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  #61  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2008, 4:30 AM
EastPDX EastPDX is offline
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If we focus what funds we receive from the new ....

.... administration on new/improved roads only at places that will bring us new jobs/employments centers for new income tax generation (Springwater/Damascus/Astoria/Coos Bay/etc.) then we can have a higher percentage of the new dollars for HSR.

Getting Oregon and Washington to agree to the rail set and route is priority one for the PDX to SEA corridor. Do we only average 110 mph or do we design and plan for much higher speeds? Do we follow the California model and work and plan along their timeline?

Thank God more and more people are understanding that the Rose Quarter truly needs to be our rail intersection for Oregon (Trails End Transit Station please!). The most important and most expensive section on the Oregon side is from the Columbia River to a new HSR Station. Without this being done first and right the route South isn't even worth worrying about. Moving our main rail station to the East Side will also support a future East/West commuter and HSR to points East.

I hope we get the critical "North Portland" piece done right so that the rest of our section of a WA/OR/CA HSR corridor is so easy and obvious that everything falls into place because the money we spend now will have been spent the most efficiently.

Setting up good commuter rail to Salem/Eugene/McMinnville should come before or during HSR investment South of Portland.

Planning and land purchases for a true HSR route from the WA to CA borders should be the goal of the State of Oregon.

HSR supports our need to lower our carbon footprint; reduce our addiction to oil from nations that don't always agree with our democratic values; support our land use goals since the 1970's of saving forests and farmlands; gives us a better chance to retain our current employee base and to bring in new forward thinking employers; give employees and tourists choices on how to get around our great state and region.

Again, do the critical "North Portland" section right and the rest will follow easier.

Ray Whitford
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  #62  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2008, 4:51 AM
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Besides the east side transit hub at the Rose Quarter/ Memorial Coliseum (which I agree with), what is the "right" way to do HSR thru North Portland? And how do we get it south without going through established neighborhoods? Same route as Amtrak?

BTW- Oregon City has the official rights to the "End of the Oregon Trail" title.
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  #63  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2008, 7:00 AM
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I hope Seattle to Vancouver is either first or second. There's not direct rail service to Vancouver from Seattle, is there? At least the Cascades could get us to Seattle in the interim..
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  #64  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2008, 12:09 PM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65MAX View Post
Besides the east side transit hub at the Rose Quarter/ Memorial Coliseum (which I agree with), what is the "right" way to do HSR thru North Portland? And how do we get it south without going through established neighborhoods? Same route as Amtrak?

BTW- Oregon City has the official rights to the "End of the Oregon Trail" title.
Probably via a tunnel; there is an existing rail tunnel that separates St Johns from NoPo that probably needs to be expanded to double-tracked.

However, to get to Vancouver, trains have to (right now) traverse the NW Industrial rail yards, and cross over several bridges over the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. These bridges should immediately be double-tracked, upgraded for improved speed and seismic, and the swing spans need to be replaced with modern technology.

I'm not completely sold that a HSR station should be on the eastside, although if it does happen, the Memorial Coliseum would be an excellent building to rehab for it (iconic building, large spaces).


I remember the HSR stations in Brussels were underground, I think they had 2 in the central city. Trains in dedicated tunnels can penetrate right into the city proper and put passengers where they need to be - right in the thick of things. Would be expensive, but potentially worth it.

I don't think there is any room on the surface to place a HSR station on the eastside anyways; it would likely need to be underground anyway. Unless you built it along the waterfront next to Interstate Ave... but the trains might be too long for the site (usually being 800' - 1500' long).

I don't know if MAX service would be able to handle the volume of passengers debarking from a HSR train from Seattle if everyone is trying to go to downtown... could be over 500-1000 people all at once trying to board a MAX. And with the Amtrak Cascades consistently sold out in peak travel periods, like Xmas and Thanksgiving, this could really be a problem.


I don't see whats wrong with the existing Amtrak station in downtown; they are even going to add another track there to allow more trains through it. It just needs some maintenance to fix it up, although it is a bit small... Would be nice if it had a proper train shed to keep passengers dry
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  #65  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2008, 1:18 AM
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whats wrong with the existing Amtrak station in downtown
-The Steel Bridge is too sharp a turn for HSR, period.

