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Max. speed of Amtrak equipment


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#1 rms492

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 04:47 PM

Hello, in relation to this topic: http://discuss.amtra...r-meteor-speed/, what is the maximum speed permitted for Amtrak's equipment? (NOT track speed, but maximum design use speed)


Superliners
Viewliners
Heritage Fleet
Amfleet I
Amfleet II's
California Cars (San Joaquins/Surfliners)
Horizon's
Auto Train Car Carriers


P40/P42's
P32 Dual Mode (Empire Service)
F59PHI's
AEM7's
HHP-8's
Acela sets
GE 32BWH (Dash 8's)

Thanks, this is useful info to have for all of us.

Edited by rms492, 01 October 2011 - 04:50 PM.


#2 rms492

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 08:38 PM

We were able to dig out our findings: If not correct, let us know.

Equipment maximum design speeds:
Acela – 165 mph
Amfleet – 125 mph
Auto Train (due to auto carriers) – 70 mph
California Cars - 125 mph
Heritage – 110 mph
Superliner – 100 mph
Viewliner – 110 mph

Motive Power:
ACS-64 (February 2013+) – 135 mph
AEM7 – 125 mph
HHP-8 – 125 mph
P32 Dual Mode – 110 mph (60 mph in electric mode)
P40 – 103 mph
P40 (upgraded) – 110 mph
P42 – 110 mph

Edited by rms492, 01 October 2011 - 08:39 PM.


#3 rms492

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 08:39 PM

More/related I found:

Amtrak Top Speeds: 79 mph except for below:

Acela (NY-Boston) – 150 mph
Acela (DC-NY) – 135 mph
Empire Corridor (NY – Albany) – 110 mph
Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia – Harrisburg) – 110 mph
Michigan Corridor (Chicago-Detroit) – 95 mph
Northeast Regional (DC-NY-Boston) – 125 mph
Pacific Surfliner (parts of Southern Orange County/Northern San Diego County) – 90 mph
Southwest Chief (portions of CA, AZ, NM, MO) – 90 mph

#4 afigg

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 10:11 PM

We were able to dig out our findings: If not correct, let us know.
Viewliner – 110 mph

The Viewliner IIs will be capable of 125 mph speeds. The Viewliner I trucks will reportedly be upgraded to 125 mph max speeds, so the LD trains can operate at 125 mph on the NEC.

The specs for the next gen single level and bi-level corridor cars and diesel locomotives all specify 125 mph capability.

#5 Guest_Ziv_*

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 07:09 AM

More/related I found:

Amtrak Top Speeds: 79 mph except for below:

Acela (NY-Boston) – 150 mph
Acela (DC-NY) – 135 mph
Empire Corridor (NY – Albany) – 110 mph
Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia – Harrisburg) – 110 mph
Michigan Corridor (Chicago-Detroit) – 95 mph
Northeast Regional (DC-NY-Boston) – 125 mph
Pacific Surfliner (parts of Southern Orange County/Northern San Diego County) – 90 mph
Southwest Chief (portions of CA, AZ, NM, MO) – 90 mph


Wow! I have been evangelizing about the benefits a healthy passenger railroad system brings to America and how much Positive Train Control will help by increasing the maximum speeds to 95 mph and eventually to 110 mph... And now I find out that The Acela and the Wolverine aren't the only trains that exceed the 79 mph limit! I would never have guessed that the NE Regional has a 125 mph limit. Is this for the portions of the track that are north of NY? I have ridden DC to NY quite a few times and I thought we were moving at 80 mph, tops.
Will PTC actually increase the speeds the trains are moving at, or will the increase in top speed be limited to trains out west and/or generally be used just to make up time after delays? I guess I had hoped that the scheduled times would actually reflect increased speeds and decreased trip times, but if so many lines already have speed limits over 79 mph, then maybe the effects of PTC won't be as noticeable as I thought.
I have doubted that the US has the population density and the common sense required to build a true high speed rail system without breaking the bank, and I had thought that the mid-speed (110-120 mph) rail might be a way to get Americans used to using rail. Finding out that several routes are already using relatively high speed, by American standards, makes me a little less optimistic that 110 mph routes will help us get a better passenger rail system.

#6 AlanB

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:09 AM

Wow! I have been evangelizing about the benefits a healthy passenger railroad system brings to America and how much Positive Train Control will help by increasing the maximum speeds to 95 mph and eventually to 110 mph... And now I find out that The Acela and the Wolverine aren't the only trains that exceed the 79 mph limit! I would never have guessed that the NE Regional has a 125 mph limit. Is this for the portions of the track that are north of NY? I have ridden DC to NY quite a few times and I thought we were moving at 80 mph, tops.


No, the Regionals and even the Metroliners before Acela routinely hit tops speeds of 125 MPH betweeen NY & DC. There are places where they can't go that fast, but there are also several places where they do hit 125.

Will PTC actually increase the speeds the trains are moving at, or will the increase in top speed be limited to trains out west and/or generally be used just to make up time after delays? I guess I had hoped that the scheduled times would actually reflect increased speeds and decreased trip times, but if so many lines already have speed limits over 79 mph, then maybe the effects of PTC won't be as noticeable as I thought.


PTC is only part of the equation. The track must also be maintained to a level that permits faster speeds. I suspect that in most cases, unless Amtrak is given the money to pay the freight RR's, that most RR's will not maintain the tracks to that level.

I have doubted that the US has the population density and the common sense required to build a true high speed rail system without breaking the bank, and I had thought that the mid-speed (110-120 mph) rail might be a way to get Americans used to using rail. Finding out that several routes are already using relatively high speed, by American standards, makes me a little less optimistic that 110 mph routes will help us get a better passenger rail system.


Well part of the problem is that some people don't consider 110 MPH to be high speed and therefore don't consider the success of those trains to be proof that even higher speeds will work. Part of the problem is that most people don't even realize that any trains outside of the NE even run at high or higher speeds. And then of course there are those who just have the attitude that if they won't ride it, then no money should be spent on it.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#7 George Harris

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:36 AM

If the line has a 70 mph freight limit, then the track will permit 90 mph passenger train speeds (FRA track class 5). There are many other things that would prevent 90 mph, such as alignment geometry, grade crossing circuit lengths, operating practicalities, etc.

#8 cirdan

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 07:28 AM

If the line has a 70 mph freight limit, then the track will permit 90 mph passenger train speeds (FRA track class 5). There are many other things that would prevent 90 mph, such as alignment geometry, grade crossing circuit lengths, operating practicalities, etc.


Track capacity is also an issue. A 90mph passenger train will tend to catch up with a 70mph freight and if there isn't a suitable siding available to hold the freight, the passenger train will have to slow down accordingly. If there is a suitable siding, the freight train will have to slow and stop and so lose time. Having a railroad where all trains move at the same speed is so much easier from the scheduling point of view and means you can really put a lot of trains on the line without having to worry about overtaking.

I wonder how the Chicago - St Louis upgrade is going to work, especially seeing the line is and will remain single track.

#9 jis

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:51 AM

I have doubted that the US has the population density and the common sense required to build a true high speed rail system without breaking the bank, and I had thought that the mid-speed (110-120 mph) rail might be a way to get Americans used to using rail. Finding out that several routes are already using relatively high speed, by American standards, makes me a little less optimistic that 110 mph routes will help us get a better passenger rail system.

Actually all of the what you call "relatively high speed" routes at present are capacity restricted because of the lack of available rolling stock, and not ridership restricted, i.e available seats get filled up pretty consistently. So whenever relatively higher speed is provided people do flock to use those routes.

Another characteristic to keep in mind is that generally rail - whether higher speed or not - tends to succeed more in places where it is possible to get to the train stations using public transport, and that is currently lacking in many places in the hinterland these days.

#10 cirdan

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 09:19 AM


I have doubted that the US has the population density and the common sense required to build a true high speed rail system without breaking the bank, and I had thought that the mid-speed (110-120 mph) rail might be a way to get Americans used to using rail. Finding out that several routes are already using relatively high speed, by American standards, makes me a little less optimistic that 110 mph routes will help us get a better passenger rail system.

Actually all of the what you call "relatively high speed" routes at present are capacity restricted because of the lack of available rolling stock, and not ridership restricted, i.e available seats get filled up pretty consistently. So whenever relatively higher speed is provided people do flock to use those routes.


Really? In that case, Amtrak shouldn't be asking for high-speed money but should be asking for money for additional rolling stock.

Another characteristic to keep in mind is that generally rail - whether higher speed or not - tends to succeed more in places where it is possible to get to the train stations using public transport, and that is currently lacking in many places in the hinterland these days.


but on corridors there is more likely to be some public transport connection at all stations (except maybe some very minor ones), whereas out in the sticks on non-corrdor routes there most probably won't be any connection at all unless it happens to be a very large city.

The bigger challenge IMHO is finding out about those connections. The Amtrak website and timetables are usually not too helpful and local transit authority webistes can vary greatly in terms of quality of information.

Edited by cirdan, 03 October 2011 - 09:21 AM.


#11 Anderson

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 09:40 AM


If the line has a 70 mph freight limit, then the track will permit 90 mph passenger train speeds (FRA track class 5). There are many other things that would prevent 90 mph, such as alignment geometry, grade crossing circuit lengths, operating practicalities, etc.


Track capacity is also an issue. A 90mph passenger train will tend to catch up with a 70mph freight and if there isn't a suitable siding available to hold the freight, the passenger train will have to slow down accordingly. If there is a suitable siding, the freight train will have to slow and stop and so lose time. Having a railroad where all trains move at the same speed is so much easier from the scheduling point of view and means you can really put a lot of trains on the line without having to worry about overtaking.

I wonder how the Chicago - St Louis upgrade is going to work, especially seeing the line is and will remain single track.


While they'll tend to catch up over time, I suspect that having to stop for intermediate stations helps make up for that (and explains why CSX doesn't mind 90 MPH trains too badly but does mind 110 MPH). Basically, at 90 MPH you can put an average speed of 60-65 MPH on the timetable on some routes...which is going to be about "on par" with the 60-70 MPH freight trains running with fewer stops in many cases.
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#12 jis

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:03 AM



I have doubted that the US has the population density and the common sense required to build a true high speed rail system without breaking the bank, and I had thought that the mid-speed (110-120 mph) rail might be a way to get Americans used to using rail. Finding out that several routes are already using relatively high speed, by American standards, makes me a little less optimistic that 110 mph routes will help us get a better passenger rail system.

Actually all of the what you call "relatively high speed" routes at present are capacity restricted because of the lack of available rolling stock, and not ridership restricted, i.e available seats get filled up pretty consistently. So whenever relatively higher speed is provided people do flock to use those routes.


Really? In that case, Amtrak shouldn't be asking for high-speed money but should be asking for money for additional rolling stock.

Amtrak has asked for rolling stock money for years and has been ignored by Washington. It has instead gone on to order rolling stock using a loan facility that is provided by the FRA.

A further complication is that there appears to be no consensus on the future of LD trains in Congress, which has caused them to be in a state of paralysis on this matter, like they appear to be paralyzed on most matters these days.

The bigger challenge IMHO is finding out about those connections. The Amtrak website and timetables are usually not too helpful and local transit authority webistes can vary greatly in terms of quality of information.

Yeah, we need to bring the national train timetable and also create city specific booklets with transit connections available at stations. They are avaialable for many cities but are not conveniently available at a single source or website. Perhaps someone with a little time on hand could create a web page pointing to available info for select stations. Keeping it upto date will probably be a bit of a headache though.

Edited by jis, 03 October 2011 - 10:06 AM.


#13 George Harris

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 05:45 PM



If the line has a 70 mph freight limit, then the track will permit 90 mph passenger train speeds (FRA track class 5). There are many other things that would prevent 90 mph, such as alignment geometry, grade crossing circuit lengths, operating practicalities, etc.

Track capacity is also an issue. A 90mph passenger train will tend to catch up with a 70mph freight and if there isn't a suitable siding available to hold the freight, the passenger train will have to slow down accordingly. If there is a suitable siding, the freight train will have to slow and stop and so lose time. Having a railroad where all trains move at the same speed is so much easier from the scheduling point of view and means you can really put a lot of trains on the line without having to worry about overtaking.

I wonder how the Chicago - St Louis upgrade is going to work, especially seeing the line is and will remain single track.

This line was double tracked full length north of Alton in the past. I think the GM&O began removing the second main in the mid to late 50's. Therefore, relatively minimal roadbed should need doing to restore the second track. How much will depend upon erosion, bridge adn culvert replacements that only provide for one track and the probable increase in track centers from the 13.00 feet or thereabouts of the original to something in the 15.00 to 16.00 ft range..

While they'll tend to catch up over time, I suspect that having to stop for intermediate stations helps make up for that (and explains why CSX doesn't mind 90 MPH trains too badly but does mind 110 MPH). Basically, at 90 MPH you can put an average speed of 60-65 MPH on the timetable on some routes...which is going to be about "on par" with the 60-70 MPH freight trains running with fewer stops in many cases.

This is true. Recent example: ABout one month back we went to Fresno by train - from Emeryville. While waiting for our son, we started eharing a horn blowing for crossings. Along comes a southbound freight, one unit and a long string of empty container well cars, that is running the same direction as the Amtrak train that just left, within approximately 10 minutes of the Amtrak train departure. Given dwell time at Fresno of about 5 minutes, that means that it was no more tha 15 minutes behind us, and so far as I know, it was not one we had passed.

#14 amtkstn

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:19 PM

Most lines where Amtrak run trains at 90 MPH, it is on double track. The dispacter routes the fright trains around by flipping Amtrak back and forth across tracks.

#15 gatelouse

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 12:18 AM

Actually all of the what you call "relatively high speed" routes at present are capacity restricted because of the lack of available rolling stock, and not ridership restricted, i.e available seats get filled up pretty consistently. So whenever relatively higher speed is provided people do flock to use those routes.

Another characteristic to keep in mind is that generally rail - whether higher speed or not - tends to succeed more in places where it is possible to get to the train stations using public transport, and that is currently lacking in many places in the hinterland these days.


And consider the fares on the NE Regional service. The only reason these trains don't sell out consistently is because yield management prices the last seats at astronomical levels—up to $150 for DC-NY. There's plenty of sub-100 mph running on the NEC, but if you have frequent departures, competitive travel times, and reasonable transit connections at major stations, then plenty of seats will be sold.
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