After test runs over Thanksgiving weekend, Oregon’s new Talgo trains have entered regular service. They are running between Seattle and Portland this weekend, and will run between Seattle and Vancouver BC later next week (see scheduled runs here, bottom of the page).
Given the new flexibility afforded by the two new sets – each set must overnight in Seattle at least once per week, limiting the schedule somewhat – ODOT has announced a new schedule for Portland-Eugene service beginning on January 6, 2014.
A new early morning departure is being added at 6:00am from Portland to Eugene, and a 4:00pm departure from Eugene to Portland. In addition, on weekends and holidays the morning train from Portland to Eugene will depart 2.5 hours later, at 8:30am.
Currently, northbound departures all leave Eugene before 1:00p and the first train doesn’t arrive in Eugene until after 5:00pm, making day trips to anywhere south of Portland impossible and even one-night stays impractical. This will considerably improve the options for Portlanders visiting the University of Oregon, anyone with state business in Salem (including reverse commuters from Portland), and others.
ODOT has published the new schedule for Oregon service here, but the full corridor schedule has not yet been released (we have an email in to WSDOT). However, given that WSDOT is not changing service levels at this time, we can reasonably infer the following:
- Trains 11, 14, 500, 501, 506, 507, 510, 513, 516 , and 517 will remain unchanged.
- Train 508 will now begin in Eugene at 4:00pm and continue to Seattle, arriving at 10:05pm.
- Train 504 is cancelled.
- Train 503/(505 on weekends) is the new morning service from Portland to Eugene
If so, the new schedule is as follows:
While our fleet will be badly underutilized until the Point Defiance Bypass is complete – 7 trainsets for 11 daily trains! – the added flexibility is greatly appreciated and the redundancy should at least prevent some of the maintenance problems such as locomotive failures that have occurred too frequently in the past couple of years. Though we’re still many years away from a fully usable schedule in which you can arrive in Portland or Seattle in the morning, this new schedule does represent progress.