• Cascadia Rail High-Speed-Rail HSR Vancouver-Eugene-Spokane

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by lpetrich
Looking at the proposed routes, one of them is the much-discussed one: Vancouver BC - Seattle - Portland - Eugene. The other one is the new one: Seattle - Ellensburg - Yakima - Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland) - Spokane.

As to Portland - Boise, I checked OpenRailwayMap and it would go close to the Tri-Cities. So it would be a simple matter to go there instead. The shortest Portland - Boise route goes along the south bank of the Columbia River, getting closest to the Tri-Cities at Hermiston, OR. That town is some 44 miles from the Tri-Cities.

I'll look at population figures: Vancouver 2.5 m, Seattle 3.8m, Portland 2.4m, Eugene 0.17m, Ellensburg 0.05m, Yakima 0.25m, Tri-Cities: 0.28m, Spokane: 0.56m, Boise: 0.71m.

Seattle to: Vancouver BC: 143 mi, Portland: 174 mi, Kennewick: 213 mi, Spokane (via Kennewick): 353 mi, Boise (via Kennewick): 503 mi
Portland to: Kennewick: 213 mi, Boise: 430 mi

So Seattle - Spokane will be more difficult to justify than Seattle - Portland, even though it has more pork-barrel value.
  by D.S. Lewith
Recently, the governments of British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon have startes looking into a high speed rail line that would (at the start) link Vancouver, British Columbia with Portland (even Microsoft has hopped on board). Given the current situation with the existing space along this route, a dedicated high speed line would require even more extreme ROW acquisitions than CAHSR. Even an NEC-esque service would still require reconsiderable amount of ROW acquisition.
Currently, incremental works are being made to the Cascades service, most notable of which is the Point Defiance Bypass but Amtrak has indefinitely suspended their services along that route following the December 2017 derailment, even after PTC was installed.

Phase 1: Vancouver, British Columbia to Tacoma
* Union Station reactivation: Seattle historically has had two stations (King Street Station, which served Great Northern and Northern Pacific, and later Burlington Northern, and Union Station, which served Union Pacific and the Milwaukee Road). Agter Amtrak took over, all rail services were consolidated to King Street station, as it was the only station were trains can continue north. Currently King Street is space-constrained, and the Great Northern Tunnel leads to the winding historical route. This would require building a new station. Such a new station would be deep underground to avoid conflicting with Link light rail. A new station can be built using the historical Union Station as a base. Upon completion, all Sounder services will be redirected to this new ROW. Amtrak services will continue using the existing King Street Station until the rest of the Cascades corridor is electrified.

Phase 2: Tacoma to Portland

Phase 3: Portland to Eugene

Future Phases:
* Seattle-Spokane: This would include a new undersea tunnel crossing Lake Washington and a ROW following I-90. Upon completion, the Empire Builder will be rerouted to follow this new route.
* Seattle-Tri-Cities: This acts as a branch from the Seattle-Spokane line, serving Yakima and the Tri-Cities. An eventual extension will be made to connect with the Portland-Boise line
* Portland-Spokane
* Portland-Boise: This is very likely a far-out-there line but it would reintroduce passenger rail service to the Boise area, which had last seen service in 1997 with Amtrak's Pioneer, which was discontinued amid budget cuts. Such a line may only happen once Boise gets a rail line that connects it to Salt Lake City
* Eugene-NorCal: Similar to Portland-Boise, this will be far-flung from the initial 3 phases, though this is a little bit more likely than Portland-Boise. This will most likely happen in tandem with CAHSR. This route will follow I-5 in its entitely, serving Grants Pass and the Rogue Valley.
  by D.S. Lewith
mtuandrew wrote:Is this a proposal by these governments, an advocacy group proposal, or your thoughts? I can’t tell. And if it is a formal plan or set of goals, do you have a link?
These are merely my thoughts as to what a future Cascade HSR corridor could look like should it get going forward with actual construction
  by Tadman
If they try to build this all at once, it'll be a disaster and probably not even get funded. If they try to do Seattle to Vancouver or Portland and take some wins, it might work. That means taking all the pie-in-the-sky cornball stuff out of our heads. No Spokane, no Eugene, no Boise, no Pioneer resurrection. You'll notice Brightline isn't trying to connect every city in Florida with over 200k people and posting dreams of Macon and Mobile. They're building a rock solid spine from Miami to Orlando to Tampa and letting other cities fend for themselves.
  by electricron
It would be a disaster anyways, the geography or terrain will not allow a viable, realistic 200 mph train corridor.
Look at Interstate 5 elevations between Seattle and Portland. Then look at the elevations 10 miles to the west of it, and 10 miles to the east of it.
Let’s just look at a few points along the route. Let’s use the existing Cascade train stations for the point of references.
Tulwila elevation 138 feet, 10 miles east at Mirrormont, elevation 784 feet
Tacoma elevation 243 feet, 10 miles east at Lake Tapps, elevation 545 feet
Lacey elevation 203 feet, 10 miles east at Yelm, elevation 354 feet, Olympia to the west elevation 95 feet
Centralia elevation 187 feet, 7 miles east at Kopiah, elevation 302 feet
Longview elevation 20 feet, 10 miles east at Smith Mountain , elevation 1967 feet

