Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:59 pm

Only Boston, Portland and Brunswick have full length high level platforms.
All the rest of the stations have mini-high platforms.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby electricron » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:26 pm

Dick H wrote:Only Boston, Portland and Brunswick have full length high level platforms.
All the rest of the stations have mini-high platforms.

If these three stations have high platforms, the largest stations by the way, that sort of nixes the idea of using low floor vestibule cars like the old HiLevels or ex-Amtrak Pacific Parlor cars. Oh well. :(
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Trinnau » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:30 pm

Anderson/Woburn is also full high level.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:11 pm

Low floor is definitely not in the picture at all.

For the moment it appears that Amtrak's fleet replacement planning represents the best opportunity for improvements of equipment.

That being said things certainly are not standing still. The amount of capital work underway remains significant. The railroad is being upgraded one fiscal year at a time and it's easy to miss if you don't take the long view.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:18 am

Maine probably won't be the only one looking for used Amtrak stuff. Connecticut seems to be in a bind right now over insufficient seats on the Springfield Line. Seems people like the improved service.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:20 am

gokeefe wrote:Low floor is definitely not in the picture at all.

For the moment it appears that Amtrak's fleet replacement planning represents the best opportunity for improvements of equipment.

That being said things certainly are not standing still. The amount of capital work underway remains significant. The railroad is being upgraded one fiscal year at a time and it's easy to miss if you don't take the long view.


Might you have a list of said capex projects that you could share?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:08 pm

Sure they are publicly available in the Board briefing materials on the NNEPRA website: https://nnepra.com/reports-and-statistics. Choose the most recent report and then look for the project updates report a few pages in.

I would note in response to an earlier comment that "used" Amtrak equipment does not appear to be of any interest if ownership other than Amtrak is implied.

I will watching the OTP metrics this year in particular to see if the recent investments all along the route bear fruit.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Thanks, George, for that link. Concerning the Westbrook-Portland rail initiative, I have to wonder if small buses wouldn't be the way to go at the outset. Let's recall that California is loaded with feeder bus routes, and Virginia started the Roanoke extension with a bus, to test demand. Thoughts?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:25 pm

Quite possible. Worth remembering that both of the current service studies were required by legislation. Their existence is not indicative of interest by anyone other than the legislative sponsor and their supporters.

The Lewiston-Auburn study has significantly more depth in terms of support. There are a lot of people who want to see passenger service extended into that community. On the other hand it appears to be fiscally challenging as always.

I agree with Cowford in a general sense that the service extension north really does need to grow beyond the 2011 Portland baseline. I think that opinion is widely held and that the focus for now remains on fulfilling the complete promise of the existing system before undertaking further expansion.

Much as might dislike that conclusion I think it's sound public policy.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby David Benton » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:32 pm

I wonder if they have looked at Dmu's as a way to reduce costs, and allow multiple extensions ?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:21 pm

In general the sentiment seems to be strongly in favor of trainsets and equipment that are not permanently or semi-permanently coupled.

Additionally fleet commonality with Amtrak is a major factor in consideration of the lack of heavy maintenance facilities.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby markhb » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:10 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:Thanks, George, for that link. Concerning the Westbrook-Portland rail initiative, I have to wonder if small buses wouldn't be the way to go at the outset.

I believe that the Westbrook feeder is being driven by the developers of Rock Row, at the old Blue Rock quarry, rather than by NNEPRA themselves. What equipment they would want to use for effectively a shuttle run along the Mountain Division is anyone's guess.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:07 pm

If it's only one entity pushing this initiative, to my way of thinking a bus is the way to go.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby sicariis » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:05 pm

North Station’s new pedestrian tunnel just opened. Take a look inside.


https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2019/01/07/north-station-pedestrian-tunnel
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby artman » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:29 pm

gokeefe wrote:Sure they are publicly available in the Board briefing materials on the NNEPRA website: https://nnepra.com/reports-and-statistics. Choose the most recent report and then look for the project updates report a few pages in.

I would note in response to an earlier comment that "used" Amtrak equipment does not appear to be of any interest if ownership other than Amtrak is implied.

I will watching the OTP metrics this year in particular to see if the recent investments all along the route bear fruit.


Almost all of these projects are Maine-centric. Nice to see, as we are (mostly) the ones supporting it financially!
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