North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:05 pm

Ryand-Smith wrote:The issue is until literally 2 years ago there were no FRA compliant DMUs, and Amtrak does not own that track, 99% it is Norfolk Southern, which means that you have to get a time or grade separation waiver. The other issue is that you would have to run 2 sets of the Nippon Sharo DMU unless you get them to make an ABCBA custom setup instead of the AbA setup.


Thanks--very helpful.

There are compliant DMUs now so why isn't NCDOT ordering those instead of customized bi-level cars? Surely multiple frequencies of 2-car DMUs would result in much more ridership than just a few frequencies of 3-car locomotive-hauled trains.

There are also plans for additional Piedmont frequencies so NS and the North Carolina Railroad must be OK with that.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby electricron » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:45 pm

Ryand-Smith wrote:The issue is until literally 2 years ago there were no FRA compliant DMUs, and Amtrak does not own that track, 99% it is Norfolk Southern, which means that you have to get a time or grade separation waiver. The other issue is that you would have to run 2 sets of the Nippon Sharo DMU unless you get them to make an ABCBA custom setup instead of the AbA setup.

While it is true Amtrak doesn't own the tracks the Piedmont trains run on, I must point out neither does Norfolk Southern. North Carolina Railroad owns the tracks, which is owned by NCDOT, and therefore the State.

Just about every railroad executive familiar with the break even point operating DMUs vs locomotive and trailers state it is more economical to run 4 DMUs than a locomotive and 4 trailers. At 5 coaches, it's more economical to run a locomotive and 5 trailers than 5 DMUs. I'd posted a link to a TRE executive in the past stating that. Of course, the DMUs the TRE was comparing were Budd RDCs.
Keeping it simple, just add up the horsepower of the DMUs in question and compare that to the horsepower of the locomotive in question. The lower the horsepower in the consist wins at being economical. ;)

Last, I'd seen 4 and more than 4 cars on Piedmont trains in the past. Just check out YouTube videos. It occcurs often enough to rule out running DMUs on the Piedmont trains, imho.

than
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:12 pm

New equipment coming very soon in North Carolina, from the Triangle Business Journal:

The holidays mean new locomotives this year for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, currently in the end stages of a massive rail revamp between Raleigh and Charlotte.

Paul Worley, rail division director, says the department’s new “Cab Control Unit” goes into testing this week. Cab Control Units are a piece of equipment that allows the train to operate without two engines.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:15 pm

Raleigh Union Station and associated developments still running on schedule for completion in late 2017, from Mass Transit Magazine:

Union Station

Raleigh plans to finish construction on the Union Station transportation hub next fall.

The $90 million project on Martin Street will feature trains and buses, and the city plans to pursue tenants to lease space. The building will have about 4,000 square feet of space to rent for retail or office use on its main level; 6,000 square feet on its lower level; and 2,700 square feet on its upper level.

When it opens in 2018, Union Station is expected to breathe new life into the Warehouse District downtown.


I expect to see major ridership growth from North Carolina over the next five years.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:18 pm

Raleigh News & Observer editorial focusing on RDU (airport) has this to say about the new Raleigh Union Station:

Tensions are building, however, as the airport tries to balance the need to expand with the desires of those who enjoy the large outdoor park areas nearby lobbying to maintain such places, to not give up the land to the pressures for expansion. Airport officials say they’re listening. They need to maintain that posture, just as those who value the preservation of open space need, perhaps, to be prepared to trade some parcels and sites for others.

Because the growth in this area shows no signs of slowing, and it’s what is responsible for the airport’s prosperity — and, the creation of more jobs.

Consider, as reported by The News & Observer’s Paul A. Specht, a list of projects that will proceed toward completion next year in Raleigh. Union Station should be a spectacular addition to downtown, a transportation hub for trains and buses in the Warehouse District, with retail and office use. Nearby, The Dillon, a tower of offices and apartments, will go up 17 stories and use the outer walls of the old Dillon Supply building.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:51 pm

Very interesting posts- thanks.

