WES Commuter Rail

wccr_articleOregon’s first commuter rail line, Westside Express Service (WES) began revenue service February 2, 2009.

Rail Systems Solutions, Inc. (RSS) was selected in early 2006 to design, furnish and install the train control system for the Washington County Commuter Rail (WCCR) corridor in Portland, Oregon. The signal system is implemented on live Portland and Western Railroad (P&WRR) right-of-way. RSS scope also included retrofitting the entire P&WRR fleet of locomotives with system-compliant cab signal equipment. During this project RSS was trained by the railroad, became rules qualified, and thus approved to perform their own Employee-In-Charge activities. RSS completed the train control work on this project on budget and on time.


Wayside construction and field-level pretest was completed in the spring of 2008. Dynamic testing was successfully performed jointly between RSS, TriMet and P&WRR. As a result, absolute block signaling with full dispatch control was placed into service on June 15, 2008. Upon full verification of the carborne system, P&WRR locomotives began revenue service under the new cab signal system October 25, 2008.

One of the few suburb-to-suburb commuter rail lines in the nation, WES is approximately 17 miles in length, includes 5 stations, 10 interlockings and 37 grade crossings, and is signaled for a top commuter train speed of 60 mph. This cab signal system actively monitors the performance of trains and warns operators if they exceed allowable speeds. Additionally, the system stops the train if warnings to the operator are not responded to in the allowable time.