Feasibility study underway on Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, BC bullet train

Ever fantasized of a Northwest fast rail system? A feasibility study launched by WSDOT will analyze what it would take for Cascadia to get bullet trains.

According to KUOW Public Radio, the Washington Legislature this spring budgeted $300,000 for study into what it would take to connect the Northwest's biggest cities by bullet train - trains that could reach speeds up to 250 miles per hour.

The analysis would look at stops in some smaller towns along the way: Bellingham, Everett, SeaTac, Tacoma and Olympia. Lawmakers even asked for a review into the possibility of an east-west extension across the Cascade Mountain to Eastern Washington.

The study is getting a little help from Microsoft, which donated $50,000 to the analysis.

“Why not a high-speed train from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland? If we lived in Europe it would already be there,” said Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.

The study will look at potential sticking points, such as "financing mechanism" and suitable rights of way. 

A bullet train would need a dedicated railway.  Currently, Amtrak Cascades shares rail with freight trains, and their passenger trains are limited to 79 miles per hour. The twice daily service from Seattle to Vancouver, BC, is slower than driving a car.

© 2017 KING-TV


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