Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Passenger Rail Program

ODOT's Role

Mt. Bachelor approaches the station in Eugene, OR for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Passenger Rail Program is responsible for the planning and development of Oregon’s growing passenger rail service, which includes:
Back to Top

Oregon Passenger Rail Project

A project is underway studying options for improved passenger rail service. The study area includes the segment between the Columbia River in the Portland urban area and the Eugene-Springfield urban area. This 125-mile segment is part of the federally-designated Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor. ODOT is leading an environmental review process that will inform a number of important decisions, including selection of the general rail alignment and communities where stations will be located. The project will also determine several service characteristics, such as the number of daily trips, travel time objectives, and the technologies to be used (for example, whether the trains will be powered by electric or diesel - electric engines).  

For more information, visit the project web site ODOT - Oregon Passenger Rail.

Contact Jill Pearson with questions at Jill.L.Pearson@odot.state.or.us or call (503) 986-3985. 

Back to Top

Oregon Federal Grant Awards

Federal High Speed Rail Grants
Oregon has received a total of $19.7 million in federal funds from the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program to date.
In February 2010, the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 allocated $8 billion to jumpstart the development of improved high-speed intercity passenger rail service in the United States. The Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor received $598 million. Of that amount, Oregon was awarded $9.3 million ($8 million was announced in Feb and another $1.3 million in Dec) for three projects:
  • Replace the roof on Portland's historic Union Station, built in 1896.
  • Conduct preliminary engineering for two rail projects to improve mobility and reduce congestion in north Portland, one at Willbridge and the other at North Portland Jct.
On October 28, 2010, the Oregon Department of Transportation received another $8.9 million in federal grants to continue planning efforts aimed at improving passenger rail service between Eugene and Portland. The grant, from the FY 2010 appropriation, will fund three projects:
  • A statewide freight and passenger rail plan.
  • "Tier 1" Environmental Impact Statement, a process required for Oregon to compete for future construction funding for the high-speed rail corridor between Eugene and Portland. The "Tier 1" will include an Alternatives Analysis to determine the preferred rail route. 
  • Preliminary engineering to renovate Portland's historic Union Station.
On May 9, 2011, the Oregon Department of Transportation received $1.5 million of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds rejected by Florida. The grant will fund the preliminary engineering to construct overnight parking track at the downtown Eugene passenger station. 
Back to Top


Oregon's Passenger Rail Timeline
 1971 Congress creates Amtrak passenger rail service
 1975 In response to the energy crisis, the Oregon Legislature approves the first Willamette Valley Passenger Rail Study
 1980 Oregon conducts an 18-month-long Willamette Valley Passenger Rail demonstration project
 1992 The Federal Railroad Administration designates Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, British Columbia, as a “High-Speed Rail” corridor, one of ten nationwide
 1992 Oregon completes the Oregon Rail Passenger Policy and Plan as required by the legislature
 1994 Amtrak Cascades Service begins between Eugene and Portland, funded by Oregon and Washington state
 2000 Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor, Oregon Segment: Passenger Rail Operating/Capital Facilities Plan and Preliminary Environmental Analysis identifies projects recommended for improvement, many of which are completed over the next several years
 2000 Oregon adds a second daily round trip between Eugene and Portland
 2001 The Oregon Rail Plan identifies state goals of increasing the Cascades from two to five roundtrips per day and reducing trip time by 20 minutes
 2007 The Oregon legislature dedicates fees from custom license plates to passenger rail operations
 2009 President Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, allocating $8 billion to high-speed rail development
 2009 Oregon conducts feasibility study to improve intercity passenger service in Oregon
 2010 Oregon purchases two new Talgo train sets for $36.6 million for delivery in 2012
 2010 The PNWRC is awarded over $500 million for improving service in the corridor; $18.2 million is for five projects in Oregon
 2010 ODOT begins public involvement process for updating Oregon Rail Plan, gathering input from the public, stakeholders, businesses and others to help shape future service
ODOT created the Oregon Rail Funding Task Force to recommend a funding proposal for freight and passenger rail improvements to the Oregon Transportation Commission.
Back to Top