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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:
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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. 

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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.
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