Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

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

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Greg Moore
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Greg Moore » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:52 pm

Another Bloomberg article.

An interesting tidbit:

“Only Amtrak insists on retiring cars prematurely, and has gone through 1,000 or 2,000 fine cars, simply scrapping them and never maintaining them,” Weinman said. “This should be considered fiscal imprudence, as they are the stewards of the taxpayer largess which was used to pay for these vehicles.”

What 1,000-2,000 cares is he talking about? I can only think of the heritage fleet and at this point, good riddance. (should note the article identifies Weinman as "an operating officer" of Amtrak in the 1970s.)
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amtrakowitz
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by amtrakowitz » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:59 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:I actually like to see them base the units on the Bi-level TGV sets, since platform length is an issue
A 12 unit train would have 10 revenue cars at about 140% of single level capacity for each car.
Platform height is also an issue, looks like. And the TGV Duplex is not a tilt train.
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
They will not be installing Class 9 track as part of the so-called "speedway enhancements", that I have heard.
electricron wrote:Couldn't the existing sets non power cars be used to replace Amfleet Is?
No. Ever see the ends of the cars? The vestibules are completely open when uncoupled. Never mind the lack of steps and trapdoors for low platform access.
mtuandrew wrote: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 but since the X2000 is outdated anyway, the point is moot
Huh? At the time of the advent of the Acela Express, the X2000 was not "outdated".

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by mtuandrew » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:28 pm

I read your comment as advocating the X2000's use now, not in terms of the original bid process that led to American Flyer.

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

Post by electricron » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:46 pm

amtrakowitz wrote: A) Platform height is also an issue
B) No. Ever see the ends of the cars? The vestibules are completely open when uncoupled. Never mind the lack of steps and trapdoors for low platform access.
A) Train height would be too. Will the Duplex TGVs fit in the tunnels leading to NYP?
B) Will 20 Acela trains have to stop at low platforms? How many stations between Boston and D.C. have low platforms? Golly, they are 6 car trains, 20 sets x 6 cars = 120 cars. Amtrak has over 460 Amfleet I cars today. I believe Amtrak would have to build an additional 340 cars at a minimum, that could have trapdoors and steps to handle the stations with low platforms.
Don't the first and last cars of these sets already have covered vestibules, or are they using the power cars to do that function? If not, can't covered vestibules be added to the first and last cars of each set? Can't that be done at the same time they are adding couplers so that the Siemens locos can be coupled?

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by morris&essex4ever » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:10 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.
185 mph would be a total waste on the existing NEC.....
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jamesinclair
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by jamesinclair » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:13 pm

2020? Perhaps CAHSR can buy the old Acelas, and then get them running on the IOS for a low price.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by MattW » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:36 pm

Could the Acela power cars be used as cabbages? I know the AEM-7s were to become cabbages after the ACS-64 arrives, but wouldn't the bullet-nose profile of the Acela offer some efficiency advantages? The only route they would really see the advantage is the Keystone service, and the trainset would spend half its time presenting a flat-face to the airstream anyways admittedly unless they decided to sandwich a Keystone set between two cabbages, but I figure that would be unlikely to say the least.

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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 11:37 pm

MattW wrote:Could the Acela power cars be used as cabbages?
They'd look a heck of a lot better than those ridiculous new Talgo cab cars, and probably offer superior crash protection as well!

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

Post by amtrakowitz » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:32 am

MattW wrote:I know the AEM-7s were to become cabbages after the ACS-64 arrives
I've never heard such a thing. Why would this be, when the orders for new single- and double-deck rolling stock include cab cars?

The EGE
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by The EGE » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:56 am

electricron wrote: How many stations between Boston and D.C. have low platforms?
Currently, I believe it's down to Mystic, Westerly, and maybe one of the Delaware stations. Mystic and Westerly are due to be raised.

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

Post by realtype » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:14 am

I don't understand why Amtrak doesn't do more than simply replace the trainsets. There's clearly strong demand for the Acela service and it would be nice if they ran more AE trains. or even market it to to masses (i.e. non-business travelers). The order should be for at least 25 sets. Nearly every transit provider I know of replaces old fleets (locomotives or railcars) with larger ones (creating a net gain).

