Home Back Issues September 2009 Pioneer rail line could return to rural Oregon

Pioneer rail line could return to rural Oregon

| Print |  Email
Archives - September 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pioneer RailFreight trains clatter through Eastern Oregon all day, but ever since Amtrak discontinued the Pioneer line in 1997 because it was losing money as passengers dwindled, no passenger train has stopped in Pendleton, Ontario or Baker City. In fact, the Pendleton train station is now a museum. But that may change as Amtrak considers reinstating the Pioneer, a move that could give an economic boost to Eastern Oregon.

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 requires Amtrak to re-evaluate several former train lines throughout the country, including the Pioneer. Amtrak will present the results of this study to Congress this fall.

A major aspect of Amtrak’s decision to reinstate the Pioneer, which started in Seattle and ended in Chicago, is whether or not there’s a renewed interest in riding the train. Throughout the country, ridership is up; 2008 was the sixth consecutive year of growth nationwide, with ridership on the Cascades line between Eugene and Vancouver, B.C., up more than 12%.

“If there’s ridership, the communities can benefit,” says Vernae Graham, Amtrak spokesperson. “It can stimulate all sorts of economic growth in those communities.”

Baker City and the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners have written letters to their representatives encouraging the reinstatement of the Pioneer. In October 2008, Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Greg Walden and two Idaho congressmen sent a letter to Amtrak CEO Alex Kummant supporting the reinstatement of the Pioneer.

Jake Jacobs, Baker City economic development manager, and Tracy Bosen, Pendleton economic development director, agree that the Pioneer would increase tourism, particularly to historical downtown areas.

“It’s going to require a lot of change at the terminals,” says David Richey, Ontario planning and zoning administrator. “There should be other types of transportation, taxi cabs and bus services.”

For some, riding the train would be an activity in itself.

“There would be a lot of people who would take a train ride, including myself, just to take the train ride,” says Jacobs. “It’s a recreational thing as well.”

Reinstating the Pioneer is more than nostalgia for a time when train stations were busy centers of communities. It’s a way for green transportation options to be extended east of the Cascades to rural Oregonians.

JENNY FURNISS
 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 RETIREDGuest 2013-09-09 17:29:31
THE "PIONEER" NEEDS TO BE REINSTATED AS THERE ARE MANY RESIDENCE OF THAT COULD USE THIS MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, FOR PERSONAL TRAVEL, DESTINATION TRAVEL, STUDENT TRAVEL TO COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND FAMILY. THIS IS A SAFE WAY FOR MANY SENIORS TO BE ABLE TO VISIT FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND TOWNS AND CITIES.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 Rooster Ridge Enterprise ownerGuest 2014-09-17 19:36:42
My wife and I are both farmers, and, somewhat retired. We would love to have the Pioneer reinstated as a means of travel for us. It is a much needed means to travel for young and old.

I know we would enjoy trips with our family, including grandchildren and friends.

My father was a Barber on the Southern Pacific and other trains in the midwest as a young man. He thoroughly enjoyed the
people he met, as well as, the trips. It was very classy.

We will get our bags packed and hope this does occur.

Sincerly,

Ken and Raegene
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

Podcast: Testing for Emotional Intelligence with John Hersey

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 19, 2014
ivbU3sIXBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you tell if you, a peer, a subordinate or a job candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to do well?


Read more...

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

The Diaspora

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

Former newspaper reporters move into brand journalism.


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

Gender Code

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD

Janice Levenhagen-Seeley reprograms tech.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS