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Oregon Passenger Rail Logo

Oregon Passenger Rail DEIS

ODOT wants your comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement findings before a Final Preferred Alternative is selected by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement Documents

Select a station below or click "Next" to move through the open house in order.


Find out more about the project, the schedule, and how it will follow a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
Learn how improved passenger rail service could benefit the region.
See details about what the project team found and recommended.
Learn how and where to give your input as the project progresses.

Project Overview

The project studied options to improve passenger rail service between Eugene-Springfield and Portland-Vancouver, Washington. This area is part of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor, which extends from Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, British Columbia. It is designated as a regional high-speed rail corridor.

Overview Video: 2 min 36 sec

The project team is conducting a National Environmental Policy Act environmental review to decide:

  • Service characteristics and frequency.
  • Rail alignment.
  • Technology.
  • Station locations.

Oregon Passenger Rail and NEPA

Oregon received a federal grant from the Federal Railroad Administration for the Oregon Passenger Rail study, which means the project is following the National Environmental Policy Act process:

  • Analysis and reporting are required for all negative and positive environmental impacts — including cultural, natural and social.
  • The public (you!) will be involved to help us make informed decisions.

A Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement:

  • Addresses broad corridor-level issues (rail alignment, service improvements and communities with stations).
  • Concludes with a decision on a “Final Preferred Alternative.”
  • Requires additional environmental studies before any construction can begin.

Project Area

OPR Study Area Map

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Purpose, Need, Goals and Objectives

Bringing safe, affordable, efficient intercity transportation to more people could help communities flourish economically and environmentally.

Project Purpose

The purpose of the Oregon Passenger Rail project is to improve the frequency, convenience, speed and reliability of passenger rail service along the Oregon segment of the Federally designated Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor in a manner that will:

  • Provide riders an efficient, safe, equitable and affordable alternative to highway, bus and air travel.
  • Be a cost-effective investment.
  • Protect freight-rail carrying capability.
  • Support the ongoing implementation of regional high-speed intercity passenger rail between the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area and Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Be compatible with the Washington State portion of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor.
  • Promote economic development.
  • Avoid or minimize community and environmental impacts.
  • Integrate with existing and planned multi-modal transportation networks.

Project Need

Multiple transportation, land use, socioeconomic and environmental considerations drive the need for this project:

  • Increasing intercity and regional travel demands.
  • Limited rail system capacity and competing service needs.
  • Constrained state and local roadway funding.
  • Increased economic vitality of the corridor.
  • Promoting transportation system safety and security.
  • Changing transportation demand resulting from demographic changes.

Read the full Purpose and Need Statement. (pdf)

The Purpose and Need statement is the foundation of the Oregon Passenger Rail project. The statement was developed based on input from the public, stakeholders and the Leadership Council.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives were used as the basis for evaluating the alternatives. Alternatives that better meet goals and objectives score higher in the evaluation.

Read the Goals & Objectives.

How alternatives were narrowed

  1. Develop Purpose and Need, along with goals and objectives.
  2. Develop an evaluation framework.
  3. Identify a broad range of corridor concepts.
  4. Screen corridor concepts against Purpose and Need.
  5. Evaluate preliminary alternatives using the evaluation criteria (based on goals and objectives).
  6. Narrow the range of alternatives for further study.
  7. Publish Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. We are here
  8. Select Preferred Alternative.
  9. Publish Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement.

Alternative refinement funnel.

60% Complete

Alternatives in the DEIS

Two “build” alternatives and a no action alternative analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement are shown below. The project’s Leadership Council recommended Alternative 1 as the Preferred Alternative.


Alternative 1 follows the existing Amtrak Cascades passenger rail route with track, signal and communication improvements.

Alternative 2 is primarily a new route between Springfield and Oregon City along Interstate 5, an existing freight rail line and Interstate 205. It would follow the existing alignment north of Oregon City.

The No Action Alternative follows existing Amtrak route with no additional service or improvements.

Performance Comparisons

  • Cost estimates are planning-level construction and engineering estimates and do not include ongoing operations or maintenance costs. Costs are in 2015 dollars.
  • Estimated travel times assume stops at five stations (same as existing service). Each additional stop would add time.
  • The current scheduled travel time from Portland to Eugene is 2 hours, 35 minutes.
Criteria Alternative 1 Alternative 2
Passenger rail trip time: Eugene to/from Portland 2 hours, 20 minutes 2 hours, 2 minutes
Ability to accommodate higher speeds in the future Maintains current maximum speed (79 mph) Maximum speeds of 120 mph on portions of new alignment
Capital costs through 2035 (2015 dollars) $870 million-$1.025 million $3.62 billion-$4.44 billion
Ridership (2035) 739,000 723,000
Produces benefits and minimizes negative impacts Higher frequency and ridership; improves service to central cities Higher frequency and ridership, but service focused outside central cities
Support preservation of land, avoid and minimize negative impacts Lower footprint and construction impacts than Alternative 2 New alignment, thus higher right-of-way and environmental impacts than Alternative 1


OPR DEIS Alternatives Map

Alternative 1 Stations Alternative 2 Stations
Eugene  Existing Springfield  New
Albany  Existing Albany  New
Salem  Existing Salem or Keizer  New
Oregon City  Existing Wilsonville or Tualatin  New
Portland's Union Station  Existing Portland's Union Station  Existing

Station Activity

Station Existing
Conditions (2015)
Alternative (2035)
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Eugene 85,800 172,500a 362,300 -
Springfieldb 85,800 172,500c - 350,400
Albany 31,800 54,800 119,300 122,500d
Saleme 65,300 97,100 203,700 203,500
Oregon City 15,100 17,000 40,500 -
Willsonvillef 15,100 17,000 - 39,800
Portlandg 458,800 961,100 1,136,900 1,125,500
Total 656,800 1,302,500 1,862,700 1,841,700

a There were no plans to extend the current Portland to Salem bus south to Eugene when the ridership forecasting was done. Therefore numbers for Albany and Eugene do not include a seventh bus round trip.

b Existing conditions and No Action Alternative values represent ridership at the existing Eugene Station. The analysis for Alternative 2 assumed a new station would be located near the potential new Springfield station (an existing transit center).

c There were no plans to extend the current Portland to Salem bus south to Eugene when the ridership forecasting was done. Therefore numbers for Albany and Eugene do not include a seventh daily bus round trip.

d All alternative values represent ridership at the existing Albany Station.

e Existing conditions and No Action Alternative values represent ridership at the existing Salem Station. The analysis for Alternative 2 assumed a new station would be located along 1-5.

f Existing conditions and No Action Alternative values represent ridership at the existing Oregon City Station. The analysis for Alternative 2 assumed a new station would be located at the Wilsonville South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) Transit Center.

g Activity at Portland's Union Station encompasses all Amtrak Cascades train and Thruway bus passengers in Portland, including those from north of the Portland market.

80% Complete

How to Comment

Your input is important at each step along the way.

Comment on the DEIS

ODOT and the Federal Rail Administration will review all comments and testimony. Responses will appear in the final Environmental Impact Statement.

Next Steps

Schedule graphic
(Click to enlarge.)


100% Complete