Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, gprimr1, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Cowford » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:14 pm

My gut tells me that equipment ownership is a mistake due solely to the fact that NNEPRA doesn't have the requisite scale. NNEPRA's not in the business of owning train cars and, at present, they only require three trainsets, plus spares. NNEPRA budgets about $1.2 million per month for Amtrak expenses. I'm guesstimating (anyone correct me if I'm wrong) about 1/3 of that is labor-related... so that's $800K/month for equipment, ticketing and other admin burden, and God knows what else Amtrak provides in support of equipment and service. Becoming an equipment owner would require additional staff and untold added complications... e.g., a locomotive goes down with a generator problem. Who's going to administer the repair process? Where are you going to repair it? How are you going to secure substitute equipment?
Cowford
 
Posts: 2744
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Renegade334 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:52 pm

If we're going to be buying stuff, it should be future-proof and that means capable of doing at least 90 MPH, which might sound pie-in-the-sky but it's actually not. There are several areas of the B&M in ME and NH where 90 MPH could be possible after certain types of upgrades were done such as signaling/PTC upgrades (obviously), heavier rail, roadbed/subgrade improvements, etc. — and areas that are now limited to 40-50-60-70 MPH could likewise be upgraded to higher speeds with the aforementioned upgrades along with the addition of curve superelevation (which some of you may not remember but was part of the original 2000-2001 plan) and reducing the tightness of certain curves.


Any place where I can read up on the proposed improvements that would help get DE to where it needs to be to get to 90 in some areas?
Renegade334
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:42 am

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby FCM2829 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:01 pm

Well, item #1 would be cab signaling. Can't really even talk 90 w/o it. Might get a little push back from Pan Am on that one.
Any new equipment would need to be PTC compliant anyway for MBTA northside...ACSES II can (proposed) run with or without cab signalling, but an FRA waiver to do 90 with no cabs b/c Pan Am's grandfathered paper exemption? Not a good bet.

2) Double track from Scarborough all the way to Haverhill/Plaistow.
Speeds like that don't necessarily require double track, but since much of the signaling system would have to be changed anyway, a good time to do. Also, might need lots of undercutting for class V.

3)If there's any chance of this happening, it would be rolled into a double stack clearence upgrade from PAS/Ayer all the way to commercial st, that might get Pan Am to play ball with this notion, otherwise what's really in it for them?

4)Good idea to go with superelevation, as opposed to curve realignment. STILL going to be a hard sell w/ Pan AM. Since we're on a unicorn, why not trains that tilt?

5Misc stuff like more ballasted deck bridges, maybe close a few crossings (sure to be popular), or upgrade to four quadrant/barrier gates on the busier state Hwys.

There's a whole lot of work to be done to bring the western up to a more robust Class IV standard. Class V is at least a decade away.
Last edited by FCM2829 on Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
FCM2829
 
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:42 am
Location: Portland, ME

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby electricron » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:38 pm

Cowford wrote:My gut tells me that equipment ownership is a mistake due solely to the fact that NNEPRA doesn't have the requisite scale. NNEPRA's not in the business of owning train cars and, at present, they only require three trainsets, plus spares. NNEPRA budgets about $1.2 million per month for Amtrak expenses. I'm guesstimating (anyone correct me if I'm wrong) about 1/3 of that is labor-related... so that's $800K/month for equipment, ticketing and other admin burden, and God knows what else Amtrak provides in support of equipment and service. Becoming an equipment owner would require additional staff and untold added complications... e.g., a locomotive goes down with a generator problem. Who's going to administer the repair process? Where are you going to repair it? How are you going to secure substitute equipment?

Excellent questions, here's an alternate answer.
Contract with MBTA to provide, operate, and maintain the trains.
MBTA has the facilities needed to repair locomotives and coach cars, and the trains go to Boston every day.
electricron
 
Posts: 4173
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:50 pm

Unfortunately that'll go over with the Maine Legislature like a lead balloon as soon as any of our reps and senators decide to Google "MBTA" and "maintenance."

