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New passenger trains to join Cascades fleet
There is no doubt among many Oregonians –train fans, in particular – that the wait for new passenger trains has been worth it. On October 19, many of those fans were on hand to tour Oregon's first state-owned passenger rail service trains. ODOT purchased the two new 13-car trainsets- named Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Bachelor- using federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The trainsets willjoin the Amtrak Cascades fleet, which provides passenger rail service from Eugene to Vancouver, B.C., on January 6. A new bus and train schedule for the Amtrak Cascades corridor will coincide with the addition of the two trainsets. Features of the schedule that will go into effect after the new year include replacing several bus routes with trains, adding new stops on bus routes and adding new bus service. For example, Portland riders heading south will have an early morning train option for the first time; Eugene riders heading north will have a late afternoon train option for the first time.
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. "It took an amazing partnership of both public and private organizations - and the support of train fans - to make this dream come true," said Garrett.
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 State Department of Transportation owns three and Amtrak owns two. Oregon spent $38.4 million for the purchase of the trainsets and another $6 million for consultants, spare parts, testing and the addition of Wi-Fi.
To learn more about passenger rail service in Oregon, visit ODOT’s passenger rail website.  To see routes and fares for Amtrak Cascades corridor, see www.amtrakcascades.com. Photos of the train are available on ODOT's FlickR site.