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Equipment Order in the works this year (2018)?

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It depends on what your criteria is for "regional passenger rail service and other intermodal passenger service." To use the example I'm most familiar with (MSP) I'd find it hard to come to a conclusion that the Northstar commuter rail is currently regional passenger rail service. It might if you include the connecting bus service from St. Cloud (because now you're connecting two metropolitan areas) or if the talk about extending the Northstar to St. Cloud ever materializes, but there seems to be enough wiggle room to remove at least a few of these cities if someone really wanted to.

 

I think any city that has intercity service paid for by the states would need to be connected, and there's also the potential for other rail or built-up intermodal networks to be counted depending on how that definition is applied.

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.......

Could we please get over this silly diversion and focus on the possibilities that arise out of an equipment order? Please? Pretty please?

 

If it is to replace the entire Amfleet I fleet then it would be an order of the order of 450 - 500 cars or so cars I would imagine. Originally 492 Amfleet I were purchased.

 

I wonder if all would be trailers or a small set, say 30 or 40 or so would be ordered in the form of DME/EMU or even DEMU.

 

Of the locomotives, if it is a total fleet replacement that would be something like 320 units counting P40s and 42s. I wonder, given how much through traffic to non--electrified territory exists now, whether there would be a small subset say 20 or so dual modes thrown in.

 

 

Yes, lets do that!

 

There are 203 P40s and P42s in service according to On Track On line. If you add in the P32s (although I think they will remain on the roster as work units) that is 221. Most of the dual modes are used in state supported services, so I don't know if they would get included. Although I suppose you could get to 20 if you ran them on all the long distance trains to and from New York...

 

I would agree that an Amfleet I replacement order would as a base order be around 450-500 cars, possibly with options for more.

 

As for DMUs/EMUs, I have no idea where or how many. The only places where they seem to make sense would be on some (but not all) of the state supported services

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I have heard there is a discussion considering dual-modes for Virginia service in order to eliminate the engine change at WAS. It sounded like this idea was still very preliminary and definitely in the "What-if" stage.

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DMUs could be used on most of Amtrak's regional/state supported services. They would certainly be put to a good use on the Chicago-Milwaukee route as well as the other Illinois/Michigan/Indiana/Missouri services. There's no reason such cars could not be outfitted to include business class and food services.

EMUs could certainly be used on the Keystones as well as for local services on the NEC (a whole third class of service outside of the Accelas and Regionals, which could stop at smaller cities and towns bypassed by the other trains.

At least this is forward thinking, not the "slash and burn" actions we have seen recently.

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DMUs could be used on most of Amtrak's regional/state supported services. They would certainly be put to a good use on the Chicago-Milwaukee route as well as the other Illinois/Michigan/Indiana/Missouri services. There's no reason such cars could not be outfitted to include business class and food services.

EMUs could certainly be used on the Keystones as well as for local services on the NEC (a whole third class of service outside of the Accelas and Regionals, which could stop at smaller cities and towns bypassed by the other trains.

At least this is forward thinking, not the "slash and burn" actions we have seen recently.

DMUS would make sense in many Midwest and West Coast corridors, but all of these lines have relatively new cars operating or on order.

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DMUs could be used on most of Amtrak's regional/state supported services. They would certainly be put to a good use on the Chicago-Milwaukee route as well as the other Illinois/Michigan/Indiana/Missouri services. There's no reason such cars could not be outfitted to include business class and food services.

EMUs could certainly be used on the Keystones as well as for local services on the NEC (a whole third class of service outside of the Accelas and Regionals, which could stop at smaller cities and towns bypassed by the other trains.

At least this is forward thinking, not the "slash and burn" actions we have seen recently.

DMUS would make sense in many Midwest and West Coast corridors, but all of these lines have relatively new cars operating or on order.

 

 

New cars? You mean Amfleet 1s and Horizons?

