Will we ever get High Speed Rail to Seattle?
In light of recent posts, I thought I'd post a new thread for discussion of Amtrak Cascades Rail between Vancouver to Seattle. There's not a lot of information out there, but here's WSDOT's Long-Range Plan (thanks OfficeDweller):
WSDOT's Long-Range Plan
Of particular note are Chapters 3,5,8 and Appendices.
Scott Road Terminus possibility (from OfficeDweller):
A blurb from Chapter 5 page 33:
What key factors will influence the location of the Amtrak
Cascades’ northern terminus?
As indicated in Exhibit 5-14, a series of infrastructure improvements must be
completed before a third round trip between Seattle and Vancouver, BC is
possible. In this plan, it is assumed that these capital projects will be completed by Amtrak Cascades mid-point service, the most expensive of
which is a new crossing of the Fraser River between Surrey and New
Westminster. The New Westminster Rail Bridge, a swing-span structure
constructed in 1904, is a major choke point for a number of freight and
passenger rail operators in the greater Vancouver area. Canadian officials are
currently studying bridge replacement options, but a funding plan for a new
structure has not yet been developed. Unless and until this bridge is replaced
or substantially upgraded, it will not be possible to add any more Amtrak
Cascades service between Seattle and Pacific Central Station in Vancouver,
BC beyond two daily round trips.
In 2010, Vancouver/Whistler, BC will be hosting the Winter Olympics. This
major international event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of
visitors to the Vancouver, BC area. If Amtrak Cascades trains are to play a
role as a transportation provider before, during, and after the 2010 Olympic
Games, regional, provincial, and Canadian federal transportation officials will
need to decide if funding the projects necessary for additional Amtrak
Cascades service is a priority for the region, and if these projects will have a
legacy of public benefits after the Olympic Games. These officials will also
have to determine if the current station location is the best place for intercity
rail travelers—when placed within the context of the region’s multi-modal
transportation plan developed for the 2010 Olympic Games and beyond.
The final key factor that will influence the location of the Amtrak Cascades’
northern terminus in Vancouver, BC is customer preference. While a Scott
Road Station could eliminate the need for major rail line improvements north
of the Fraser River, Amtrak and WSDOT have only limited data to assess the
commercial impacts of a northern terminus at Scott Road, rather than
downtown Vancouver. BC. WSDOT, Amtrak, and Canadian officials will
need to gather this customer data and include it in a full benefit/cost
assessment before deciding if relocating the Amtrak Cascades’ northern
terminus from Pacific Central Station to Scott Road is the best course of
Information on Time Savings:
Originally Posted by tintinium
If anyone's interested, check out page 6 of this PDF:
The improvements between Bellingham and Vancouver are supposed to be:
Vancouver <---> Bellingham
today 2008* 2023
1:48 1:39 0:50
(original midpoint... but is now undefined due to funding)
Overall Trip Time:
Vancouver <---> Seattle
today 2008 2023
3:55 3:25 2:37
That goes to show you where the bottleneck is. BC. Overall improvement is supposed to Shave 1:18 off the time from Seattle to Vancouver. Bellingham to Vancouver is 0:58 of that... or 75% of the time savings.
Imagine getting to Downtown Seattle from Downtown Vancouver in 2:37.
A CAR takes 2:34 according to Google Maps(with no Traffic and no border wait...).
If you could pre-check customs at the Vancouver terminus it would be MUCH faster than driving.