The Wave at Eugene by Greg Brown
Amtrak train 751, the Willamette Valley, discharges passengers at Eugene, Oregon in May 1981. After the last passenger departs, the train will run out to Springfield Junction to turn on the wye where the Siskiyou Line begins. The train will return to Portland as Amtrak 752 at 4:10PM.
Additional Amtrak service between Portland and Eugene ran from August 1980 through December 1981. It was underwritten by the State of Oregon, which called the trains the “Willamette Valley Express,” often abbreviated “WVE.” The WVE initials led to the nickname “Wave.”
Unfortunately, the trains’ 2 hour, 55 minute schedule was around an hour longer than a drive on I-5 from Portland to Eugene. Connections at Portland were limited. Except for a brief period in Spring 1981 when the state DOT coordinated a fare promotion, ridership was poor.
Due to the low patronage and the early-80’s recession, the Waves made their last runs on December 31, 1981. Local Amtrak service between Portland and Eugene did not resume until 1994.