• Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

  • 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 NHV 669
 
And if it works, there are plenty more AEAX Budd cars still sitting idle in VT for them to buy.
  by swist
 
I live in Wiscasset and travel to Boston frequently on weekends. I would love to be able to go farther than Brunswick with a convenient connection. I only made my negative comment because Maine Eastern did not seem to have much ridership, and I hope that whoever takes this over does more to attract riders.

Of course an even better thing for me would be having the DE go past Brunswick.
  by Pensyfan19
 
All the more reason for more passenger rail service (Amtrak or other companies) in New England. Bangor should be a given since that's one of the largest cities in Maine. Heck, a fully utilized Downeaster (also known as a Flying Yankee) would be stopping at three of the state's largest cities: Portland, Bangor, and Lewistown! (I almost said Augusta, the capital of Maine, but that's via another Maine Central ROW which should also be utilized asap).
  by artman
 
Arlington wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 11:39 pm Great news on Rockland. Is the goal upping both weight and speed? Rockland is important because it is a place I-95 doesn't go.
This is the repository of bid docs, drawings and pictures for all the bridges to be rehabbed plus rehab of the turntable in Rockland.

https://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/in ... -rfi-2016

This doc covers the hows and whys: https://www.maine.gov/mdot/contractors/ ... 462.00.pdf
Project History: Six railroad bridges along the Rockland Branch currently have fair to poor substructure conditions and have been identified as needing improvements.

Purpose & Need: The purpose of the project is to improve the substructures to maintain the functionality and extend the service life of each bridge.

Brief Summary of Proposed Scope of Work: The purpose of the project is to improve bridge substructures to maintain safety and functionality, and to extend the service life of each bridge. It is noted that the proposed improvements to the piers, bents, and bearings are intended to improve safety, but may not fully restore vertical or horizontal design capacities. Longevity of the piers, bents, and bearings will be extended by replacing secondary timber members, repairing or encasing concrete structures, or replacing bearings in poor condition
...
Load rating calculations were completed for Long Bridge (#7652) which utilized the allowable stress design methodology... The structure was rated for the standard Cooper E80 locomotive, the 286K 4-axle car, the 263K 4-axle car, and the Cooper E80 Alternate at speeds of 25 and 10 mph at the direction of the MaineDOT. ...

...The load rating results for Long Bridge will be reviewed and considered by the MaineDOT once the future purpose of the entire Rockland Branch railroad line is determined. For now, the design criteria will reflect a preservation approach to the bridges through replacements and repairs to ensure the safety of the bridges and a minimum of five years of additional service life.
  by NHV 669
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 9:42 pm (I almost said Augusta, the capital of Maine, but that's via another Maine Central ROW which should also be utilized asap).
Upgrading the existing system to reach L/A or Bangor is certainly realistic, but you're talking about a line with missing infrastructure and rails in some spots, and a RoW that hasn't been maintained in ages. Forget about ASAP, let alone any time in the foreseeable future. There are far more important projects that need funding.
  by BandA
 
IIRC, Morristown & Eire d/b/a Maine Eastern ran their tourist train without a direct subsidy. It was surprising to folks on the forums here when Maine DOT picked CMQ, who had no interest in passenger service. Not surprising when CP didn't want to run a short line.
  by markhb
 
BandA wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 11:02 pm IIRC, Morristown & Eire d/b/a Maine Eastern ran their tourist train without a direct subsidy. It was surprising to folks on the forums here when Maine DOT picked CMQ, who had no interest in passenger service. Not surprising when CP didn't want to run a short line.
Yeah, CP running the Rockland Branch in isolation was, TBH, really silly to me, so I'm not surprised they're getting rid of it. I wonder, too, if the "Rockland Connector" NNEPRA project was potentially held up because running any level of passenger service on that line with CP operating it would have required PTC due to CP being a Class I.
  by MEC407
 
Another wrinkle is the recent revelation (via MaineDOT RFPs) that several bridges on the Rockland Branch are in much worse condition than many of us realized. Running a Budd RDC (120,000 lbs) over those bridges is one thing; running a fully-fueled P42DC (268,000 lbs) over them is another.

