Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by PRR 60, Jan 29, 2012.
The Viewliner IIs are speced for 125mph.
The restrooms will be opposite the shower, what it currently the Attendants room. The attendant moves to room number #12, leaving only 11 revenue rooms in the new cars.
They did this with 727s a while back, also. In the late '90s, UPS was very active in doing this to try and make extra revenue with their planes on the weekend by offering passenger charters.
Thanks for the video...had never seen it done in action...
The cars will have to go someplace where Amtrak has the space and staff to conduct a full inspection of each unit upon delivery to make sure it has the right part numbers, the parts were installed correctly ("ok, who put this in backwards and then beat it with a hammer to make it fit?"). Then each Viewliner car will presumably have to undergo so many miles of speed and operation trials before they can enter revenue service. Have to independently verify that the unit was built correctly and to spec before Amtrak cuts a check for full payment. These cars are being built to Amtrak's specification and design, this is not an off-the-shelf order, so verification and inspection will be needed.
If the cars have to be run up and down the tracks, would make sense for Amtrak to do it on the NEC between WAS and NYP where they don't have to pay trackage rights to somebody else and where they can get the cars up to 125 mph to check stability, vibration, etc. That is why I would expect the cars to go one of Amtrak facilities along the NEC for the initial check-out. Viewliner II and ACS-64 test and check-out deadhead runs on the NEC could be a common sight by 2014.
And, I am betting/hoping that once the acceptance testing passes with flying colors (!), Amtrak has a followup contract ready to hand to CAF for not only the Option for 70 more sleepers/dorms/baggage, but also to get started on them coaches and cafe/lounges.
I believe and suspect that some of the silence about Superliner III's is the inherent vagueness of whether to ask CAF to do it, or, spread some of the jelly around the bread loaf by including Bombardier. But Bombardier and Amtrak still have sour grapes, and neither is saying anything about whether or not they're passed the Acela infamy.
I doubt if Amtrak will exercise much of the 70 car option order as it stands for sleepers, baggage-dorms, diners. Would be popular here if Amtrak were to order even just 3 baggage dorms, 3 (full service) diners, 10 sleepers because they would then have the equipment to restore one or 2 LD sleeper trains (Silver Palm, maybe Three Rivers) pending new LD coach cars. But that is likely wishful thinking with the House reportedly looking to cut Amtrak's annual subsidies even further in the Transportation Authorization draft bill.
A follow-on order for Amfleet II replacements, say for 140 to 150 coach cars and 30 to 35 café/diner-light cars, would be nice, but we will have to wait for the next version of the Fleet Strategy Plan to be released to see whether that order will be placed in the next year or not. I think Amtrak should take advantage of really low interest rates while they can and place the order, but Boardman and the board may think otherwise and wait for the outcome of the 2012 election.
There is also the question of the single level corridor car Amfleet I replacements which could be a rather large order for 600+ single level cars with the build spread over 10-15 years. That is the big contract down the road. What it is not clear to me, is whether CAF Viewliner IIs are or could brought into compliance with the formal Next Generation Single Level corridor car spec.
The main reason for silence for possible Superliner IIIs (or whatever they are called) is that the order for 130 corridor bi-level cars for CA and the Mid-west is going through the bid process. Any order of Superliner I replacements will have to piggyback on or follow that order from who ever lands the contract for the corridor bi-levels. Even if CAF were to bid for the job to use the Elmira plant, Amtrak's preference may be to have someone else build the bi-levels so not of all their manufacturing eggs are in one basket, so to speak. Who will bid for the bi-level corridor car order, no idea.
The bi-level car order, including issuing the RFQ and selecting the successful bidder, is being managed by Illinois DOT on behalf of the participating states. Amtrak is not directly involved in the order, although they have secondary involvement as a participant in the development of the specifications.
According to this CalTrans presentation, they are the lead agency on the joint procurement of the 130 bi-levels. Illinois is likely the lead agency on behalf of the participating Mid-Western states. Yes, Amtrak is not in the lead, so how much say they have on the decision on the contract award and specifics is not clear. With this many agencies involved, probably has a rather complicated agreement on who votes and the voting & criteria weights for the contract selection.
See http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/transprog/ctcliaison/2011/1211/PP_Tab96_2.5g8_PP_Rail%20Car%20Procurement.pdf (12 slide pages, ~ 3 MB pdf file).
There are other companies as well that may be interested. Alstom, and Siemens for instance. Heck maybe even one of the US freight car companies might be interested in it. For the Super IIIs they'll probably but out a bid request like they did for the View IIs and then they'll see what they get.
How much time will this scrape off the LD routes?
