How We Wash MAX Trains At Night [VIDEO]

Every night, all 85 MAX trains are cleaned, washed and prepared to go into service by 4 a.m.

As supervisor Rick Taylor says, it takes a fine-tuned system and lots of training to get all this work done in such a short window of time. We’re thankful for the service workers who make it happen, night in and night out!

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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The Plan for Morrison-Yamhill

Spring is finally here and we’ll be digging in once again to make major improvements to sections of the original MAX tracks in Downtown Portland.

Like the projects we completed last year at 1st Avenue and Rose Quarter, the Morrison-Yamhill MAX Improvements project will impact service on all lines. But once they’re completed, these track and switch improvements will help us keep trains rolling smoothly and reliably.

The work will take three weeks, from April 30 through May 20. That’s a bit longer than the previous projects that took just two weeks each. The construction will temporarily alter Portland Streetcar in addition to disrupting MAX.

The heart of the project happens on SW Morrison and Yamhill streets at 11th Avenue, which was the end of the original MAX line between Portland and Gresham. This area sees it all: hundreds of trains and streetcars a day, three lanes of auto traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians.

SW 11th Avenue in the early 1980s.

Crews will replace four “turnouts” — two on Morrison Street and two on Yamhill Street. These are sections of track where rails spur off from the mainline to side tracks. Underneath the rails, crews will remove the old wooden ties that were standard at the time of original construction and replace them with concrete. New switches will go in with improved drainage to keep them clear of water and debris that can cause problems during heavy rain storms. On the Morrison side of 11th Avenue, the switches will get heaters to help keep snow and ice from building up, an especially good idea after last winter.

The original cable connecting the train signals to the track will also be replaced, and circuits that help monitor where trains are will be upgraded. These improvements will cut down on signal issues and keep trains moving.

Walking through these intersections today, you have to step carefully around broken and missing brick pavers and historic Portland Belgian block. We’ll replace those. The potholes caused by asphalt crumbling and pulling away from the rails will be repaired using a rubberized grout, which keeps the rail in place and prevents stray current as electricity from the overhead wire travels to the train and into the rail.

Down the street at 1st Avenue, crews will replace curved rail, which wears faster than straight rail. We’ll also be freshening up some signs at the closed platforms and working on our ticket machines.

The Morrison-Yamhill MAX Improvements project has been two years in the making. And since we know the three-week disruption to MAX service (and two-week disruption to Portland Streetcar) is going to be a big inconvenience, we’ve coordinated with other agencies to get all the disruptive work done at once. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services will repair and upgrade sewers next to the tracks, Multnomah County will fix cracks under the Burnside Bridge and Portland Parks and Recreation will repair material under the Pioneer Square South MAX Station all at the same time our work is happening. We figured an intense three-week disruption is better than months of separate projects that block MAX.

We’re asking a lot from our riders during this project. We appreciate your patience and we can’t wait to debut smoother and more reliable MAX service next month.

Learn more about the Morrison-Yamhill MAX Improvements project
Sarah Touey

Sarah Touey

I’m the resident engineer for TriMet’s Maintenance of Way projects. I seek out adventure by traveling and exploring other transit systems across the country, spending time at the beach with family and friends, and continuously remodeling our house with my husband Jarrett.

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An Underground Show to Celebrate Piano Day

The slogan “Keep Portland Weird” has become a little overused at this point, but every once in a while something perfectly absurd happens and you think: Only in Portland.

Last Wednesday, that was the first Piano Day celebration ever held in the U.S., in which a unique cast of performers played a world-class piano in the Washington Park MAX Station, 260 feet below ground.

TriMet employee Gaylord Warren kicked things off with his jazz trio — they sounded so good — followed by Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale with Hunter Noack, who played a piece for four hands (!) with gusto. And then Sgt. Jim Quackenbush of the Portland Police Bureau somehow managed to follow that up by playing Beethoven and the theme from Star Wars (in uniform, of course) with seriously impressive poise and style.

The event was a fundraiser for Portland Piano International, a non-profit dedicated to enriching the community through piano performance and education. Piano Day is celebrated internationally on the 88th day of the year (there are 88 keys on the piano), and Portland is the first U.S. city to take part.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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March on Instagram: Springing back to life

At last, spring is here…kind of. It still rains all the time and we only see the sun about twice a week. But the blossoms are out and the days are noticeably longer — looks like we’ll make it out after all!

Meanwhile, we’re seeing brighter and bolder shots in the Instagram feed, not to mention all the cherry blossoms this week!

🔵🔴

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Follow @ridetrimet on Instagram »

cushy cotton cloud commute / Go By Bike! #Portland #pdx #pnw #pnwonderland #gobybike #bikepdx #bike #seenonmyride

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Oh, and National Puppy Day was also in March:

I love that this sweet girl is so easy going. At only 6 1/2 months she takes all of our outings in stride and effortlessly transitions from one to another, whether it’s school, 3 hours of church, the gym, a nice dinner out, or a bus ride. ———————————————————— Photo description: Pictured is 6.5 month old female yellow lab, Kona, wearing her green vest with the front sleeve that reads “Guide Dog Puppy” visible and black gentle leader. The gold hardware on her leather leash can be seen in the bottom left corner of the photo. She is sitting, looking slightly down to the left. Behind her is the gray metal of the back of a bus seat and in the bottom right corner in the blue two-toned fabric of the seat of a city bus seat. #sightmasters #guidedogsfortheblind #raiseapuppychangealife

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Here’s hoping April brings some serious sunlight. Be sure to tag @ridetrimet and #GoByTransit to share your ride!

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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A Rare Look Inside the Operations Command Center

Dispatcher Trisha Nako Harris says it best: The crew in the Operations Command Center takes multitasking to the 10th degree.

Drivers call dispatch whenever they need help. Dispatchers, in turn, use sophisticated tools (so many screens!) and excellent judgment to coordinate the support effort.

 

Impressive, right? Now imagine what the job is like during snow and ice! Suffice it to say we’re really grateful for our hardworking dispatchers.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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How You Can Say Thanks on Transit Driver Appreciation Day

Around here, we say “thank you” to our bus driver. It’s a thing.

Yes, Portlanders are often mocked for being agonizingly polite, but in this case it makes sense — we say thanks to the people who make our coffee and serve our food, so why wouldn’t we say it to the people who drive us around? Wouldn’t it be weirder to not say thanks?

So in recognition of Transit Driver Appreciation Day (normally March 18, but we’re celebrating a day early because that’s a Saturday), we want to show our operators how small gestures can really add up.

Here’s how it works: You can leave a thank-you note for your driver(s) at trimet.org/tdad. Maybe you have a regular driver you’re especially thankful for, or perhaps you want to call them all out.

Your note will join hundreds of others, which will be broadcast on screens throughout the operator report rooms — putting your message right in front of the people it means the most to.

Leave a thank-you note for your driver

Bus and rail drivers make a tough job look easy, day-in and day-out. Let’s show them how much they mean to us.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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