The first Oregon-owned passenger train to ride the rails made its official debut July 26 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Eugene, Ore.
Elected officials, dignitaries from local, state, regional and national organizations, and avid passenger rail fans welcomed the new 13-car trainsets to the Amtrak Cascades service with speeches, refreshments and "sneak peeks" at one of the new trains.
"This is an exciting day for everyone in Oregon – not just for those who love trains, but for those who appreciate having options in travel," Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett said. "It took an amazing amount of teamwork to make this dream of having our own trains come true. Now, we're taking the next big step in Oregon passenger rail travel with our own state-owned trains."
Adding Oregon-owned trains to the Cascades corridor will ensure passenger train service from Eugene to Portland, and give Oregonians more options now and in the future.
"Amtrak values our state partnerships and their interest in growing the nation's railroad through operational support and equipment acquisition," said Amtrak General Manager, State Corridor Services, Jay Commer.
ODOT purchased the two trainsets using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The trains were manufactured and assembled in Wisconsin, per Buy America requirements. Talgo officials were on hand at the event, where the Series 8 train debuted.
"Talgo is very proud to be ODOT's partner in delivering their two newly manufactured state-of-the art trainsets." Antonio Perez, CEO and president, said. "Talgo's team is committed to the continued success of the Pacific Northwest Corridor passenger rail service by doing business with Oregon along with Amtrak, WSDOT, BNSF and UP. Oregon is the first state to be receiving high speed rail trainsets that were purchased with ARRA funding which has resulted in the creation of jobs along the nation. Congratulations to Director Garrett and his hard working team for this great accomplishment."
Each of Oregon's new Talgo Series 8 trains seats 286 passengers and includes a cab car, a bistro car, dining car, bicycle storage, business class seating, Wi-Fi and other amenities. The two trainsets will join five others in the Amtrak Cascades corridor, three owned by the Washington Department of Transportation and two owned by Amtrak. Oregon's two new trains, in keeping with the style of the other five, are named "Mt. Bachelor" and "Mt. Jefferson."