I will be touring OIW‘s United Streetcar today with Portland Transport’s Chris Smith. Does anyone have any questions regarding the new streetcar? I will be meeting up around 1pm and will have my laptop with me. Be sure to wave, I’ll be on Amtrak Train #501 to PDX and 508 to SEA.


28 Replies to “Oregon Iron Works Streetcar”

    1. I use #501 and #508 whenever I go to PDX for the day, and they never are THAT cool, though I DO love our WashDOT Talgos!! I’ll miss the trip along the Narrows, though.

    2. May I assure all of you that travelling behind a stinky coal burning steam locomotive looses its “romance” pretty quick. Get a couple of cinders or soot particles in your nose or mouth and you pine for a diesel (or better yet electricification) real soon.

      Although since a Talgo does produce its own “hotel power”, they could run behind a steam loco with no need for an assisting diesel.

      1. Erik,

        I’ve had more issues with diesels than I have with steam locomotives. We burn oil (recycled oil with a diesel mix) at Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, primarily because the State of Washington does not allow steam locomotives to use coal for their primarily fuel source.

        Cinders from a coal burner sucks but if the locomotive has a good catch protection (to prevent fires and such) they should not have any issues with cinders and soot coming from the stack. A lot of the junk normally comes out when the engine is “cold” meaning it hasn’t ran or moved to get the crap out of the smokebox.

        Train Festival 2009 will have 4 coal powered steam locomotives and our region’s very own Southern Pacific 4449 from Portland, Oregon displaying there in July. http://www.trainfestival2009.com

  1. will they be making a version of inekon’s Pento (5 segment car)?

    1. If not the Pento, what plans do they have for higher capacity streetcars?

      Does anyone know how they compare price-wise to other streetcar manufacturers?

    1. I think the people on this blog are not “extreme rail enthusiasts”, although they certainly are transit and urban planning enthusiasts. It just happens that rail transit is going through a revival nationally, and what is new and exciting in the PS region is almost exclusively rail (with a little BRT).

    2. I’m an extreme rail enthusiast. Thanks for putting up the link! I shared it with all my railfan buddies.

  2. What’s their capability as far as rate? Given the right number of orders, once production has completely spooled up, how fast can they produce vehicles?

    1. If they were getting near capacity, they’d buy more land and hire more people, I’d imagine.

  3. *) How steep a grade can it climb from a standing stop? (With and without traction aids like sand.)

    *) How many miles does it get on a piece of track before the track needs replacement? The steel wheels?

    *) Does it use regenerative braking to put power back in the overhead line?

    *) Did Portland specify a WiFi network in the cars?

    *) I didn’t see how bicycles are stored, can you get some information on that?


  4. couple of more questions:

    Why is this an option and not standard? (from their web site.)
    We offer a more modern design with improved suspension, better ride and increased comfort for the passengers.

    Doesn’t everyone want passenger comfort?


    1. Seriously? Doesn’t everyone want a pony and/or a jetpack? How much does it cost, how much are taxpayers willing to pay before the cacophony of “gold plated” comments kill a vote? Asking what people ‘want’ is kind of ridiculous.

      1. Now, Ben. I hope you are exaggerating for emphasis here (“asking what people ‘want'”…). Improved suspension and comfortable seating are not “gold plated” extras – personally, I’m disappointed in the seating on the Link trains, though I will ride of course. KCMetro’s and ST’s buses have far more comfortable seats than the new trains, IMO. I’d also prefer windows that open on the trains since we only need AC about 20 days a year here IF we can get “flow through” natural AC from windows; again, I’ll not whine to the Seattle Times about this. But to me AC is “gold plating” here in Pugetopolis, in buildings, cars and transport vehicles.

      2. On MAX, it was extremely loud going through the tunnel with windows open. Perhaps that was a consideration here, since we’re going to have so much tunnel.

      3. Seriously… why would they offer “improved bogie redesign” and not just make it standard. It’s like brakes, or transmission on your car.

        If it’s something expensive and cool and truly not something everyone would want, they should say so…ie. like “Computer controlled air suspension.” or “Dual gas suspension with double bogie axles..”.. If it’s way more complex for a very minor benefit you might not choose it.

        As I understood the initial posting it was to get some interesting answers to Street car’s unexplained questions.

        And no I’ve never wanted a pony.. they bite.

      4. Well it’s not like uninformed people off the street go in and buy streetcars — let’s assume it’s optional for a reason (cost). It can’t be like brakes or a transmission in that those are required to operate a vehicle.

      5. I wouldn’t *assume* anything because you know what happens when you do….

        But the improved bogie design could be for a variety of reasons — first and foremost being that it is simply a “newer” design that is improved over the previous generation design. Rail technology is constantly evolving. It’s only the uninformed (and those who wish to intentionally mislead) who think that rail tech is somehow static simply because trains have been around a long time.

        It could also be that the new design is more optimized for American conditions or maintenance practices.

        Who knows, and who really cares as long as it really is better……

    1. I see this often in West Seattle within 3 or 4 blocks of the CA and AK junction and also along The Ave in the UDistrict – cash fare w/ no transfer – remarkable!

      1. Happens a lot here to. I guess most of these riders are “new” so they don’t understand about transfers. That or they are willing to pay to sit for a couple seconds rather than walk the five minutes…

  5. The tour went very well and most of your questions were answered. I’m on max heading to beaverton then checking out WES

  6. You probably won’t get this in time, but ask some questions about the WES debacle. It’s a large part of why TriMet is making the service cuts that they are this year.

    And I’m not referring to dearth of ridership, its something far more sinister (and questionable).

    BTW, I noticed that Mr Smith has a beef on the Interstate Bridge replacement.

  7. brian, are you checking out the events at pdx union station tomorrow like the 4449?

    anyone noticed how quiet the modern streetcars are when the a/c is temporarily off? i wish they would turn it off when not in need.

    yes trimet is making service cuts, but compared to service cuts elsewhere they are quite minimal.

Comments are closed.