Of course, the 125 mph capability will only be used for the LD trains on the WAS-NYP section of the NEC. Should result in some time being trimmed off the NYP-WAS schedule on the southbound leg, maybe 15 minutes if Amtrak decides to tighten up the schedules.
On the seriously padded northbound WAS-NYP leg, they could use to trim time off the published schedules. Yesterday, for example, the #90 Palmetto departed WAS 25 minutes early, arrived NYP 53 minutes early. The northbound LD trains going from WAS-NYP have been getting into NYP early quite frequently in recent months. A day train such as the Palmetto might get a few more passengers from SC and NC if the schedule showed a 11:15 or 11 PM arrival in NYP, than 11:47 PM which is almost midnight. But that has to be traded off against keeping the official On-Time Performance numbers up.
I wonder if there might also be some scheduled trip time reductions for the NE Regionals that are on the NEC around the same time the LD trains pass through. Does Amtrak have padding in the schedule for the Regionals to give them a margin to pass around slower moving 110 mph LD trains?
Just a few mins. But more importantly the LDs will be able to run on the center tracks without getting in the way of the Regionals and getting shoved onto outer tracks behind NJT and SEPTA and such.
I can testify to that. I was on 615 on the 16th and they put us on the local between Overbrook and Bryn Mawr behind a local. Septa was running Monday-Friday schedules And Amtrak running Sunday schedules. So everything was messed up. We were running 25mph at the most. Behind that septa train.
We'll finally have blazing fast 125MPH LD trains in 2013? Great Scott! Better watch out Kazakhstan.
No, I don't think the Sunset will be extended that far.
Actually the reason that NJT is considering running the outer zone Trenton trains at 125mph is the same. It allows those trains to mix more seamlessly into the inner track mix between Elmora and Midway. In effect it also increases the effective capacity of the corridor by keeping trains in single slots instead of requiring additional fractional slots due to mismatch of speeds. Operationally there is way more to this than the flashy headlines, political bullsh*t and mindless sensationalism.
This is odd as most rulebooks state no early departures for PAX service.*
*Auto Train exception IIRC.
Palmetto is discharge only in Washington in the northbound direction, so it can leave as soon as station work is done. It does not need to wait for its scheduled departure time. And indeed the Palmetto and the Silvers often leave Washington ahead of schedule in the northbound direction.
Yes Jis, but haven't you noticed we are drowning more and more in political bullsh*t. Maybe we better find a way to master the alchemy of turning it into something useful, since it ain't going away.
Ah, yes, discharge only, of course, I forgot about that. Thanks jis. As I'm not in the East I'm not that familiar w/those skeds, and I didn't look at a timetable. The D.
While not true in this scenario, there are a few locations that utilize the L notation to show that the train stops primarily to discharge only, and may depart up to five minutes early.
The other nugget in all of this, is that in order to effectively increase the speeds of a train they will need a dedicated fleet of Viewliner II's allocated to them, unless Amtrak goes back to get the Viewliner I's upgraded to 125 mph standards (they are currently rated for 110 MPH). The only train that would be able to get away with interchangeable Viewliner I's and II's is the LSL, since it's restricted to 110 MPH because of the AC-DMs, MNRR, etc. But for the trains where the vast majority of the fleet is used (Silver Service, Crescent, Cardinal) you can't change the timetable without the upgrade to the I's. Sure, if you can get a consist together that will allow you to move at that clip they'll likely open the throttle up and run it at 125.
The benefit that most are forgetting is that an all Amfleet and Viewliner fleet will mean the Engineers will be able to run blended braking on these trains. You're not supposed to (emphasis on the word supposed) run blended braking on a train that has Heritage more than one Heritage in the consist (IIRC). Blended braking means a better ride for the passengers, and a few seconds saved on the station stops, curves, and slow orders.
What's the fastest Amtrak train powered by a diesel?
For regular service, currently the Wolverines and Pere Marquettes running on parts of the 97 miles of Amtrak owned tracks in Indiana and Michigan. I expect that on the NEC when a P-42 is swapped for a electric locomotive from PHL-WAS or north of Westerly, RI, they might crank it to 110 mph. I believe the Empire corridor between Poughkeepsie and Schenectady is limited to 100 mph, but I could be wrong on that.
As for the Viewliner Is, it has been reported here that the plans are to upgrade the 50 Viewliner Is to 125 mph capability, if that is not already being done as the Viewliners sleepers go through their scheduled overhaul cycle.
I believe the existing Viewliners are 125mph capable. The constraint is that they all run with Heritage baggage cars that are limited to 110mph. The replacement of the Heritage baggage cars with Viewliners will lift that constraint.
Pere Marquette doesn't run on the 110 mph segment, Wolverines and Blue Water do.
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