It's too bad that Morristown & Erie had the rug ripped out from under them. They expressed interest several years ago in starting up some sort of railcar and locomotive (freight) repair/rebuild business in Brunswick. They've done a lot of loco/railcar work for NJT. They might've been a good contractor for this type of situation with NNEPRA.
MEC407
Moderator:
Pan Am Railways — Boston & Maine/Maine Central — Delaware & Hudson
Central Maine & Quebec/Montreal, Maine & Atlantic/Bangor & Aroostook
Providence & Worcester — New England — GE Locomotives
User avatar
MEC407
 
Posts: 10772
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:15 pm

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:29 pm

Cowford wrote:My gut tells me that equipment ownership is a mistake due solely to the fact that NNEPRA doesn't have the requisite scale. NNEPRA's not in the business of owning train cars and, at present, they only require three trainsets, plus spares. NNEPRA budgets about $1.2 million per month for Amtrak expenses. I'm guesstimating (anyone correct me if I'm wrong) about 1/3 of that is labor-related... so that's $800K/month for equipment, ticketing and other admin burden, and God knows what else Amtrak provides in support of equipment and service. Becoming an equipment owner would require additional staff and untold added complications... e.g., a locomotive goes down with a generator problem. Who's going to administer the repair process? Where are you going to repair it? How are you going to secure substitute equipment?


The thinking appears to be that the cost charged by Amtrak for their equipment is far higher than the cost to own (and operate) new trainsets. NNEPRA already has to contract for some train maintenance through Drummac. You can't really see how much they are paying for because it's rolled into the "Amtrak Operations" line of their financials. Worth keeping that in mind.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:35 pm

FCM2829 wrote:Well, item #1 would be cab signaling. Can't really even talk 90 w/o it. Might get a little push back from Pan Am on that one.
Any new equipment would need to be PTC compliant anyway for MBTA northside...ACSES II can (proposed) run with or without cab signalling, but an FRA waiver to do 90 with no cabs b/c Pan Am's grandfathered paper exemption? Not a good bet.

2) Double track from Scarborough all the way to Haverhill/Plaistow.
Speeds like that don't necessarily require double track, but since much of the signaling system would have to be changed anyway, a good time to do. Also, might need lots of undercutting for class V.

3)If there's any chance of this happening, it would be rolled into a double stack clearence upgrade from PAS/Ayer all the way to commercial st, that might get Pan Am to play ball with this notion, otherwise what's really in it for them?

4)Good idea to go with superelevation, as opposed to curve realignment. STILL going to be a hard sell w/ Pan AM. Since we're on a unicorn, why not trains that tilt?

5Misc stuff like more ballasted deck bridges, maybe close a few crossings (sure to be popular), or upgrade to four quadrant/barrier gates on the busier state Hwys.

There's a whole lot of work to be done to bring the western up to a more robust Class IV standard. Class V is at least a decade away.


Pan Am will be looking for more passing sidings and additional double track. I agree that 90 MPH without cab signals is a reach but it is not a reach once Pan Am has "wayside w/ACSES" installed and operating on their MBTA tracks (as they will be required to within the next few years). This system amounts to cab signals by another name. I doubt the FRA is going to claim that ACSES used as a wayside PTC system doesn't "count" as a cab signal system simply because the blocks are a little longer. I'm certainly open to being proven wrong ...
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Red Wing » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:58 pm

electricron wrote:Contract with MBTA to provide, operate, and maintain the trains.
MBTA has the facilities needed to repair locomotives and coach cars, and the trains go to Boston every day.


Keolis can't keep enough of their own equipment in service to provide the coverage they need to run the System. It doesn't appear they could handle anything more.
Red Wing
 
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:55 pm
Location: On the B&B

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby electricron » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:12 pm

Red Wing wrote:Keolis can't keep enough of their own equipment in service to provide the coverage they need to run the System. It doesn't appear they could handle anything more.

MBTA equipment roster states they own or lease 480 coaches and 125 locomotives for their commuter rail operations. That doesn't include the over 680 urban and light rail cars of all types they maintain and operate.

Come on, do you really believe they couldn't handle 18 more coaches and 4 or 5 more locomotives for commuter rail for Maine.
electricron
 
Posts: 4173
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Red Wing » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:51 pm

Considering they plan on contracting out some commuter rail equipment maintenance. Yes I don't think they could handle anymore work. You may want to take a look at this thread in the MBTA Forum:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=163849
Red Wing
 
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:55 pm
Location: On the B&B

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:11 pm

electricron wrote:Come on, do you really believe they couldn't handle 18 more coaches and 4 or 5 more locomotives for commuter rail for Maine.


