Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

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

Post by electricron » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:24 pm

Considering Amtrak's love of common equipment, I would expect the power cars to be made by Siemens.
The passenger cars could be made by anyone. How about CAF?

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by ThirdRail7 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:26 pm

High platforms and the rest of the stuff aside, I want low level capabilities for the new train. Equip the new sets with at least 8 cars and traps. Perhaps we can have a few "spare" cars that you can drill in on occasion (similar to the 10003.)
I want my road foreman!

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by dizelinr » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:14 am

Matt Johnson wrote:
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!
I don't meant to stray off topic but got to say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I like the look of those new Talgo cab cars. It might not be what we are used to seeing but it is a fresh design and actually very elegant when you look at it strictly in terms of it's form and function.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:29 am

I'm not certain if this thought has already been noted (did a search; negative), but if so please allow me to defer to the author who previously expressed it.

The Bloomberg report establishes that Amtrak intends to run the existing Acela sets - let's call them Ac-I's - at the same time as they are running the new sets, or Ac-II's. Since obviously Amtrak is not about to repeat what proved to be a mistake with the Ac-I's by limiting their consist to six cars, that means that as Ac-II's enter revenue service with their not less than eight, and maybe even nine, car consists, the now twenty Ac-I's will become fifteen should eight cars become the consist and thirteen if nine. Obviously there would be a surplus of Power Cars, but as these units celebrate their twentieth birthday, such might become a necessary fact of life.

We should not forget that part of this Acela reequipping project must include new or expanded "carbarns' - and I understand the existing one at Wash is constrained from growing on its existing location; maybe it is just as well that Amtrak has chosen to forgo short term profits in favor of a long term solution to that their "crown jewel" service is limited only by the availability of equipment to provide it. If people are ready to pay Air-Shuttle prices for an Acela ride, "they must be doing something right".

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by amtrakowitz » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:31 pm

csor2010 wrote:To those worried about the existing trains being retired prematurely (quote is from the WSJ blog):
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.
By 2025 the current trainsets will be pushing 25 years of age, at which point they will be due for major remanufacturing or retirement. Keep in mind that the F40(PH)s were only about 25 years old when they were retired, and that even the re-manned toasters are pushing 30. By the sound of it they are planning on running the new and old cars in parallel before phasing out the old cars to bring in 220+ equipment. Given that the 220mph implementation will probably be pushed back, we could very likely see the original Acelas sticking around for some time.
No, that is highly unlikely. Amtrak would not continue to run all this surplus equipment, so look for original AEs to be gone well before 2025. Speaking of "220-mph implementation" as if it were something that were bound to happen is about as realistic as believing in the Budd Metroliners running at 160 mph back in the late 1960s, merely because the government said it would (the claim is 43 years out of date, so imagine how far down the road this new $345-million-per-mile magical corridor is).

The F40PHs were themselves prematurely retired, and being diesels are not as comparable with electrics anyhow. This throwaway mentality seems to be a theme with Amtrak, never mind the premature end the SDP40Fs and P30CHs came to. Via Rail, who rebuild instead of buy new (including half-century-old Budd cars that Amtrak recently borrowed; Via have been upgrading their entire fleet of F40PHs since '07 too), seem to outdo Amtrak in this economical area.

BTW, off-topic mention about rail fares and inflation: Just watched "White Christmas", which is set in 1944. Danny Kaye's character buys two tickets for coach on a train from Miami to "Vermont", which cost a total of $97.24; in 2012 dollars, this would be a whopping $1,271.97, per the BLS' Inflation Calculator. The fare to "New York" was quoted as being identical...let's just say that Amtrak's fares are significantly lower than that.

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

Post by Matt Johnson » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:34 pm

amtrakowitz wrote: Speaking of "220-mph implementation" as if it were something that were bound to happen is about as realistic as believing in the Budd Metroliners running at 160 mph back in the late 1960s, merely because the government said it would (the claim is 43 years out of date, so imagine how far down the road this new $345-million-per-mile magical corridor is).
I'm happy to see the Corridor getting bumped to 160 mph finally within the next few years. That's fast enough for me! Now if only they can focus on improving the slower sections, replacing old bridges and tunnels, etc.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by amtrakowitz » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:13 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote: Speaking of "220-mph implementation" as if it were something that were bound to happen is about as realistic as believing in the Budd Metroliners running at 160 mph back in the late 1960s, merely because the government said it would (the claim is 43 years out of date, so imagine how far down the road this new $345-million-per-mile magical corridor is).
I'm happy to see the Corridor getting bumped to 160 mph finally within the next few years. That's fast enough for me! Now if only they can focus on improving the slower sections, replacing old bridges and tunnels, etc.
I haven't seen any clear numbers as to how many route miles are being "bumped" to a speed they were forecasting back in the 1960s for a different kind of train. Have you? because the more there are, the more that would make more of a difference in the average speed.

And yes, eschewing the fantasy parallel railroad for the much-more-frugal option of fixing/replacing aging infrastructure and upgrading catenary wire from variable-tension to constant-tension would make me think that Amtrak was finally getting serious about fixing what is broken rather than what is not. Then again, there were multiple opportunities over four decades to do just that...
Gilbert B Norman wrote:If people are ready to pay Air-Shuttle prices for an Acela ride, "they must be doing something right".
When the Metroliner MU first operated, the advertising gimmick was that their fares were 40 percent lower than the cheapest air shuttle at the time. The promised increases in speed were forecasted to have come from planned curve straightening and other right-of-way realignments which of course never materialized.

