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Equipment Order in the works this year (2018)?


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#41 Anderson

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 04:27 AM

For various reasons, I have grave doubts that all this talk about the breaking up of the LD intercity network will come to pass. Mr. Anderson will be very hard pressed to explain to his 500+ proxy owners that such a move is consistent with Amtrak's mission, and I suspect he is unlikely to throw a hissy fit over such a matter, even assuming that he believes that a trunk system is undesireable.

 

For those that like to hark back to his Delta and Northwest days trying to decipher him, he never harmed Delta's or Northwest's trunk network. Indeed he strengthened them.

So, a few thoughts based on the discussions I've seen/heard:

(1) The mention of MU sets does not necessarily foreshadow the use of MUs on Amtrak.  What I think it /does/ foreshadow is the use of semi-fixed consists in a few forms on corridor trains.  In terms of slamming out an RFP on the timeline he's talking about, I have to suspect that means hopping on the Brightliner wagon, especially since he's already going to be stuck operating a bunch of those in the Midwest and CA...but by the same token, there are probably Alstom and/or Talgo choices to be had as well.  I suspect that N-S will be effectively hard-barred from any orders on account of the MSBL fiasco.

(2) With (1) in mind, I do see an opening to do something involving splitting/combining trains at Philly.  Were the equipment available, I wonder if it would be practical to combine most WAS-NYP Regionals with a Keystone set out of New York (since IIRC load factors are quite high PHL-NYP), running (for example) a few more 6-car Regionals to Washington while a 4-5 car Keystone would split off at Philly and head for Harrisburg?  Likewise, I can definitely see a case for DMUs for service into VA...one big constraint has been that VA can not send a train out to LYH/ROA, NPN, or NFK within about 30-40 minutes of sending a train to either of the others.

(3) My read, possibly overly optimistic, is that Anderson is going to go in front of Congress and basically say "Look, I'm overstretched on LD equipment as it is.  You're telling me to restore the Sunset East, among other things [1], I need a massive overhaul of the Superliners [2], and as it stands my Western trains are too short and my pricing model is a complete disaster area [3].  In the not-too-long term, I cannot perform this mission with the equipment and facilities I have.  So, here are two options: One, I don't get an LD equipment order and I knock the following routes below daily service.  Two, I get a major LD equipment order so that I can enhance the existing routes and add the ones you want me to add."  It's a variation on the Washington Monument approach [4], but there is a painful amount of validity to it: I know we've had lurking concerns about equipment counts, and for as long as I can tell a lot of the need for more LD equipment comes down to a mix of "These trains are a bit too short, particularly on the sleeper side" and "The equipment is old and in bad shape".

(4) As an adjunct to (3), I think he's going to have a lot of trouble justifying cutting trains when they just gave him an extra $150m for the National Network even aside from the PTC money.  The only way that really starts making sense is if he points to a lurking equipment crisis.  If he tried cutting LD trains with that appropriation in place and without a justification other than safety or equipment shortages or something like that, the term "impoundment" comes to mind.

(5) Given that I've heard the same model repeated from virtually everyone within a light-year of the private sector, as well as from Bud Shuster once upon a time, I have to suspect that Anderson will overall be looking at a "fast, frequent service" model wherever he can implement it.


[1] There's also the agitation for an extended Heartland Flyer, the eternal NCH project, the Cap-Pennsylvanian through cars, the Daily Sunset, any Daily Cardinal, etc.  Not all of these require Superliners.
[2] Let's face it, many of us have stories of Superliners falling apart.
[3] Compare, for example, the differential in cost between coach and sleeper products on the Caledonian sleeper or...well, almost any respectable operation in Europe.  Also compare car counts in most of those cases.  Even accepting that sections and couchettes are a non-starter in the US...well, take the new Caledonian sets (four sets of 18 cars each, albeit with splits in both trains to serve most of Scotland with two daily departures from London).
[4] And a lot more direct than Boardman's passive-aggressive approach to Congress of "Tell me what you want".


