Horizon Coach Refurbishment

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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby Matt Johnson » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:56 pm

hs3730 wrote:Might the Horizons (or the Comarrows for that matter) go to the Adirondack? The 'dak has in the past had unique equipment compared to the other Northeast trains. The manual door issue isn't that big a deal, since the only stops where the doors open without a conductor present are the terminals and Albany, all of which deal with manually operated doors on other trains on a daily basis.


The Adirondack calls for a coach with large windows for viewing scenery, not Amfleet/Horizon slits. (Photo provided for historical context only. :) ) The last time Amtrak had a dedicated Adirondack fleet, it utilized some of the last remaining Heritage coaches. Given that Amtrak seems to be all about standardization (except when states are willing to have greater involvement - see Pacific Northwest, California, North Carolina), I think Amfleet IIs and the fall foliage dome car on certain runs are all that train can hope for unless Albany suddenly takes more interest.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:30 am

electricron wrote:
hs3730 wrote:Might the Horizons (or the Comarrows for that matter) go to the Adirondack? The 'dak has in the past had unique equipment compared to the other Northeast trains. The manual door issue isn't that big a deal, since the only stops where the doors open without a conductor present are the terminals and Albany, all of which deal with manually operated doors on other trains on a daily basis.

I keep reading the Horizons cars with their manually opened doors are terrible in winter's snow and ice. That's why most suggest moving them south. All the repositioning Amfleets will probably be going to Ivy Yard. I suppose the Horizons could be moved anywhere, but does Ivy Yard in NYC also have room for them?


With Penn being the daily terrordome it is, manual-operated doors on anything other than an overstuffed Thanksgiving extra that needs to bum an extra car are most definitely no-go. The weather considerations pretty much rule them out for the rest of the route, as Albany shops are not going to want to implement stuck-door hacks for 4 months every year.

Ultimately a decision on rebuilding the door mechanisms gets lumped in with full midlife overhauls of the cars, and whether that's financially worth doing at all for just 92 aluminum-carbody units that could use some systems modernization in addition to just the cosmetic livery refresh like the Amfleet I's. For anywhere East Coast waiting for the 600-car Amfleet replacement order is going to be the better deal, so role-fitting in the interim has to look to the warmer climates. If the Midwest/Cali order does indeed proceed cleanly to single-level, then they would be trainline-compatible and could be scattered around those equipment regions as extras to pad the lower seating counts of the new order with +1 or +2 Horizons tacked onto a consist of otherwise new cars. I still doubt they'd be worth the price point of overhauling for 25 more years, but in lighter duty use + an Amfleet I -like cosmetic interior refresh they'd be plenty good in current state for 10 more years at which point some states will probably be plunking down for a supplemental order of the new cars to fuel expansion.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby electricron » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:02 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:With Penn being the daily terrordome it is, manual-operated doors on anything other than an overstuffed Thanksgiving extra that needs to bum an extra car are most definitely no-go. The weather considerations pretty much rule them out for the rest of the route, as Albany shops are not going to want to implement stuck-door hacks for 4 months every year.

Ultimately a decision on rebuilding the door mechanisms gets lumped in with full midlife overhauls of the cars, and whether that's financially worth doing at all for just 92 aluminum-carbody units that could use some systems modernization in addition to just the cosmetic livery refresh like the Amfleet I's. For anywhere East Coast waiting for the 600-car Amfleet replacement order is going to be the better deal, so role-fitting in the interim has to look to the warmer climates. If the Midwest/Cali order does indeed proceed cleanly to single-level, then they would be trainline-compatible and could be scattered around those equipment regions as extras to pad the lower seating counts of the new order with +1 or +2 Horizons tacked onto a consist of otherwise new cars. I still doubt they'd be worth the price point of overhauling for 25 more years, but in lighter duty use + an Amfleet I -like cosmetic interior refresh they'd be plenty good in current state for 10 more years at which point some states will probably be plunking down for a supplemental order of the new cars to fuel expansion.

Amtrak will soon be hosting 130 more Siemens built cars in its' yards, do you really believe they can also host all 92 Horizon cars in them as well?
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:24 pm

Why wouldn’t they keep the Horizons, as long as they can be feasibly rebuilt and kept in service for another 15 years? That is an expansion fleet that Amtrak hasn’t had since the retirement of the Heritage and Metroliner fleets. The parts for trainline doors are out there - Bombardier Comets have them - and Beech Grove is more than competent enough to install them.

