).

    The line of argument you seem to be pursuing–that capital intensive transit projects are questionable (if not outright unwise) because the contractor who does the job might hire someone they aren’t supposed to–is specious in the extreme.

  7. Without “illegal” immigrants the entire agricultural crop of the great nation of the UNITED STATES OF AMERIKA has no vegetable of fruit crops.

    One orange will cost $10.00, one tomato $15.00.

    So thank your lucky stars for the illegal immigrants.

    Furthermore, all of California and most of Oregon up to about Portland was part of Mexico until the great nation of the UNITED STATES OF AMERIKA decided to take it.

  8. I’ve always been under the impression that the vast majority of participants of this group are of higher intellectual capacity, including all the various points of view that are aired here.

    ERGO, nobody here actually believes that the govt “wants” to stop in immigration, right?

    They can run wars all over the globe but can’t stop the illegals?

    Yea right.

    It’s not stopped because its vital for our economy.

    It makes a great emotional political issue, but the reality is much different that the public politics.

  9. Sometimes it takes them awhile to identify a matter.

    Then contact them if you have reasonable belief that someone’s hiring illegals, most federal government employees are professionals who will do their job.

    I was told the FBI wouldn’t get involved in a theft of computers with intellectual property on them. Since then I’ve gotten them to assist local police several times in recovering stolen computers and investigating a stolen car that was taken across state lines.

    If you hand them a warm case with a lot of evidence, they’re quite happy to get an easy catch. I can’t imagine INS is any different, especially if federal stimulus dollars are involved. It would make them look good.

    If you have no proof and are just speculating based on political ideology (as I assume with the mention of Pelosi and Reid in the initial post) you perhaps should be nicer about your responses than ending with a condescending comment like “now you know.”

  10. al m.
    I have some industry studies that disprove your point. Per your examples: An orange will never cost $10.00 because they will be imported from S.America first, where growers can pay five dollars a day for labor instead of $75 in Florida. Tomatoes are now grown in in Mexico and harvested by the mechanical process developed by the UC at Davis, which happened to be the target of litigation which stopped similar mechanical harvesting engineering. But if I elaborated, which I would be glad to do, it would be flagged. However, many other vocations have become obsolete from technological advance and. consistent with the purpose of this blog, I will mention a few pertaining to transportation in the Portland area: draft animal teamster, buggy whip manufacturer, spoke shaver, farrier, wagon carpenter, ox yoke carpenter, bit and bridle smith.

    “now you know” wasn’t intended to sound condescending; it was intended to be brief. I can not call the INS since it no longer exists. Furthermore, why don’t you call the superseding agency? In a state with 12 percent unemployment it might help. I have successfully reported unlicensed contractors, thus freeing up more employment for genuine American citizens. Perhaps you would rather see your fellow citizens go into bankruptcy, so the federal government will be burdened with the task of getting them out.
    I am sorry that some people think current political issues are driven by nothing more than emotion. However, since I am an Independent I will not produce a list, and risk offending regular party members.

  11. Ron, it should be obvious to you, a thinking man, that if the government was serious about stopping illegal immigration it could be stopped.

    Now you know that’s true. No matter how many contractors you report there will be another contractor to take his place.

    Much like the drug dealer, they bust one and another just takes over. Nothing is solved but the “political” problem appears to be solved.

    Now all the agricultural crops in America are brought in, processed, and packaged, by immigrants, a good proportion of which are illegal.

    You must know this is a fact of life?

  12. I would suggest for anyone who is interested to visit what is called an “Agricultural Exposition” The World’s largest is held in Tulare, CA every Feb. (See: and features mechanical products from all over the world. I went to the one in Portland at the EXPO Center. Today’s engineers can design ANYTHING. A raspberry harvester for example not only knocks the fruit off with flexible wands (as with other caneberries) it sucks them off with a vacuum. On YouTube there are hundreds of videos—-machines pulling up carrots by the thousand per minute, others shaking fruit and nuts off trees. And a lot of these are inexpensive attachments. The processing lines are automated to a certain extent and can be automated further.

