Talgo Serie 6: Talgo arrives in North America
For the past two decades, Talgo's tilting trains have been providing one of the most prestigious long-distance services in North America, and crossing one of the few international rail crossings on the US-Canada border. More than 700,000 passengers use the five Cascades trains every year, enjoying a quiet and comfortable journey in a landscape of incomparable beauty.
The Cascades service - one of the most successful long-distance railways in the United States - uses Talgo rolling stock exclusively. The trains' unique features have enabled federal operator Amtrak to make the most out of railway infrastructure that has barely been upgraded since it was built at the end of the 19th century.
Following the meandering path along the mountain range that gives its name to the best-known passenger service on the American West Coast, the Series 6 Talgo trains - capable of reaching a speed of 200km/h - cover the 750km corridor between Vancouver (Canada) and Seattle and Portland (USA) every day. They give passengers a comfortable and low-emission alternative to saturated roads and airlines.
A chronicle of commercial Success
In the mid-90s, Talgo decided to conduct tests to show the benefits that certain Talgo trains could offer specific operators. In particular, Talgo was targeting US operators which cannot invest millions to upgrade their infrastructure but must still offer competitive journey times to justify their role in the market. Talgo's efforts were rewarded with the continued confidence of all administrations involved on both sides of the international border, at federal as well as at state level.
- The first trains have been providing services between Seattle and Portland since 1994.
- Three additional trains were purchased in 1996 and commissioned in 1999.
- A fifth train originally destined for California, was added to the Cascades fleet in 2003.
- Each train is named after a different Northwest Mountain.
- They provide services to 18 cities on a 750km corridor.
- An established route with more than 700,000 passengers per annum.
Making 19th century routes profitable
At the end of the 19th century, pioneers made their way into the west of the USA by building tracks at rapid speed in areas that had not even been colonised yet, and where the lands were dominated by volcanic mountain ranges. However, since then the tracks have barely improved, which is why Talgo technology, with the lightest trains on the market and a tilting technology that increases speeds in curves, was the ideal solution for public operators like Amtrak.
- Tilting allows operation at up to 130km/h on infrastructure without upgrades.
- Lower energy consumption from lightweight trains with independent electrical power supply.
- Independently rotating wheelset system offers a greater sense of stability and a quieter journey.
- Optimal perfromance even in an oceanic climate, with cool and wet winters.
- Manufacturing and maintenance are carried out entirely in the United States.
A full feature ride
Passengers using Talgo Cascades trains not only cross international borders without leaving their seats, but they also get to leave the frenetic pace of the big city behind them. They can relax and take in the breathtaking, occasionally uninhabited, view of the American west coast or of the snowy mountain peaks. The interior design and onboard services have been tailored to offer an unrivalled travelling experience within the United States.
- At-seat plug sockets and free Wi-Fi access.
- A single floor at the same height throughout the entire train.
- Bistro and lounge car.
- Elevating platforms provide straightforward access to passengers with reduced mobility at any station.
- Checked baggage area.