• 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 Jeff Smith
Decided to start a new topic, although little is known at this time. But here’s a bit of news, and a pretty map lol:

High-speed rail plan for Pacific Northwest takes a step forward
A fledgling plan to bring high-speed rail (HSR) service to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and parts of southwestern Canada is moving closer to becoming a reality.

The Urbanist reported that this week, the Washington State Legislature introduced legislation that would create a new interstate high-speed rail authority for the region that could begin to take the first steps toward making the Cascadia Rail plan a reality. According to The Urbanist, the new rail authority would be in charge of coordinating high-speed rail efforts across Washington, Oregon, and Canadian jurisdictions while also setting requirements for contracting operations and other issues. The authority would also be responsible for ensuring that the trains and routes selected for the project could deliver service at 250 miles per hour, a key stipulation for making the project economically viable across the region.

The authority would also provide a singular contact point for communities along the proposed routes and would handle the preparation of environmental impact reports at the federal and local levels.

A preliminary plan for the Cascadia Rail service was unveiled in 2018 that proposed a coastal line connecting Portland, Oregon, with Vancouver, Canada. The plan includes an eastern spur connecting Spokane, Washington, with Seattle.
For Amtrak Cascades current operations: http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=70395" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Jeff Smith
https://www.freightwaves.com/news/econo ... speed-rail" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Microsoft leads charge for high speed rail corridor in Pacific Northwest
Last fall Microsoft, the Province of British Columbia, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) dedicated around $1.5 million toward a study examining the business case for a Cascadia bullet train.

The WSDOT is evaluating the costs and ridership impacts of building a railway connecting the three cities, said Janet Matkin, rail communications lead for the agency. The study is slated for completion in June 2019.

For now, BNSF is watching on the sidelines, said D.J. Mitchell, associate vice president of passenger rail for BNSF. The railroad owns the tracks on which the Amtrak Cascades operates.

Many people are surprised to learn that freight behemoth BNSF still moves over 27 million passengers a year in regional passenger rail service that includes Chicago, Seattle and Minneapolis.

In Seattle, the Sounder commuter rail line connecting Seattle and Tacoma is operated by BNSF on behalf of Sound Transit.

The existing Cascades track is not adequate to serve a high speed rail line, Mitchell said.
  by NIMBYkiller
Any way to upgrade the existing track/widen the ROW where needed to get things up to HSR speed instead of trying to build an entirely new ROW?
  by electricron
Obviously the answer to your question is no!
BNSF is not wanting to see faster than 90 mph passenger trains on its freight rail network choked with freight trains.
  by wigwagfan
NIMBYkiller wrote:Any way to upgrade the existing track/widen the ROW where needed to get things up to HSR speed instead of trying to build an entirely new ROW?
Sure, if you don't mind destroying a few thousand homes and businesses in a metro area that already has a major housing affordability crisis, some of the most expensive real estate in the region, destroying small businesses and losing all those jobs (and tax revenue), creating an environmental disaster in Puget Sound as you fill in the shoreline to make the track straight (not to mention the various wetlands the railroad crosses through), figuring out how to go fast west of Tacoma (either routing, via Point Defiance or the bypass, involves sharp curves), and somehow not killing people at 150 MPH through downtown Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn and Kent.

PERSONALLY - the Cascadia Rail group would have a lot more sway if they were open and honest (they claim their trains will serve commuters within the Seattle metro region at full speed, with no acceleration or deceleration) and instead of trying to build a huge network all at once, looked just at building a new dedicated right-of-way from Lakewood to Woodland - roughly 85 miles of nearly straight track which would take just 30 minutes to traverse, cutting the Portland-Seattle travel time to somewhere around an hour and a half.
  by Jeff Smith
VancouverSun.com: B.C. to fund next phase of ultra-high-speed Cascadia corridor study

“A high-speed corridor could reduce the travel time between Vancouver and Seattle to about one hour from three hours.”
British Columbia will contribute $300,000 for the next phase of a study exploring the potential of ultra-high-speed Cascadia corridor transportation service linking British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.
He said he envisions high-speed rail running from Seattle to B.C.’s Lower Mainland, with a terminus in Surrey that would connect to public transportation infrastructure to take riders to Vancouver’s airport, the city’s downtown core and the Fraser Valley.
— A high-speed transportation corridor has been under discussion for over a decade. It could reduce the travel time between Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle to about one hour from three hours with a high-speed train travelling at about 400 kilometres an hour.
  by wigwagfan
mdvle wrote:Interestingly apparently the BC /Washington State / Oregon government are all looking at high speed rail
Oregon has been looking at "high speed rail" since the 1970s. Nothing new, nothing different.

The studies (I believe there have been six of them) all ended with the exact same conclusion: Oregon can't afford it, just improve the track we have.

Also: Ridership Portland-Eugene is abysmal despite having now three daily trains (two Cascades and the Coast Starlight). Still averaging around 80 or so boardings per train per day. Changing up the schedules didn't help one bit. Yet we blew through $45 million in new rail equipment - two new Talgo trains - and one of them is sitting in a scrap yard thanks to Amtrak's attempt to turn it into a boat.
  by dowlingm
Even if all the technical stuff got worked out, Canada Border Services would probably derail the whole thing by demanding a bunch of cash, like they tried to do in 2010 before the Olympics.
  by Anthony
There should be a second eastern branch considered - a route between Portland and Boise. This would be a good start to restoring the Pioneer.
  by mtuandrew
Anthony wrote:There should be a second eastern branch considered - a route between Portland and Boise. This would be a good start to restoring the Pioneer.
They have one: https://www.southwest.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Seriously though, I get the sentiment but Boise is a city of 226,000 people. It isn’t a major traffic originator to anywhere. It absolutely deserves 79/90mph service to Portland and 3+/day service to Pocatello & Idaho Falls (which in turn deserve 3+/day service to Ogden and SLC), but anywhere else? Airlines can do it better, faster, and cheaper.

As for Spokane it sits at only 217,000, but Washington State sees value in connecting it, Pasco, and Yakima to Seattle. I hope they won’t try to go full Shinkansen on that route either.
  by Anthony
First, I meant a passenger rail link, NOT an airline link. Second, while Boise itself may have a population only slightly bigger than Spokane, WA. According to Wikipedia, the Boise metropolitan area has a population of 709,845. It is thus plenty big enough to support a passenger rail link to Portland. In addition, Boise is a college town, which can be a major generator of passenger traffic. There's plenty of potential traffic generators in Boise.
  by mtuandrew
The airline was a joke :wink:

I’d prefer a train too, but 430 miles Portland - Boise is a little bit long to successfully outrun a plane downtown-to-downtown. That wouldn’t matter if such a route served a lot of communities in the Snake and Columbia valleys, but towns on the way are small and infrequent. I also don’t think a high-speed train could compete on price with cars, buses, or even airlines without having its entire capital cost and most of its operating cost be

Were Union Pacific a better passenger rail host, it would be worth floating a 90/110 mph option for the existing railroad line. They aren’t, and I don’t think anyone is prepared to force UP into a corner on this issue for this line.

All that said, southeastern Idaho would be a natural connection to Utah, where a three-hour train ride could grab a significant share of the Idaho Falls - Pocatello - Ogden - Salt Lake City market.