OPR in Motion: A Project Update

Posted: Tuesday - July 7, 2015

The Oregon Passenger Rail Leadership Council previously recommended two “build” alternatives and a “no action” alternative to analyze in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Alternatives 1 is largely the existing passenger rail route and Alternative 2 is primarily a new route along I-5. Read on to learn about what the team has been working on...

The engineering team is conducting more analysis on the two build alternatives and the no action alternative for the DEIS. This effort will tell us:

  • How many riders a day can we expect on the system?
  • How many train trips should we have each day?
  • What are the costs to build, operate and maintain the two build alternatives?

The environmental team is currently looking into the effects that both the build and the no action alternatives would have on a variety of important environmental areas, including: economics, water resources, transportation, biological resources, wetlands, air quality, and noise.

The project team prepared a long-range (beyond 20 years) vision for what high speed rail might eventually look like in this corridor. View the High Speed Rail Concept Vision Report.

Finding the optimal number of trains per day for Alternative 1

Passenger trains share the tracks with freight trains on Alternative 1 and as we add more passenger trains, we have to make sure both passenger and freight trains operate at least as well as they do today. Usually this is done by upgrading existing track and building new track. This means that the more passenger trains we add, the more the project will cost to build, operate and maintain, and the more impacts it will have. Any new trains would replace trips that the state currently provides with Thruway motor coaches. Adding more passenger trains also increases ridership. However, doubling or tripling the number of trains per day won’t necessarily double or triple the ridership. We are working to balance increased costs and impacts with increased ridership as we add more train trips. The team has been closely coordinating with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), who is the federal lead agency for the project, to find the optimal balance between cost, impacts and benefits.

Get Involved

The team will seek input on the refined analysis and alternatives, including the project team’s recommendation for a preferred alternative to be carried through the DEIS, through a meeting of the project’s Corridor Forum as well as a public online open house. Interested parties will receive an email to announce these meetings and input opportunities as soon as they are scheduled, we expect them to occur this fall.

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