Tag Archives: milwaukie

Alignment schematics

Whoever you are that keeps doing websearches like these that land you on MAX FAQs…

web searches

…this post is for you.

A while back, someone over at Portland Transport jumped through the mired swamp that is TriMet’s public records request process and came out with an extremely detailed schematic of the existing and planned MAX alignment. Sample pages below:

hillsboro alignmentBlue Line at Hatfield

bridge omsi clintonOrange Line’s new bridge, OMSI, and Clinton platforms

It’s a very thorough document that has grade/elevation/direction changes, speeds, etc (though for the person who is looking for the deepest part of the tunnel, it appears to only give elevation above sea level, not depth below the surface, and paradoxically Washington Park is the deepest underground platform and yet appears to have the highest elevation above sea level of all the platforms). This is not exactly light bathroom reading, but it’s an interesting reference for the transit wonks out there.

Anyway, have at it, folks. It’s a PDF, about 2.5 MB, and since it had already been released into the public, I figure it’s fair to repost it, especially if it saves someone money by not having to request it from TriMet again for when you just need to know how far apart the Old Town Chinatown and Rose Quarter platforms are (2700′, for the curious).

Lincoln construction

intersection time lapseMore or less in the same location.
Top left: September 2011; Top right: October 2011
Bottom left: January 2013; Bottom right: June 2013

As I’d said back in September 2011 when construction for the Orange Line was about to begin on Lincoln Street, I wanted to get progress pics because it just hadn’t really occurred to me with other MAX extensions. But that hasn’t happened with any real regularity or with pictures taken in the same locations to show progress (such as the above picture, which I think is the only location I’ve gotten 4 times). So without much organization beyond when the photos were taken, here’s everything. All pictures can be clicked on for a larger size.

Fall 2011


Sep 2011

I’m not going to repost all of the oldest pictures from 2011 here since I’ve already gotten them in previous posts, but September 2011 showed Lincoln before construction began, when people in nearby apartments protested the clearcutting of all the trees in this block.

before after 02

By early October 2011, all the trees in the median were cut down, as were most of the trees lining the street (eventually they would all be cut).

February 2012

Feb 2012a

Several months after the previous set, now all the stumps are gone and the median is being removed.

October 2012

Headed out there briefly, but saw limited pedestrian access and a lot of workers doing things, so I didn’t stick around.

January 2013

It took me several months to get back over there again. I think the first rails started going in around November 2012. I also don’t know when these buildings at the eastern end of the street were demolished, I didn’t see any of that happening. Not sure what specifically those businesses had been, where they relocated, or if they just closed up without moving elsewhere.

lincoln5Pic from Sep 2011, notice the building in the back

Google Maps Street ViewGoogle Street Maps view, same location

Jan 2013q

By January those buildings were demolished, the land cleared out, and rail was already laid down through here for the harbor structure.

Nothing yet shown about the vegetated track (linked picture is European I think, not TriMet)… that part is going to be limited to the platform area. I’m curious and somewhat pessimistic how that’s going to play out. Vegetation on rails makes for an extremely poor stopping surface since leaves are as bad as ice when it comes to traction, so with the vegetation for runoff between the rails plus TriMet saying they intend to replace the London Plane trees that had grown here, it sounds like there’s going to be a lot of leaf buildup in this area. I DID like seeing t-rail being used on Lincoln (see picture gallery below, the cross-section of the rails are T-shaped), embedded similar to the alignment on Interstate. Although leaf buildup on t-rail is still slippery, it’s better than girder rail where the debris can fill in the channel in the rails which can be extremely dangerous – not only is that slippery but that can cause a derailment or a loss of shunt where the leaves insulate the rail and the train won’t be detected in that circuit.

girderrailsludgeRecently scraped girder rail – all of that leaf debris gets compacted into the rail

The rest of the January pictures:

April 2013

Apr 2013Okay, this isn’t technically from Lincoln Street, but this picture was taken underneath the Harbor Structure that connects from Lincoln.

June 2013

And the pictures from June, which show more of the rail installed than there had been in January.

Jun 2013e

Impact on other MAX lines

I know a lot of people have asked how the Orange Line will connect with existing lines. The new alignment starts at the southern end of the transit mall at the Jackson turnaround, currently used by the connected Yellow and Green lines – for those not familiar, Yellow Line trains become Green at PSU, and vice versa. The current word (though not yet set in stone) is that Green will then run by itself and Yellow and Orange will be run together. There are also talks of changing the Blue and Red lines, with Blue running west from Cleveland Ave in Gresham only as far as Beaverton TC (though with rush hour service to Hatfield Gov Center in Hillsboro), and running the Red Line from the airport to Hatfield, a change that might happen sooner than the scheduled 2015 opening of the Orange Line.

