I originally posted this on my old website on March 26, 2009.
On February 2, 2009, the transit system in Portland, Oregon called TriMet, or the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, began operation of a new commuter rail service called WES, or Westside Express Service, between the suburbs of Wilsonville and Beaverton on the Portland & Western Railroad. WES operates only on weekdays from 5:20 to 10:00 AM and from 3:30 to 8:00 PM, with a train departing in each direction approximately every 30 minutes. A trip between Wilsonville and Beaverton takes 27 minutes. The train crew consists of an engineer and a conductor, both of whom are Portland & Western employees.
The railroad line that WES runs on consists of portions of two lines that were once competitors. The portion from Wilsonville to Tigard was originally built in 1906 as the Oregon Electric Railway, an electric interurban railroad that began operation between Portland and Salem on New Year's Day in 1908. The Oregon Electric eventually reached Eugene, with branches to Banks, Forest Grove, Woodburn and Corvallis. The Oregon Electric's passenger service lasted until 1933. Electric freight service continued until 1945 when diesel locomotives took over. The portion of the line from Tigard to Beaverton was part of Southern Pacific's system and was used by their "Red Electric" interurbans, which carried passengers between Portland and Corvallis from 1914 to 1929 as competition to the Oregon Electric Railway. These lines remained competitors into the 1990s, with the Oregon Electric having become part of Burlington Northern Santa Fe while the Southern Pacific became part of Union Pacific. Today, both are operated by the Portland & Western Railroad.
WES operates with Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) built by Colorado Railcar Manufacturing of Fort Lupton, Colorado.
There are three powered units and one unpowered trailer.
The powered units seat 74 people each and have a top speed of 60 miles per hour. The unpowered trailer seats 80.
Each WES car features two bicycle hooks and free wireless internet access.
The first of them arrived in June, 2008. WES was originally scheduled to begin operation in the fall of 2008, but delays in delivery of the cars caused the opening to be pushed back to February 2, 2009, with the trains being tested throughout the fall and winter of 2008. Colorado Railcar's financial difficulties caused the company to shut down in December of 2008.
TriMet's WES is one of only two commuter systems to use Colorado Railcar DMUs, and the other, Florida's Tri-Rail, uses Bi-level versions, making TriMet's four single-level cars the only ones of their kind.
WES typically operates with two of the powered units operating separately, with the third powered unit operating with the unpowered trailer, as shown here.
Below are some pictures of each of the WES cars.
These following views show the interior of a WES train.
TriMet: Washington County Commuter Rail
TriMet: WES Commuter Rail Service
Westside Express Service (WES) from Rose City & NorthWestern
Colorado Railcar DMU Roster
First railcars arrive for west-side commuter line (Oregonian, June 19, 2009)
Westside Express Service faces delays (Oregonian, July 29, 2008)
TriMet's new Westside Express Service prepared to take to the rails this fall (Oregonian, August 21, 2008)
TriMet delays opening of Westside commuter rail line until February (Oregonian, October 1, 2008)
TriMet's Westside Express Service delayed (Oregonian, October 9, 2008)
Westside Express deal cost TriMet millions (Oregonian, December 14, 2008)
Company behind TriMet WES railcars fails (Oregonian, December 30, 2008)
Ready to ride? On board the westside commuter rail (Oregonian, January 21, 2009)
WES train rolls out for inaugural run (Oregonian, January 21, 2009)
Electrical problems on Westside Express Service sidelines trains (Oregonian, February 20, 2009)
WES service needs bus help for several more days (Oregonian, February 23, 2009)
The next posts will take a look at the five stations on the WES line:
Continue to Wilsonville Station…