Amtrak DMUs

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

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frequentflyer
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Amtrak DMUs

Post by frequentflyer » Sun May 06, 2018 5:59 pm

Just wanted to make a post about this subject since it comes up in other threads.

Some say Stadler has the inside track and I guess they say that because Anderson may some reference to them in the California meeting. Stadler is known for their commuter rail trains here in the states, not intercity equipment.

We will see, but apparently even major railcar manufacture has a DMU in their product portfolio so it will be interesting to see what because of the RFP when sent out.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by Noel Weaver » Sun May 06, 2018 6:13 pm

Just because they have one in their portfolio doesn't mean that it will be any good. Most of these efforts have ended up in junk.
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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by mtuandrew » Sun May 06, 2018 6:53 pm

Nippon Sharyo has FRA-compliant DMUs in operation. Stadler has them in FRA waivered service and a complaint version in final design, I believe. I don’t know whether Alstom, Siemens, BBD, Kawasaki, Rotem, or CRRC have FRA compliant designs. Talgo does not. Otherwise, it’s “RDC City” if Amtrak has some funny service that doesn’t justify locomotives or new DMUs.

For 2-4 car trains at under 90 mph, I think a GP22ECO with HEP generator would be nearly as efficient and much more versatile.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by DutchRailnut » Sun May 06, 2018 7:08 pm

FRA waivered service is not unrestricted and so no good for Amtrak , now lets look back in past and compare fixed consist trains and how they fared ??
but hey what the hell do I know vs the Railbuffs.
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frequentflyer
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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by frequentflyer » Sun May 06, 2018 7:47 pm

Don't forget Hitachi too.

So it seems there are no off the shelf DMUs that can operate in the US. Wasn't there a push to change FRA rules in regards pax cars. Its stated the FRA rules are what made the Acela I s overweight. The whole economic argument for DMUs are that their light weight.

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BandA
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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by BandA » Sun May 06, 2018 9:05 pm

N-S DMUs supplied to SMART are FRA compliant. RDC´s are compliant with standards in effect when they were manufactured. A short train of DMUs should be lighter than a locomotive + coaches, but labor, maintenance, and capital costs are generally more important than fuel costs. Theoretically, you could have an Engineer who also collects fares & could run with a very small crew or one.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by mtuandrew » Sun May 06, 2018 9:22 pm

frequentflyer wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:Nippon Sharyo has FRA-compliant DMUs in operation.
So it seems there are no off the shelf DMUs that can operate in the US.
:P http://sonomamarintrain.org/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (thanks BandA)
BandA wrote:N-S DMUs supplied to SMART are FRA compliant. RDC´s are compliant with standards in effect when they were manufactured. A short train of DMUs should be lighter than a locomotive + coaches, but labor, maintenance, and capital costs are generally more important than fuel costs. Theoretically, you could have an Engineer who also collects fares & could run with a very small crew or one.
Respectfully, no way will you have a crew of less than two on an American passenger train on the interstate railroad network, not until well after freight railroads all go one-man.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by dowlingm » Sun May 06, 2018 11:06 pm

BandA wrote:N-S DMUs supplied to SMART are FRA compliant. RDC´s are compliant with standards in effect when they were manufactured. A short train of DMUs should be lighter than a locomotive + coaches, but labor, maintenance, and capital costs are generally more important than fuel costs.
Given the wide use of DMUs in Europe, even in 6+ unit consists, is it possible that North American railroading norms (and inspection/cost structures) where DMUs are seen as niche or commuter vehicles could stand some examination? While many comparisons hark back to the RDCs and the engine technology of that time, modern DMUs operating as integrated trainsets can afford to lose an power unit and still make their destination, using the same technologies to deliberately shut down a unit to save additional fuel where not required.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Sun May 06, 2018 11:08 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:Just because they have one in their portfolio doesn't mean that it will be any good. Most of these efforts have ended up in junk.
Even Budd's SPV failed.
BandA wrote:RDCs are compliant with standards in effect when they were manufactured.
That would be the ICC's 1956 MU end load spec (49 CFR 229.141). Since many RDCs were built post 1956 (until production ended in 1962), these would meet the ICC rules. Are pre-1956 RDCs (some still on shortlines, tourist/charter operations and even VIA) grandfathered being pre-regulation?
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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by BandA » Sun May 06, 2018 11:11 pm

That´s why I said theoretically. Automobiles, trucks carrying haz-mat, tandem & triple-trailer, trolleys, buses, school buses all run with only one driver. BART & washington metro have operators but were designed for ATO, there are some ATO in other countries. There is an obvious trend, and I can imagine single person operation of a single-car DMU over a grade-separated line with PTC.

