• MARC buys VRE Kawaski cars

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by HokieNav
 
I recall reading somewhere that was where they were going. As biased as I am towards the Penn line, I think that the Brunswick line probably needs them the greatest to increase capacity.

7856 was sitting dead on track 8 (?) for 3-4 days last week or the week before, I see them around every once in a while.
  by HokieNav
 
More new cars on the storage tracks at WAS this morning.

Trailer cars: 7826, 7828, 7829
Cab Car: 7857

Looks like 5 of 9 trailer cars and 3 of 4 cab cars are ready to roll - just a few months after the "June" that you were told earlier, and 10 months after the original October plan.

Also to answer the question that I raised months ago, the VRE trailer cars will be number consecutively to the original MARC cars (7826 - 7835).
HokieNav wrote: Edit to answer my own question, VRE had 4 cab cars and 9 trailers, so I would expect to see cab cars run 7845-7859 when they're all done and the 9 trailers to be 7826-7835 (or perhaps 7830-7839 if they want to break them out into their own set?).
  by realtype
 
HokieNav wrote:More new cars on the storage tracks at WAS this morning.

Trailer cars: 7826, 7828, 7829
Cab Car: 7857

Looks like 5 of 9 trailer cars and 3 of 4 cab cars are ready to roll - just a few months after the "June" that you were told earlier, and 10 months after the original October plan.

Also to answer the question that I raised months ago, the VRE trailer cars will be number consecutively to the original MARC cars (7826 - 7835).
HokieNav wrote: Edit to answer my own question, VRE had 4 cab cars and 9 trailers, so I would expect to see cab cars run 7845-7859 when they're all done and the 9 trailers to be 7826-7835 (or perhaps 7830-7839 if they want to break them out into their own set?).
Great news! Nearly everyday I get an email alert saying that either a Brunswick or Camden Line train is running one car short. I don't understand how that's possible given that they've already put some of the VRE cars into service, and lengthened one of the gallery car sets.
  by spvanhart
 
I noticed last night that there was only 3 or 4 of the bi-levels in the yard outside Martins, whereas the day before I think there was around 10. So it would appear that finally most of the ex-VRE cars are entering service.
  by realtype
 
Okay, today was my first day back on MARC. I have yet to see one of the new locomotives in person (and it seems everyone else on here has :( ), but there is good news pertaining to the ex-VRE cars. Two MARC sets are using the new K-cars now: the longest set on the Brunswick (874/877 which has been using them for almost a year now) and Camden (849/852) Lines. The Brunswick Line set had 3 gallery cars and 3 ex-VRE Kawasakis (7831, 7833, 785#). The Camden Line set had 1 MARC II single level and 4 ex-VRE Kawasakis (7826, 7828, 7829, 785#) Plus there was a ex-VRE cab car sitting in the yard (785#). I don't remember the exact number of those 3 cab cars (that's the reason for the #), but at least one of them was 7857. Well, that's 8 out of 13, not bad even if it is 10 months late.
  by gp40marc69
 
I was on P849 this morning and rode in 7829. The seats aren't that bad (except the arm rest). The interiors look alot cleaner and more pristine than the MARC cars (Those Virginia folks know how to take care of their equipment). Also, there are a few rebuilt single level cars. I was on 7728? last week and the interior is fully rehabbed. New lighting, new seats, floors, exterior lights. It looks like a brand new car. A few others are rehabbed but I forget the road numbers.
  by realtype
 
gp40marc69 wrote:I was on P849 this morning and rode in 7829. The seats aren't that bad (except the arm rest). The interiors look alot cleaner and more pristine than the MARC cars (Those Virginia folks know how to take care of their equipment). Also, there are a few rebuilt single level cars. I was on 7728? last week and the interior is fully rehabbed. New lighting, new seats, floors, exterior lights. It looks like a brand new car. A few others are rehabbed but I forget the road numbers.
I saw that set again today, and have the definite number on the cab: 7855 along with 7826, 7828, 7829. Trust me the cars weren't all that clean when MARC got them. They were comfortable, but the seats were kind of worn and dirty. There was a rebuilt single level on my train today (893) as well. The interior was brighter than even the Kawasakis, and you could see the tiny light on the side (the one that tells you whether the door was open or not) from a mile away, I sat in the Kawaski though.
  by HokieNav
 
