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    TriMet delays opening of Westside commuter rail line until February

    by Dylan Rivera, The Oregonian
    Wednesday October 01, 2008, 6:41 PM

    A Colorado railcar maker's financial turmoil and new safety measures will delay the opening of the Wilsonville to Beaverton commuter rail line, TriMet said Wednesday.

    The line is now expected to open to the public Feb. 2, the transit agency said.

    TriMet had expected the line known as Westside Express Service to begin service as early as this month, but diesel railcars made by Colorado Railcar Manufacturing of Fort Lupton, Colo., were delivered at least six months late.

    The delay until February is caused in part by electronics-related problems with one of the railcars, said George Passadore, president of TriMet's board.

    In addition, the Portland & Western Railroad, a freight operator that shares the tracks WES will use, has expressed concern about rail safety since a Sept. 12 accident in Los Angeles killed 25. In response, TriMet is installing devices on WES and the P&W line's vehicles to prevent such collisions.

    TriMet has been closely monitoring financial upheaval at Colorado Railcar for at least a year and a half, Passadore said. The agency made plans in case the company went bankrupt.

    Colorado Railcar ousted its president this year amid manufacturing problems that made it more than a year late in completing an order for a South Florida commuter rail system.
    --Dylan Rivera

    COMMENTS (2)Post a comment
    Posted by erikaren on 10/01/08 at 7:00PM

    Who wants to bet that when WES finally opens, that Fred Hansen will be on his soapbox and proudly proclaim that WES was "On Time, and Under Budget"?!!!!

    WES was originally projected at $80 million. It came in at $117 million. It was supposed to open September 2008. It's now February 2009. (And frankly, TriMet really dragged its feet to build this line. It should have only taken maybe three months for construction.)

    Posted by BrianV on 10/01/08 at 7:53PM

    Yeah, and was that like 10 years ago? There's a difference between an original projection and the actual budget. Even as early as 2005, before all the project details had been finalized, they were already saying over 100 million.

    I'm not out to justify Fred Hansen or anything. But at least be fair in your criticism. I do imagine the project will come in over budget this time with the Colorado Railcar problems. It happens. Maybe TriMet is to blame for not seeing it comeing--I don't know. But face it--TriMet has a pretty good track record compared with many agencies, I wont' mention any names (huh-um--SOUND TRANSIT--cough).

    Pro-oil people will spin anything to make electric rail look bad. They do a pretty good job of it too, but it doesn't make them right.

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