Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Americans Can Soon Take a Ride on Some Speedy Trains

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Americans Can Soon Take a Ride on Some Speedy Trains

Article excerpt

Americans will have the opportunity this spring and summer to ride another modern, speedy train that may one day provide quick service between cities.

Last year, trains from Sweden and Germany were tested by Amtrak between Boston and Washington as part of a plan to try speeds in the Northeast Corridor of 150 miles an hour starting in 1997. This year, a Spanish train will be tested between Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Once again, the train in this year's test isn't American-made, because that kind of manufacturing isn't done in this country anymore.

The low-slung, 12-car Pendular Talgo train, which operates on rail routes in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, is scheduled for a six-month trial run.

The train is being leased by the State of Washington Transportation Department to see how popular it will be and how it performs on the 180-mile route. It will operate once a day in each direction and be part of Amtrak's regular service, operated by an Amtrak crew, with reservations made and tickets sold by the passenger-rail corporation.

Testing the Pendular Talgo is part of a $40 million investment Washington is making through next year to improve passenger-rail service statewide. The Talgo will operate at less than 100 miles per hour, like other Amtrak trains on the route, because the tracks are maintained for long, lumbering freight trains.

The Talgo train is built lower to the ground than most passenger trains, and has a tilting mechanism that enables it to take curves at faster speeds than a conventional train without passengers feeling it.

Washington state transportation planners want the $40 million to be the start of an investment of more than $1 billion by Washington, Oregon and British Columbia to enable trains to run at 125 mph between Vancouver and Eugene, Ore.

In the Northeast, Amtrak followed its popular tests last year of the Swedish X2000 and German ICE train with a call to manufacturers of high-speed trains worldwide to submit bids to build a new generation of Metroliners. …

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