Hello, fellow philo-moochers, I am now blogging from the Amtrak Cascade liner, en route from beautiful Portland (aka Stumptown, Bridge City, Rip City, Food Cart Nation) to Seattle (aka Home Town of Cartoon Peril).
I highly recommend train travel. Nice comfortable cars, lovely September scenery here in Cascadia, the gentle herds of Sasquatch grazing in the fields, and no metal detectors or other tools of the devil to have to bother with.
What's needed however on this route is a dedicated transportation line of the French TGV syle. Or at least the track and bridge could be upgraded so the train could run faster than 79 miles per hour. Of course for a fully dedicated track and HSR to work out economically, there must be sufficient population. There's about 9 million people in western Oregon and Washington, most of these folks would be close to a 467 mile HSR route that would run from Eugene to Vancouver BC.
The Obama administration has supported the idea (see the PDF link):
The long-term vision for the corridor is to have a dedicated high-speed track, where trains will operate at up to 150mph, with 13 daily round trips between Seattle and Portland. The region is taking a cost-effective, step-by-step approach towards achievingthis vision, by focusing investments on projects that have immediate benefits, but which also lay the groundwork for the future.We might have to build one or two fewer aircraft carriers, but the possibility of a 4 hour HSR connection from Eugene to Vancouver BC would be a great economic improvement here. This region needs modern travel, and when I say modern, I exclude the freeway, which was conceived back in the 1920s and IMHO is highly inadequate for the modern age (too dangerous, too expensive, too dependent on private vehicles).