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Trump and Amtrak/Budget cutting funding


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#501 jis

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 10:59 AM

Whatever house supports Amtrak more we cannot get by the fact that Amtrak passenger equipment is stretched to the limit. So the final appropriations bill must provide funds for both rebuilding any remaining wreck repairs and for new cars. With the problems at N-S maybe get some funds for V-2 coaches.

The Siemens Chargers appear to be coming on line in the next few months so funds for freed up P-42 rebuilds that Moorman stated earlier.

Let me repeat one more time so that people understand.... The budget at the level it is being discussed does not break out individual items. There are two grossed up amounts - one for NEC ($235 million of which $6 million is specifically allocated for the NEC Commission and management oversight), and the other for the National Network ($525 million). As for how that is sliced and diced into individual expense items, after NEC surpluses are added to the NEC account, and how Amtrak chooses to reallocate from one account to another, if any, comes later.  So at this level, to talk about "must provide funds for" V2s or Superliners or whatever, is something that can be addressed only after we see Amtrak's proposed budget coming from Amtrak.
 
The President's proposed budget details for DoT has the following specific sentence in it (Page 885 - DoT Appendix):
 
 

The fiscal year 2018 President's Budget proposes to terminate Federal funding for Amtrak's Long Distance services.

 
So, the President actually specifically states that LD trains are not funded in the National Account. NARP's statement is correct. The entire $525 million is restricted for spending on State Supported Corridors and is not to be spent on LD trains.
 
As for NARP's statement:
 
 

—Eliminated $630 million to Amtrak’s long-distance trains, $560 million below FAST Act authorized levels. This budget provides $525 million for the National Network, but targets all funding to the state supported services and other costs, calling for an end to all of Amtrak’s long-distance routes.

 
The $630 million is the difference between the final FY17 amount and the proposed FY18 amount for the National Network account. The $525 million proposed for FY18 is $560 million below the FAST Act Authorization for FY18. And I have quoted the exact text from the budget proposal regarding the last bit in the quote above from NARP.


Edited by jis, 24 May 2017 - 11:01 AM.


#502 neroden

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 11:00 AM

Whatever house supports Amtrak more we cannot get by the fact that Amtrak passenger equipment is stretched to the limit. So the final appropriations bill must provide funds for both rebuilding any remaining wreck repairs and for new cars. With the problems at N-S maybe get some funds for V-2 coaches.

The Siemens Chargers appear to be coming on line in the next few months so funds for freed up P-42 rebuilds that Moorman stated earlier.

Ugh. Rather than P-42 rebuilds, please get us some long-distance Chargers.

 

The diesel emissions alone.... the P-42s are subject to "Tier 1" or in some cases "Tier 0" standards.  Any new locomotive, such as the Chargers, is subject to Tier 4 standards.   It's not really clear to me how the very complex grandfathering provisions work -- it looks like upgrades would be required during a significant rebuild -- but even if rebuilds are allowed to continue spewing pollution, it's not really a good *idea*. Using modern, lower-emissions locomotives will definitely be more popular with *everyone* -- it may indeed mean more votes for Amtrak.


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#503 jis

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 11:24 AM

BTW here is the place where you can find the details of the proposed DoT budget - specially for those that are suffering from OCD or something like that :) Mind you I would probably be a candidate myself since I have at least skimmed through the entire thing once. :P
 
https://www.whitehou.../fy2018/dot.pdf
 

Amtrak has to stop doing penny-wise pound-foolish things like the disruption to Auto Train service quality which has led to a crash in ridership. And its passenger car suppliers have to actually make and deliver cars on time. But if Amtrak can avoid that kind of incompetence, having a large lump sum next year and less the year after is actually a *good* situation for Amtrak.

Yup. But most unfortunately a large lump sum in FY18 is highly unlikely since there are much bigger fish getting their fins and tails (and sometimes even heads) lopped off on the non-defense discretionary side. Amtrak is reeeeaally a rather small fry.

 

We should consider ourselves in incredibly good shape if the unlikely eventuality of getting full FAST appropriation comes to pass.


Edited by jis, 24 May 2017 - 11:54 AM.


#504 A Voice

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:06 PM

BTW here is the place where you can find the details of the proposed DoT budget - specially for those that are suffering from OCD or something like that :) Mind you I would probably be a candidate myself since I have at least skimmed through the entire thing once. :P

 

https://www.whitehou.../fy2018/dot.pdf

 

Thanks for the link.  The specific clause about funding for long-distance services is troubling, but of course that is a very minor point to address in the coming budget discussions; Much more important is the total budget numbers for Amtrak, which is what will preserve the system or actually allow future progress.  NARP's erroneous or misleading statements can probably be explained simply by the fact they are just now uncovering the facts themselves, but when people will (over) analyze every word of your statement you need to be accurate.  

