SPUG: railroad bandwidth (was: Ride to Oscon?)

Mike Schuh schuh at farmdale.com
Fri Jun 22 12:28:45 PDT 2007

On Fri, 22 Jun 2007, John Costello wrote:

>On Thu, 21 Jun 2007, Bill Campbell wrote:
>> Train service from Seattle to Portland is reasonably reliable, but the
>> Portland to Seattle trains are commonly hours late.
>The problem isn't scheduling as much as that Amtrak has to yield
>right-of-track to freight trains, which often delays the trains.

Amtrak trains along the I-5 corridor routinely pass waiting freight trains
(I've experienced this many times between Portland and Seattle).
Nonetheless, the passenger trains are often delayed and occasionally
significantly late.

The problem (to couch it in IT geek terms) is that the bandwidth of the
rail lines south of Seattle has been oversubscribed.  BNSF (who owns the
tracks and has experienced significant growth in freight traffic), WSDOT
(who actually owns track and rail cars elsewhere in the state), Sound
Transit and AMTRAK are working on alleviating this.  Ultimately, portions
of the corridor will become four tracks - two for passenger service, two
for freight.  Passenger speed limits will be increased to at least 79 MPH
for the entire corridor, and possibly to 110 MPH (Amtrak's Acela trains in
the Northeast Corridor reach 150 MPH).  If the latter limit could be
maintained for the entire route, then we'd have two hour service to
Portland...  (WSDOT's goal for 2023 is 2 1/2 hours, an hour faster than
today's travel time)


All of which is probably more than y'all wanted/needed to know...

We now return you to our discussion of interpolated print strings, which is
already in progress.  Enjoy.

Mike Schuh - Seattle, Washington USA

More information about the spug-list mailing list