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Passenger Trains > A Portland MAX Tour

Date: 10/07/07 23:12
A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

Last weekend, I met with Bob (I'll let him identify himself) in downtown Portland, Oregon for a tour of the MAX system http://www.trimet.org Now, unlike other visitors I've met with who had no local knowledge, Bob's more like the opposite. He knows the US transit systems like the back of his hand, and he's from a time when the interurbans and streetcars still ran in Portland.

When we get together, I give him the present-time tour, and he gives the past-time tour. :)

We start off with looking at the first day of MAX trains rolling across the new crossing that was just installed the previous two days. This is the classic case of existing rails being paved over, then dug out, laid with new rails again. Like what Bob says about cases like these: Dumb dumb dumb!

2) It's not often I take photos during a LRT trip, I think I have more out-the-window photos of other transit systems than of our own MAX, so I decided to do just that. Here is the original end-of-the-line, until the westside extension to Hillsboro opened. Red Line trains from the Airport once turned here, which now run through to Beaverton, and the Yellow Line trains now utilizes this turn-around until the Portland Mall (under construction in first photo) opens up.

3) On board the first LRV for Portland, the 101. There was actually a #100, a prototype, before the 101 was built. The 101 looks a lot better than that craptastic prototype! (Sorry, cannot share the photo, it's buried deep somewhere)

Date: 10/07/07 23:14
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

4) Between Civic Stadium (I refuse to acknowledge it by its corporate name) and Kings Hill Stations.

5) At Civic Stadium, those are indeed apartments adjacent to the station.

6) Entering the Robertson Tunnel under Washington Park. Believe it or not, after entering this tunnel the train makes a pretty steep climb upwards to... the deepest station in North America! Yes, upwards. :-/

Date: 10/07/07 23:16
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

7) At the deepest station in North America, Washington Park

8) To avoid being on the wrong platform, the red-colored beams in the ceiling indicate sunset, which is westbound. The yellow-colored beams indicate sunrise, eastbound.

9) At Sunset TC, I still like the choice of fence design just above the canopies.

Date: 10/07/07 23:31
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

10) After leaving Sunset TC, the route takes a full U-turn, runs for a couple hundred yards before heading south towards Beaverton. At Beaverton, the route continues west. This is a result of station-placement, early in the design of the route, a station could've been placed to avoid this U-turn, but it would've resulted in a smaller station resulting in less parking and space for buses.

By moving the station to the other side of the freeway interchange, rather "out of the way" not only freed up space for parking and buses, but also saved money that would've required reconstructing some of the highway interchange ramps. That's the positive way to look at it, the negative is that it costs a commuter an extra minute or two of travel time.

11) At Beaverton TC, an eastbound pulls in amid waiting passengers.

12) Due to a rash of train-vs-ped incidents, including one right here at this crossing, which I remember well. An elder man walked across the tracks without looking, claimed to be blinded by the sun, and was hit by a slow-moving LRV #229. I remember that particular LRV, because it was the only one ear-marked by TriMet for promotional purposes, requiring no ads be displayed, and to be in tip-top condition.

For a person like me, I would always wait for the 229 to get that "perfect, ding-less, banner-less shot". It was also a nice one to ride in, usually had less graffiti and trash. Since the firefighters used tools to cut up the side of the car to rescue the man (as they should, and he got only minor injuries), the 229 lost its purity and ended up like the rest. As a result of that particular incident, combined with others between here and Millikan Way, swing gates are in place to force people to stop and look when crossing.

Date: 10/07/07 23:37
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

13) New construction for the "Purple Line", which is the Commuter Rail project for DMUs between Beaverton TC and Wilsonville. We couldn't quite figure out why such a short segment was visible, and nothing else around it was happening. Bob figured out that it was due to different contractors, the bridge contractor is nearly finished with the structure, whereas the normal track contractor is still working its way towards the station.

14) As seen past the intersection, the track contractor is working to connect Beaverton TC with the existing Portland & Western tracks (former SP), located on the other side of the GoodYear Tires building.

15) After looking around Beaverton TC and the Purple Line construction, we got back on board a westbound for Hillsboro. The 110 with that nasty full-ad wrap on its side, was the first LRV I rode on during opening day in 1986. Yes, I have an ugly-5yearold-brat-standing-next-to-it pic, and I claim that I cannot find it right now. :)

Date: 10/07/07 23:39
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

16) Now having left Beaverton TC, we now traverse what was the old Oregon Electric line, which BN used for freight until it was sold for LRT.

17) The current connection with the P&W, where the new LRV cars are delivered on flat-cars.

18) We actually saw a few transit inspectors! This guy was pretty lenient and tried to be humorous with some people who bought a fare, but didn't buy the right zone.

Date: 10/07/07 23:43
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

19) At Quatama Station. On opening day in 1998, this area was nothing but fields. Now, you cannot look beyond the all-out-go-crazy development that happened here. I actually wouldn't mind living in some of the new apartments, but the condos near the next station are much better than here.

20) Orenco Station, the one with the real nice condos and street development. Must be my calling, it is located on NW 231st anyhow!

21) At Fair Complex, this guy seemed to be a bit wobbly on his bike. Given the little riding space between two MAX trains, might be wise to walk like the signs posted near him suggest.

Date: 10/07/07 23:48
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

22) A crossing gate for pedestrians. A nearby house was also a landmark for regular riders, a huge banner donning off someone's deck declared the home as a prison due to LRT. Of course, who was there first, the trains or the house? After five years with no success of shutting down the MAX line, they've moved.

