Two passenger trains commissioned by the state of Oregon are months behind schedule. The trains were due to arrive nearly two months ago and enter service this fall at a cost of $36 million. But they haven't even left the factory in Wisconsin yet.
An Amtrak Cascades train pulls away from the station in Salem. This train is owned by the state of Washington, which plans to expand service there. That means Oregon needs to buy its own trains if it wants to maintain service along the route between Portland and Eugene. But talk about a late train. The new equipment isn't expected to enter service until next spring…up to six months later than originally planned.
Shelley Snow of the Oregon Department of Transportation says there have been a number of delays at the Wisconsin factory where the trains are being manufactured. For instance, an ODOT inspector discovered during an onsite visit that the new trains had no Wi-Fi.
Snow: "We don't know why. It was in the contract. And apparently that's a fairly large issue. So that's holding things up because they've got to get the Wi-Fi put in there."
A spokeswoman for Talgo, the Spanish-owned company that's building the trains, did not respond to a request for comment on the delay.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network
On the Web:
ODOT Rail Division: http://cms.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/pages/talgohome.aspx
Amtrak Cascades: http://www.amtrakcascades.com/default.htm