Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

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

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

Post by DutchRailnut »

Not gone happen in US so what you smoking ?
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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

Post by amtrakowitz »

Greg Moore wrote:
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.
Nobody is fooled by so-called "hype that folks understand", especially if what is meant by that is really transparent falsehoods. No better advertising exists than word of mouth, and that which does not live up to hype of any permutation will invariably be exposed as a sham, bottom line.

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

Post by jstolberg »

The focus should be on capacity upgrades and reliability, not speed upgrades. When 3 out of 4 passengers prefer rail to air travel, you're chasing diminishing returns going after more air passengers. The growth market in the Northeast has been intercity buses -- English, Spanish and Chinese.

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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by morris&essex4ever »

jstolberg wrote:The focus should be on capacity upgrades and reliability, not speed upgrades. When 3 out of 4 passengers prefer rail to air travel, you're chasing diminishing returns going after more air passengers. The growth market in the Northeast has been intercity buses -- English, Spanish and Chinese.
I agree, and that's the main goal for the $450 million project between New Brunswick and Trenton. The 160 mph running is just icing on the cake. The NEC will not be a 145 or even 118 mph average speed railroad anytime soon.
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amtrakowitz
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Re: Bloomberg: Amtrak to Buy 20 New Acela Trainsets

Post by amtrakowitz »

jstolberg wrote:The focus should be on capacity upgrades and reliability, not speed upgrades. When 3 out of 4 passengers prefer rail to air travel, you're chasing diminishing returns going after more air passengers. The growth market in the Northeast has been intercity buses -- English, Spanish and Chinese.
For the NEC, "capacity upgrades and reliability" equals speed upgrades. Nobody wants more trains that are slower over intercity distances, and frankly, Acela's reliability in relation to its schedule is not in question, nor is the reliability of the Regionals. The bottleneck in the NYC area (especially on the NJ side) is caused by commuter trains, not high-speed trains. The alleged bus "growth market" relies on unsustainable ultra-low fares and cannot compete in the speed arena; it isn't a financially sound "growth" and is fraught with safety concerns that mostly slip through the cracks.

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

Post by MattW »

amtrakowitz wrote:
jstolberg wrote:The focus should be on capacity upgrades and reliability, not speed upgrades. When 3 out of 4 passengers prefer rail to air travel, you're chasing diminishing returns going after more air passengers. The growth market in the Northeast has been intercity buses -- English, Spanish and Chinese.
For the NEC, "capacity upgrades and reliability" equals speed upgrades. Nobody wants more trains that are slower over intercity distances, and frankly, Acela's reliability in relation to its schedule is not in question, nor is the reliability of the Regionals. The bottleneck in the NYC area (especially on the NJ side) is caused by commuter trains, not high-speed trains. The alleged bus "growth market" relies on unsustainable ultra-low fares and cannot compete in the speed arena; it isn't a financially sound "growth" and is fraught with safety concerns that mostly slip through the cracks.
You're not wrong, but upgrading a 30mph restriction to 60, 80, or even 100mph has substantially more effect on operations than an upgrade from 135 to 160 does. Or keeping those slow commuter trains out of the way of the faster intercity trains via better-designed interlockings, or flyovers does a lot more to at least increase on-time performance, and at best decrease scheduled time than a short speed demonstration section does.

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

Post by jstolberg »

The Acelas and Northeast Regionals now handle 11 million passengers per year. In 10 years they could be handling 16 million passengers per year. The majority of those additional 5 million passengers won't be coming out of aircraft, but out of cars and buses.

So how do you build a system to handle another 5 million passengers per year? First of all, you need the tracks and signals to carry them. That means replacing movable bridges with high level bridges where possible, adding track at bottlenecks, upgrading signals, replacing old catenary poles, wires and substations.

Secondarily, you need equipment. New engines (on order) and new passenger cars. Passenger comfort while riding should exceed anything offered by air, bus or driving.

Thirdly, you need to get them on and off the train. Station dwell time can crush a schedule. So find ways to get 40% more people on and off the train in less time. It may require wider doors or wider platforms, more parking or a change in operations. How do we get passengers through New York, through Philadelphia and through Washington with less delay?

And when it comes to speed, since most of those new passengers are coming from cars and buses, focus on those areas where current operating speeds are less than 70 mph. Get those areas up over 70 and people will be flocking through the doors.

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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by Jeff Smith »

Moderator Note:

Not that anyone has done so yet that I've seen, and I only skimmed the thread, but let's keep this thread to the acquisition of new HSR sets.

We've had a tendency to stray off-topic here lately. I don't want to see any side topics about electrifying the Empire Corridor or using the Acela's on the Keystone line. What to do with or where to use the Acelas post acquisition merits a separate topic. If you want to do that, start a new topic, please.

Please use the report function for any off-topic discussions.

Thanks,

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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by Jeff Smith »

Without scanning the thread, has much been said about a manufacturer?

Bloomberg
Amtrak Acela Replacement Plan Creates Bombardier Rivalry

Amtrak’s plan to replace its fleet of Acela trains provides an opportunity for Siemens AG (SIE), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011), Hitachi Ltd. (6501) and others who want to compete with Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B), the supplier of equipment used since the service’s start.

“There’s not that many companies that build the trains,” said Andy Kunz, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, a Washington-based group whose members include Bombardier, Alstom SA (ALO), Siemens and Patentes Talgo SA. “But the handful that there are would all be ready to bid.”

Replacing the Acela, which can operate at speeds of as much as 150 miles per hour, may be Amtrak’s biggest equipment purchase since it bought the original trains in a contract valued at $1.2 billion when signed in 1996. Amtrak doesn’t have a cost estimate because it’s at “the very beginning of this process,” Steve Kulm, a railroad spokesman, said.

Montreal-based Bombardier worked with Alstom, based in Levallois-Perret, France, to build the 20 Acela train sets that consist of locomotives integrated with passenger cars. Amtrak said yesterday it scrapped plans to buy 40 more Acela passenger cars from Bombardier, enough to add two to each existing train.
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Fan Railer
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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by Fan Railer »

Aside from speculation, no.

David Benton
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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by David Benton »

What i'm wondering is , why the need for different cars for the hsr repacements , and the next generation single level replacements . Any reason why these cant be the same ?
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JimBoylan
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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by JimBoylan »

David Benton wrote:Why the need for different cars for the hsr repacements , and the next generation single level replacements . Any reason why these cant be the same ?
Probably to avoid spending extra money for hsr capabilities in cars that won't be intended to travel that fast.

ctclark1
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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by ctclark1 »

That'd be my guess. No chance in the forseeable future for HSR anywhere outside of the NEC, so why spend extra money for HSR features on cars outside the NEC (and the non-express trains on the NEC) that will most likely never need the capabilities that HSR cars do?

David Benton
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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by David Benton »

Possibly , though we are talking a 30 year life span , and would have thought the benefits of mass production would outweigh any extra costs .
I'm thinking perhaps different platform height capability is the problem .
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Matt Johnson
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Re: Amtrak Buy HSR Sets Repl 20 Acela Sets End 40 Acela Car

Post by Matt Johnson »

David Benton wrote:What i'm wondering is , why the need for different cars for the hsr repacements , and the next generation single level replacements . Any reason why these cant be the same ?
Amtrak wants high speed EMU equipment for its next-gen HST. Upcoming FRA Tier III regs will allow a closer to off-the-shelf solution.

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