• Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

  • 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 daybeers
I know a lot is involved in turning a train, but I have an inkling that, in true Amtrak fashion, the way it's done is very inefficient. I could be way off the mark here though, so please correct me if otherwise. What really gets me is the idling of the locomotives while laying over! An absolutely terrible contributor to pollution.
  by ApproachMedium
If locomotive does not have a standby hotstart, its not a good idea to shut them down. When you restart an engine that big if it has cooled down you need to wait quite a while before you can put it under full loading again. All of the genesis has autostart, but even with auto start when the engine is shut down the cars wont have lighting or HVAC. That is where you need ground power, if the layover facility does not have wayside power then again, you wont be shutting the train down. In order for it to be cleaned and inspected for the next trip.

They probably only have one coach cleaner for the entire train, to save on costs. This probably takes a while. Even in the high speed rail building in NY amtrak employs one coach cleaner per car which takes about an hour to clean top to bottom at the least. On a turnaround clean like in DC takes about 20 minutes to garbage a set, freshen restrooms and turn seats. I am not sure whats involved and how anything works out west there as i have never been there before.
  by daybeers
So basically, there isn't enough time from when the crew starts to when the train needs to move for the engine to warm up and for the cars to be at a comfortable temperature?

I know this isn't Amtrak, but I recently learned the Genesis units owned by CT DOT for use on the Danbury Branch of Metro-North's New Haven Line run all day and night, even though it seems like the Danbury Railway Museum (where they lay over) has ground power.
  by Backshophoss
ConnDOT didn't install Ground power at Danbury,the HEP was Gen-set on the FL-9's,not sure if MN or ConnDOT have bothered to
install Ground Power in the MN yard there after the P32's took over.

Hopefully Portland and Seattle have ground power in their yards.
Eugene is a parttime turn around point,might have a contract cleaning crew to service the set laying over.
Not sure if VIA installed a ground power plug in for Amtrak to use at Vancouver BC.
  by ApproachMedium
You can have all the ground power you want, if the locomotive does not have a functional hotstart, using the ground power is only useful to not run the HEP all night on the diesel. you can connect the cars but the engine must still run so that mechanics can do their inspections and keep the train air up to do brake tests etc. Another thing all the buffs and the armchair train schedulers seem to forget is that diesel locomotives just have water. No anti freeze. So they cannot be shut down under 40 degrees out unless unit has a hotstart. You also cant shut them down right away after they have made a run because the water pumps need to circulate the coolants to cool the entire engine down or major damage can occur. Esp on locomotives that are turbocharged. usually a 20-30 minute cool down time after a run is required. For engines with autostart this is not a problem as the autostart will constantly monitor engine variables and start/stop the engine and continue to waste fuel anyways trying to keep the system satisfied.

And yes, it does take a while to warm a diesel motor up. GEs if the engine temps are too cold the max load will be limited accordingly and full notching will also be limited. Cars do take a while to cool down/warm up if they have been off power for a while. It is against almost every railroads safety rules for car cleaners to work on a train with no working lights and HVAC, also it makes it very difficult because the toilets will not flush and sinks will not work without air/HEP. In the winter time a car thats been left cold standing in under 32 degree weather can take up to 5 hours to reach comfortable interior temps. In weather over 80 degrees esp high humidity a car interior can take 2 hours to fully cool the interior without any passengers inside before it will maintain comfortable temps with passengers inside If you start up A/C on a hot car with nobody inside, it might feel cool pretty quickly but in order for it to be fully satisfied and be able to withstand doors being opened and hot sweaty bodys added to the interior it needs to already itself be fully cooled down. Anybody whos been on NJ Transit Arrow cars that have sat all day laying over in the Pullman yard or all day in Sunnyside will know all too well what this is like. You feel the cold air coming out, but you sweat all the way from NY to trenton because the cars air conditioning does not start until the operator puts the control plug in to move the train. So from a half hour after its parked to when it finally gets moved again theres NO AC keeping the cars cool. Not even fans to circulate the air inside.
  by mtuandrew
One of the few advantages of gensets is that they don’t generally need hot-start systems; their diesels come with 50/50 antifreeze. I’m not familiar with whether auxiliary HEP engines could do the same role on locomotives so equipped, but I’m guessing it would be rather more complex and less cost-effective than installing a hot-start. (Otherwise you’re stuck building a heated barn like in Brunswick ME.)
  by ApproachMedium
No, a hot start is a small unit that goes inside the main engine area. They run off the 480V wayside. A lot of engines with an Aux HEP motor use this hot start system to keep the main engine ready while providing HEP to the cars. Adding such an extra engine to the GE is not an option. Most of them have a hot start system the question is, does it work. It has 3 pump motors inside to circulate coolant, oil and fuel.
  by WashingtonPark
Shouldn't the intricacies of Gen-sets and hot-start systems be in some other topic than Cascade Wreck 18 December 17?
  by daybeers
Backshophoss wrote:ConnDOT didn't install Ground power at Danbury,the HEP was Gen-set on the FL-9's,not sure if MN or ConnDOT have bothered to
install Ground Power in the MN yard there after the P32's took over.
Well the front of the P32 was definitely plugged into a wayside something coming out of the ballast.
  by John_Perkowski
Here is the search page for all data related to the accident

https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/hitl ... BF08A9B2D9" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Vincent
It looks like the end may be near for the Talgo VI trainsets if WSDOT and Amtrak follow the recommendations of the NTSB.
Recommendation 11 from the report:
Discontinue the use of the Talgo Series VI trainsets as soon as possible and replace them with passenger railroad equipment that meet all current United States safety requirements.
The Talgo passenger cars are semi-permanently coupled to each other by a device that has the wheels on the bottom and 2 support posts above that run to the top of the railcar. In the accident at least one coupler separated from the 2 passenger cars it connected. The decoupling resulted in a loss of structural compartmentalization of the passenger cars and contributed to the passenger deaths. The swiveling seats also didn't remain in position which contributed to some of the passenger injuries.

I can't see how WSDOT and Amtrak could continue to operate the Talgos given the findings of the NTSB. I've enjoyed them and hope to have at least a few more trips before they are converted into beer cans.
  by STrRedWolf
The question now is, can Amtrak spare some Viewliners for Cascade duty? After this, the faster they can get rid of the Talgo's, the better.
  by dowlingm
Question for me is whether the 8s can still be operated, and if so that means the Beech Grove trainsets (assuming the door interlock issue can be solved) end up heading west and the 6s get parted out/turned into razor blades.
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