Why is the Cascades Service so Chopped Up?

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cocojacoby

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I just looked at the Cascades schedule and was surprised at how chopped up and pieced together it is. Why are there so many truncated runs. Why don't they run any trains straight through? Is there an operational problem that won't allow this?
 

Palmetto

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They lost a trainset in the Dupont incident, I think, so there's the lack of equipment problem. Also, I believe Oregon is getting only what it's paying for.
 

rickycourtney

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They lost a trainset in the Dupont incident, I think, so there's the lack of equipment problem. Also, I believe Oregon is getting only what it's paying for.
This.
ODOT pays for the operating expenses for the two trains that operate between Portland and Eugene. WSDOT pays for the operating expenses for all other trains.

I also believe that the Canadian government pitches in a little money to pay for some things, but does not directly contribute to the operating expenses.
 

zephyr17

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Also, there is demand for a morning train from Seattle to Vancouver. Why would you originate that in Portland at 3 am just to make it "through"?
 

Trogdor

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A while back there was also an equipment rotation/servicing reason, as splitting what would logically match up as a through train allowed for each train set to overnight at the Talgo base in Seattle every four nights.

I don’t know what the current rotation setup is, but there could be some equipment servicing reason.
 

zephyr17

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Didn't Canada agree to eat the custom clearance cost as well?
Yes, CBSA agreed to service the second train without charging Amtrak or the State of Washington after the BC provincial government and the City of Vancouver complained repeatedly, and loudly to the Canadian federal government about it.

Basically, each government is paying for their own costs for border security, as it should be. I don't consider that a subsidy, though.
 

zephyr17

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A while back there was also an equipment rotation/servicing reason, as splitting what would logically match up as a through train allowed for each train set to overnight at the Talgo base in Seattle every four nights.

I don’t know what the current rotation setup is, but there could be some equipment servicing reason.
All Cascades trains except for for the 516-519 pair to Vancouver rotate through the entire schedule. The consist for 516-519 is captive to that one service. That is why when Talgos sets have to be withdrawn for maintenance, 516-519 get substitute Superliners and the rest of the schedule retains Talgos. Among other things, it means you only have to change the inventory on 2 trains instead of all the trains on a rotating basis.
 

jiml

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But, but...I keep hearing how the PM has plenty of money for this initiative and that program to insure Canada is truly a world leader on those respective issues. Surely you must be wrong! ;)
Yeah, and his family vacations, etc. He and his party think the answer to every problem, including re-election, is to throw money at it. Soon we'll have more debt than most of the third world.
 
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ehbowen

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Yeah, and his family vacations, etc. He and his party think the answer to every problem, including re-election, is to throw money at it. Soon we'll have more debt than most of the third world.
Pikers. Any more presidents like the last three and we'll have more debt than the rest of the world combined!
 

Willbridge

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Yes, CBSA agreed to service the second train without charging Amtrak or the State of Washington after the BC provincial government and the City of Vancouver complained repeatedly, and loudly to the Canadian federal government about it.

Basically, each government is paying for their own costs for border security, as it should be. I don't consider that a subsidy, though.
You're right. And both countries' border services made attempts to kill this service until politicians intervened.
 

neroden

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Pikers. Any more presidents like the last three and we'll have more debt than the rest of the world combined!
Government debt denominated in government-issued currency is not really debt (it never has to be repaid) -- it is actually money. T bils are a type of money which the government prints. Printing money is often a good idea, as long as it does not lead to excessive inflation...

That said, printing money should only be done if you buy something good with the money. The US has been blowing most of its printed money up in stupid foreign wars which make us less safe. (Also giving a lot of it away to billionaires.) Canada, of course, is burning the money subsidizing fossil fuels which hurt the entire world. Aaargh!
 

fairviewroad

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They lost a trainset in the Dupont incident, I think, so there's the lack of equipment problem.
There was no through train prior to the Dupont incident, either. The number of trainsets is not the reason for a lack of a through service. The lack of equipment is a factor in increasing the number of SEA-PDX trains, but it's not specifically the reason there is no EUG-VAC through train.

Also, there is demand for a morning train from Seattle to Vancouver. Why would you originate that in Portland at 3 am just to make it "through"?
A "through" train would not originate in Portland. In fact, there is already a train that runs directly from Portland to Vancouver, BC. A true "through" train would run from Eugene to Vancouver, BC and it would not require a middle-of-the-night departure from anywhere.

From a time standpoint, it would be logical to run trains 517/518 as through service all the way from Eugene to Vancouver BC. However, as others have noted, there are both operational and political (i.e. funding) reasons why this does not happen. Another thing to note is that there is relatively little daily demand for travel between points south of Portland and points north of Seattle. And what demand there is can be met with the current schedule, which offers dedicated Thruway bus connections.
 
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