It looks like F59PHs (and not another type of unit) will be converted into cab control units?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:33 pm

The author seemed to be struggling with terminology, (notice the typo in "Altoona"). Without pictures I couldn't figure out what was going on. They seemed to be confusing the engine names for the destination of the train.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:53 pm

Some of the F59ph's are retired units from Metrolinx(GOT) that in line to become NCDOT's NPCU's.
In the meantime,have been used as parts donors.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby east point » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:37 pm

What ? Expand RDU airport ? Have not flown in there for a long time but expansion -- no way. After the fiasco of having American airlines almost completely pulling out you would think that would be a lesson long learned ? The two runways ( 5 - 23 left and right ) are sufficient with only 5R 23L unable to handle very heavy take offs due to its length.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:06 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Some of the F59ph's are retired units from Metrolinx(GOT) that in line to become NCDOT's NPCU's.
In the meantime,have been used as parts donors.


Does NCDOT have it in its charter to force Amtrak to run the most unorthodox equipment possible. First they order only a handful of Nippon-Sharyo bi-levels at lousy unit cost/scale in a kooky double-ended transition sleeper configuration to trainline with their flats...something no one else needs to do. Now they're making NPCU's completely unlike any other on the AMTK system while Amtrak is underway with a bi-level cab car order that does away with nearly all NPCU's and their above-and-beyond costs. Who's making these decisions down there, and why do they have such a fetish for going against the grain???
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:38 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Does NCDOT have it in its charter to force Amtrak to run the most unorthodox equipment possible.


I always thought that it was not cost-effective to run a 3-car train with a locomotive on each end, too.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:33 pm

From what I can see they seem to be making capital acquisitions on a "pay as you go" or cash only basis. Hence the extreme focus on cost as seen in the article.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby electricron » Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:14 am

Of course they have been looking for deals. Golly, $1.9 million for each ex-GO F59PH locomotive including the costs for the refurbishing instead of $7.25 million for a brand new Siemens Charger. Looks like they have purchased around 6 locomotives, with a savings around $5.35 million each, or a total savings around $32.1 million. That $32 million in savings could subsidize the Piedmont service for many years.
Additionally, the Cab Control Units cost about $700,000 each, designed specifically for NCDOT, are around a third cheaper than spending over $2 million for a brand new coach trailer with a cab. They got all the cabs they needed for the price of just one brand new coach with cab. They also got a lot of spare parts from the diesel propulsion removed from the refurbished cabs.

When the state subsidizing the trains puts the operations and maintenance of the train service up for bids using a RFP, there will be vendors looking to win the contract by having the cheapest bid. NCDOT may struggle with higher maintenance costs later, but right now they are enjoying the lower costs helping to fund years of future operations.

And that's not a bad idea if we see more trains with higher frequencies sooner rather than later. ;)
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:07 pm

electricron wrote:And that's not a bad idea if we see more trains with higher frequencies sooner rather than later. ;)


Very much agreed. Especially because North Carolina (like its neighbor Virginia) is one of those places that is helping to cement a non-partisan consensus in favor of improved passenger rail service nationwide.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby Arlington » Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:50 pm

RDU has been growing at double digit rates since 2013, allowing it to finally claw its way back to meet (and now surpass) the 10mpax/yr mark which it had hit at.least.twice before (and then fallen back). Both AA's hub and Midway Air were "fake" in the sense that they reflected more than local needs. But now RDU should grow along with the local population and economy.

With growth like 15% per year in the recent spurt and DL upgrading its Paris flight to a 767, I think it reasonable for the airport to plan for a doubling of traffic. At a "local GDP" growth of 4% per year, it still doubles in less than 20 years. RDU just finished its 2040 planning.

The train, particularly along the NC-ATL and NC-WAS corridors is worth billions in investment, but so's the airport...Can't get to other global economic centers without it.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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