The purchase process has taken several years, but there is no doubt among many Oregonians – train fans, in particular – that it has been worth the wait. On Saturday, many of those fans were on hand to celebrate Oregon’s first state-owned passenger rail service trains.
The Oregon Department of Transportation purchased two new 13-car trainsets using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and one of the trainsets was available for tours at Union Station in Portland, Ore. Both trainsets will soon rotate into the Amtrak Cascades fleet, which provides passenger rail service from Eugene, Ore., to Vancouver, B.C.
ODOT Director Matt Garrett is especially proud of the public’s continued support for passenger rail, which contributes to our state’s high quality of life.
“I think it’s an indication of our affection for trains that we are the first in the world to use Talgo’s Series 8 trains,” Garrett said. “It took an amazing partnership of both public and private organizations – and the support of train fans – to make this dream come true.”
Partners in the project include Washington Department of Transportation, Amtrak, Talgo America, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Rail Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Interfleet Engineers, Transport Canada, Oregon Department of Justice, Union Pacific & Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Rail and others. Oregon has spent $38.4 million for the purchase of the trainsets and another $6 million for consultants, spare parts, testing and the addition of WiFi.
Oregon purchased its own trains to preserve passenger rail service in the Willamette Valley and to position the state for improved service in the future. Oregon’s trainsets will bring the total number of trains operating in the corridor to seven; the Washington Department of Transportation owns three and Amtrak owns two.
“Amtrak is pleased to be the operator of these new trains and our eventual expanded service,” said Jay Commer, Amtrak general manager state corridor services. The Talgo Series 8 trains were manufactured by Talgo and assembled in Wisconsin, per Buy America requirements.
“Talgo is proud to join Oregon in celebrating its state of the art Talgo trainsets and future service for the enjoyment of all Oregonians,” said Antonio Perez, CEO & President of Talgo USA. “This is a great contribution from Oregon to the Cascades corridor, and it will help provide the best travel experience in the country. I am very happy Talgo is part of this corridor.”