Monday, September 07, 2009

Seattle to Vancouver by train

While researching this online, I came across the fact that this route is part of the growing trend back to public transport in America. The full route runs from Eugene south of Portland in Oregon, all the way through Seattle, and over the border to Vancouver. The route has been opened to passenger trains in stages since the early 90's (the tracks are primarily freight tracks owned by Union Pacific and BNSF). Known as Amtrak Cascades, the trains run multiple times daily, mostly between Portland and Seattle, but a few go north/south from this main spine.

To me the most astonishing thing is that the carriages used are articulated tilting trainsets manufactured by Talgo in Spain. Think of the French TGV (or Spanish AVE)and that is pretty much what they look like. The only difference is that instead of the sleek electric locomotives found on trains in Europe, they use a diesel locomotive (an EMD F59PHI) at one end and at a an unpowered locomotive at the other. The unpowered locomotive looks exactly like an EMD F40 locomotive only the "locomotive" parts are missing and it is filled with ballast instead (concrete or something heavy like that), but still allows the train to be driven from that end.

Despite being designed for higher speeds, the trains travel at the regular speeds of North American trains.

I almost forgot, the scenery looks like this! Not that I will be there in winter, but still...

1 comment:

Andrew said...

What a fantastic train trip. I am jealous.