Sort of a moot point if they can't handle what they're already obligated to handle.

If I'm choking because I stuffed too many M&Ms into my mouth, it doesn't matter that I could theoretically fit a few more in my mouth.

It would also require a totally new contract. The MBTA contracts with Keolis to run the system. Adding a second state and a separate system into the mix isn't something you can just do at the flip of a switch. And given all the well-known and well-documented sketchiness that goes on down there, no Maine legislator with a web browser or a Boston Globe subscription would ever agree to it.
MEC407
Moderator:
Pan Am Railways — Boston & Maine/Maine Central — Delaware & Hudson
Central Maine & Quebec/Montreal, Maine & Atlantic/Bangor & Aroostook
Providence & Worcester — New England — GE Locomotives
User avatar
MEC407
 
Posts: 10772
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:15 pm

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby FCM2829 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:14 pm

Pan Am will be looking for more passing sidings and additional double track. I agree that 90 MPH without cab signals is a reach but it is not a reach once Pan Am has "wayside w/ACSES" installed and operating on their MBTA tracks (as they will be required to within the next few years). This system amounts to cab signals by another name. I doubt the FRA is going to claim that ACSES used as a wayside PTC system doesn't "count" as a cab signal system simply because the blocks are a little longer. I'm certainly open to being proven wrong ...

Well, sorta...
The proposed Wayside w/ACSES Install ends at MBTA territory. PanAm will only buildwhat they have to to comply, I.e. Not all the way to Portland, they have their 'fewer than6 RT trains per day? No PTC on class2 regionals' loophole.
You think they're going to equip 92 locomotives with ACSES radios and put towers up from here to Haverhill IF THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED BY LAW to do so? Is that the Pan AM we all know and love?
As far as 80-90 mph speeds in MBTA territory, I doubt this also. The T gonna have its hands full complying with the strict letter of the law as it is.
I'm willing to chance your belief in 'one cab signaling system is as good as another'
Not sure bout the FRA tho.
Esp if the system postulated is not required to be installed by one of the most parsimonious railroads in the stingy frozen north.
FCM2829
 
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:42 am
Location: Portland, ME

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:19 pm

Where the Freight Main and MBTA "share" will have "hybred" combo of ACSES II and I-ETMS setup,WITHOUT the Cab Signals,
as part of the "Deal" done with B&M(ST),MBTA,and MassDOT,a "BAN" on cab signals was placed on all routes out of North Station.
MBTA is "on the hook" to install on 92 units owned/leased to PAS/PAR ACSES II or I-ETMS systems on them.
The only other location of this "combo" ACSES/I-ETMS PTC overlay is on NJT RVL route from the Aldene Ramp(NEC)
to the point where CSRA/NS/CSX leaves the the RVL line(with Cab Signals).
When the 7th roundtrip(trains 13+14) is added to the Downeaster route,it triggers the requirement of PTC for the entire route,
for 110 miles of the Freight Main,the Mountain Branch(1 mile),and the Brunswick Branch(16 miles).
16 miles of that route are shared with MBTA(Haverhill route) Total miles involved,127(roughly)

Amtrak is not part of the MBTA/PAS/PAR PTC agreement,wonder what PAR/PAS will want from Amtrak to allow
that 7th roundtrip to run?
Backshophoss
 
Posts: 5182
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:00 am

My point regarding PTC was not that Pan Am would pay to install it beyond their MBTA miles but that their fleet would be equipped universally. If MDOT/NNEPRA wish to pay for additional mileage they could without having to bear the cost of fleet modifications for Pan Am. That sounds like an opportunity to me.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby FCM2829 » Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:48 pm

It sounds good Mr O'keefe, but I''mnot sure about the 'universally equipped' fleet:

viewtopic.php?f=65&t=164256#p1413812

I only count 25 dual equipped, the remainder only get I-ETMS, but I maybe didn't read it correctly.
I'd like to see 90 in lots of those long straights scar-Plaistow, it's definitely doable.
I've probably come off sounding pessimistic with all of my nitpicking, I'm willing to be corrected.
90mph is a just a varsity number that comes with varsity rules.
FCM2829
 
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:42 am
Location: Portland, ME

PreviousNext

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests