From today until June 19th, Cascades service between Portland and Eugene, trains 500 and 504, will be replaced with bus service. Those are both northbound trains – the 507 and 509 southbound will run normally. It looks like this just affects a particular time of day.

The Coast Starlight will be unaffected – meaning late as usual.

The reason given is ‘needed track work’. There’s no information about what project this is. Just a quick heads up!

29 Replies to “Cascades in Oregon Will Be Buses Until June 19th”

  1. Is there room in the bus luggage compartments to fit the train cars for the trip back to Portland?

    1. They’re dead-heading (running without passengers) back north right away.

      1. Seems a waste. Why not take passengers on this run back up? Sure it’s only temporary, but they could have advertised that for 2-weeks only there’s an additional trip in the schedule.

  2. Btw, they are doing rail and tie replacement along the line to eliminate the slow orders. I heard they will also be re-timing the crossings which will increase the speed from 70 to 79mph. The Coast Starlight will not be affected UNLESS it is running late out of Eugene or Portland.
    Train 500 and 504 will be buses from June 4 through June 19. Train 507 and 509 will run normal to Eugene. Then deadhead back to Portland to become 500 for the next day from PDX-SEA and 516 from PDX- BEL.

    H/T rpcn via

  3. I’m glad they’ll be done in June. The end of July, I am taking the train from Seattle to Denver and Salt Lake. The first and last leg will be on the Coast Starlight.

      1. Haha, wow I should have caught myself considering I’m typing up a post in regards to the Pioneer. I was in a area regarding the Desert Wind, which is probably why I messed up *embarassed*

      1. It has been gratifying to watch this improvement over the last several months on the Amtrak Status Maps web-page. I remember arriving at the airport around midnight from SF not too long ago and seeing the Starlight running towards Seattle under I-5 at Allentown from the Shuttle Express van about 1:00 AM. Now if the punctuality of the Cascades could improve this summer…

  4. Looks like the move to convert some of GM to train manufacturing and assembly is gaining steam. I think all of us here realize that if this were to happen, over time it would change America every bit as much as car culture did.

    Maybe the most pertinent question for us is how to get the PACNW involved.

    “As of yesterday, the idea got a nice boost though. Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has apparently been pushing a plan along these lines to Obama. At yesterday’s rail summit at the White House with Joe Biden, Ray LaHood and several other governors, Granholm was making the case that it’s time to start making railcars if we’re going to be building a passenger rail network. “We have lots of capacity in Michigan and workers who know how to make things,” she said.

    After all, with companies like Siemens reaping billion dollar deals from the Chinese, and European companies expecting the US to be a $150 billion market for train equipment, what’s the excuse for not trying capture some of the action?”

    1. And I’m sure the US government and the UAW would be way better at it than say a company like Greenbriar. As most of the commenters pointed out; if the Governor wants to bring passenger rail manufacturing to one of the shuttered brownfield sites in her state she should be talking to someone like Bombardier or one of the Asian or European companies. Part of the problem is that even with the most ambitious of plans the market isn’t that big. Much smaller that the market for freight which GM couldn’t really compete in.

  5. They might be better at it. Whether it’s Europe or Asia, governments have a long track record of success in state-owned (or just highly regulated) companies. In fact, they would probably be better at managing rail than at managing an auto concern, as the latter is more b to c.

    And I disagree that the market is too small for it; we’ve only scratched the surface of where streetcars, light rail, commuter rail, & HSR can be viable. There’s a whole country out there…

  6. The Transport Politic notes that representatives from almost half the states in the country were in attendance at a recent meeting with LaHood and Biden on the administration’s “push” for HSR.

    I’m not seeing you-know-who:

    California: Chair, High-Speed Rail Commission
    Georgia: Governor Sonny Perdue
    Illinois: Governor Pat Quinn
    Iowa: General Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff
    Maryland: Acting Secretary of Transportation
    Massachusetts: Governor Deval Patrick
    Michigan: Governor Jennifer Granholm; Director of Transportation
    Missouri: Governor Jay Nixon
    New Hampshire: Deputy Commissioner of Transportation
    New Jersey: Commissioner of Transportation
    North Carolina: Secretary of Transportation
    Ohio: Director of Transportation
    Oklahoma: Assistant Director of Administration, DOT
    Pennsylvania: Governor Ed Rendell
    Rhode Island: Director of Transportation
    Tennessee: Commissioner of Transportation
    West Virginia: Secretary of Transportation
    Wisconsin: Governor Jim Doyle
    Virginia: Governor Tim Kaine

      1. It is not like we don’ already know her true colors…
        A paving engineer as DOT Secy?
        Keep those expectations moderate until Chris be gone.

  7. An $8 billion down payment for high speed rail in America is a puny amount if the program is seriously aimed at building such a network. I hope the small size is an indication that President Obama is being symbolic rather than serious … that the program is more about tweaking up what we’ve got here and there … fixing a few slow points and of course making safe the most dangerous grade-level crossings.

    1. Ah, no, I wouldn’t speculate along those lines at all. The $8B is just one funding element in the Obama admin’s commitment to HSR – my understanding is that there will be a recurring annual commitment as well. The relatively small size of the $8B stimulus funding commitment to HSR probably has more to do with the dearth of shovel ready HSR projects (the $8B is “stimulus” funding after all).

      In general I’m very pleased with what the Obama admin is proposing so far. There definitely is a commitment to transit in general and rail in particular. It would appear that we are finally seeing the end of the road industry’s stranglehold on transportation funding and a move toward a more balanced approach. This is good.

      And I have no problem with fixing bottlenecks first – if we can make major improvements in rail capacity and reliability with small investments then we should do it.

    2. Given that in the same breath as the $8B, they always mention that it’s ‘not enough’ and then talk about near-term future funding, I think he’ll be serious.

      1. We’ll know when Obama and LaHood are truly serious when the spending ratio switches to US$130B for transport and US$13B for highways…
        Lip service is easy, the politics of setting up a trust fund that allots money without political fear or favor is far more difficult.

  8. I think Winston Churchill said it best:
    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”
    HSR is a logical choice for city pairs like Seattle to Portland or Vancouver BC. Fuel ecconomy per passenger mile far exceeds both autos and planes, while polluting far less. Trains can use overhead electric wires, as peak oil drives fuel price through the roof. Alternate energy supplies will predominately produce electricity. Try plugging in a 737, or converting our trucks and autos to electricity any time soon.
    So maybe 8 Billion is a good starting point.

  9. $8 Billion is only a stepping stone as to what really needs to happen. The “Higher Speed Rail” projects that the states are bidding for will undoubtly be only the beginning. We’ve been at 79mph for 40+ years now, down from speeds near 90 and 100mph in some areas. While safety is a key part, it has also been our downfall in this country. That is, comparing us to the European standard which CalTrain found that our FRA safety regulations are most likely to cause more serious injury or death in a collision than the European models.

    I would rather have a 125mph train between Vancouver BC and Eugene, Oregon than a 186 or 220mph HSR train. It doesn’t make any ecomonic sense (to me) to build a $40 billion HSR corridor (mind you, it has to be dedicated ROW) to shave off only another 45 minutes to an hour. That may seem huge but even the train making all stops between Seattle and Portland and still making its 2 hour and 30 minute run is going to be mightly impressive but a lot of people here forgot that there also could be a limited stop train.

    All of that is a discussion for another topic.

    1. Sorry, I got off topic.
      It’s easy to do around here, but I’m still buzzing after last weeks HSR conferences and FRA workshop.

    2. I think if we’re really thinking long term, the best part of a HSR line would be a separate ROW. When peak oil hits us (likely in a decade or two) we’ll see freight rail traffic go waaaaay up.

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