    My father harvested wheat when he was young and even eighty years ago the farmers somehow co-oped in the equipment. By his time crews were able to do what would have taken 20X the manpower a century earlier. However US farms are gradually being undercut by huge Third World agribusiness, where US labor laws don’t apply. When you buy produce at the store you might check and see how much of it is from outside the US these days. This is related in part to efforts by activist groups to thwart modernization in the US, which is well documented in the legal literature. So even if the “government” is serious about doing something, due to our checks and balances system legal decisions can make their task much more complicated.

    Thank you for referring to me as a thinking man. I hope we can have beneficial discussions about transportation related issues in the future! Public expenditures on such things do provide union jobs and it is good to see union members who we already have here working. Maybe you will even support my idea for double decker buses. The adoption of the Gresham MAX and the tabling of 1970’s freeway projects put a lot of unionized carpenters and laborers out of work, when we sorely needed the jobs during the Carter recession. But I was glad to see we didn’t end up with checkerboard freeways in P-Town. Let’s see US citizen union members working! That way they pay into my retirement fund..hehehe!

  13. OK—How much will high speed rail from Eugene to Portland cost? Or would this become another “stealth” public works project, gradually devouring evermore of the public purse? Just like MAX projects have risen 1000 per cent since inception in 1979. (Construction wages rose only 250 per cent. Of course during the seven year long Carter recession they rose hardly at all.)

    If the costs on a high tech item like an LCD TV can fall 500 per cent in five years, why can’t the costs of a 200 year old technology like a train also come down to earth? Bring it down or get out of office. I’m for it if it doesn’t significantly increase our deficit spending.

  14. You should read my post concerning the World Ag Expo, oh enlightened liberal ones. You would see how senseless your views on the inevitability of excessive local population growth is……Except for the fact that many groups now have a vested interest in it.

    FYI, many of you place off-topic subjects in your posts, use personal attacks, used foul terms and otherwise abuse the rules of this forum.

  15. Does anyone know if they will be buying more Talgos, or something else? Some new Talgos would be nice. Still dreaming of 150 mph + electric trains to Seattle and BC :)

  16. My understanding is that they will be Talgo trains since if they get stimulus funding, will be installing a 150mph electrified corridor between Portland and Eugene. Talgo’s can do 150mph (even 220mph)

    WSDOT continues to insist on diesel locomotives for the BC to PDX corridor.

    Right now…

    Wisconsin has ordered two 14 car Talgo trains with an option of two additional train sets.

    Oregon is looking at 2 trainsets

    Washington State is looking at 4 train sets with an option of 4 more.

    Washington and Oregon are dependent if they get stimulus funding however.

  17. Paul Peterson Says:

    Does anyone know if they will be buying more Talgos, or something else?

    The article doesn’t say. It does say “there aren’t a lot of used trains out there”, which makes me wonder whether ODOT is actually considering buying used trains (e.g. some Sounder-style commuter cars).

    Since the article mentions that the existing Talgos are WA-owned, would a Portland-Eugene leg be split off from the Cascades route?

    Note that the NW won’t be the only US region running Talgos — according to

    Wisconsin has contracted for 2 14-car Talgo sets, with an option for 2 more, for the Chicago-Milwaukee route. These will apparently be assembled in Wisconsin from the made-in-Spain kits.

    I think I read somewhere that the Cascade Talgos needed a waiver of FRA crash-survivability regs. The Wisconsin article says nothing about that.

  18. What kind of track upgrading is needed to run Talgos at 150 MPH? I figured that the Talgos could be modified or upgraded to run that fast. But will the track be safe? If this is feasible at reasonable costs it would be great.

  19. Just to clarify, since the headline and the WSDOT press release weren’t entirely clear, the 2nd train to Canada is an extension of the current PDX to Bellingham train — this is not an additional frequency on the PDX-SEA segment.

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