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Fall 2017 Amtrak Cascades schedule


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#21 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 12:07 AM

 

 

According to Wikipedia, the eventual travel time [goal] between SEA and PDX is 2:30 from the 3:20 in 2017. What else is left where they can shave off  50 minutes from?

There is currently about :45 padding in both directions. 

... According to WSDOT, 18 of the 20 ARRA-funded projects designed to improve speeds along the Cascades corridor have been completed. ...

Oh wow, didn't know they had 45 min up their sleeves. That would be huge if they got the time down to 2:30 min. Its almost like the travel time cuts when a new HSR line opens up in Europe.

Nah, looks like our friend Charles Hamilton is mis-overestimating things here. ;)

 

If you want a list of projects to (further) improve this corridor, look here:

 

http://www.wsdot.wa....idRangePlan.pdf

 

Well, this list is from December 2008, before the Stimulus in 2009 promised to pay for more than $800 million of it. Many projects have been completed, and are included in that 20-count list that Charles refers to.

 

Still plenty of work on the WSDOT list. Speaking in large numbers, WSDOT could easily spend another $800 million before pausing again to catch their breath.

 

Same thing in Illinois and Michigan as in Washington State. They got almost more money than they could use in just 7 years. So the plan all along was for a Phase One, and followed by a Phase Two.

 

Unfortunately, Congress changed, and refused to fund any passenger rail projects.

 

Now, I guess those states are also waiting for an infrastructure plan from Congress. They'd better be prepared to wait.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 16 August 2017 - 12:16 AM.


#22 jebr

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 01:58 PM

Looking at the Vancouver times in particular, it seems like the actual calling times (especially for the Portland through trains) are seeing relatively little improvement. It's still a very early morning from Vancouver (with it being impossible to get to the station a true hour before the train leaves via the SkyTrain) and the later arrival has actually moved back 10 minutes to be an even 11:00 PM instead of 10:50 PM - which, I worry, makes it look significantly worse ("11 PM" instead of "10:xx PM") than just the extra 10 minutes later it's arriving.

 

If my math is right, assuming we could narrow the time in Seattle to 20 minutes on the southbound 517 (done with today's 513,) we could advertise a 7:00 AM departure from Vancouver (a full half-hour later than today's 6:30 AM departure, and hops over a mental 6:xx am "very early morning" barrier to a somewhat more pleasant 7:00 am "early morning" departure.) This would also make it possible for someone to take the SkyTrain to the station and arrive a true hour in advance, likely with enough time to grab a quick breakfast before going through customs if they so chose. This would allow an 11:25 AM arrival into Seattle, with a 11:45 departure arriving at the same 3:05 PM time in Portland as it has today.

 

On the northbound, I'd push it back to the same 2:50 PM departure from Portland we have today. This would give a 6:10 PM arrival into Seattle and a 6:30 PM departure - likely still enough time in Seattle to get back from a business day and get on the train. This would arrive at 10:30 PM, still in the 10:xx "late night" frame but sounds better than 10:50 and a lot better than a "very late night" 11:00 PM arrival, especially since there's still border formalities to go through in Vancouver that's not noted in the schedule.



#23 Maglev

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 10:53 AM

Looking at the Vancouver times in particular, it seems like the actual calling times (especially for the Portland through trains) are seeing relatively little improvement. It's still a very early morning from Vancouver (with it being impossible to get to the station a true hour before the train leaves via the SkyTrain) and the later arrival has actually moved back 10 minutes to be an even 11:00 PM instead of 10:50 PM - which, I worry, makes it look significantly worse ("11 PM" instead of "10:xx PM") than just the extra 10 minutes later it's arriving.

 

If my math is right, assuming we could narrow the time in Seattle to 20 minutes on the southbound 517 (done with today's 513,) we could advertise a 7:00 AM departure from Vancouver (a full half-hour later than today's 6:30 AM departure, and hops over a mental 6:xx am "very early morning" barrier to a somewhat more pleasant 7:00 am "early morning" departure.) This would also make it possible for someone to take the SkyTrain to the station and arrive a true hour in advance, likely with enough time to grab a quick breakfast before going through customs if they so chose. This would allow an 11:25 AM arrival into Seattle, with a 11:45 departure arriving at the same 3:05 PM time in Portland as it has today.

 

On the northbound, I'd push it back to the same 2:50 PM departure from Portland we have today. This would give a 6:10 PM arrival into Seattle and a 6:30 PM departure - likely still enough time in Seattle to get back from a business day and get on the train. This would arrive at 10:30 PM, still in the 10:xx "late night" frame but sounds better than 10:50 and a lot better than a "very late night" 11:00 PM arrival, especially since there's still border formalities to go through in Vancouver that's not noted in the schedule.

Changing the timing would interfere with the meet between the southbound and the northbound trains, both in the morning and the evening.  There is only a single track north of Mount Vernon, so the meets occur just south of there.


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#24 jebr

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 11:11 AM

Ergh...

 

I suppose we could move those trains as well (assuming there's no other operational requirements) to have that meet further south. Moving the 7:45 am northbound departure to 8:10 seems fine, though a 12:10 pm arrival into Vancouver does put it in an "afternoon" instead of "morning" timeframe, which may make a difference mentally for some passengers. Personally, I think it'd be better overall, but maybe the northbound traffic patterns indicate it wouldn't be.

 

Moving the 5:45pm southbound to 5:15pm seems to bump it a bit too early, especially if someone has an afternoon meeting downtown. A meeting ending around 4pm in downtown Vancouver can easily make a 5:45pm train with the recommended hour-ahead-of-time arrival suggestion, but a 5:15pm train makes that much more difficult (and if that meeting runs late it becomes extremely difficult.) It'd be nice if they could at least keep the current 10:50 PM northbound arrival into VAC, though; it at least feels a bit less of a late night mentally than a full-on 11 PM arrival.



#25 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 01:14 PM

I have two stupid questions:

 

1. Why does it take so long to get from Vancouver WA to Portland? I thought they were in the same metro area, or is it due to bridges, etc (or just padding)?

 

2. Essentially the same question, why such long dwell times in Portland, padding?


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#26 zephyr17

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 01:56 PM

Padding and fairly slow trackage.

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#27 Bob Dylan

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 04:15 PM

Also the bridge over the River is a major bottleneck between Vancouver and Portland, with a major rail junction right by the Vancouver Station and the approach to the bridge. ( Freight and Passenger traffic)
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#28 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 03:44 PM

Thanks for the answers!


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