• Acela II (Alstom Avelia Liberty): Design, Production, Delivery, Acceptance

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by electricron
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:42 am Behind paywall: https://www.washingtonpost.com/transpor ... s-delayed/

It's official, launch delayed until 2024.
Testing ‘difficulties’ delay launch of faster Acela trains, Amtrak says
The new trains are now slated to enter service in 2024.


New Acela trains scheduled to debut this fall need more analysis to ensure they can safely operate on the curvy and aging tracks between Washington and Boston, railroad officials said, saying the new trains are now slated to enter service in 2024, at least three years behind schedule.

But their delivery has been snarled by multiple delays, including some stemming from unforeseen complexities in testing and computer simulation processes required by the Federal Railroad Administration. Amtrak and train manufacturer Alstom have cited some compatibility hiccups between the high-tech train, modeled after those in operation across Europe, and infrastructure that dates back 190 years in some areas.
...
The latest hurdle, officials said, involves testing the train’s wheels, particularly at higher speeds.

“The modeling of the wheel to track interface is particularly complex due to age, condition, and specific characteristics of Amtrak infrastructure on the Northeast corridor, and especially the existing tracks,” Alstom said in a statement.
Same story, from a different source?
https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/news/am ... ce05&ei=91

The train testing problems are not the fault of the trains, it is the fault of the tracks being in such bad shape.
Famous last words. :(
Looks like Amtrak spent money on new trains when they should have spent money on new tracks instead.
You can only go as fast as the railroad allows. I guess the catenary problems blamed earlier were not the major problem after all.
  by jwhite07
 
For those of you who have been around long enough, Bombardier was saying the same thing 20+ years ago with the first generation Acelas - "It's not our fault - the tracks are too rough". Fast forward to today, and Bombardier's successor Alstom is pulling a page from an old script they must have found in a file cabinet somewhere when they took over. Shoudn't they have known full well that the condition of Amtrak's infrastructure is not on par with the condition of dedicated LGV lines in France, and known to take that into account with engineering and design of the Avelia? Is there no such thing as organizational or even industry memory or lessons learned?
  by STrRedWolf
 
There is, and there isn't. Folks leave with that knowledge and never write it down or pass it on. Organizations also get out of the industry. Remember Budd? After taking a soaking on MTA Maryland's subway cars, they got out.
  by eolesen
 
Budd got out of railcars after the Amfleet 2 orders. The SPV (a mashup between an Amfleet/Metroliner and the RDC's drivetrain) failed both figuratively and literally, and I suspect they lost huge on performance penalties over their inability to remain in service as designed. It was easier to do other types of manufacturing with less opportunity for failure.

It's telling that dozens of original RDCs are still in use yet the Seldomly Propelled Vehicles were sidelined and mostly scrapped after 10-15 years of service.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by STrRedWolf
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Fri Jun 02, 2023 10:07 am Wait, I never heard about what happened with the MTA subway cars, that made Budd quit.
MTA Maryland put their first subway car build order to bid, and Budd underbid everyone. Then Budd tried to charge extra afterwards, to which MTA Maryland said "Oh no, you bid X for this contract, you do the contract to the letter for X."

It went to the courts. Budd lost, and took the financial hit building the cars. Soon afterwards, Budd got out of transit. I heard that MTA Maryland was Budd's last customer.

Still... those trains haven't broken yet!
  by scratchyX1
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Fri Jun 02, 2023 2:17 pm
scratchyX1 wrote: Fri Jun 02, 2023 10:07 am Wait, I never heard about what happened with the MTA subway cars, that made Budd quit.
MTA Maryland put their first subway car build order to bid, and Budd underbid everyone. Then Budd tried to charge extra afterwards, to which MTA Maryland said "Oh no, you bid X for this contract, you do the contract to the letter for X."

It went to the courts. Budd lost, and took the financial hit building the cars. Soon afterwards, Budd got out of transit. I heard that MTA Maryland was Budd's last customer.

Still... those trains haven't broken yet!
So, they weren't able to charge extra, in typical government contracts fashion, and lost money on it? Iirc, they built the same cars for Miami, did Miami charge the same amount?
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Budd's last cars were the CTA 2600s, of which CTA 3200 was the very last car to roll out of Red Lion on April 3, 1987.

By 1985 Budd had reorganized in rail division as the TransitAmerica business unit was no longer accepting new
orders, but fulfilling outstanding contracts (the MNCR/LIRR M-3s and CTA). The Red Lion Road works remained
idle into the early 1990s (despite attempts to restart assembly production) and by 1992 the site was closed out,
with the SPV shells still on site ending up at Delaware Car/Mechtron in an auction of assets. The plant was sold
and demolished in 1999 for a golf club (now closed).
  by Matt Johnson
 
I hope the fact that deliveries are continuing signals confidence in resolving the outstanding issues. Regarding LGVs in France, I would note that the TGV operates on legacy lines as well, though I believe none at greater than 200 or 220 km/hr, vs the 260 km/hr that Acela II will achieve on the fastest portions of the NEC.
  by sfmartinw
 
I know that legacy track is a challenge, but it's a matter of running the trainsets across the tracks a certain number of times at increasing speeds to gain confidence in the solution.

I've read the article twice, and I still need to understand the new problem discovered here. There's mention of writing simulation software, but with so many sets available for testing, what's the value of performing additional software simulation at this stage?
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Regarding legacy trackage, Trenton-New Brunswick can handle at least 165, as the Metroliners had extensive tests
there.

Are the high speed segments in Massachusetts longer and more straight than Trenton-New Brunswick?
  by RandallW
 
The value of simulation testing is that once you have a simulation environment that captures enough detail, you can use it to simulate changes in design to be able to predict the effects of that change. So in this case, if there are concerns about a design aspect of the Avelia Liberties changes to that design can be simulated before making and testing the change on one of the train-sets.

It is likely that the simulator used for earlier design work did not account for whatever is causing delays in the acceptance testing, or that an error in the simulation was found that needs to be addressed before simulations can be used to verify design changes. (As only of my company's products provides security for military simulations, I know these simulators are constantly being adjusted to provide more fidelity and to account for edge cases where the simulator behavior diverges from real world behavior.)
  by sfmartinw
 
Ok. The value of simulation makes sense.

But who is responsible for the simulator? Seem like Amtrak would be the owner so it can test multiple vehicles.

Is this some new simulator where Acela II is the first client to use it?

And if the Simulator was really so critical, why is it coming in so late in the game where tasting using real trains can be used instead?
  by RandallW
 
There have always been simulations used for the design of this train. My comment about changing it is they may have found a situation where the simulation diverges from observed real world behavior, and they feel a need to fix the simulator to test possible designs before (I am making this example up) redesigning the brake calipers to prevent uncommanded contact between the drum and caliper wear from unexpected vibrations at 130+ MPH on certain track structures.

Having (finally) read the full Washington Post article, the need for simulation is: FRA requires the results of the simulation before authorizing real world testing, so the process for fixing a design is roughly:
  1. Run simulations of proposed fixes
  2. Manufacture preferred fix
  3. Develop test plan
  4. Submit results of simulation to FRA with test plan
  5. Wait for FRA to review simulation results
  6. Get approval to test
  7. Run tests
  8. Submit results to FRA
  9. Get approval to operate (ATO) or if ATO is not granted, determine fixes needed for ATO and repeat this process
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