These Super-Fast Future Trains Could Get You from Portland to Vancouver, Canada, in Under Three Hours

New stats suggest that high-speed rail could transform the Northwest.

By Zach Dundas October 23, 2019 Published in the November 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Imagine 2040. Travelers between Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, British Columbia, zip along in ultrafast trains, as a newly finished transnational system unites a vast “megaregion.”  That’s the vision in a new study released by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Big-picture argument: fast trains good. Details? This super-preliminary study alone weighs in at 400 pages. Some of its standout numbers:

250 MPH

Potential top speeds for trains linking the “Cascadian megaregion’s” major cities


Approx. travel time, in minutes, between Portland and Seattle on high-speed system


New jobs high-speed rail could generate, directly and indirectly


Metric tons of CO2 emissions that could be avoided over 40 years


Estimated annual riders


Estimated system construction costs


Intercity air travel high-speed rail could replace in the region

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