Besides, they don’t need to live in corridor service, but could also supplement the A-IIs in LD service where such automatic doors aren’t necessary. I know the Horizons aren’t ideal, but they are better than no new LDSL cars.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby electricron » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:13 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Why wouldn’t they keep the Horizons, as long as they can be feasibly rebuilt and kept in service for another 15 years? That is an expansion fleet that Amtrak hasn’t had since the retirement of the Heritage and Metroliner fleets. The parts for trainline doors are out there - Bombardier Comets have them - and Beech Grove is more than competent enough to install them.

Besides, they don’t need to live in corridor service, but could also supplement the A-IIs in LD service where such automatic doors aren’t necessary. I know the Horizons aren’t ideal, but they are better than no new LDSL cars.


Amtrak has Amfleet 2s in service, 119 coaches and 25 diners-lites
They have 92 Horizons in service, 76 coaches and 16 diners.
The LD trains don’t need automatic doors. There's almost enough of them to replace the 2s in LD service.

I still think it would be to Amtrak’s advantage to base all the Horizons from one maintenance hub.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:50 pm

I am still wondering why the conventional wisdom in this thread is that the Horizon cars can't survive New York when they regularly operate out of Chicago on the Hiawatha.

I think the best argument against basing this fleet out of New York is a lack of capacity at Sunnyside Yard. That being the case the Springfield Shuttle still seems like an obvious candidate.

If New York really is "out" there don't seem to be any other good options aside from use as a reserve fleet.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby Matt Johnson » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:56 pm

One question is what state supported efforts are likely to gain traction? (Gulf Coast? Atlanta/southeast?) And then which ones are likely to view the Horizons as more desirable than some off the wall rolling stock purchase like North Carolina's Piedmont rolling stock or California's NJ Transit Com-Arrow resurrection?
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:05 pm

Intra-state service in Virginia. Potentially a lot of it.

Gulf Coast looks dead until things change at CSX.

I don't have a sense if the Atlanta-Dallas proposal has any traction at all.

Heartland Flyer extension is one possibility. Perhaps closer to fruition than anything outside of Virginia.

Missouri River Runner could add frequencies.

Hiawatha/2nd Empire Builder to Minneapolis/St. Paul also could be on the list.

There are also two projects in active planning in Arkansas and northern Louisiana.

There is also the Front Range proposal in Colorado but that looks to be 10 years or more before it could happen.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:10 pm

There are a lot of eastern states that could use these cars to reactivate service on secondary lines.

Pennsylvania (Scranton), New York (Binghamton), and Ohio (Columbus & Cincinnati)

Michigan and New York (perhaps in cooperation with Ontario) could use them to run service between Detroit and Buffalo with potential for through running to Chicago and/or New York.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby east point » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:47 am

"IF" Horizons need to be in the south in winter maybe base them in MIA , WASH, and New Orleans ? Open booking for Crescent and silvers can allow as many passengers that want to travel. Can cover Cardinal as well.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby electricron » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:00 am

Backshophoss wrote:Ivy City yard is at DC,Do you mean Sunnyside yard in Queens,NYC ?
Horizons should go south to the "Gulf Coaster" and intra-Florida services,might need an AC tonnage upgrade to deal with humid weather along the coast and Fl

I should have written both Sunnyside and Ivy Yards. :)
With all the new Viewliners entering service more than doubling their totals in Amtrak’s roster, which are maintained in Miami, where would you base the Horizons in Florida?
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:01 pm

Perhaps the "real" answer lies not in routes but city clusters.

When I look at this map showing population densities the one that really stands out to me is Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Ohio really is very poorly served by Amtrak (in terms of daytime use).
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby Matt Johnson » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:48 pm

gokeefe wrote:Ohio really is very poorly served by Amtrak (in terms of daytime use).


While he may have become the moderate voice of reason in today's loony world of politics, you can put some of the blame on John Kasich's tea party anti-anything related to Obama stimulus funding politics of the last decade.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby electricron » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:29 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:
gokeefe wrote:Ohio really is very poorly served by Amtrak (in terms of daytime use).