-If we raze the silos there is plenty of room (approx. 2000 ft.) between the Steel and Broadway bridges (and between the Willamette and Interstate Avenue, approx. 200 ft.) for an HSR station. This is the prominent location for an eastside station due to its proximity to all LRT lines, proposed streetcar and the Rose Quarter transit center.
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  #66  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2008, 8:37 AM
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Originally Posted by zilfondel View Post
I don't know if MAX service would be able to handle the volume of passengers debarking from a HSR train from Seattle if everyone is trying to go to downtown... could be over 500-1000 people all at once trying to board a MAX. And with the Amtrak Cascades consistently sold out in peak travel periods, like Xmas and Thanksgiving, this could really be a problem.
You're assuming that everyone is going downtown at once, but really, they would be going in all directions. Convention Center, Airport, Downtown, E, W, N, S. All of the MAX lines serve the Rose Quarter, now and in the future. It's the perfect place to transfer to MAX. The Red and Blue lines don't even serve Union Station.

Also, how many people arrive and depart at the same time during Blazer games? And how is that any different than a HSR train dumping 1,000 passengers at a time?


Quote:
Originally Posted by zilfondel View Post
I don't see whats wrong with the existing Amtrak station in downtown; they are even going to add another track there to allow more trains through it. It just needs some maintenance to fix it up, although it is a bit small... Would be nice if it had a proper train shed to keep passengers dry
You just answered your own question. Union Station is tiny (by today's standards), nowhere near big enough to handle the capacity of a major HSR station. Memorial Coliseum is much, much larger, and the existing concourse is already capable of moving large crowds of people, which lends itself perfectly for use as a transportation hub. Of course, the 12,000+ seat arena would need to go to make way for supporting uses. This kind of renovation would make a great architectural design competition.
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  #67  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2008, 4:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65MAX View Post
You just answered your own question. Union Station is tiny (by today's standards), nowhere near big enough to handle the capacity of a major HSR station. Memorial Coliseum is much, much larger, and the existing concourse is already capable of moving large crowds of people, which lends itself perfectly for use as a transportation hub. Of course, the 12,000+ seat arena would need to go to make way for supporting uses. This kind of renovation would make a great architectural design competition.
Cascades high speed rail services already exists. The existing freight railroad ROW is owned privately; not by public agencies. Therefore, I don't expect they will ever upgrade their tracks higher than Class 5.

Here's the FRA track class speed limitations:

Sec. 213.9 Classes of track: operating speed limits.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and
Secs. 213.57(b), 213.59(a), 213.113(a), and 213.137(b) and (c), the
following maximum allowable operating speeds apply--
[In miles per hour]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The maximum allowable operating speed operating speed
for freight is....for passenger is
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Excepted track.................... 10.................N/A
Class 1 track..................... 10.................15
Class 2 track..................... 25.................30
Class 3 track..................... 40.................60
Class 4 track..................... 60.................80
Class 5 track..................... 80.................90
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec. 213.307 Class of track: operating speed limits.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and
Secs. 213.329, 213.337(a) and 213.345(c), the following maximum
allowable operating speeds apply:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Over track that meets all of the The maximum allowable
requirements prescribed in this subpart operating speed for passenger
for-- trains is-
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 6 track............................ 110 m.p.h.
Class 7 track............................ 125 m.p.h.
Class 8 track............................ 160 m.p.h.
Class 9 track............................ 200 m.p.h.


