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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Washington State, Oregon DOTs partner to jointly manage Amtrak Cascades corridor


The Washington State and Oregon departments of transportation recently announced they’re developing a plan to manage passenger-rail service between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, B.C., as one continuous rail corridor rather than two separate state operations.

Last week, transportation officials for each state signed an agreement that calls for creating a corridor management plan. The plan would provide guidelines for governance, fleet management, scheduling, budgeting and capital planning.

Meanwhile, the state DOTs named John Sibold to the newly created position of Cascade Corridor director. He has served as WSDOT’s rail and marine director since August 2011.

The Oregon and Washington State DOTs are taking steps to improve Amtrak Cascades service along the Eugene-to-Vancouver corridor. In summer, Oregon DOT plans to add two new 13-car Talgo trains to its fleet. And using $800 million in federal stimulus funds, WSDOT is upgrading BNSF Railway Co.-owned lines to operate faster passenger trains and improve service reliability. WSDOT also plans to purchase eight high-speed locomotives.

The improvements will enable the DOTs to add two daily Amtrak Cascades round trips between Seattle and Portland, for a total of six each day. The upgrades also are designed to reduce travel times and improve on-time performance from the current 70 percent to 88 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/13/2012