Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Amtrak Cascades to Seattle 2011-05-12

with 4 comments

AMTK 159 Motive Power VancouverAMTK 90250 cabbage VancouverCascades business classCascades coachAMTK 159 SeattleCascades baggage car

Amtrak Cascades to Seattle 2011-05-12, a set on Flickr.

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Written by Stephen Rees

May 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Posted in Transportation

4 Responses

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  1. Read with interest your item on the Amtrak Cascades service and the Talgo equipment.

    I have been a fan of that train ride for at least five years – partly because of the roll-on, roll-off bike service – and have taken it back and forth to Portland several times.

    The Talgo train is a pleasant way to travel, but it may be something of a comment on Amtrak that the Talgo is one of their newer and more innovative pieces of equipment.

    I bounced around Europe in the mid 1970’s with a first class Eurail Pass, and travelled through Spain on one of their then-new trains. The very same Talgo, complete with the leaning car system, just like the current Amtrak Cascades.

    Found it kind of amusing that this 40 year old technology was being touted as ‘new’ when I first travelled on the Cascades service. Still works well, and probably makes the best of the archaic rail lines between Vancouver and Eugene, but certainly not ‘cutting edge’.

    Ron Richings

    Ron Richings

    May 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm

  2. Weird coincidence, Im like ron a few years later, here I am in a Seattle hostel on my way back home from my own Eurail 1st class pass adventure! Second trip of its kind for me, I did one in 2008 as well. Sure is nice being able to spend a day just hopping on whatever train you want and exploring all the small towns in an area.

    I took the cascades up here on my way out last month as well. My own impression is the Taglo feels very similar, and maybe a bit more nice, to many of the InterCity non-interational regional trains in Europe I’ve been on where they use older train sets, and similar to some of the newer ones. I found cascades very similar to the Swedish XJ2000 service.

    Some of the newer train sets in Europe I found really nice though, especially those on high speed routes, and a few new intercity trains with Internet, automatic stop announcement, comfort, etc.

    The free Internet on cascades is great, although I had the same issues with slowness, which maybe is due also to lesser 3G signal strength in some of the terrain the train travels in.

    Alex P

    May 13, 2011 at 8:28 am

  3. the cell towers are primarily set up along the road network, so when the Cascades train deviates away from the road network it loses connections. Also doesn’t work in tunnels.

    I found working on the Cascades with a laptop quite reasonable, as long as you’re not using applications that need continuous network connections.

    I think the Cascades service has a lot of promise, and it wouldn’t take too much innovation or investment to knock a 1/2 hr off the travel time.

    regarding the early departure from Vancouver. If you are a Modo member, there is a car stationed very close to the Vancouver terminal. Pick up the car the day before and simply return it to its parking spot when you go to the train. This helps if transit can’t get you there in time.

    Andrew

    May 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm

  4. I am sorry to have to correct you Andrew but this reply was started in the tunnel leaving King Street station and the wifi was fine then

    Stephen Rees

    May 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm


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