Huzzah!
Penn Line Riders:

MARC is pleased to inform you that the Federal Railroad Administration has approved the 13 bi-level passenger cars acquired last year from VRE for high-speed service on the Penn Line. This approval will allow MARC to replace single level coaches now operating on the Penn Line with these additional bi-level coaches. This will increase capacity and will help relieve some of the crowding that takes place during peak hours. MARC appreciates your patience in recent months and looks forward to implementing this measure that will improve overall customer service. Thank you for riding MARC.





November 5, 2009 3:25 PM
Welcome to second place Brunswick and Camden lines. :)
  by davinp
 
http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/1109/675502.html
HokieNav wrote:Huzzah!
Penn Line Riders:

MARC is pleased to inform you that the Federal Railroad Administration has approved the 13 bi-level passenger cars acquired last year from VRE for high-speed service on the Penn Line. This approval will allow MARC to replace single level coaches now operating on the Penn Line with these additional bi-level coaches. This will increase capacity and will help relieve some of the crowding that takes place during peak hours. MARC appreciates your patience in recent months and looks forward to implementing this measure that will improve overall customer service. Thank you for riding MARC.





November 5, 2009 3:25 PM
Welcome to second place Brunswick and Camden lines. :)
  by dt_rt40
 
now now, let's not make fun of our brunswick and camden line brethren!

seriously though, since these cars were originally designed for those high speeds, and cost more to maintain because of it, the penn line is where they belong. I feel so lucky though. I find the lower floor of a Kawasaki MORE ride-comfortable than amfleet, and equally seat-comfortable if you're not trying to sleep. They have a center armrest after all. They sway a little bit more, but it's a pleasant, 0.3 Hz swaying unlike the much higher frequency wobbles, jerks and hunts of an Amfleet at 120mp. Although, the more I ride the MARC monthly Amtraks the more I notice a minority of amfleet cars, maybe 15%, feel somewhat better, perhaps having had more recent maintenance? But still only on par with the K cars...to ride better than them you have to go Acela!

btw is the double braking system the reason they are so stinky when they stop? why aren't amfleets like that?
  by realtype
 
HokieNav wrote:Huzzah!
Welcome to second place Brunswick and Camden lines. :)
Go ahead and gloat. Just remember who got to ride them first. :wink: They've been on the Brunswick Line (on the Marinsburg Express) since Inaug. Day, and the Camden Line since the summer. I think we'll still see them every so often. Right now there are only 7 in service, because there's only two Camden/Brunswick sets that don't go on the Penn Line during the day. So there should be an overall increase in the number of cars when the rest are put in service.

As a side note it looks like they increased the length of the 513/428 set again. It was 8 cars this morning with an extra cab car as the Quiet Car (powered by HHP-8 4913), along with 411 (which was powered by AEM-7 4901, which I got a photo of andwill post later).

So, 411/530 used to be 7 cars cars and was lenghtened to 8, and 513/428 was originally 6 cars then leghtened to 7 and apparently now 8.
  by realtype
 
Looks like MARC didn't waste any time getting the equipment off the Bruswick Line. On Monday the Martinsburg set was back to 5 of those terrible gallery cars with a single level cab car. That set was the first to get the ex-VRE cars and had had them on since Inauguration Day in January. Feel sorry for the people going to Martinsburg who must have just been getting used to the comfortable seats and ride.

