In Portland, Ore., TriMet's WES Commuter Rail celebrated its fifth anniversary with more people climbing on board than ever before. Since the line opened on February 2, 2009, riders have taken more than 1.9 million trips on WES. Ridership has climbed each year reaching more than 476,000 in 2013.
In just the past six months of 2013, ridership was up nearly 16 percent over the last half of 2012.
WES provides weekday rush hour service between Beaverton and Wilsonville. It is the state’s first commuter rail line and also the nation’s first suburb-to-suburb commuter rail service. On-time performance is 99 percent and average weekday ridership has increased by nearly double digits each year since WES began running.
The anniversary arrived as the agency plans work to be done on the WES system in the coming years to meet positive train control (PTC) requirements for the 2015 mandate.
The safety systems currently in place on WES, an automatic train control system and a centralized traffic control system, already meet many requirements of the new regulations. TriMet and Portland & Western Railroad, which owns the tracks and operates the WES trains, have worked with the FRA to define the needed upgrades to the existing train control system.
MRS, the firm that designed and installed the existing train control system in 2008 under its previous name Rail Systems Solutions, Inc., has been contracted at a cost of $253,435 to perform the pre-implementation services including design and project management work required to prepare for the installation of the PTC system. Following that work, TriMet will negotiate an implementation services contract modification, which is expected to be approximately $5 million. The PTC project is budgeted within TriMet’s fiscal year 2013-16 budgets.