That said I think the best candidates for winning the new order will be (in order):
1. Alstom
2. Kawasaki
3. Siemens
4. Bombardier
5. Hitachi

Amtrak should avoid Hyundai-Rotem or any Chinese manufacturer
The EGE wrote:
electricron wrote: How many stations between Boston and D.C. have low platforms?
Currently, I believe it's down to Mystic, Westerly, and maybe one of the Delaware stations. Mystic and Westerly are due to be raised.
Between WAS and NYP: Cornwell Heights, PA, Newark, DE, and Aberdeen, MD have low platforms. Plus the commuter rail services have plenty of low platform stations.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by DutchRailnut » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:01 am

amtrakowitz wrote:
MattW wrote:I know the AEM-7s were to become cabbages after the ACS-64 arrives
I've never heard such a thing. Why would this be, when the orders for new single- and double-deck rolling stock include cab cars?

Orders ?? you mean designs and plans ?? for single level cars
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by jstolberg » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:07 am

realtype wrote:
The EGE wrote:
electricron wrote: How many stations between Boston and D.C. have low platforms?
Currently, I believe it's down to Mystic, Westerly, and maybe one of the Delaware stations. Mystic and Westerly are due to be raised.
Between WAS and NYP: Cornwell Heights, PA, Newark, DE, and Aberdeen, MD have low platforms. Plus the commuter rail services have plenty of low platform stations.
Newark, DE has a $10 million TIGER grant for a new station. So that will leave just Cornwells Heights and Aberdeen.

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

Post by electricron » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:52 am

jstolberg wrote:
realtype wrote:
The EGE wrote:
electricron wrote: How many stations between Boston and D.C. have low platforms?
Currently, I believe it's down to Mystic, Westerly, and maybe one of the Delaware stations. Mystic and Westerly are due to be raised.
Between WAS and NYP: Cornwell Heights, PA, Newark, DE, and Aberdeen, MD have low platforms. Plus the commuter rail services have plenty of low platform stations.
Newark, DE has a $10 million TIGER grant for a new station. So that will leave just Cornwells Heights and Aberdeen.
Stations that all Acela and Amfleet trains wouldn't have to stop at. If all had to stop a them, spending the money to raise the platforms at these few remaining low platform stations would be cheaper than building 120 more new replacement single level cars, including the costs to refurbish these old Acela cars.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:04 pm

The EGE wrote:
electricron wrote: How many stations between Boston and D.C. have low platforms?
Currently, I believe it's down to Mystic, Westerly, and maybe one of the Delaware stations. Mystic and Westerly are due to be raised.
East of NYP it's New London (mostly), Mystic, Westerly, South Attleboro, Attleboro, Mansfield, Sharon, Canton Jct., Readville, and Hyde Park. Kingston is under construction. Westerly is widely expected to be next. Mystic's a simple one, albeit not high priority because of its limited schedule. Sharon is in final design for highs + a center passing track because it's the last non-ADA Providence Line stop, and the Amtrak NEC Infrastructure plan puts every MBTA platform on-notice for raisings. South Attleboro and Mansfield would also get modified for passing tracks, and Hyde Park would get reconfigured when the 4th iron gets installed from Forest Hills to Readville to traffic-separate slow Franklin Line trains.

Of course none of those are regular Acela or Regional stops, so the only consideration is emergency stops in the event of a service disruption. The T, if it can get out of its acute short-term funding crisis, is amply motivated to get all the Providence Line up to full highs so it can use its automatic door coach fleet on its busiest line. The stations getting mods for passing tracks would get ample amounts of fed funding because Amtrak is in control of all track work in MA and it's their cap improvements plan calling for this. I would not be surprised if there's a steady stream of stimulus starting as early as next year to chip away at the backlog.

New London is the only desirable station to add to some of the schedule, and that of course is a tough, tough, and expensive one to modify. And modifications will be needed if Shore Line East intends on running a full schedule there on highs-only M8's. But every other station is a pretty simple proposition. Maybe save South Attleboro for last because the passing tracks and generally poor structural condition of the walkways necessitate a fairly substantial rebuild (but probably not overly expensive because it was a real quick-and-dirty job when it opened in 1988, hence its decrepit condition after only 25 years).

It's an achievable goal if funding for even small stuff isn't totally gridlocked to get all of east-of-NHV at level boarding by 2020 with possible exception of expensive New London. Again, not that it matters much for the Acela schedule, but there are definitely additional schedule slots to be had if the commuter rail dwell times drop en route and those passing tracks around the MBTA stations get built.

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