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Portland Westside Express Service 2/5/2010

by Chris Guenzler

I woke up at 5:30 AM and by six I was on the TriMet Platform at NE 82nd Street Station just as a Red Line Train for Hillsboro came in. I boarded this train and took it to the Beaverton Transit Center where I walked over to the Portland Westside Express platform just as one of their trains came into the station.

Portland Westside Express Service

I heard the crossing gate and soon the train I would be riding came into view.

Line Facts

The line was built by the Southern Pacific in 1910. The line is 14.7 miles long and is the first commuter rail line in the state of Oregon. It serves the communities of Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. It connects at the Beaverton Transportation Center with 11 bus lines and the Max Blue and Red Lines. There are bus connections at each station and at Wilsonville a connection with the Smart Bus system which provides a connection with Salem. It began service on Monday February 2, 2009. TriMet purchased three Diesel Multiple Units {DMU} cars and one trailer from Colorado Railcar Manufacturing. TriMet contracted with CRM, the only U.S. Firm that builds DMU's that meet federal standards and complies with the Buy America. The line is shared with the Portland & Western Railroad that operates freight service over the railroad. TriMet purchased a state of the art signal system for the Westside Express Service that is being fully integrated with the P&W freight service. All of the 35 freight engines that will operate in this corridor, as well as WES vehicles will include cab signals that are part of an overall signal system that will prevent train-to-train collisions similar to the what occurred in the Metrolink Chatsworth Collision. The line also has a pair of Rail Diesel Cars {RDC} to help with providing service on this line.

Our Trip

The train pulling into the Beaverton Transit Center.

After this picture I boarded this train for my trip to Wilsonville. About ten minutes later we were headed south for my first trip aboard this unique train service. The first stop was Hall/Nimbus which was then followed by the Tigard Transit Center where we met Car 101 heading to Beaverton. Our train passed a small yard of the Portland Western Railroad on this predawn trip south. Next we stopped at Tualatin before we ran off the final miles out to Wilsonville. There I would be laying over and getting pictures.

Alaska Railroad 711 that will be used on this line at some point.

Car 1002 at Wilsonville. Now I will show you the inside of one of these unique cars.

One end of the train.

The WES has free wireless Internet aboard its trains.

The TriMet Map in each car.

The other end of the train.

Alaska Railroad RDC 702.

Our train at Wilsonville.

The Wilsonville Station parking lot and a low level of fog.

The WES Maintenance Building at Wilsonville.

Some interesting art work at this and other stations along the route.

The main operating cab and controls.

The B end with a cab car set of controls. I relaxed until departure time and soon I was heading back to Beaverton.

At the west end of Wilsonville we passed an outbound train.

Scenes between Wilsonville and Tualatin.

Our route passed this nice lake.

Our route crossed a bridge.

Our route went under another freight line.

At the Hall/Nimbus Station we passed another outbound train before we ran the rest of the way back to the Beaverton Transit Center. It had been a great trip aboard the Westside Express but I still had a pair of pictures to take.

Our train back at the Beaverton Transit Center.

The final picture at the Beaverton Transit Center. I walked over to the Red/Blue Line and waited about ten minutes for the next train that took me back to the Days Inn. I had some breakfast then wrote this part of the story. I checked out and took a Green Line Train back to Portland Union Station.

Cascade Talgo 506 2/5/2010

I decided to pick up my Ten Ride Surfliner Ticket so I would have it when I returned from this trip. While I was up there I upgraded to Cascade Business Class getting my seat assignment and my three dollars off Bistro purchase aboard the Talgo today. I went into the Portland First Class Lounge and checked my e-mail one last time before it was time to board the Talgo. I was in Car 1 Seat 4 on the inland side of the train with a curtain blocking my view so no pictures on this trip. I put on my Jethro Tull "Live in Germany" DVD. We left Portland Union Station on time but got stopped by an open bridge at the Willamette River. Once it closed we were off to Vancouver, WA. North of there we got slowed for track work on the way to Kelso-Longview, our next stop. The movie was "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". Our train got stopped at a red signal at Ostrander and we sat until the dispatcher crossed us over to the other track. The train made its way to Centralia and the movie ended north of there. I put on the rest of the 2nd disc of Fawlty Towers. The train made its way to Olympia-Lacey then on to Tacoma.

Mount Rainier. The train made its way to Tukwila before it made its final sprint into Seattle 4:04 PM {3:45 PM} ending another enjoyable trip aboard the Cascade Talgo.

Seattle 2/5/2010

Bob and Elizabeth picked me up and once we escaped from Seattle, we took Interstate 90 out to the Snoqualmie Casino where we enjoyed a Buffet Dinner. Bob and Elizabeth then headed back to Seattle to see South Pacific at the 5th Avenue Theater. I stayed at the Casino and saw the Queensryche Cabaret Show which was excellent. Bob and Elizabeth picked me up and we drove to their house in Lynwood for the night.