While he may have become the moderate voice of reason in today's loony world of politics, you can put some of the blame on John Kasich's tea party anti-anything related to Obama stimulus funding politics of the last decade.

To be fair to Kasich, the 3C Ohio proposal started out as a new privately funded high speed rail line, downgraded to a 110 mph public private partnership higher speed line, downgraded again to a privatly funded government subsidized 79 mph intercity line, and downgraded again into a partial 60 mph government funded and subsidized commuter rail line. Every time it was downgraded it became less valuable and lost political support. Eventually, it lost too much political support.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:43 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Why wouldn’t they keep the Horizons, as long as they can be feasibly rebuilt and kept in service for another 15 years? That is an expansion fleet that Amtrak hasn’t had since the retirement of the Heritage and Metroliner fleets. The parts for trainline doors are out there - Bombardier Comets have them - and Beech Grove is more than competent enough to install them.

Besides, they don’t need to live in corridor service, but could also supplement the A-IIs in LD service where such automatic doors aren’t necessary. I know the Horizons aren’t ideal, but they are better than no new LDSL cars.


Because feasible rebuild does not mean economical rebuild. The railfan logic that anything that's in serviceable condition must...be...rebuilt ad infinitum because of some noble principle that no good car should go to waste does not hold when government procurement economics have to factor in cost amortization.

The H's are a small fleet that are overdue for a full-on midlife overhaul, and no other users of Comet II-IV lineage cars are planning to rebuild their similar fleets so Amtrak is not at all likely to get a favorable bid from third-party rebuild contractors. For an internal rebuild program, costs are going to be way more than just new automatic door assemblies because all major systems in the cars are now past their midlife rebuild date. The scope of rebuild that'll be needed to keep them running in daily duty is not something that can be half-arsed with selected systems replacement of some-old/some-new somehow meeting at a midrange life extension somewhere in the middle. No, you'll be springing for the full 15-20 year major overhaul of all systems. And by springing for the full overhaul at a highish price point for a small fleet you better have route assignments where they will immediately be reassigned for that full 20 years to amortize the cost. No guessing games about where extras are going to be plugged-and-played in new regions.


It's extremely unlikely you're going to find cost/benefit that makes it worth Amtrak's while to do that. Certainly not when the East region is getting 600 next-gen units in ordering scale and there'll be over 300 displaced Amfleet I's they can strip for all good parts to feed an ever-churning "disposable" roster of 50-100 other Am1 revenue reserves without having to budget for a formal midlife overhaul on any of them. If you're going to try to hold onto extra stuff where there isn't a firm idea of where it'll immediately go, that's the way to do it: when the scale of salvaged parts from Amfleet scrappings so cosmically outstrips the maint needs of the number of cars they opt to keep serviceable that there doesn't have to be much of an amortization target to make it pay off. You simply won't get that kind of lopsided parts supply trying to keep the small fleet of Horizons going; they will cost the going rate for a full rebuild with new parts, and that rate isn't going to be all that great for the fleet size. The H's are perfectly fine to keep running in as-is condition in their current regions as ligher-duty gap-filler once the new Midwest/Cali flats are in so states can hedge on +1 or +2 extra cars on a consist or entertain some schedule expansion while car supply is still tight elsewhere. That's prudent fleet management that keeps the H's odometer readings down in their current non-rebuilt state for a 5+ year bridge era where the East is waiting for its huge car order to be fulfilled, and other regions really need to stop bumming Amfleets from the East in the interim. At most you'd need to weigh the minor costs of doing/not-doing the same minor cosmetic livery refresh as the Am1's are getting for customer service's sake.

But the H's aren't getting reassigned to anywhere that touches Penn (incl. the Empire platforms), D.C. Union, or the NEC where automatic doors are a must for platform dwell times...and they aren't going anywhere weather-inappropriate. And it's a waste of energy to crunch the math on rebuild or partial rebuild schemes that would get those door mechanisms replaced when Amtrak is literally going to be drowning in more displaced Amfleets than they know what to do with by the time one could possibly invent 8 dozen cars' worth of expansion service. The Horizons will be permanently retired no later than the initial wave of Northeast Regional new coaches starts bumping the first Am1's.
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