Monday, December 21, 2009

Remember December 2008? Did you go out in the snow and ice?

Headline from WSDOT's Web site Dec. 25, 2008: "Don we now our rain apparel? Warmer temperatures are welcome gifts to Washington drivers"

On the west side, we were just warming up from the most recent winter storm. Over the mountains and into Eastern Washington you could still find some spots of ice and snow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tools for navigating the mountain passes this winter

We watch mountain passes closely this time of year as the weather can make getting across the state more than a little challenging. We are constantly working to develop tools to help travelers make their journeys as safely as possible, but not everyone is aware of all of the tools in our toolbox. Here is a run-down of what we have to offer to help making crossing the passes a little easier.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold weather's a drag...

4 p.m. update: Travel times are back on and some cameras are now going dark.

Unfortunately we are learning that this cold weather is affecting our fiber communication system in the Puget Sound area. Basically the pipes that help us provide travel times on VMS signs (those big black signs above and to the side of the freeway).

We have our crews out there working on them, and will be doing our best to provide workarounds until we can get the strands of fiber fixed and thank you in advance for your patience as we get these tools working again.

Thanks again for your patience, it sure has been cold outside :).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Amtrak Cascades renovations - Thanks for the feedback

By Guest blogger Vickie Sheehan

Thank you for sharing your comments, suggestions, and feedback on the proposed renovation of the Amtrak Cascades Bistro car. We received many insightful comments that we will take into consideration as we move forward in the design process. We really appreciate your time and interest in this project.

While reading through the comments, there seems to be some confusion on a few issues we'd like to clarify:
  • Wi-Fi will be installed and available throughout all trains. It will not be limited to just the Bistro car.
  • Both the Bistro and Lounge cars will be renovated. At this time we do not have a proposed design for the Lounge car.
  • The proposed design shown is an artist's rendering that has not been finalized. The Bistro design will continue to address passenger concerns with the current layout and how best to serve them more quickly and efficiently while retaining the Northwest styling unique to Amtrak Cascades.
  • We are working to develop the best solution for the location of Amtrak Conductors that would allow them to be easily accessible to the passengers (both Business and Coach), be the most effective in their critical on-board responsibilities, and have the best opportunity for communication with all on-board staff.
Thanks again for your comments. You can keep up to date on the progress of the Amtrak Cascades Trainsets Overhaul project through the project page. And to find out more about what WSDOT is doing to improve the Amtrak Cascades service including track upgrades, improved on-time reliability, reduced rail congestion, and enhanced service, visit our ARRA High Speed Passenger Rail Web page.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Amtrak Cascades renovations - first look

by guest blogger Vickie Sheehan

We are working with Amtrak to get ready to begin the next phase of renovations to the Amtrak Cascades train fleet. First up is the complete renovation of the Bistro and Lounge cars, in addition to adding Wi-Fi (yay!) and upgrading the video system. The renovation will begin shortly after the conclusion of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. this March.  We have a concept drawing of the renovated Bistro car ready and want you all to take a look and let us know what you think!

Here is the current Bistro car:


Here is the proposed redesign:


Leave us your comments and any suggestions you have on what improvements you would like to see on the Amtrak Cascades trains below or send us an email.