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DMUs could be used on most of Amtrak's regional/state supported services. They would certainly be put to a good use on the Chicago-Milwaukee route as well as the other Illinois/Michigan/Indiana/Missouri services. There's no reason such cars could not be outfitted to include business class and food services.

EMUs could certainly be used on the Keystones as well as for local services on the NEC (a whole third class of service outside of the Accelas and Regionals, which could stop at smaller cities and towns bypassed by the other trains.

At least this is forward thinking, not the "slash and burn" actions we have seen recently.

DMUS would make sense in many Midwest and West Coast corridors, but all of these lines have relatively new cars operating or on order.

New cars? You mean Amfleet 1s and Horizons?

I'm referring to the Siemens cars which will begin arirving in next few years.

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DMUS would make sense in many Midwest and West Coast corridors, but all of these lines have relatively new cars operating or on order.

New cars? You mean Amfleet 1s and Horizons?

 

No. The recently ordered Siemens cars.

 

But it is not Amtrak's job to order equipment for state corridors, unless the states ask them of course. The states are responsible and they have placed their orders already. So to some extent the Midwest and California corridors are quite irrelevant in this discussion of Amtrak orders for new equipment.

 

However, for state corridors where the states might want to piggyback onto an Amtrak order, it may still be relevant. One state that comes to mind is New York (Empire Corridor), and the other is Pennsylvania (Keystone). Virginia could also fall in that category in a big way since they use NEC equipment.

Edited by jis

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From what I can see, Amtrak's only statutory obligation is:

 

"Amtrak shall operate a national rail passenger transportation system which ties together existing and emergent regional rail passenger service and other intermodal passenger service."
That's the result of changes made in 1997 to the original 1970 law, which was (a little) more prescriptive.
As I read the plain text, the "national rail passenger transportation system" Amtrak is obligated to run is one that "ties together existing and emergent regional rail passenger service". That isn't the same thing as a system of long distance trains that lets you take a two-seat ride from Boston to Los Angeles.

 

Actually, it is the same thing.

 

Could be the same thing, but doesn't have to be. Could be weekly shuttle trains. Could be "intermodal" bus service too. I can get from Redding to San Diego on California Amtrak service, without ever getting on the Starlight. Run an Ambus from Eugene to Redding and do a transfer deal with San Diego Metro, and you're good to go from Vancouver to Tijuana.

 

My point was that Anderson's comments about statutory obligations doesn't mean he's under any restrictions regarding his choice of future business models. Equipment purchases will follow service plans, which are not meaningfully restricted by law. If you want to know what kind of equipment he's going to buy, watch how he changes service. He's redesigning and replacing old service, not old equipment.

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Of course we have to wait to see what is actually ordered and before that what the RFP says. Ultimately what is ordered is what will be delivered and service that can be provided by those delivered things is the service that we will have.

 

It is just a game of wait and see for concrete stuff. The rest we can argue until the cows come home.

 

As for statutory requirements, all that he said is that capital investments will be in accordance with Amtrak's statutory requirements. This sort of indicates to me that he probably will not be ordering a fleet of buses or airplanes. But we'll see. Amtrak California is not Amtrak and what Amtrak California does has little to do with the statutory requirements that Amtrak must meet. Anderson actually has relatively little wiggle room in choosing his business model totally devoid of input from his 500+ stake holders.

 

But if you insist on your bizarre interpretation, no one can argue you out of it either. :D

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I thought AT&T's plan to meet its subsidised obligations by replacing (ageing and expensive) copper wires with (new and cheap) fixed wireless systems was a bizarre interpretation of universal service rules. Until the FCC agreed with them.

 

Like any CEO, Anderson will read the law as a permission slip, not as a straightjacket. :cool:

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So what will replace the Genesis? Amtrak will not need as many locomotives since the States have ordered Chargers to cover a large portion of the old Genesis work. The new DMV will lower the replacement number further.

 

For Amtrak to be talking Amfleet 1 replacement now, Siemens must be throwing around some nice numbers.

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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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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 ?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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.

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