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

Post by Matt Johnson » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:30 pm

amtrakowitz wrote: I haven't seen any clear numbers as to how many route miles are being "bumped" to a speed they were forecasting back in the 1960s for a different kind of train. Have you? because the more there are, the more that would make more of a difference in the average speed.
Yes. Amtrak lands $450 million to boost Acela to 160 mph

The immediate benefits: a boost in top speed from 135 m.p.h. to 160 m.p.h. along a 24-mile section of track

More recent articles about the high speed Acela test runs also suggested that the current 150 mph stretches in New England might get bumped to 160.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by 25Hz » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:34 pm

That is for the NJ speedway. The shore line to boston will be a different project.
Next stop the square, journal square station next!

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

Post by amtrakowitz » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:10 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote: I haven't seen any clear numbers as to how many route miles are being "bumped" to a speed they were forecasting back in the 1960s for a different kind of train. Have you? because the more there are, the more that would make more of a difference in the average speed.
Yes. Amtrak lands $450 million to boost Acela to 160 mph – SmartPlanet.com
The immediate benefits: a boost in top speed from 135 m.p.h. to 160 m.p.h. along a 24-mile section of track
More recent articles about the high speed Acela test runs also suggested that the current 150 mph stretches in New England might get bumped to 160.
$18 million per mile for what? That much money per mile ought to speed up far more than a mere 24 miles out of a 226-mile route (NYP-WAS) or 10.6 percent of the route (5.3% of the NEC). That won't make much difference in average speeds.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Greg Moore » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:17 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:
Matt Johnson wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote: I haven't seen any clear numbers as to how many route miles are being "bumped" to a speed they were forecasting back in the 1960s for a different kind of train. Have you? because the more there are, the more that would make more of a difference in the average speed.
Yes. Amtrak lands $450 million to boost Acela to 160 mph – SmartPlanet.com
The immediate benefits: a boost in top speed from 135 m.p.h. to 160 m.p.h. along a 24-mile section of track
More recent articles about the high speed Acela test runs also suggested that the current 150 mph stretches in New England might get bumped to 160.
$18 million per mile for what? That much money per mile ought to speed up far more than a mere 24 miles out of a 226-mile route (NYP-WAS) or 10.6 percent of the route (5.3% of the NEC). That won't make much difference in average speeds.
I will agree with your final sentence, but disagree with the conclusion some might draw.

I do think that while "top speed" is often over-rated in terms of its impact on schedule, it is definitely a decent marketing point. It's like car manufacturers that put 120mph on their speedometer despite the fact that the average car owner will never do that legally anywhere in the US.

And I definitely think it shows "progress" to the powers that be. "Hey look, we went from 135mph->160mph, give us some more money and we can get even MORE 160mph running!"

Even I'll admit I'm looking forward to saying "I rode the NEC at 160mph" (my top speed is still 135mph).
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by amtrakowitz » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:21 pm

Greg Moore wrote:I do think that while "top speed" is often over-rated in terms of its impact on schedule, it is definitely a decent marketing point. It's like car manufacturers that put 120mph on their speedometer despite the fact that the average car owner will never do that legally anywhere in the US.

And I definitely think it shows "progress" to the powers that be. "Hey look, we went from 135mph->160mph, give us some more money and we can get even MORE 160mph running!"

Even I'll admit I'm looking forward to saying "I rode the NEC at 160mph" (my top speed is still 135mph).
Would you like to reassess that? The gap between average speed and top speed does make a huge difference, especially when it comes to truth in advertising. A high-speed train overseas does not have such a gulf between its average and top speeds: you know when you are riding a TGV that you will have at least a 186-mph top speed for a significant portion of the journey and a 145-mph average speed, and you know when you are riding the ICE-T between Berlin and Hamburg that you will have a top speed of 143 mph and an average speed of around 118 mph, also for a significant portion of the journey. Riding at 160 mph for a tenth of the journey's distance without a significant effect on average speeds will not be a successful advertising gimmick whatsoever, and it didn't work back in the 70s to say "give us more money and we'll get the Metroliner MU up to the 160 mph that we initially promised".

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

Post by Matt Johnson » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:28 pm

When I traveled aboard the TGV from Paris to Milan, once we left the high speed line after Lyon and headed into the mountains the ride made Metro North's New Haven line seem downright fast in comparison! That was one slow ride (and I think it's a 7+ hour trip as I recall). Here are a couple of video clips I took during that ride:

186 mph in France

And more like 18.6 mph :)

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by Greg Moore » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:46 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:I do think that while "top speed" is often over-rated in terms of its impact on schedule, it is definitely a decent marketing point. It's like car manufacturers that put 120mph on their speedometer despite the fact that the average car owner will never do that legally anywhere in the US.

And I definitely think it shows "progress" to the powers that be. "Hey look, we went from 135mph->160mph, give us some more money and we can get even MORE 160mph running!"

Even I'll admit I'm looking forward to saying "I rode the NEC at 160mph" (my top speed is still 135mph).
Would you like to reassess that? The gap between average speed and top speed does make a huge difference, especially when it comes to truth in advertising. A high-speed train overseas does not have such a gulf between its average and top speeds: you know when you are riding a TGV that you will have at least a 186-mph top speed for a significant portion of the journey and a 145-mph average speed, and you know when you are riding the ICE-T between Berlin and Hamburg that you will have a top speed of 143 mph and an average speed of around 118 mph, also for a significant portion of the journey. Riding at 160 mph for a tenth of the journey's distance without a significant effect on average speeds will not be a successful advertising gimmick whatsoever, and it didn't work back in the 70s to say "give us more money and we'll get the Metroliner MU up to the 160 mph that we initially promised".
Nope, I don't care to reassess it at all. It is hype, but it's hype that folks understand.
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by george matthews » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:47 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:single level cars for 160 mph, what you smoking boy???
Try to buy in Europe.

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