The counter-example is the MMA & tragedy in Lac Megantic Quebec.

Triaxle
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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by Triaxle » Mon May 07, 2018 12:05 am

That MMA train was parked with the train brakes not applied, just a few cars had handbrakes set, plus the locomotive's independent brakes. It was parked at the top of a hill, on the main line, with not one wheel chock, etc. It was like a bear trap set and held open with a rusty piece of wire. OPTO was not the base cause.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by electricron » Mon May 07, 2018 12:37 am

Siemens passenger cars running on FEC tracks for Brightline service are based upon an European railcar design modified to meet FRA standards. Who's to say some other European train manufacturer can't do the same?
The heart of the Stadler DMU design configuration isn't the lightweight coach cars as much as their power cars placed in between the cars. Replacing the aluminum coach cars with, stronger, even made from stainless steel, FRA compliant coach cars shouldn't be that difficult to design and accomplish.
I'm pretty sure Stadler and other manufacturers of DMUs will submit acceptable designs to any Amtrak RFP - as long as Amtrak's DMU program consists of a sufficient number of cars and therefore trains. All they need is someone to show them the money!

Golly, a Stadler power car placed between two Siemens "Brighline" cars with cabs could be Amtrak's DMU solution.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by Tadman » Mon May 07, 2018 8:16 am

DutchRailnut wrote:FRA waivered service is not unrestricted and so no good for Amtrak , now lets look back in past and compare fixed consist trains and how they fared ??
but hey what the hell do I know vs the Railbuffs.
Not much. You're a retired railway engineer, not a genius. We're all in our little box, and being a retired railway engineer certainly does not impute the ability to plan the next 30 years of rolling stock requirements for a major carrier. They hire entire consulting firms to do that.
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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by frequentflyer » Mon May 07, 2018 9:54 am

electricron wrote:Siemens passenger cars running on FEC tracks for Brightline service are based upon an European railcar design modified to meet FRA standards. Who's to say some other European train manufacturer can't do the same?
The heart of the Stadler DMU design configuration isn't the lightweight coach cars as much as their power cars placed in between the cars. Replacing the aluminum coach cars with, stronger, even made from stainless steel, FRA compliant coach cars shouldn't be that difficult to design and accomplish.
I'm pretty sure Stadler and other manufacturers of DMUs will submit acceptable designs to any Amtrak RFP - as long as Amtrak's DMU program consists of a sufficient number of cars and therefore trains. All they need is someone to show them the money!

Golly, a Stadler power car placed between two Siemens "Brighline" cars with cabs could be Amtrak's DMU solution.
So the FLIRTs have a power car in the middle of the consist?

https://wwwstadlerrailcom-live-01e96f7. ... 5en_us.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Trying hard to imagine these FLIRTs running among fast inter modal freights and 100 car coal trains.

The majority of these DMUs will be on the east coast and NEC. Amtrak does not need low boarding trains in those markets.

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Re: Amtrak DMUs

Post by mtuandrew » Mon May 07, 2018 11:19 am

Tadman wrote:
DutchRailnut wrote:FRA waivered service is not unrestricted and so no good for Amtrak , now lets look back in past and compare fixed consist trains and how they fared ??
but hey what the hell do I know vs the Railbuffs.
Not much. You're a retired railway engineer, not a genius. We're all in our little box, and being a retired railway engineer certainly does not impute the ability to plan the next 30 years of rolling stock requirements for a major carrier. They hire entire consulting firms to do that.
Also, a number of us have formal training or experience in railroad and transit design, civil/mechanical/electrical engineering, regulatory oversight, and the like. There's a little coffee under our foam :wink:

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