From the archives: Westside construction

A while back I started taking PMLR/Orange Line progress pics (posted here and here with SW Lincoln, then I never got around to posting any others but here’s a recent one, quite a change from the tree-lined street it had been):

end of lincolnLooking east from the end of Lincoln

However, I also have a bunch of donated/archived pics of westside rail construction that I don’t think have been published elsewhere, at least not all of them, and I thought readers here might find them interesting:

Portland before westside rail

MAX originally ran from Gresham to downtown, ending at 11th Avenue, which is the terminus just west of the Galleria and Library platforms.

PA15931151603Starred path showing where rail would extend beyond 11th Ave

PA15931151604 PA15931151606Area around Kings Hill and Jeld Wen Field (then called Civic Stadium)

Out West

Image1002Willow Creek/185th, the original proposed end of the west side line

Willow Creek can function as the end of a line (and many Red Line trains will terminate there to go back into the yard), but then-mayor of Hillsboro Shirley Huffman was a very vocal advocate of extending the line further, which is why the Blue Line runs all the way out to Hillsboro.

Elmonica Rail Operations Facility December 1995Elmonica Yard, 1995. The area around it has gotten more built up since then.

Main_St_bridgeConstruction of the Main Street Bridge (and how it looks now)

Opening Ceremony - Al GoreAl Gore speaking at the opening ceremony

Tunneling the West Hills


The most significant undertaking of the westside expansion was the tunnel. If you take the train to Washington Park (the only stop in the tunnel) and ride the elevator up, you’ll find yourself on the Les AuCoin Plaza. You’ll see a sort of cross-section of the bore with tunnel trivia engraved in one segment. For those of you not following me on Twitter, that’s where the 54,962 cups of coffee consumed by tunnel workers fact came from. For the record, they also wore out 1481 pairs of rubber boots.

bore regard

Tunnel Drill in Action

This is what the 278-foot tunnel boring machine (affectionately nicknamed “Bore Regard”) looked like. Over the course of the project, the machine wore out 341 cutter discs, each weighing  400lbs, and it averaged through about 80 feet of rock per day, with one day setting a record for progressing through 181 feet of rock. The boring machine was used from the eastern side heading west for about 2 miles in. From the western side heading east for about a mile in, explosives were used. The two sides of the first bore (the one used primarily now for westbound trains) met around 16 months after construction began. The tunnel now used for eastbound trains was faster to complete, taking only about 4 months. At $184 million to build, the tunnels actually came in over budget (for the curious, the entire cost of the 18-mile westside expansion was $963.5 million).

tunnel_cxnOne bore has been concrete-lined, the other is still in progress (126,100 cubic tons of concrete used altogether to line both bores)

goose_hollow_constructionConstruction near Goose Hollow

west portalWest portal as it looks nowadays

tunnelcabOperator view going through the tunnel
(old pic, that cab radio is practically an antique)

Westside construction fun fact, especially for those of you who, like Dr. Jeff, would rather pretend that the tunnel part of your MAX commute doesn’t exist:  TriMet had to move 14 bodies in the cemetery above the tunnel during the tunnel construction project. Tell me I’m not the only person who thinks of this


Thus concludes TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane’s hour long Twitter chat on the budget. Just for record keeping, I posted the entire thing behind the jump (and apologies to the RSS readers because I don’t know if that will work for you so this is probably ridiculously long).

Edit – Since this was getting a lot of hits, I cleaned up the Twitter chat for readability, deleting a lot of the whitespace & redundant hashtags and resorting it so that top to bottom reads oldest to newest. I’d like to thank the “Find/Replace” and “Sort” functions of Microsoft Excel for making this possible.

The format of this is still a little choppy, so if you prefer, you can also read the chat on Twitter. You shouldn’t need a Twitter account for though sometimes older posts don’t load if you aren’t logged in. All of the chat and other posts tagged with #askneil can be accessed here.

Click here for the entire chat plus questions that were asked prior to the chat starting

What a difference a few weeks makes

Before is on the left, after is on the right.

Well now that certainly looks different

Not much in the way of commentary, just a series of pictures showing SW Lincoln St before and after the tree-cutting began as part of the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project / Orange Line construction, more or less taken from the same perspectives. As always, click for larger. If anyone really wants to see the full-sized versions I can provide them; I just did a quick and dirty 25% reduction here to match them to the “before” pictures without having obscenely large file sizes.

These next two sets are of that pedestrian path halfway down the street, where I think the platform is going to be:

And these didn’t have matching “before” pictures:

The bushes lining the aforementioned pedestrian path weren’t spared

Click for full-size if you feel like counting the rings

All things considered, “knowledgeable care for trees” is quite the euphemism for the recent work on Lincoln Street…