Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

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

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Matt Johnson
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Matt Johnson » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:57 pm

Tadman wrote:Platform heights - European platforms are halfway between high and low platforms here, which probably means their floors are below NEC platforms. At that point you've either got to stool up the truck bolsters (bad idea for many reasons) or raise the floor, which is basically a clean sheet design.
Always wondered how it was that the X-2000 and ICE seemed to work okay with US high level platforms...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEYCBCDofSQ

amtrakowitz
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Replace all 20 Acela Trainsets

Post by amtrakowitz » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:27 pm

The EGE wrote:Is there anything other than the FRA rules (and possibly different catenary voltages) preventing an off-the-shelf European or Japanese design from being used?

The Acelas would make good Keystone equipment. They'd be a problem for Regionals since many trains go off-wire in Virginia and an engine swap wouldn't be possible.
There are too many low platforms on the Keystone corridor to allow the Acela Express trainsets to follow the Budd Metroliners into becoming the new "Capitoliners".

As for "off-the-shelf", there are no Japanese designs from any Shinkansen service that can be used; the trainsets are too wide at 11' 1" (Acelas are 10' 4"), and like the Acela Express, have no low-platform entry-exit capability.

The X2000 and ICE 1 of course have operated on the Northeast Corridor, but the ICE 1 was not a tilt train and the X2000 would need to operate with two power cars instead of in the push-pull configuration it ran on the NEC with.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Replace all 20 Acela Trainsets

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:31 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:
The EGE wrote:Is there anything other than the FRA rules (and possibly different catenary voltages) preventing an off-the-shelf European or Japanese design from being used?

The Acelas would make good Keystone equipment. They'd be a problem for Regionals since many trains go off-wire in Virginia and an engine swap wouldn't be possible.
There are too many low platforms on the Keystone corridor to allow the Acela Express trainsets to follow the Budd Metroliners into becoming the new "Capitoliners".

As for "off-the-shelf", there are no Japanese designs from any Shinkansen service that can be used; the trainsets are too wide at 11' 1" (Acelas are 10' 4"), and like the Acela Express, have no low-platform entry-exit capability.

The X2000 and ICE 1 of course have operated on the Northeast Corridor, but the ICE 1 was not a tilt train and the X2000 would need to operate with two power cars instead of in the push-pull configuration it ran on the NEC with.
So? They sell an extra car to Amtrak, Amtrak gets to add more passenger cars since the unit has more power. Pretty simple... but since the X2000 is outdated anyway, the point is moot.

Anyway, I, for one, will welcome our new high-speed overlords.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by isaksenj » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:35 pm

Who's to say it has to be the same dedicated-use form factor as the current Acela?

The new single-level designs seem to have an Acela-like look, and the design factor allows for high speed use. Perhaps "Acela II" can be accomplished via an expanded order of rolling stock of the same single-level equipment design currently on the books, but with First Class and Bistro variants, and using the new electrics for power? In that case, development time could be slashed considerably. Operationally, expanding the consists becomes a non-issue, as well.
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:46 pm

I actually like to see them base the units on the Bi-level TGV sets, since platform lenght is an issue
A 12 unit train would have 10 revenue cars at about 140% of single level capacity for each car.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:02 pm

isaksenj wrote:Who's to say it has to be the same dedicated-use form factor as the current Acela?

The new single-level designs seem to have an Acela-like look, and the design factor allows for high speed use. Perhaps "Acela II" can be accomplished via an expanded order of rolling stock of the same single-level equipment design currently on the books, but with First Class and Bistro variants, and using the new electrics for power? In that case, development time could be slashed considerably. Operationally, expanding the consists becomes a non-issue, as well.
Not above 125 mph, I'm afraid, unless the cars are built to a different tier than I thought.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by jstolberg » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:15 pm

Regarding floor heights, California's High Speed Rail Authority put together this table:
Type
Code
Manufacturer Trainset Vehicle Floor Height
S-P Rotem KTX-II 45.47 ins (1155 mm)
S-E Alstom AGV 45.47 ins (1155 mm)
S-E Bombardier Zefiro 49.21 ins((1250 mm)
S-E Japanese Consortia N700 51.18 ins (1300 mm)
S-E Siemens Velaro 49.6 ins (1260 mm)
M-P Alstom Duplex 12.36 ins (314 mm)
M-E Japanese Consortia E4 (multi-level) 51.18 ins (1300 mm)

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/asset ... 2a76fb.pdf

It would be nice if Amtrak and California can agree on a common design.

dizelinr
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by dizelinr » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:48 am

Will the replacement Acela trainsets be exempted from the FRA requirements that make the current Acela trainsets ridiculously heavy for HSR?