Most of these 10 miles locales to the east are the last rural town before entering the Cascade Mountains. Routing a rail line further east places it in the mountains, and routing the train that far west places the line over Puget Sound or the Colombia River. I listed Olympia, but not a locale west of Centralia because 10 miles west places it in the middle of mountains as well. So a new HSR corridor would have to follow within a few miles of I-5 or the BNSF rail corridor - where land values are relatively high. There is very little population between Lacey and Portland.
  by Jeff Smith
https://canada.constructconnect.com/joc ... c-benefits
VANCOUVER — Ultra-high-speed rail from Vancouver to Portland could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generate billions of dollars in economic growth and create thousands of jobs, a new business case study shows.
Ralston explained that the preliminary assessment shows a rail system could reduce travel times between Vancouver and Seattle from three hours to one and cut greenhouse gas emissions by six million tonnes over the first 40 years of operation. He added that the project could also draw new companies to the region and create an estimated $355 billion in economic activity and up to 200,000 new jobs.

“B.C. committed $300,000 to develop this study in March 2018, and in February 2019, committed an additional $300,000 to the next exploratory steps,” said Ralston. “As this work continues, we look forward to continuing discussions with the State of Washington and other partners.”

According to the study, the ultra-high-speed system is projected to travel at speeds exceeding 200 mph, via high-speed rail, magnetic levitation, or hyperloop technology. The all-electric system would be stand-alone, rather than sharing or relying on existing infrastructure. It would include some elevated tracks and tunnels, with no at-grade crossings with roads.

The study anticipates the project could be built within the team’s 2017 estimate of $24 billion to $42 billion in up-front construction costs. It would provide between 1.7 million to 3.1 million one-way annual trips at start-up, in what the study’s analysts called a “conservative estimate.”
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  by wigwagfan
Tadman wrote: Fri May 17, 2019 11:34 am If they try to build this all at once, it'll be a disaster and probably not even get funded. If they try to do Seattle to Vancouver or Portland and take some wins, it might work. That means taking all the pie-in-the-sky cornball stuff out of our heads. No Spokane, no Eugene, no Boise...
One of my chief arguments against the Cascadia HSR group - they are literally promising everything - rainbows, unicorns, a chicken in every pot, a car in every driveway, healthcare for all, it's going to be technicolor wonderful. Promising Seattle-Everett commutes with a 250 MPH platform to platform speed. When I ask "how many homes will have to be destroyed to make way for the ROW?" they are dismissive as if those homes don't even exist.

I could very well see a HSR route from Lakewood (north of Joint Base Lewis-McChord) south to Woodland, which would of course have to deal with the west foothills of the Cascades in very hilly terrain, but would largely skip any developed areas, protected wetlands, and other sensitive lands. It would skip the existing Amtrak station stops at Kelso, Centralia and Lacey, but honestly they are so low ridership that they can continue to be served with existing standard trains or buses with little to no consequence. Such a route would easily cut a good hour or so off of the travel time, making HSR within competitive reach of the Horizon Shuttle.

But as long as we are planning HSR through a LSD haze...I have no hope for any progress, especially if there is a taxpayer revolt that happens. King County and Multnomah County might be happy for it, but you have a lot of other counties involved that will have to sign off on construction permitting, and unless you give them something in return, it looks like if you want high speed (rail) you're looking at seat rails on an Embrarer 175 whose name starts with N and ends with QX.
  by wigwagfan
The other issue is the absolute lack of a straight, flat, level routing between Seattle and Vancouver...you either have to contend with building over the Sound, on top of wetlands, or up and down over hills. How do you serve Bellingham, surrounded by water and hills, without drastically slowing down?

"Higher Speed"? Sure. 125 MPH segments? Possibly.

Again, Cascadia HSR is overpromising and underdelivering with their promise that their trains will be 250 MPH platform to platform, with absolutely zero recognition of geography. But they, at a minimum, just need to figure out how to get their trains out of Seattle, a city that is mired in a housing crisis, without destroying tens of thousands of homes with no replacement. Not everyone wants to live in downtown Seattle (nor are all the jobs there), not everyone wants to live in a condo tower. Vancouver is developed the way it is for a reason, and there are plenty of people who escape that city to live in the much cheaper Calgary or Edmonton.