WSDOT FAC (Frequently Asked Questions)
What are Talgo trains?
Five trains built by Talgo operate as the Amtrak Cascades in the Pacific Northwest.
Talgo, Inc. is a company that designs and manufactures trains, much like Boeing designs and manufactures airplanes. Talgo trains have been in use throughout Europe for more than 40 years, where they operate at speeds greatly exceeding 100 miles per hour. Back
What is pendular Talgo technology?
Talgo trains are different from typical passenger trains used in the U.S. and Canada. Talgo trains are articulated, which means they operate as a set. Adjacent cars share axles and wheels and function as a single, complete unit. This increases stability and improves safety and the smoothness of the ride. In addition, a gravity-based tilt system reduces travel times while also assuring that passengers are comfortable and safe, even when traveling through curves at high speeds.
Why do we need these types of trains in the Pacific Northwest?
The use of Amtrak Cascades trains, with their ability to travel quickly around curves, is far less expensive than straightening the Pacific Northwest's curvy tracks through extensive reconstruction. In addition, Amtrak Cascades trains are light, comfortable, safe, reliable, and offer amenities local travellers desire. Washington State has taken the first steps toward fast frequent Amtrak service on the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor stretching from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Eugene, Oregon. This is a long-term effort that requires substantial reductions in train travel times and increases in train frequency, key factors for people when they decide whether to drive their car or take the train.
What train cars are included in a typical Amtrak Cascades train?
A typical Amtrak Cascades train seats approximately 250 passengers and consists of 12 train cars, including one baggage car, two Business Class (first-class) coaches, six standard coaches, one Bistro (cafe) car, one Lounge car, and one service car that provides onboard electricity for the other cars. Near the center of the train are four, wheelchair-accessible cars, a Business Class car, a standard coach, the Bistro car, and the Lounge car.
Where were the Amtrak Cascades trains built?
The train car bodies were built at a Talgo plant in Spain. The car bodies were then shipped to Seattle where Pacifica Marine, a local company, completed final assembly. This helped Washington State obtain world-class trains while keeping tax dollars and jobs in the local economy.
Are more Amtrak Cascades trains needed?
If the current program of track, safety, and service upgrades is continued, approximately a total of 15 Amtrak Cascades trains will be needed over the next 20 years.
Do the Amtrak Cascades tail fins serve a purpose?
The tail fins are purely aesthetic. Amtrak Cascades trains are sleek and low-slung. Current locomotives are seven feet taller than the train cars. The tail fins were designed and built onto the trains to make a smooth visual transition from the low trains to the taller locomotives. They make Amtrak Cascades trains look faster and more attractive.