 

I'd still like to know what someone thinks is included in the $525 million for state supported routes.  There are costs borne by Amtrak in operating state supported services, but absent any long-distance service it doesn't equal half a billion (of course, there are greater overhead and other costs than the proposed Northeast corridor budget).  In fairness, however, as you note we are still talking in generalities and it is almost certain the budget authors themselves do not fully comprehend the implications of the numbers they have proposed.  A total of the national network and Northeast Corridor figures is an unworkable budget for Amtrak regardless.  



#505 west point

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:12 PM

Ugh. Rather than P-42 rebuilds, please get us some long-distance Chargers.
 
Using modern, lower-emissions locomotives will definitely be more popular with *everyone* -- it may indeed mean more votes for Amtrak.


We rather agree but just using Moorman's statement that he is considering a 10 year program for rebuilding. The biggest problem we see is not rebuilding to AC traction. Now if Moorman can get NS to rebuild P-42s to AC ?? Believe Moorman is just looking at economics of rebuilding instead of new LD Chargers.

#506 A Voice

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:35 PM

 

Whatever house supports Amtrak more we cannot get by the fact that Amtrak passenger equipment is stretched to the limit. So the final appropriations bill must provide funds for both rebuilding any remaining wreck repairs and for new cars. With the problems at N-S maybe get some funds for V-2 coaches.

The Siemens Chargers appear to be coming on line in the next few months so funds for freed up P-42 rebuilds that Moorman stated earlier.

Ugh. Rather than P-42 rebuilds, please get us some long-distance Chargers.

 

The diesel emissions alone.... the P-42s are subject to "Tier 1" or in some cases "Tier 0" standards.  Any new locomotive, such as the Chargers, is subject to Tier 4 standards.   It's not really clear to me how the very complex grandfathering provisions work -- it looks like upgrades would be required during a significant rebuild -- but even if rebuilds are allowed to continue spewing pollution, it's not really a good *idea*. Using modern, lower-emissions locomotives will definitely be more popular with *everyone* -- it may indeed mean more votes for Amtrak.

 

 

It is really off topic for a Congressional budget discussion (such decisions are internal to Amtrak), but Amtrak has about 204 P-42 locomotives (I believe three are off-roster?) available for rebuilding (plus some F-59 and P-40 units).  This is a very, very tiny number - so tiny as to be insignificant - of the tens of thousands of freight units around the country.  Amtrak could maintain them so poorly them smoke like an Alco and it really wouldn't make a bit of difference in the larger scheme of things.  

 

Both the EMD F-125 and Siemens Charger are new, expensive, and require the use of urea, which a rebuilt P-42 would not.  I'd really rather see Amtrak wait a few years and see what experience Metrolink and the Midwest states have with their respective locomotives before ordering new units.  



#507 jis

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:49 PM

NARP's erroneous or misleading statements can probably be explained simply by the fact they are just now uncovering the facts themselves, but when people will (over) analyze every word of your statement you need to be accurate.

Since I do not see any error in NARP's statement I am afraid you will need to explain what is erroneous in it, to my dumbness perhaps. In my reading of it, they are completely accurate.It would have been even clearer if they had included the FAST authorization number for FY18, and the actual appropriation for FY17.


Edited by jis, 24 May 2017 - 12:52 PM.


#508 Acela150

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 08:28 PM

I see no cause for being upset just yet.  The White House only proposes and in the case of the 2018 federal budget it looks like the arch conservatives got their way at that end. However, the budget and appropriations are set by the congress. I doubt if passenger rail will disappear. It would be political suicide if LD Amtrak service was eliminated, and congress knows it!

 

Dennis, You clearly missed my post from yesterday.. Many GOP members are quoted as saying that our redheaded troll's budget won't go anywhere but the garbage can. 

 

 

Whatever house supports Amtrak more we cannot get by the fact that Amtrak passenger equipment is stretched to the limit. So the final appropriations bill must provide funds for both rebuilding any remaining wreck repairs and for new cars. With the problems at N-S maybe get some funds for V-2 coaches.

The Siemens Chargers appear to be coming on line in the next few months so funds for freed up P-42 rebuilds that Moorman stated earlier.

Ugh. Rather than P-42 rebuilds, please get us some long-distance Chargers.

 

The diesel emissions alone.... the P-42s are subject to "Tier 1" or in some cases "Tier 0" standards.  Any new locomotive, such as the Chargers, is subject to Tier 4 standards.   It's not really clear to me how the very complex grandfathering provisions work -- it looks like upgrades would be required during a significant rebuild -- but even if rebuilds are allowed to continue spewing pollution, it's not really a good *idea*. Using modern, lower-emissions locomotives will definitely be more popular with *everyone* -- it may indeed mean more votes for Amtrak.

 

 

While I like Wick. This is one place where he is going wrong and extremely wrong at that. While as head of NS at least 2 major rebuild programs started and one of them was completed and that one has been the most successful. Their was the SD40E program. Which took SD50's and completely rebuilt them to the SD40E, which is by far the best rebuild NS has. I had a 40E on more then one occasion and they were a great unit. Mostly cause their aren't a lot of computers in them. Still in progress is the SD60E program. Which is rebuilding Standard Cab SD60's with new cabs, and much more. The only good thing outside of the heating and A/C on them is the Dynamic braking. Which will turn crappy over a few years of use. My main problem with the 60E's is that to have a conversation with you Engineer or Conductor you almost have to yell across the cab. They are very loud. 

 

The P42's are not good candidates for rebuild as it would take years to rebuild all of them. As of now according to OTOL their are 193 active P42's with several stored. The rebuild process would take to long and the failure rate would skyrocket. I could also see several units completely dying off completely. And by that point in time it would be way to late to order new units and have them built, tested, and accepted for service. 

 

The problem here is that Wick doesn't fully understand the power shortage that Amtrak has in the Diesel fleet and is still thinking with a Freight RR mentality here and there. 


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#509 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:02 AM

I don't know why people think defunding Amtrak would be political suicide for the defunding parties, given that as far as I can tell those parties are in areas where less than half the people are even aware of Amtrak's existence beyond occasional ranting about its wastefulness.

Amtrak's political value is as a tempest in a teapot.
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#510 neroden

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 10:29 AM

 


We rather agree but just using Moorman's statement that he is considering a 10 year program for rebuilding. The biggest problem we see is not rebuilding to AC traction. Now if Moorman can get NS to rebuild P-42s to AC ?? Believe Moorman is just looking at economics of rebuilding instead of new LD Chargers.

 

The economics of rebuilding is nasty because if they change enough parts they probably qualify as "remanufactured" and have to be upgraded to Tier 4 emissions standards.  (I may have forgotten to mention this aspect earlier, but it mitigates strongly *against* rebuilding.)  It is easier to buy a locomotive which already complies than to retrofit an over-30-year-old design.

 

Amtrak should get at least some of the Siemens options.  They exist, they're being accepted, they work.  They'll allow more of the old P-42s to be turned into spare parts collections to keep the remaining ones running *without* having to upgrade them to current code.

 

(If the mods are bored maybe we can split this off into a separate discussion... I hadn't heard of the idiotic idea of repowering P-42s before.  It would be an extremely stupid thing to do, having to design a new Tier 4 compliant system from scratch and stuff it into the P-42 body, when they could buy off the shelf from Siemens or EMD.)


Edited by neroden, 26 May 2017 - 10:32 AM.

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#511 jis

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 11:02 AM

Some folks have the motto: "Never do the simple cost effective thing when you can figure out an expensive Rube Goldberg scheme to achieve less" :P



#512 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 11:13 AM

Isn't that the corporate mission statement of NJTransit?
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#513 John Bredin

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 01:04 PM

I don't know why people think defunding Amtrak would be political suicide for the defunding parties, given that as far as I can tell those parties are in areas where less than half the people are even aware of Amtrak's existence beyond occasional ranting about its wastefulness.

Amtrak's political value is as a tempest in a teapot.

Eppur si muove.  :)

 

"Political suicide" is overly optimistic, of course, but somebody in Congress had to expend some level of political capital for Amtrak to have survived various budget proposals over the years to slash or zero out its federal funding.



#514 A Voice

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 01:16 PM

 

 


We rather agree but just using Moorman's statement that he is considering a 10 year program for rebuilding. The biggest problem we see is not rebuilding to AC traction. Now if Moorman can get NS to rebuild P-42s to AC ?? Believe Moorman is just looking at economics of rebuilding instead of new LD Chargers.

 

The economics of rebuilding is nasty because if they change enough parts they probably qualify as "remanufactured" and have to be upgraded to Tier 4 emissions standards.  (I may have forgotten to mention this aspect earlier, but it mitigates strongly *against* rebuilding.)  It is easier to buy a locomotive which already complies than to retrofit an over-30-year-old design.

