Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby east point » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:45 am

David you have it correct. VIA is a 2 parallel two cable system. This is a synopsis of how. Loco 2 provides HEP to left front side of car one and loco 1 provides HEP to right front side of car one. Car one uses HEP from left front side and routes it to back right side. Car one's right side is routed to left rear of car and not used. However if no power is detected from left side front the car automatically switches to right front side HEP.
Now 2nd car does same again using its left front HEP that came from car one's right front. Note not sure if the locos are set up same way but you should get the idea. What each VIA loco can provide in HEP is unknown.

Not sure but appears on Amtrak that it uses 4 cables 2 on each side that are connected together in each car. Also at the last car the 2 on each side are looped together. How Amtrak trouble shoots any cable problem is unknown by us. Amtrak's limit is that it does not parallel two or more locos. Only the SC-44s and ACS-64s have 1000 kW capability but the auto train's P-30s may have 1000 kW. Other locos have various capacities. What each VIA loco can provide is unknown ?

It would seem if Amtrak converted all their Auto Train cars to the Via system + locos that the Auto train could pull at least 34 and probably 36 passenger cars. Not all cars would need to be converted at once but all would have to be converted before two loco supply could be in effect.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:20 pm

"Voyage 24" will be aboard 52 (21)

Guess what, you now get to know your space: K/5240 - well after you paid up!!!

Appears to be Forward Riding in a 3250X if the A-end is where it belongs.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:10 pm

Aboard 52 (21)--

It turned out to be a frazzled drive up here owing to some kind of smack up on the 95 near Ft. Pierce. Like a fool, I ducked off to find Route 1; that was dumb dumb. Just wait it out and unless you really know the area.

Arrived SFA 210P which gave me 20 minutes before the 230P close.

I haven't done any exploring, and rather doubt if I will. I really get sick and tired of, because I know how to walk on a train, get sneered at by a Conductor "you're with Amtrak; you must be one of them spies".

Looks like Bedroom K in the 5240 is forward riding.

That's all for now.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:14 pm

Sorry you had such a time of traffic, but glad you made your train. Hope you have plenty of grape juice for your ride!
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:18 pm

I think it's funny that Amtrak promotes the Auto Train as a stress-free alternative for driving on I-95!

I think the actual section that the Auto Train travels is the most stress-free part. It's the driving to and from Lorton or Sanford which is often ridiculously stressful. Hate the drive.

I need to add that the original Auto-Train was the very first stock I ever bought as a young investor. I lost about $800 which was a lot for a college kid.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:32 pm

191 PAX 121 vehicles 52 (21) Now near ill-fated Crescent City.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:46 am

Aboard 52 (21)

Just pulling in to Lorton. Funny how all shades of the area snice I first ventured here in '72 have completely changed.

I never explored, all I noted is the Coach Lounge is the Sightseer. What a waste - "you've seen one pine tree, you've seen 'em all".

Showers? still "batting a thousand".

Oh well, still have most of yesterday's Times to read
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mmi16 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:04 am

bostontrainguy wrote:I think it's funny that Amtrak promotes the Auto Train as a stress-free alternative for driving on I-95!

I think the actual section that the Auto Train travels is the most stress-free part. It's the driving to and from Lorton or Sanford which is often ridiculously stressful. Hate the drive.

I need to add that the original Auto-Train was the very first stock I ever bought as a young investor. I lost about $800 which was a lot for a college kid.


Lorton to Richmond on I-95 is far from stress free. Savannah to Sanford on I-95 & I-4 are far from stress free. Richmond to Savannah is much more heavily traveled now than it was a decade ago.

I do Maryland to Jacksonville 4 times a year and have done so for the past 28 years.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby electricron » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:31 am

If I-95 is too stressful, don't take the interstate - take US-1 instead. In just about every case, there are slower highways with much less traffic running parallel to the interstates. I'll admit you will loose time with stop and go travel, but the drive will be far more enjoyable.
Otherwise you could take a cruise, take a flight, or take a ride.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:27 am

electricron wrote:If I-95 is too stressful, don't take the interstate - take US-1 instead.

LOL have you driven US 1? “If getting a filling is too stressful, let’s just pull that tooth and do a root canal.”
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:37 pm

mmi16 wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:I think it's funny that Amtrak promotes the Auto Train as a stress-free alternative for driving on I-95!

I think the actual section that the Auto Train travels is the most stress-free part. It's the driving to and from Lorton or Sanford which is often ridiculously stressful. Hate the drive.

I need to add that the original Auto-Train was the very first stock I ever bought as a young investor. I lost about $800 which was a lot for a college kid.


Lorton to Richmond on I-95 is far from stress free. Savannah to Sanford on I-95 & I-4 are far from stress free. Richmond to Savannah is much more heavily traveled now than it was a decade ago.

I do Maryland to Jacksonville 4 times a year and have done so for the past 28 years.


It probably has a lot to do with the time of day. I recently drove non-stop Boston to Florida. The Lorton to Florida part was the easiest . . . full-speed and traffic-free most of the way. The traffic north of Lorton is insane. Another vote to extend the Auto Train to New Jersey or at least have the southbound train leave a couple of hours later so people can get there later than 2:30.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby electricron » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:29 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:It probably has a lot to do with the time of day. I recently drove non-stop Boston to Florida. The Lorton to Florida part was the easiest . . . full-speed and traffic-free most of the way. The traffic north of Lorton is insane. Another vote to extend the Auto Train to New Jersey or at least have the southbound train leave a couple of hours later so people can get there later than 2:30.

The only way to make the route the Auto Train takes longer is to make it go faster. For it to leave Lorton later, it has to leave Sanford later. It actually doesn’t leave the stations until about 4 pm. Any later it will be having to switch cars at twilight or even after dusk part of the year. That would be a safety issue. It takes forever for it to make up time if it ever arrives very late because it runs smoothly on a 24 hour cycle. It’s already a non-stop train, so eliminating stops isn’t an acceptable way to make it go faster. So it will have to run faster than 79 mph for several hours to even gain range. If we increase it’s speed to 90 mph, 10 mph faster than it does now and probably the max limit possible over a busy freight corridor, over the entire 16 hours of travel it will gain 160 miles of range possibly reaching the Philadelphia area, if over 8 hours of speed increase about half it’s travel it would gain just 80 miles of range, possibly reaching the Baltimore area. We’ll still have tunnels in D.C. and Baltimore that will probably have clearance issues to address and fix, those Auto Racks are fairly tall.

I don’t think CSX will ever increase the max speed of trains over that much of its corridor to make much of a dent in the Auto Train’s northern terminus location. The physical laws of time, distance, and space can’t be changed at a whim.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby JimBoylan » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:47 pm

electricron wrote:it will have to run faster than 79 mph for several hours to even gain range.
I thihk that 70 m.p.h. is its maximim speed now.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby electricron » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:07 pm

JimBoylan wrote:
electricron wrote:it will have to run faster than 79 mph for several hours to even gain range.
I thihk that 70 m.p.h. is its maximim speed now.

Whatever the max speed is today, an increase of 10 mph over a 16 hour trip gains 160 miles, the same speed increase over 10 hours gains 100 miles, the same speed increase over 4 hours gains 40 miles, just to the opposite side of D.C. the time, space, distance laws still apply!
How many miles or hours do you believe CSX will upgrade to allow the Auto Trains to go faster that will not result in their freight trains going any faster? If it’s more than just north of Raleigh to D.C. you’re thinking too far.
FYI, apparently the max speed of 70 mph is based upon CSX speed limitations for the Auto Racks where your private automobile rides. No amount of track modernization will effect that limitation, therefore getting the Auto Train to go faster to increase its range is very, very unlikely!
Which sort of makes my earlier math discussion moot, but it does explain why the Auto Train requires just two train sets while the Silver trains requires four. So that effort wasn’t a complete waster of time.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:04 pm

From Holiday Inn Akron West--

Ron, simply because 52 (21) arrive LOR 65ME today, does not mean Amtrak can cut the schedule by an hour. The CSX Train Dispatcher saw a window to "give it the railroad ". That was "Precision Railroading " - get rid of it!

But "things can happen"; last night nothing did, but I have had trips "where things did".
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