Amtrak matches $750,000 grant to reduce delays in Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Amtrak is matching a $750,000 contribution in support of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) grant application to reduce delays in the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor.

According to Amtrak's president and chief executive officer, Richard Anderson, the largest cause of delays to Amtrak Cascades customers on this rail line is interference from freight trains.

Oregon’s Amtrak trains are owned and operated by freight railroads, which make all dispatching decisions. Because of this, freight trains often take precedent over Amtrak, according to Anderson.

“We are thrilled to invest in the Oregon City Siding Project and further the first phase that will not only reduce delays but will contribute to the economic competitiveness of the region,” Anderson said.

If the grant application, called the Oregon City Siding Project, is approved, it will restore an out-of-service section of the track, known as a siding, between Portland and Salem to help the trains run on time.

The rehabilitation project is one of three that ODOT selected to sponsor for the U.S. Department of Transportation Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants program. The BUILD program improves access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for rural and urban communities.

To restore the out-of-service siding, officials said new tracks will need to be laid out, and both ends of the tracks will need power-operated switches and switch heaters to avoid winter snow delays. ODOT also plans to fund an additional track on a three-mile section between Oregon City and an existing siding to the south.

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