High Speed Freight on the NEC.

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High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby frequentflyer » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:53 pm

https://railcolornews.com/2018/10/29/it ... ght-train/

The Italians are doing it, and would increase productivity and revenues of the slow overnights on the NEC.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:36 pm

It’s been talked about, mostly on this forum. Consensus seemed to be that the market isn’t actually robust enough between DC and NWK to ace out truckers and CSX, especially at night when I-95 is quieter.

I’ll move this thread over to Amtrak sometime tonight, there’s a similar existing one there.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:42 pm

Amtrak technically could never run freight, it would bite them in ass with freight railroads as was done with mail handling expansion.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby east point » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:17 pm

Don't think Amtrak would want 286,000# cars on track that is usually only carrying cars at 160,,000# except locos.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Tadman » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:49 pm

east point wrote:Don't think Amtrak would want 286,000# cars on track that is usually only carrying cars at 160,,000# except locos.


That’s actually not uncommon, in off hours, NS and P&W run coal and stone trains on the NEC.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Tadman » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:59 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:Amtrak technically could never run freight, it would bite them in ass with freight railroads as was done with mail handling expansion.


That’s incorrect, Amtrak angered the freight carriers by taking m&e traffic that could be carried in very profitable Z trains and instead running it in head end cars of passenger trains that don’t even come close to paying for their track slot on that same railroad.

The topic here is high speed freight on the NEC, which is not owned by freight carriers and has no Z train traffic. Given those facts, I would next look to the trackage rights agreements with guest roads like CSX, NS, and P&W to see if there are any exclusivity clauses that could preclude Amtrak carrying goods. Finally, this assumes such traffic is profitable. On European and Japanese railroads, the short/fast freights are generally losers or marginally profitable.

As a side note, a German colleague of mine recently saw the JB Hunt train come over the BNSF northern trans con at East Glacier. He’s not into trains but was reasonably impressed with the length and speed of such a train coming off the mountain.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:19 pm

Ok I may not know much about law but you are abysmal in railroading , Amtrak is not chartered to run freight.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:00 pm

The topic is High Speed Freight on the NEC, not Amtrak-Operated Freight. That could mean a Norfolk Southern single-stack intermodal - but it won’t touch triple digits in America. High doubles maybe, behind four-axle or steerable six-axle diesels.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:08 pm

starting with first post in this tread I say it insinuates Amtrak using first generation of Acela for freight , correct me if wrong on that
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby Nasadowsk » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:19 pm

I always wondered why nobody ever tried a package /mail /pallet service between Boston, NY and DC, but then, TGV La Poste eventually died off, the Class 325s don't seem to have made a big splash either. Maybe Italy will do better, though the cab videos I've seen of FS suggest that FS stands for something other than "Ferrovie dello Stato"...

It seems like a winner, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work. Heck, the Fast Mail is gone, too.. I saw that train once in Stamford while I was beside the road tending to a rear brake pushrod on my bike that decided to break at the master cylinder (fatigue due to user error setting it up that winter).
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:20 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:starting with first post in this tread I say it insinuates Amtrak using first generation of Acela for freight , correct me if wrong on that

It does, or at least *someone* using AX-1s for freight (which, no, a potential NEC high-speed freight operator would go buy a fleet of ACS-64s.)

Either way, my comment was to point out that AMTK isn’t the best bet for freight on the NEC simply because it doesn’t have the infrastructure or the equipment or the institutional knowledge to handle it. NS is more likely, which is to say it could actually interchange freight without everything going to hell.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby bratkinson » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:02 pm

In the link provided by the OP, it's appears that the RR built their own freight cars as part of a train set. That makes complete sense. Would you or anyone else feel safe trackside (on a platform, perhaps?), or even a block away, feel safe with your typical mix of AAR-standard boxcars, tank cars, or whatever 'flying by' at speeds matching that of an Acela? I strongly believe that each Acela car is far more thoroughly inspected each night than most freight RR cars get inspected in a month, maybe longer (air test, brake shoes, brake hoses, wheel flanges, mostly).

The other side of the coin is that Amtrak doesn't 'want' any freight on their tracks...perhaps even more so than the freight RRs 'want' Amtrak on THEIR tracks! So, Amtrak prices freight movement on the NEC high enough to discourage all but captive shippers/consignees from using the NEC.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:46 pm

Thought exercise: let’s say that demand springs up for exactly 100 containers/day/direction between BWI and EWR airports, and for whatever reason it’s more time-sensitive than a truck line. That would be a good use of the NEC - but you’d be looking at using clearance-modified well cars with Titelocks and passenger trucks, and probably two ACS-64s to pull each of two 50-car trains at 100 mph. You’d also have to solve the Baltimore tunnel and how to get through 30th Street at a reasonable speed. I think you could get between the two in under 3 hours, but then what? You’d have to instantly unload all of these containers and send the train back, rather than have a trucker deliver one container every 15 minutes around the clock. Less than that volume, and a short-haul freight flight looks economically pretty good.

If you’re talking about the model linked in the article, it’s still not that expensive to put a baggage car on a Regional and give it the railroad on a near-Acela schedule.

In short, I have no idea what kind of goods need both that kind of speed and that kind of volume over that particular stretch.
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby STrRedWolf » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:39 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Thought exercise: let’s say that demand springs up for exactly 100 containers/day/direction between BWI and EWR airports, and for whatever reason it’s more time-sensitive than a truck line. That would be a good use of the NEC - but you’d be looking at using clearance-modified well cars with Titelocks and passenger trucks, and probably two ACS-64s to pull each of two 50-car trains at 100 mph. You’d also have to solve the Baltimore tunnel and how to get through 30th Street at a reasonable speed. I think you could get between the two in under 3 hours, but then what? You’d have to instantly unload all of these containers and send the train back, rather than have a trucker deliver one container every 15 minutes around the clock. Less than that volume, and a short-haul freight flight looks economically pretty good.

If you’re talking about the model linked in the article, it’s still not that expensive to put a baggage car on a Regional and give it the railroad on a near-Acela schedule.

In short, I have no idea what kind of goods need both that kind of speed and that kind of volume over that particular stretch.


You also have one big problem in that stretch: CSX

Yes, CSX has that run of track between WAS, past BWI (Dorsey), through BAL (Howard Street Tunnel), and all the way up to ALB (Albany).

Want to bet CSX has cheaper rates?
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Re: High Speed Freight on the NEC.

Postby frequentflyer » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:56 am

The Italians RR in the link are using High Speed equipment for whatever express freight they are running. Amtrak used to run an overnight mail trains with a sleeper from DC to Boston, at least in the Claytor years and it was profitable. If Amtrak could develop time sensitive light freight market that doesn't snarl up coach yards like the mishandled express freight did, then it could add more revenue to NEC ops. And yes, the Acela 1s would be a good fit, though I think they are at the end of their structural life.
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