I'm not an expert on bridge ratings, but maybe you can run an RDC over bridges in that condition at 40 MPH, in contrast to the 10 or 5 MPH slow orders that would likely be necessary for operating a P42 over them. I suspect neither Amtrak nor the traveling public would be in favor of the latter.

The bridges will eventually be repaired, and I suspect Amtrak will operate on the branch eventually, but there's probably no harm in having Finger Lakes operate an RDC-based service as an interim measure.

Edit: this is what those AEAX RDCs look like inside, in case anyone is curious:

http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPictur ... id=2108266
  by artman
 
MEC407 wrote: Fri Jan 28, 2022 10:32 am Another wrinkle is the recent revelation (via MaineDOT RFPs) that several bridges on the Rockland Branch are in much worse condition than many of us realized. Running a Budd RDC (120,000 lbs) over those bridges is one thing; running a fully-fueled P42DC (268,000 lbs) over them is another.

I'm not an expert on bridge ratings, but maybe you can run an RDC over bridges in that condition at 40 MPH, in contrast to the 10 or 5 MPH slow orders that would likely be necessary for operating a P42 over them. I suspect neither Amtrak nor the traveling public would be in favor of the latter.

The bridges will eventually be repaired, and I suspect Amtrak will operate on the branch eventually, but there's probably no harm in having Finger Lakes operate an RDC-based service as an interim measure.

Edit: this is what those AEAX RDCs look like inside, in case anyone is curious:

http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPictur ... id=2108266
See my post (in response to Arlington) about yours by three or four. It addresses the work you point out
  by Arborwayfan
 
I like the idea of a Budd connection there. They were designed for that kind of low-density route, after all. I hope they can arrange for easy through ticketing.

Could the Budd and the Downeaster fit at the platform at Brunswick at the same time, the Budd just east of the east end of the DE? Seems like that would allow for easy transfers along the high-level platform. The Budd could probably keep a pretty strict schedule; not likely to be much interference, after all.
  by scratchyX1
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Fri Jan 28, 2022 12:40 pm I like the idea of a Budd connection there. They were designed for that kind of low-density route, after all. I hope they can arrange for easy through ticketing.

Could the Budd and the Downeaster fit at the platform at Brunswick at the same time, the Budd just east of the east end of the DE? Seems like that would allow for easy transfers along the high-level platform. The Budd could probably keep a pretty strict schedule; not likely to be much interference, after all.
Could extend platform to east with scaffolding, and a ramp next to the existing platform ramp, then there would be room for RDC.
  by swist
 
Minor curiosity. This weekend's storm has cancelled only 690 on Sunday. Is this an error? 691 would subsequently have no train at BON. The Saturday trains are cancelled in southbound/northbound pairs so there's not one sitting there overnight either. Is a spare train being stored somewhere down there these days?
  by STrRedWolf
 
swist wrote: Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:09 am Minor curiosity. This weekend's storm has cancelled only 690 on Sunday. Is this an error? 691 would subsequently have no train at BON. The Saturday trains are cancelled in southbound/northbound pairs so there's not one sitting there overnight either. Is a spare train being stored somewhere down there these days?
I'm asking a few folk up there, but I'd more imagine they dead-headed the set early and it's sitting up there right now.
  by Trinnau
 
Either that or they are planning on deadheading down approximate to their regular schedule to make sure the tracks are clear. That way if they run into any issues they aren't stranding passengers and aren't getting any negative publicity as a result. They could run at reduced speed that way too, 30-40 mph.

If the set was already down in Boston they'd still have to cab the crew down from Maine, and have someone do the required inspections on it.
  by BandA
 
Based on what I've read here, Amtrak seemed reluctant to run the seasonal Rockland service, and kept pushing it back. And running a shuttle with a few RDC's using FGLK is probably a lot cheaper, which is important for a subsidized service, and doesn't require Amfleets or Amtrak locomotives or cabbage cars. Only problems is where to service/inspect them, but shouldn't be a problem.
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