FRA Signal Related Speed Limits
No signals.......................49 mph Freight.......59 mph Passenger
Block signals or TCS..........79 mph Freight or Passenger
Automatic Train Stop.........80 mph or more as determined by characteristics of signal system
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the words of Code of Federal Regulations:
49 CFR 236.0 Sec 236.0
(c) Where a passenger train is operated at a speed of 60 or more
miles per hour, or a freight train is operated at a speed of 50 or more
miles per hour, a block signal system complying with the provisions of
this part shall be installed or a manual block system shall be placed
permanently in effect which shall conform to the following conditions:
(1) A passenger train shall not be admitted to a block occupied by
another train except under flag protection;
(2) No train shall be admitted to a block occupied by a passenger
train except under flag protection;
(3) No train shall be admitted to a block occupied by an opposing
train except under flag protection; and
(4) A freight train, including a work train, may be authorized to
follow a freight train, including a work train, into a block but the
following train must proceed prepared to stop within one-half the range
of vision but not exceeding 20 miles per hour.
(d) Where any train is operated at a speed of 80 or more miles per
hour, an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop or automatic train
control system complying with the provisions of this part shall be
installed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class of Track....Minimum Track Inspection Frequency
Excepted Track...Weekly
Class 1,2, and 3
Mainline and Sidings...Weekly, or twice weekly if the track carries passenger trains or more than 10 million gross tons of traffic during the preceding year.
Class 1, 2 and 3
Not mainline or sidings...Monthly
Class 4 and 5....Twice Weekly
Class 6,7, and 8...Twice Weekly
Class 9....Three Times a Week
_______________________________________________________________

As I understand the FRA rules:
Freight trains aren't allowed to go faster than 80 mph, therefore freight railroads aren't going to rebuild their tracks better than Class 5. It'll be a waste of their money to do so.

Therefore, the Talgo trainsets being used by Amtrak for the Cascades service are as fast and good as practical.
90 mph is pretty fast. The Talgo cars are capable of 110 mph, possibly up to 125 mph, in regular operations. But to go that fast, someone will have to pay to upgrade the track up to Class 7, and I guarantee that someone will not be the freight railroad companies.

Last edited by electricron; Dec 31, 2008 at 4:57 PM.
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  #68  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2008, 6:17 PM
EastPDX EastPDX is offline
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Not sure why calling ...

... a new HSR hub the Trails End Transit Station or Trails End Rail Station would take anything away from the title given to Oregon City as the "End of the Oregon Trail"?

Remember that Native Americans also came to the Willamette Valley for trade and family. Europeans were not the first human beings to see the value of this region.

(From 65MAX: BTW- Oregon City has the official rights to the "End of the Oregon Trail" title.)
So, 65MAX, if my logic isn't clear let me know.

Ray
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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2009, 3:18 AM
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I'm just saying I think the City of Oregon City would have a BIG problem with it. They fought Vancouver, WA tooth and nail for that distinction. Besides, Portland is not the end of the Oregon Trail. I doubt that they would try to claim it as such.

Anyway, kind of a moot point.... a new station is probably a couple of decades away.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2009, 5:40 AM
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Hopefully, the Peninsula No.18 Tunnel ...

... can be used for an alignment to remove our need to go over the Willamette River twice.

Really hope two to four platforms can go underground near the Memorial Coliseum along Interstate between the Broadway and Steel Bridges.

We just need to increase our average speed through PDX into the fifty to one hundred MPH instead of the current snails pace (Is it like 30 MPH now?). We need to get in and out of PDX in less than one hour with 30 minutes at the platform.

Hopefully this is doable in the next twenty years. The sooner the better for our transportation options.


Ray
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  #71  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2009, 4:22 PM
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I think it must average at least 125 mph including station stops, meaning at least 150 mph, or 250 kph top speed. This wouldn't require anything like a concrete trackbed and we could buy Pendolinos or Velaros instead of a full-out TGV program

Otherwise it wouldn't be time competitive with flying, and 30 minutes isn't enough saved time to lure auto drivers if at the final end another connection has to be made increasing the total travel time. So yeah, something like a cheapo 110 mph rail seems like a huge waste of money to me. I say build a true bullet train, or hold off until such a thing is possible.

Maybe use the same technology and construction as California is?
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2009, 7:06 PM
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^^^^
Our HSR should be compatible with California's if we're going to have a true west coast line in the future. And I agree, 110 mph would not be much better than driving because with station stops, you're still looking at 2 hours from DT Seattle to DT Portland.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2009, 7:29 PM
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I have posted about this before, but....

yes, anything less than a 150+mph train is just a colossal waste.


It is almost 2010 and our train infrastructure is embarrassingly slow.