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Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#42 west point

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 04:45 AM

There seems to continue to be a misconception about Amfleet cars.  Although AM-1s are older the AM-2s have almost twice the mileage that AM-1s do.  The one exception is AM-1 lounges have received about the same mileages as AM-2s due to lounges run on LD trains.  The published Amtrak fleet plans all mention the need to replace AM-2s first.  The AM-2s could then be refurbished into supplementing AM-1 routes during surge  load times ?



#43 Anderson

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 05:58 AM

I think there's a sort of bottom line that both of them need to be replaced sooner rather than later.  Remember, if you replace Amfleet 1s you can turn around and refit a bunch of Amfleet 1s in a near-LD configuration and run those on an LD train with a memo being issued to primarily use them in higher load factor parts of a route.  What is being "replaced" isn't always what is actually being taken out of service.

It might also be easier to do a refit/rebuild on 120-ish Amfleet 2 cars while replacing 500-ish Amfleet 1 cars and tackle the Amfleet 2s later, for various reasons.


Edited by Anderson, 07 April 2018 - 05:59 AM.

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Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#44 PVD

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 07:05 AM

If the N-S multistate acquisition hadn't gone into the tank, we would have started to see a big chunk of cars to work with for refurb or repurposing and responding to peaks in a less pressured schedule of work or acquisition.. And if CAF wasn't 2 years behind, single level sleeper space would be much improved as well. A converted CONO or CL would free up a small number of SL sleepers that are also sorely needed. 



#45 MARC Rider

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 07:19 AM

 

 

 

On the NEC for a service like the Keystone, probably EMUs make a lot of sense.

 

 

 

Back in the good old days )1970s) the Keystone service WAS EMU's (Silverliners).  They only ran between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.  I think they ran some Metroliner EMU sets for a while in the early 1980s, too.  And back in the days of the Penn Central, I remember riding Silverliners on some Clocker service between New York and Philadelphia.  I didn't fully appreciate it as I preferred a little more legroom and a reclining seat for a 2-hour trip.



#46 Palmland

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 07:43 AM

I don’t think the use of DMU’s precludes comfortable seating arrangements. The original DMU, Budd’s RDC cars, were quite comfortable and were used on B&O’s Daylight Speedliner service in the 50’s for the 330 miles from Baltimore to Pittsburgh - complete with its ‘refreshment diner’ section. But those engines were loud when accelerating!

I suspect Anderson is thinking of a DMU version of Europe’s HSR trains that are double ended eliminating turning at destinations (and switching expense) but are very comfortable with good food served in the cafe car, not to mention the rolling cart service offering free coffee, water, or wine and snacks (in 1st class-Italy). This off course addressees one of his goals: improve equipment utilization to better provide multiple frequencies on corridor services.
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#47 Seaboard92

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:31 AM

Honestly I could see a lot of good reason to order DMU or some sort of DMU-EMU combination for the NEC. Instead of running a service each to Newport News, Norfolk, and Roanoke. One could use a four car DMU for the service and combine all of them in Washington for the trip north where 12 cars could be useful.

To further make that better could even split one section off at any point like Philadelphia for Harrisburg, New York for Albany, and Nee Haven for Springfield/Inland Route. So DMUs make a lot of sense for the corridor.
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#48 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:50 AM

Honestly I could see a lot of good reason to order DMU or some sort of DMU-EMU combination for the NEC. Instead of running a service each to Newport News, Norfolk, and Roanoke. One could use a four car DMU for the service and combine all of them in Washington for the trip north where 12 cars could be useful.

To further make that better could even split one section off at any point like Philadelphia for Harrisburg, New York for Albany, and Nee Haven for Springfield/Inland Route. So DMUs make a lot of sense for the corridor.