I certainly hope that is the case. The FRA should realize that with HSR and passenger rail they need to take a more flexible approach to these requirements for passenger rail travel to remain a competitive option. You would think that as Positive Train Control is implemented the mixed traffic problems would be less of an issue.

Hopefully the FRA will give Amtrak the same exemptions it is planning to give Caltrain and the CA HSR Authority to run internationally sourced "off the shelf" EMU's and HSR trainsets (in the future) on the existing SF peninsula commuter line despite many grade crossings and occasional freight traffic as part of a so-called "blended" approach.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by CComMack » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:57 am

Much as I would like to see the Acelas on the Keystone Line, (for one, it's an elegant solution to the aging Metroliner cab car problem), Pennsylvania is unlikely to come up with the money to high-level all the stations, or to provide the Acelas with the overhauls they will need c. 2020 to be operable at all, or to purchase or lease the trainsets from Amtrak (thanks, PRIIA!) even at pennies on the dollar. Indeed, Pennsylvania doesn't even have the money to keep the Bridgeport Viaduct out of the Schuylkill, as we learned today.

A solution worth considering might be to combine the Acelas into double-length trainsets, power-BC-BC-cafe-BC-BC-First-First-BC-BC-cafe reconfigured as BC-BC-BC-power. Either retire the worst of the redundant power cars, or rotate the power cars on and off the trainsets for inspections and maintenance, or both. With only ten trainsets, you can't run much of a schedule, but it could supplement Acela II service on the corridor. And the Acela Is ought to have the horsepower to run at speed, at not quite double the weight.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:16 am

At an on-line only Blog sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, there appears to be additional insight offered as distinct from the Bloomberg article linked at this topic that, to me, appeared only to paraphrase the Amtrak News Release:

http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intellig ... tep-closer

Brief passage:

  • Today’s announcement isn’t a significant shift away from that plan, but it does bring forward the timeline for faster trains, and more capacity, on the Acela service. Essentially, instead of adding new cars to the 1990s-era trains currently running the service, beginning in the second half of this decade Amtrak will start introducing brand new trains, with more seating, more modern bells and whistles for riders, and higher speeds, once upgrades to the network allow it.

    Those new trains will run side-by side with the existing ones up until around 2025, when the old ones are phased out and the next-generation of trains capable of speeds of up to 220 miles per hour start to be introduced, alongside the next wave of network upgrades,
Regretably, the Reader's Comments posted to date appear quite negative and immature.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by electricron » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:56 pm

I'm all for Amtrak buying new faster sets than expanding the existing sets. But I would hate to see the existing sets retired prematurely.
Couldn't the existing sets non power cars be used to replace Amfleet Is? If the new Amfleet I replacements are going to be replicas of Acela cars, why not reuse the Acela cars? Remove the Acela power cars, and put the new Siemens locos on their heads. Amtrak could even eliminate the tilting technology on them if necessary, just like VIA did to their LRCs.

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Matt Johnson
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Matt Johnson » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:38 pm

electricron wrote:I'm all for Amtrak buying new faster sets than expanding the existing sets. But I would hate to see the existing sets retired prematurely.
Doesn't sound like they will be, but that they'll be used alongside the newer trainsets for another decade and change.

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Matt Johnson
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Matt Johnson » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:07 pm

As to whether the Acela equipment lives on in any form beyond its life as HST equipment, I imagine the complexity and specialized design make it unlikely that they'll last as long as the Budd Metroliners which continue to live on as cab cars.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by 25Hz » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:56 pm

Uh, what will likely happen is the acela sets will remain in service till they are retired at some later date. One scenario that may happen is they will be split into 2 schedules, one boston to NYP and another one DC to philly. This will allow the next gen sets priority access to the capacity constrained hudson tunnels.

I hope the next gen sets get to take full advantage of the "speedway" enhancements in NJ to cut down how long it takes to travel through NJ. 150 mph is nice, but 185 would be better.
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Matt Johnson » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:55 pm

25Hz wrote: I hope the next gen sets get to take full advantage of the "speedway" enhancements in NJ to cut down how long it takes to travel through NJ. 150 mph is nice, but 185 would be better.
Well, 180+ will probably take significant new infrastructure, but 160 is coming. I'll take that!

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