 

Amtrak should get at least some of the Siemens options.  They exist, they're being accepted, they work.  They'll allow more of the old P-42s to be turned into spare parts collections to keep the remaining ones running *without* having to upgrade them to current code.

 

(If the mods are bored maybe we can split this off into a separate discussion... I hadn't heard of the idiotic idea of repowering P-42s before.  It would be an extremely stupid thing to do, having to design a new Tier 4 compliant system from scratch and stuff it into the P-42 body, when they could buy off the shelf from Siemens or EMD.)

 

 

I'd second (or third) the motion to branch this discussion off into its own thread.  Whether you think locomotive rebuilds are a good idea or the worst thing ever, it is still an interesting discussion (especially as Amtrak has apparently at least considered this).  

 

Are you certain that remanufactured (or even repowered) locomotives have to meet current (tier-4) emissions standards?  That wasn't my understanding, though I could very easily be wrong and welcome corrections.  The initial sources I just checked, below, seem to indicate that Amtrak's P-42 locomotives - all built 2001 or earlier - would only need to meet tier 1 standards.  

 

Tier 0-2 standards apply to existing locomotives of the indicated manufacture years (MY) at the time they are remanufactured, beginning from the effective date. Tier 3-4 standards apply to locomotives of the indicated manufacture years at the time they are newly built or remanufactured.

Table 3
Line-Haul Locomotive Emission Standards, g/bhp·hr Tier MY Date HC CO NOx PM Tier 0a 1973-1992c 2010d 1.00 5.0 8.0 0.22 Tier 1a 1993c-2004 2010d 0.55 2.2 7.4 0.22 Tier 2a 2005-2011 2010d 0.30 1.5 5.5 0.10e Tier 3b 2012-2014 2012 0.30 1.5 5.5 0.10 Tier 4 2015 or later 2015 0.14f 1.5 1.3f 0.03  

 

 

Source:  https://www.dieselne...rds/us/loco.php

 

 

Some folks have the motto: "Never do the simple cost effective thing when you can figure out an expensive Rube Goldberg scheme to achieve less" :P

 

Sometimes the rebuild option is the simpler and most cost effective solution.  Not every rebuild project is overly complicated and produces inferior results.  Railroad history is in fact littered with design and engineering failures for both new (HHP-8, SDP-40F) and rebuilt power (Sulzer repowered SD-45's).  But there have also been remarkably successful rebuild programs (AEM-7AC, CF-7).  

 

Whichever form a potential P-42 rebuilt might take remains to be seen.  I am not necessarily saying that remanufacture is the way to go for Amtrak (you'd still need new power within the next decade, at most), but recall that this was also suggested for the (even older) electric fleet, prior to the ACS-64 contract.  While it is just speculation, I would have expected Amtrak to pursue an engine solution which does not require exhaust aftertreatment, as the freight roads have done.  Just thinking out loud, but I don't suppose there is any way to shoehorn a 1010 prime mover into the F-125 carbody?   :unsure:

 

Isn't that the corporate mission statement of NJTransit?

 

It is for many corporations and industries.  For government you need a new word.   :)


Edited by A Voice, 26 May 2017 - 01:20 PM.


#515 jis

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 01:34 PM

Yeah. People still want to rebuild the GG-1 if not the DD-1 :D



#516 A Voice

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 01:40 PM

Yeah. People still want to rebuild the GG-1 if not the DD-1 :D

 

Hey, if only MILW hadn't scrapped the box cab electrics, Brightline could have been electrified.....   :)



#517 Rover

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:18 PM

So far the administration has offered few details on its infrastructure proposals, aside from a six-page fact sheet it slipped into its 2018 budget proposal last month.

 

President Donald Trump will kick off the week Monday in the Oval Office by rolling out legislative principles encouraging Congress to split air traffic control away from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under a private, non-governmental entity – a controversial idea that has run into flak from lawmakers of both parties and sectors of the aviation industry itself.

 

On Wednesday, he'll travel to Ohio and Kentucky for a speech that touches on waterways and rural America, followed by a Thursday meeting in the White House with mayors and governors and a Friday address at the Department of Transportation.

 

In outlining its FAA principles, the administration will also propose changes in the way it pays for much of the national aviation system, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said

 

The White House will host a bipartisan group of governors and mayors to talk about infrastructure on Thursday, and on Friday, June 9th Trump will give a speech at DOT on overhauling regulations around roads and rail, with a focus on changes to the permitting process for those projects.

 

“Time is money," Cohn said. "The cost of infrastructure goes up dramatically as time goes on in the approval process."

 

http://www.politico....tructure-239098


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