How would they use the ACS-64s then? Is it possible that MBTA would have an interest in them?
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#49 Blackwolf

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:57 AM

 

Honestly I could see a lot of good reason to order DMU or some sort of DMU-EMU combination for the NEC. Instead of running a service each to Newport News, Norfolk, and Roanoke. One could use a four car DMU for the service and combine all of them in Washington for the trip north where 12 cars could be useful.

To further make that better could even split one section off at any point like Philadelphia for Harrisburg, New York for Albany, and Nee Haven for Springfield/Inland Route. So DMUs make a lot of sense for the corridor.

How would they use the ACS-64s then? Is it possible that MBTA would have an interest in them?

 

Nothing says a DMU can't be used independently for one section, then be connected to traditional cars as part of a consist and be pulled unpowered by a locomotive.


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#50 Anderson

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 08:10 PM

I don’t think the use of DMU’s precludes comfortable seating arrangements. The original DMU, Budd’s RDC cars, were quite comfortable and were used on B&O’s Daylight Speedliner service in the 50’s for the 330 miles from Baltimore to Pittsburgh - complete with its ‘refreshment diner’ section. But those engines were loud when accelerating!

I suspect Anderson is thinking of a DMU version of Europe’s HSR trains that are double ended eliminating turning at destinations (and switching expense) but are very comfortable with good food served in the cafe car, not to mention the rolling cart service offering free coffee, water, or wine and snacks (in 1st class-Italy). This off course addressees one of his goals: improve equipment utilization to better provide multiple frequencies on corridor services.

For the moment, allow for the fact that car lengths might not be the same as an Amfleet (witness the Acela IIs), but I could see a setup where you have two six-car MUs (the cars being slightly shorter than the current US standard) that are laid out something like this (front to back):
-Locomotive
-Business Class

-Cafe/coach (minimal cafe seating)
-Coach
-Coach
-Coach
-Coach/Cab

-Coach/Cab
-Coach
-Coach
-Coach
-Cafe/coach (minimal cafe seating)
-Business Class

-Locomotive

Now, the first six might have a separate train number than the last six, and the set can be split, but I think this sort of equipment setup (with two six-car modular units) would work.

Something else to consider is that if the cars are permanently linked (or at least are in married pairs) is that you might not need an ADA restroom in every "car", just in every pair, while you could set ADA seats together by said restrooms .  Between that and reducing "actual" vestibule space, there's a good chance you can flog a reasonable amount of extra seating out of car sets.


Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#51 Thirdrail7

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 08:41 PM

I'd like to advise the blurb Jis (and other posters on various sites) posted was basically a short, recap of a much longer conversation.  His hopes, wishes and dreams were spelled out quite clearly, not that I think some of it is actually feasible (but I'm no equipment expert.) It tied in with various themes from state supported services, outlying terminals, run through service and state partnerships to future Amtrak growth, fixed sets, and other business items that may be impacted by such a purchase (after all, it is hard to put a private car on a train with an engine on each end, right?) :ph34r: 

 

It would be advisable to actually wait a few more months, see what other things shape up (or get cut back), and wait for the actually RFI to emerge. Between Anderson, Affigatt and Neroden, we'll have that information as soon as it is available.


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They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#52 Anderson

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:59 PM

Is there a more complete version to be had out there?

(I am hopeful that Anderson (the CEO, not me) will be able to at least push the RFI/RFP process along a little bit more aggressively than we've seen in the past.)


Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#53 looshi

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 10:41 PM

One thing that struck me in the conversation that Thirdrail mentioned was that he talked very negativity about the Brightline cars specifically, and individual cars with locomotive-hauled trains were not the future of passenger railroads.

#54 Anderson

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 11:07 PM

I'm rather surprised by that...those were some of the best coaches I've ridden in.


Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#55 PVD

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 07:43 AM

TR7 makes a very important point about state acquired equipment. In the reports from the NGEC meeting, it was indicated that NYS (for MNRR) was interested in a P32-DM replacement, with the possibility of Amtrak joining for the Empire Corridor. If Empire stays locomotive hauled, it lowers the number of potential DMU/DEMU units to be used across the system considerably, which usually raises per unit cost. If someone else is paying for it, even something that may be sub optimal in your eyes, is what you usually agree to. I always remember when I was working in Manhattan some years back with my not so state of the art cellphone in hand, and on every block someone would run up and hand you a flyer and say " I can give you a better phone and save you money too!" answer "I'm sorry, I have the my boss pays for it plan, no one beats that"


Edited by PVD, 08 April 2018 - 12:35 PM.


#56 CraigDK

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 10:54 AM

One thing that struck me in the conversation that Thirdrail mentioned was that he talked very negativity about the Brightline cars specifically, and individual cars with locomotive-hauled trains were not the future of passenger railroads.

 

Where did Thirdrail mention that?



#57 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 11:08 AM

 

One thing that struck me in the conversation that Thirdrail mentioned was that he talked very negativity about the Brightline cars specifically, and individual cars with locomotive-hauled trains were not the future of passenger railroads.

 

Where did Thirdrail mention that?

 

Maybe looshi was at the meeting where Anderson was talking and heard it for him/her self.


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#58 jis

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 11:46 AM

Railroads that manage their trains as a set of individual cars are certainly much harder to manage than one with half a dozen types if fixed consists. That of course has nothing to do with what the cars in the consist look like inside or how they are manufactured. Also notice that managing a system with a small number of types of fixed consist is more like managing an airline, so Anderson may understand better and feel more comfortable with such. Both DEMUs and EMUs in semi-articulated form as found in many places elsewhere fits the bill. And yes, as Thirdrail mentioned, that will pretty much mean the end of towing PVs. The airlines do not tow private gliders around either.

 

Specifically as for Amfleet I replacements, which have mainly to do with the NEC, it would not surprise me if he goes 100% DEMU/EMU for the NEC segment of Amfleet I usage, though he would have a bit of 'splainin to do regarding the ACS-64s. It is entirely possible that the ACS-64s can simply be converted to power heads a-la the Brightline style power heads. I doubt that he specifically cares about concentrated vs. distributed power in each semi-articulated consist.

 

I don't think he will get around to changing much in the State run corridor service, except for States that depend almost completely on Amtrak supplied equipment. And it would be very interesting to see how the Intercity LD network is handled.

 

All wild-assed speculations on my part of course based on third hand information from a meeting that only the Amtrak employees amongst us were at.


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Edited by jis, 08 April 2018 - 12:02 PM.

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#59 jis

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 03:35 PM

BTW Anderson may not be alone. It looks like Indian Railways is also seriously looking at EMUs for long distance intercity service. Of course Anderson does not have the luxury of contemplating EMU's for such due to the inadequate infrastructure in the US. ;)

 

https://www.ndtv.com...e-player-773800

 

Elsewhere it has been mentioned that these trains would be tried out for both medium distance daytime trains like the Shatabdis, and longer distance overnight trains like the Rajdhanis.

 

https://www.thehindu...icle7869952.ece

 

The main argument is reducing overall running time taking advantage of the superior acceleration/deceleration performance, among other things. It has been mentioned that they could lop off two or three hours from the 17 hour schedule for a typical run between Mumbai or Kolkata to Delhi (~900 miles) without increasing the maximum speed.


Edited by jis, 08 April 2018 - 03:38 PM.

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#60 west point

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 07:01 PM

The more slow orders and slow sections and then max track on any route the more distributed power helps reducing schedule times.  Extreme example if NYP - WASH was all 160 MPH capable then the only time for slowing and speeding up would be at station stops,  But it would be an interesting project for someone to track all the present slows   and speed up now on the NYP - WASH route.  As well how long each slow location causes extra en route times ? 

 

The trade off of distributed power costs vs the power car)s_ is very dynamic.  Power cars and ACS-64s weigh more so they also has to consider the extra wear and tear on track and structures from them.  EMUs also have higher costs on CAT when more pans per train contact the CAT.


Edited by west point, 08 April 2018 - 07:05 PM.





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