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State of Oregon should put high-speed rail on a fast track

Now's the time to get on board, make regional transit a reality


Feel the need for speed, Oregon! High-speed rail could soon appear between Eugene and Portland.

In time, this infrastructure transit could link north to Seattle and south to California coastal cities.

It’s approximately 125 miles between Eugene and downtown Portland, and it could take 20 minutes or even less. A university student or business commuter could get on and sit in a comfortable, adjustable, ergonomically designed seat, complete with heat settings, massage and body contour geometry.

Comfort aside, we know there is only so much time in a day. Time management is so vital to a business commuter, student or day traveler. Getting there faster means more time for getting the job done, enjoying life or making money.

Here are just a few of the future benefits of high-speed rail:

* Commercial interests will benefit from the features of genuine high-speed rail. Retail stores and transit-oriented urban habitat will be constructed as a result of the residential demand to be close to this fast train.

* Maintenance facilities to be built and operated in Portland and Eugene will bring millions of dollars in wealth and thousands of high technology jobs for facility personnel, techs and engineers.

* High-speed train-set components, engineered, manufactured, designed and exported to the world from Oregon, will add billions of dollars in wealth for the state.

Every progressive urban planner, architect, civil engineer and property developer will focus attention on Portland and Eugene as the example of advanced metro transportation design. Massive cities like Paris, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and the Bay Area will want to replicate this transit achievement.

How does this high-speed railroad happen? Initially, transportation planners, mayors, citizen support groups, state and private engineers need to agree on one clear design concept. Time is of the essence. With such inspired and sophisticated leadership, Washington, D.C., would approve this regional project and fund it as an example of innovative American progress.

Romance is the magnet. The love of lifestyle enhancement with future vision is the key. Oregonians are passionate people, and that energy needs a creative outlet. Design leadership has to get the attention of everyone from Portland to Eugene. High-speed rail is certainly not boring, and all would prosper with this environmentally perfect electric-powered city sprinter.

What would be the result of such a partnership? Let’s say a student at University of Oregon needs to be get to a class in Portland. Our student flashes a high-speed rail pass card at the new, gleaming campus station. The card makes pre-programmed personal seat adjustments and physical environmental preferences instantly.

She stashes her backpack in the overhead storage and soon the comfortable ride becomes a rapid one as digital readouts on chair backs read 250 mph and climbing. The French TGV world record of 357.2 mph blasting out of Paris, set in fall 2007, will soon be broken.

The front of this high-speed train looks like an F-22 fighter and magnetic traction bonds the train to special steel rail. With its aerodynamic design, the train slips stealthily through air molecules. With current weather and barometric conditions, a record is ready to be set.

Our student feels just a little pressure against the seatback, and all the riders are enraptured by a different dimension in movement as the accelerator is opened up ... 390 mph! A new world speed record!

In time, riders feel deceleration as they arrive in Portland, a scant 15 minutes after leaving Eugene. Riding high-speed rail is like a vitamin, and our student is energized. After that class in Portland, she’ll return to Eugene that afternoon, having accomplished a lot in a short time.

William Hume, a retired civil engineer and land surveyor, writes about the future of high-speed rail from his home in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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