stranded Acela

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Posts: 1378
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:19 pm
Location: Hebron, Maine

Re: stranded Acela

Post by BM6569 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:08 am

Could they run with an Amtrak pilot? (crew member on board)

8th Notch
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:23 pm

Re: stranded Acela

Post by 8th Notch » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:45 am

BM6569 wrote:Could they run with an Amtrak pilot? (crew member on board)
Yes however Thanksgiving is the busiest week of the year and there may not have been any manpower available.

Posts: 4090
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:07 pm

Re: stranded Acela

Post by ThirdRail7 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:27 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Dutch: if I follow Mr. Nasadowski’s thoughts, I think he suggested that Amtrak *gasp* pay LIRR or even NY&A to move the train once the wire was clear and AMTK Mechanical had removed the offending pan. The outside switching charge has to be less than the total reimbursement the passengers will have rightly demanded - possibly including dry cleaning :P

Curious as to why you would need to tow the train to some other territory? When the train was actually able to be towed, it was towed forward to live wire and released. Additionally, I'm not what makes every think that various railroads have multiple crews just sitting around, waiting for things to break down at the fringes of their territory.

The large part of this story that everyone (except Dutchrailnut) keeps neglecting is this was a multiple location problem with multiple trains impacted. No one has mentioned 150, 160, 2201, or even 2292, which took a delay in a station with ET forces expecting it. Et forces were spread thin already with the NY forces dealing with 2201 in Penn Station, and the Sunnyside forces dealing with 150 and 160. If not for Metro-North allowing 160 to enter NRO and finishing the work (with NHV sending diesels for the intercept), this may have gone on even longer. 2230 was the final straw, had the most damage and damaged the infrastructure enough to make coming behind the train to grab it a very bad decision. Transferring the passengers of the train would have make them face a roughly 25-30 foot drop onto tracks below if they slipped...assuming the weren't fried by the third rail.

Additionally, this is a high speed train. This isn't a normal train where you just couple up and go. We''ve explained it in the past and covered it in the ACS thread. When you have this newer, fail safe equipment with multiple layers of protection, it slows things down. the most notable thing about coupling to a high speed train is lifting that weird nose. It is easy as pie in a shop but out on a main line, with uneven ballast and crew members that often can't even reach the allen screws to unbolt it, it takes time. Things like cutting out the parking brakes take time when you're crew member is faced with a 25 to 35 foot drop...on either side.

It takes time to rescue high speed trains under normal circumstances. On the busiest day with wires down all around the train and other previously disabled trains being attended to is going to burn the clock.

It is funny the Muandrew is even commenting in this thread. I remember complaining about it taking 3 hours to rescue and Acela close to Sunnyside in the past. I started this thread, which the vast majority of you pooh-poohed:

On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Feel free to read the whole thread but some of the notable Cliff Notes include me stating:
How about this:

Is it possible to install a back-up generator on the engine or ONE car and back feed the entire system? The generator could be used for the HVAC and battery charging. The lights would remain on the battery.

The reason I'm hell bent is 97 was out there for 3 hours with a dead HHP-8. 2257 was out there until 2259 pulled alongside of it for a transfer. Fortunately, the weather wasn't extreme. However, this could have been a mess, and I've seen this show before. If you could keep some of the amenities for the passengers as they are stranded, the cost would pay for itself in customer service.

I remember when we had strategically placed diesels for such emergencies. We could hop on a train and rescue ourselves. Now, you attempt to scramble an engine and hope for the best as passengers sit in a silver shell.

Something has to be done

mtuandrew wrote:I don't understand the necessity either. On corridor trains, a backup motor or locomotive is only an hour (at worst) away. For long-distance trains, there are almost always more than one HEP-equipped locomotive for just such an eventuality, sometimes as many as three. Besides, a freight locomotive can pull a train to the nearest heated station if all else really does fail, and the crew can bring everyone into a warmer car in the meantime.

Amtrak has run the numbers and decided that it is more economical (and most likely safer - no flammables on the passenger cars) to have a single source for HEP. That said, feel free to convince one of the solar companies to install panels on every passenger car's roof as a low-power backup. :grin:
It was nice of Mr Nelligan to have my back:
TomNelligan wrote:
On corridor trains, a backup motor or locomotive is only an hour (at worst) away.
You're being very optimistic. Remember that a crew is also required and they're probably not going to be just sitting around waiting for something to do when a backup engine is suddenly needed.

I'm not sure individual car generators are practical, but I certainly appreciate Mr. ThirdRail7's concern. I can say from personal experience on a stalled NEC train a couple summers ago -- dead HHP8 -- that due to the lack of ventilation, the conditions inside sealed, powerless Amcoaches on a 90-degree sunny summer day can quickly become a physical hazard for folks who can't handle extreme heat. At some point it's not just a comfort issue but a safety issue, especially for seniors.
The bottom line is this was situation with a lot of trains involved. Unless you're going to have a chase engine of a different class surrounding a live train, break downs take time to matter their location.
I want my road foreman!

east point
Posts: 1276
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: stranded Acela

Post by east point » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:22 pm

Third Rail thanks for explanation about the nose of an Acela-1. I hope that the Acela -2s have a switch inside the cab that will unlock the nose and raise it. That procedure should seem to be best practice for the rescue of an Acela-2 which we know will happen sooner or later. That would enable much quicker rescue even on flat land much less than the rescue on a bridge 30 feet above the ground. Cannot imagine rescuing an Acela-1 on the Portal bridge. Moving passengers ? No way unless a bridge plate between broken and rescue trains are available. Is there any bridge on the NEC route that has interfering bridge work between tracks ?

Return to “Amtrak”