The 5-car Camden Line set still has its 4 bilevels although I think 1 or 2 of them may be the orginal MARC ones. This moring Penn Line train 513 had 6 ex-VRE bilevels, with an original MARC bilevel for the cab car (411 which arrives 5 min earlier had 8 bilevels, all original).
  by realtype
 
Another very interesting and detailed article about the ex-VRE MARC bilevels from Michael Dresser at the Sun, and how the passengers are already starting to dislike them. I'll post the entire thing, cause the Balt. Sun url's expire:
So, if you were a passenger on a commuter train, would you prefer to stand or take an uncomfortable seat?

That was the choice the Maryland Transit Administration had to make on behalf of its MARC riders. It came down on the side of providing more seats on the new double-decker MARC cars the MTA acquired from Virginia Railway Express.

MARC rider Summer Gonter of Baltimore wasn't happy with the result. In an e-mail, she said:

"I've just had the unfortunate experience to ride in what I think may be the new MARC double-decker cars. The seating is awful. It's all molded plastic, and the lush leg room MARC passengers are used to is gone. Individual armrests are gone. Space in general is gone. I was reading a hardback book and barely had room to open it. I could not lift my purse up from the floor without disturbing my seat companion. The aisles appear to be smaller too.

"WHY? WHY? WHY? Are these the cars they bought from VRE? If so, I have no doubts now about why they sold them off. ... But if this is the new trend with MARC seating (were they just new seats in an old car??) then I'm horrified by the direction we're going."

Jack Cahalan, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation, provided the following explanation. With apologies to Cahalan, I've taken the liberty of editing his note for greater brevity.

"The 13 new bi-level cars are identical to 50 already owned by MTA because they were acquired by VRE as part of MTA's contract with the manufacturer. When VRE decided to sell the cars as part of a program to increase the uniformity of its fleet, MTA successfully negotiated to purchase them.

"This was a rare opportunity because the coaches were built to MTA specifications, including the ability to travel at high speeds on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor as well as fit though the B&P Tunnels in Baltimore. MTA made safety and cosmetic improvements so they would match the existing fleet. This work was completed in June 2009, and the cars were placed in service on the Camden and Brunswick lines. MTA could not operate the cars on the Penn Line until they were approved for travel at 125 mph. MTA received this approval on Nov. 1 and immediately began placing the cars in Penn Line train sets. As of Nov. 12 all Penn Line train sets are comprised of bi-level cars. This has added 300 seats each day as well as additional standing room.

"Your reader is correct that the spacing of the rows of seats on the new cars is tighter than the existing fleet. The seats and aisles are the same width. When VRE acquired the cars originally, they requested tighter row spacing, which yields an additional five seats per car compared to the MARC seating configuration. While modifying the new cars for MARC service, MTA did explore the possibility of replacing the seats and installing seating similar to the existing MARC cars. This would have required a different configuration of bolts which would have meant considerable cost and delay getting the cars into service. MTA decided not to make these changes at this time. We will consider reconfiguring the seats when the cars receive their mid-life overhaul in several years. In the meantime riders get the benefit of additional seats."

On the face of it, I'd say MTA made the right call. Of course, I haven't actually occupied the new seats. Here's the test: If you continue to sit in them when there are no other seats to be found, the MTA is right. If they're so bad you'd rather stand, the MTA may have made the wrong call.
...and here I thought I was the only one who found them really uncomfortable. I mean the VRE riders never complained, although they also had those terrible gallery cars. It seems that the MARC riders are catching on quick though. This morining my train had a sinlge level quiet car and 3 bilevels--1 ex-VRE, 2 MARC. I purposely walked through the 1/3 empty VRE bilevel (even though I haven't tried out the new seats yet) to get to the original MARC cars only to find them nearly full.
  by HokieNav
 
While I agree that the seats are less comfortable than the ones originally bought, they're still light years better than sitting 3 wide in a single level, or standing because there aren't enough seats.

People will find anything they can to complain about.

Edit to add: I think that if people were observant enough to realize that there are more seats per car and that these cars (and the return of the AEM-7's) are allowing there to be more cars per train, then they may complain a little less.
  • 1
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9