Let's catch up to Euruope and Japan in the late '70s. how about it government?!
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2009, 7:34 PM
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I like this much better
 
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Whoo hooo for us Californians (but Portland natives)! When it's built, I'll be able to walk to the subway, take it to downtown LA, hop the HSR, and get off in San Francisco. That will be cool.
Of course, how much are tickets going to run for that?
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2009, 1:28 AM
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^^^^
Probably comparable to a plane ticket.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2009, 2:32 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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^ I've heard between $40-$60 per ticket, and the HSR is predicted to MAKE money.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2009, 4:09 AM
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Naturally it will be cheaper than a plane ticket.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2009, 8:37 AM
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Naturally it will be cheaper than a plane ticket.
Even better.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2009, 6:59 AM
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Even California's proposed HSR train isn't going to go 220 mph along the entire route. It'll only reach that top speed in rural areas in the Valley. Every time it approaches urban and suburban areas, it slows down to 100 mph or less.

While the distance between Seattle and Portand is 176 miles, per google maps, it's mostly rural only between Vancouver,WA and Olympia, WA, a distance of 105 miles. There aren't enough rural sectional milage on the rest of the route for any HSR train to get up to full speed before it has to start slowing down.

Driving directions to Seattle, WA from Portland, OR
Distance 176 mi – about 2 hours 52 mins (172 minutes)
Driving directions to Olympia, WA from Vancouver, WA
Distance 105 mi – about 1 hour 37 mins (97 minutes)

I'd say that any train going faster than what the existing Talgo cars are capable of doing is limited to less than 105 miles.

Let's assume Talgo diesel locomotives are bought with a top speed over 125 mph, or Bombardier Jet propelled locomotives are bought with a top speed of 150 mph, or an electric powered TGV locomotives are bought with a top speed of 220 mph, but requiring catenary poles and wires over the entire 176 miles.
Over that 105 miles, the existing Amtrak Cascade's trains could travel the distance in 57.5 minutes; the faster Talgo locomotive could travel the distance in 50.5 minutes a savings of 7 minutes; a Jet engine powered locomotive travels the distance in 42 minutes, a total savings of 15.5 minutes over Amtrak's existing equipment; a TGV train travels the distance in 29 minutes, a total savings of 28.5 minutes over Amtrak's existing equipment.
The Talgo equipment that Washington, Oregon, and Amtrak are using is the best bang for taxpayers bucks. I know the Cascade trains are scheduled to take 84 minutes to travel between Vancouver, WA and Olympia, WA. But with just a little expenditure upgrading the tracks in the BNSF ROW, they could gain 26.5 minutes over the existing schedule using the same Cascade equipment they use now.

Upgrading other slow sections of existing track between Portland and Seattle will add more minutes saved.

I suggest upgrading the tracks in the existing BNSF ROW is the far cheaper solution to gain the first half hour in time savings.
Laying brand new electric power tracks and buying all new equipment will just double the time savings, another half hour, with significantly far more costs.

I disagree that trains have to be competitive with planes to compete. Trains must be faster than driving. Per Google maps, one can drive the entire distance between Portland and Seattle in 180 minutes. Amtrak's existing Cascade service schedule is 210 minutes, 30 minutes longer. In the NE Corridor, Amtrak Acela trains hold 50% market share of ALL transportation modes while averaging less than 100 mph speeds. I believe the same can happen for Amtrak's Cascades service simply by upgrading all the tracks in the existing ROW to 110 mph, and to the highest speeds FRA regulations allow in urban and suburban areas.

Last edited by electricron; Jan 20, 2009 at 7:16 AM.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2009, 11:56 PM
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Talking Great Points!

^^^^ Spending money right now on the existing ROW for improvements in efficiency is the best way to go right now. We must remember that getting HSR from Eugene to Sacramento will take 30+ years out the way the USA supports our rail system.

Spending our debt and cash on efficiency steps (e.g., East side Rail Station for speed and increased capacity (Union Station is too small for our needs going forward), bridges to separate trains from other transportation assets) is our first step, but ODOT will not do it and are not being tasked to do it. We should be investing on the N/S corridor bridges starting 10 years ago.

Hopefully our new president and local politicians will stop putting off investing in our rail system. I am truly hopeful.

Ray
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