Thursday, February 10, 2011

Amtrak Cascades: Coming & Going!

Port Townsend, today. Oil-Electric was "launched" in October, 2007. In the intervening years, I've had the pleasure of "meeting" interesting folk who also enjoy armchair railroading. Some, however, are "on the ground" working for a railroad, giving them extraordinary access to activities the rest of us can only read about.

One such person, Carl Johnson, a.k.a. "trackwalker," was "at the right place at the right time," capturing two Amtrak "Cascades" performing a "running meet" near Bow, Washington.

Exhaust distortion identifies both units facing the camera as being the "power pack" for the push-pull Talgo equipped service, running between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Eugene, Oregon.

Fully tested by the Feds at Pueblo, Colorado, at 125 miles per hour, the exotic "tilt" train technology is mostly wasted on this run, where blistering bursts of 79 miles per hour are the exception.

Originally the Great Northern roadbed, Burlington Northern Santa Fe continues plant improvements, many of which have been captured and posted by Carl on his "Flicker" site.

Among Carl's postings, an interesting set illustrating the Stanwood Rehabilitation project north of Seattle, Washington. This included installation of high-speed switches, allowing crossover at 30 mph, as compared to 15 mph.

If I were a model railroader, this would be an interesting setup to portray: a front loader shoving the main line over to a new alignment!

The "Cascades" service is a joint venture between the Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation and Amtrak. Originating in Eugene, Oregon, terminating in Vancouver, B.C., the service is an ongoing success story, with steadily increasing ridership.

I recently posted a Happy Day story of a marriage proposal, cultivated by the "Cascades" service!

A second "Cascades" was plugged in between Seattle and Vancouver in August 2009. During the 19 days of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, 16 trains were sold out!

The second train continues to this day. And the numbers are bound to increase, as $3.50 (USD) a gallon gasoline seems to be here to stay.

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