23) Hillsboro Central Station, one of the best looking IMO. Some of you might like that weather vane up on top there.

24) And finally, before we got grub at the nearby sports bar, I leave you with a recently repainted Type 1, the 115.

That wraps up this segment of transit photos in Portland, with more to come on the Willamette Shore Trolley and Portland Streetcar.

Date: 10/08/07 04:53
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: Macster

Great set of photos Chris! Say, do you happen to know what LRV has the electronic bell on it? Pretty unique sounding too. Another question for you... that 'Purple Line' are they bringing that right up to Beaverton TC? I'm assuming so by the look in the photo but that's just odd. Never heard of a LRT to Commuter Rail.

Looking forward to the Streetcar and "Da Shore" pics


Date: 10/08/07 07:19
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: stone23

OK, I confess I am "Bob" and my interest in Portland transit goes back to my teen-age years when in WWII, the US Army in its infinite wisdom sent me (a born and raised Clevelander) to the University of Oregon at Eugene for a year to study Engineering (ugh!) My weekends were of course spent in Portland riding the narrow gauge streetcar lines, the standard gauge interurban lines, and watching the still electric freight operation of the Oregon Electric Ry. between downtown Portland and Eugene.

Having Chris as a host is quite an honor and I do enjoy sharing the old and new Portland rail systems with him. Actually I have developed one family railfan, (my high school age 4th grandson) who always introduces himself as "his train grandson"!

I also confess that I use some of Chris' fotos as my screen saver!

Date: 10/08/07 09:18
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: AndyD

Macster Wrote:
> Pretty unique sounding too. Another question for
> you... that 'Purple Line' are they bringing that
> right up to Beaverton TC? I'm assuming so by the
> look in the photo but that's just odd. Never heard
> of a LRT to Commuter Rail.

The "Purple Line" is a short commuter rail line being built utilizing the P&W's line between Beaverton (west of Portland), and Wilsonville (south of Portland). Fair amount of business and housing in both areas, running roughly along Highway 217 and Interstate 5. Equipment will be Colorado Railcar DMU's.

More info here: http://www.trimet.org/commuterrail/project.htm

Date: 10/08/07 10:52
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: pepperidge

Thanks for the ride. We get up to Portland every other year or so and make it a point to ride the MAX. Have not taken the route up Interstate Blvd. yet--they were just finishing up during our last visit. Regardless of anyone's opinion on the value of light rail (in terms of necessity, fare recovery, etc.)Portland's operation is first class.

As an aside, MAX is a fun way to railfan parts of the P&W.


Date: 10/08/07 18:45
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: wigwagfan

pepperidge Wrote:
> Regardless of anyone's opinion on the
> value of light rail (in terms of necessity, fare
> recovery, etc.)Portland's operation is first
> class.

On Sunday we headed up to the Expo Center to the Home & Garden Show.

On the Interstate Avenue alignment, northbound, alone, I counted THREE malfunctioning TVMs. That's in addition to the one in Beaverton Creek and one at Elmonica.

Just behind us by about five minutes, a southbound MAX train hit a bicyclist at Interstate & Greeley. As a result of this, my train (northbound, having already passed where the incident occurred behind us) was held at Vanport/Delta Park (awaiting clearance to Expo Center). I was under the assumption that southbound trains were held up, so there were three trains at Expo Center - one at each track.

I was wrong. We walked the half mile to find one train and two empty tracks.

Just another day in the life of MAX.

Date: 10/08/07 20:35
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: mundo

Great that the two of you could swap stories. But none of your photo's shows Bob.

Guess my photos of Bob would have to go back into the 1960's.

Date: 10/08/07 20:39
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: F40PHR231

mundo Wrote:
> Great that the two of you could swap stories.
> But none of your photo's shows Bob.

You need to look closer. :)

Date: 10/09/07 07:24
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: KeyRouteKen

Well guys--there always has to be a "naysayer" thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed the photos taken by "Chris".. But I'm thinking that his friend "Bob" must be 105 years old..
Reason: Well, the Portland Traction Company quit running streetcars and interurbans around February--1958. However, The Oregon Electric was already dieselized for years. So I can't really see how "Bob" saw any "electric freight action" on the OE !!
When visiting central Oregon in those early days, I never saw any overhead wire installed except around Portland for the PTC... I traveled to Eugene, Albany, Lebanon, etc..
No electrics!!
Electric PASSENGER operation on the OE ended on June 30, 1933...

Electric FREIGHT operation ended on the OE on July 10, 1945...
What say thou, Mr. Bob ???


Date: 10/09/07 08:20
Re: A Portland MAX Tour
Author: stone23

Key route Ken,

You have an arithmetic problem. If I was a teenager in 1943 I certainly am not 105 in 2007. Besides which I just heard of a man who was celebrating his 107th birthday. He has lived in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. He could be my father!


Date: 10/09/07 08:41
"Jihad not allowed without a proper permit"
Author: Diddle_E._Squat

Seriously, is the electronic sign in picture 11 displaying a Middle Eastern language?

Date: 10/09/07 21:11
Re: "Jihad not allowed without a proper permit"
Author: F40PHR231

Mundo, Bob's visible on board MAX in photo #21.

Diddle, that had me cracking up! The rapid vertical flicker of the display really does look like Middle Eastern language huh? Conspiracy? (puts on tinfoil hat)

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