This Space for Rent

Railroad picture of the day

The southbound Coast Starlight charges towards the Stark Street crossing

I was riding down to the office supply store to pick up the last school supplies for the quickly approaching school year (no more wednesday permanents for 9 months, sniff!) and spotted some suspiciously Amtrak-looking headlights off to the north when I crossed the Stark Street railroad crossing. I pulled off, pulled out the cellphone, and waited for about 20 seconds until this train came screaming across the crossing.

There are many things that can be said about Union Pacific’s hostile takeover of the Southern Pacific (what happened to antitrust? Well, it doesn’t count when Dick Cheney is on the Union Pacific board of directors) but the UP has fixed up the SP mainline through east Portland, and now passenger trains can wind up and blow through town at 80mph. This train wasn’t moving at 80mph (yet) when it reached the crossing, but it was easily moving 40mph, which isn’t bad for a train that had just come across the Steel Bridge at a princely 5mph.