Cascades Commuter train and Push-Pull

Southern Oregonian Feb 27, 2011

  1. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    Upate of sorts: Oregon has been using the whistle stop tour of it's new Talgo sets to promote the idea of buying the old Electric Line for High Speed rail. As it stands now, ODOT, WSDOT, and Amtrak all own Talgo sets with Amtrak providing maintenance facilities and power. It should also be pointed out that ODOT got the jump on being the first to own the Series 8 Talgo consist rated at 125mph. No idea what is going to happen with the other 2 made for Wisconsin.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    63,213
    9,886
    652
    How is the public reacting to the promotion? Positive? Supportive, I hope?
     
  3. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    Very positive, but that doesn't mean anything. ODOT still needs things like $$ to move forward. Still, be nice to see a old SP&S line reopened.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    63,213
    9,886
    652
    Real public support is good for convincing funding sources to take a serious look...
     
  5. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    5,490
    1,916
    91
    Sorry for my ignorance, but what is "the old electric line?"
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    63,213
    9,886
    652
    That would be the Oregon Electric Railway, SP&S RY subsidiary company.
     
  7. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    5,490
    1,916
    91
    That's what I thought, but what section are they talking about here? Or, are they going to condem it and take it from Portland and Western? Which is already using it? And what of the sections that have been built over in Portland. What about WES?

    Also, I thought Oregon Electric was a sub of the Northern Pacific. I realize they are all one and the same in some ways, but...


    There was some talk of also extending some form of service over the P&W ex-SP west side line over Rex Hill. This is up and coming suburban area. What right of way into Portland?
     
  8. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    As it stands now, The Cascades operates on UP lines in Oregon and it hasn't always been a warm and friendly relationship. Sections of the the old Electric Line are still in place but abandoned since P&W is using other lines, but they do use the southern portion and have UP track rights. From what I've seen in the past, one idea was to rehab the abandoned portion to Salem or Corvallis then (get this) build a line to Eugene. Another proposed idea has The Cascades running on a new line next to the I-5 corridor, but the down side to that is the money already spent on existing Amtrak Stations since new ones would have to be built. As for getting to existing stations, I can't see a way around hopping onto UP track for the stop. The thing to consider too is the building boom that UP and BNSF are going through in this area.

    As for Oregon Electric, it was a subsidiary of SP&S from 1910 to the BN merger. It was SP&S that extended the line from Eugene to Portland.

    The WES Diesel Rail Cars are Tri-Met Owned and P&W operated. Tri-Met is a independent municipality from ODOT and the WES runs on W&R lines from Wilsonville to Beaverton. The Cascades runs from Portland, over the Willamette to Oregon City, to Salem so it's on the east side rather then the west. After the cost to put in the shelterless, semi dangerous platform in at Oregon City, I'd doubt they'd dump it as a stop. Having boarded the last Cascade of the night there, in winter, I can say, I have NEVER wanted a traditional station more and the "wind shelters" they have there don't do anything. Plus a restroom would be nice. I should note that the Cascades is the only train service to stop in Oregon City.
     
  9. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    Oops! I left out Medford. They've been pushing for passenger rail service for years now. I seriously doubt The Cascades will be running there any time soon however. CORP really let that old SP line degrade so I doubt anyone is willing to pay to upgrade the line for Passenger service. The Ashland section alone had poor ballast, missing spikes, missing plates, and broken ties-not lightly damaged or somewhat weathered but broken like in two pieces all over. I hope G&W knows what they got P&W into when they acquired Rail America. It seems like everyone I talked to in when I was in school in Southern Oregon had nothing good to say about CORP.
     
  10. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    5,490
    1,916
    91
    Yeah I know all that, but P&W uses the OE from Beaverton all the way to at least Albany. Not sure if they switch to the west side to get to Eugene or stick with OE. So again, how will they get the rights to a very much in use OE? And track spped on that section of the OE ain't shabby. The Siskyous isn't so bad down to ashland. It's the summit which is problematic. And I'd argue Medford would be as interested in a connection to Sac as they would PDX.

    Sent from my BNTV400 using Tapatalk
     
  11. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    Point blank, Medford is still steaming over Klamath Falls getting Amtrak over them, but logistically it makes since since the Siskyou Pass is one of the steepest rail crossings in America. I studied it a few years ago and I think it's something like a 5 or 7% grade which is why the pass by K falls was made. But in Ashland, yeah, I lived there 5 years and only 9 trains went through and no maintenance was done. Before I left however UP was starting a study on how to reclaim the roundhouse super site as mandated by the city. A study was done a long time ago to see how much it would cost to simply repair that line to full freight status and that was well into the tens of millions ($84 million in 2006) so to up it further to passenger could push it into the hundreds of millions. Plus the Siskyou pass is rather terrifying to go on and the cost to get equipment, rail upgrades, track rights, and so on for a area that isn't exactly a booming metropolitan area wouldn't make since. It'd be like P&W starting passenger service to Toledo. Why? Yeah the branch is there, but Toledo only has a few thousand people if that.

    I think P&W sticks with the OE line to some degree. I see them bypassing Junction City all the time despite owning the track that goes straight trough it. Then again that track is level track and is in the middle of a road for much of the city. The problem with ODOT is they're still in the what if phase. They really want the OE section between Albany and Eugene, but that's a bit dumb since that's the section that IS in Junction city. Just guessing, but I think ODOT might be willing to pay for HS upgrades to P&W track in exchange for rights since UP's tracks are to busy. Then it'd kind of be a win win with P&W getting a free upgrade and ODOT (Amtrak) could swing it so they get priority rights. Like most things though, don't hold your breath until something you know, happens. I will say this about P&W however, they do work will with others and they have yet to spoil that wonderful yet patched SP SD-9 loco they have, complete with ejection seat. :)
     
  12. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    5,490
    1,916
    91
    Well, that makes more sense. You aren't talking high speed rail, you're talking higher speed rail. Also, snarky comment, the Toledo line would be. Perfect for a tourist train. Newport is right there. Sell Rogue beer.

    Sent from my BNTV400 using Tapatalk
     
  14. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    I'm from Lincoln City originally so I'm very familiar with the area. It'd never work because the infrastructure for transportation once you get off the train isn't there and the cities along with the county just don't have the money to invest. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see it. I was beyond "mad" when Greyhound stopped their coastal bus so now aside from the Casino busses, there isn't any way to the central coast outside of driving. Newport Airport's Passenger terminal closed because the last airline couldn't make enough of a profit. That part of the world isn't exactly rolling in money sadly and the current economy status did has done a lot of damage to Lincoln County.

    Funny story, Rogue started in Ashland and moved to Newport after the flood wiped them out. They're down by the aquarium and OSU center now by the bridge.
     
  15. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    5,490
    1,916
    91
    No offense, but I don't think you're paying attention to what I'm saying. The Toledo Branch would be perfect for a Tourist train. And it absolutely would. Run from the Depot/Museum up the line some distance. Have Rogue sponser it.

    I spent a collective 4-5 years living in Beaverton. I know Newport and it's libations. I still have my rogue nation card though it does me little good down here.

    As for the Siskyous. You're still missing my point. The track down to Ashland is serviceable. It's the summit that has been neglected. And even that, at least as of a few years ago was in good enough condition to host a test train or two.

    I really need to get on the CORP yahoo group. I think it's run by the same guy that does the PNWR group.
    And the OE down to Albany is in fairly good condition. Good Regional Freight condition. For goodness sake, they're putting in the U turn at Banks so they can run to Linnton from Albany without diverting to UP at all. Those are big main line trains they're talking about, not just the OEX/Harbor Turn.

    But I think the idea of true high speed rail on that corridor is someone's pipe dream. Higher speed rail maybe. And probably only if they also grant PNWR money to help fix the West Side line and Clean up Rex hill. Not that anyone would want to run over that except short commuters.
     
  16. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    The Toledo Branch is in really good shape, but your still not going to see passenger service on it any time soon. The Siskyou line's maintenance pretty much stopped at Medford because that's where the yard is along with Harry & David just south. When we moved in 2010 they hadn't had traffic trough Ashland since '07. The last train to run dumped a load of empty highbeam flatcars off on the siding and that was it. Since we moved I've heard that G&W has reopened the pass for service since the K Falls mainline has gotten so much more traffic. I wouldn't blame CORP so much as Rail America. G&W have a much better reputation in Oregon.

    As for High or Higher Speed Rail, that's still in the planing stages, if that. Even then, the max speed on the Talgo sets is around 125 MPH, not the 225 MPH the Europe Talgos do. At least the new ones are FRA compliant.
     
  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    8,919
    3,360
    134
    As with anything else if you don't have the customers who can pay the bus fares, purchase rail or airline tickets, it is a pretty good indicator that a high speed rail line won't succeed. Oregon used to be flush with jobs in the wood harvesting and fabrication business's. Looks like the green minded ones have shut it all down with threats of litigation (a legalized means of extortion) and with it the economy. Short sighted folks with a new religion.

    I would love to see rail service flourish but tracks need to lead from the suburbs to the working place and from same said suburb to the shopping places. Then how do you get it all home when you are only allowed to carry two bags of groceries. Just something to think about.


    We aren't ready to replace the automobile...not anytime soon.

    There does that stir up the hornets nest?
     
  18. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    As it stands now with the Oregon portion of the Cascades, folks commute north in the morning from Eugene to Salem to Portland, then from Portland to Salem to Eugene at night. The rumor is that they'll be adding a north bound run at night when the 2 new Oregon sets go into rotation. The thing to notice with this setup is that your going from the 2nd largest city to the 3rd largest city and then the largest city in Oregon.

    As for tracks from the suburbs to the workplace, Portland has the MAX light rail and the Streetcar. :) You can take The Cascades from well, anywhere it stops to Portland, then take the Max to the Airport, Gresham, Clackamas, Hillsboro, or the Convention Center and everywhere in between. When I went to school in Downtown I didn't have or need a car, until Greyhound burned me and I needed a car to get home to the coast between terms.
     
  19. Southern Oregonian

    Southern Oregonian TrainBoard Member

    704
    3
    18
    So I just got my Walthers kits and I'm wondering which out of the two would be a better stand in for the Amtrak maintenance center in Washington. I have the Railroad Restoration & Charter kit and the Railroad Shops kit. Both have through rails which is needed considering the challenge the Talgo presents. I have 11 cars for a consist that doesn't normally come apart with a powered loco on one end and a cement filled, unpowered, control cab only, loco on the other.

    How hard would it be to lower the floor on the kit and raise the rails? Good news is I have 3 of the overhead crane kits.

    I'm not to fond of displaying my Talgo separated since the HO car ends look nothing like the real ones. That and I don't have a clue on how to make the rolling rail jacks they use when they pull the consist apart.
     

Share This Page