Acela & Amtrak NEC (HSR BOS-NYP-WAS and branches only)

bigeman312

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For the Acela, there's now a good list at the Connect NEC 2035 project site:
Where they seem to say there's about an hour's worth of time to be saved between Boston and NYC, (about half between BOS & NHV and the other half between NHV and NYP)
Amazing link. For those who didn't click the link, here are the "NE Special Project Highlights"

NE Special Project Highlights
  • Massachusetts Third Track (Readville to Canton): This project supports additional service in the NE territory by adding a third track between Readville and Canton Junction stations. Eliminating the two-track configuration in the area will mitigate an existing capacity bottleneck for Amtrak and MBTA services.
  • Pawtucket/Central Falls Station: The new Pawtucket/Central Falls Station will provide communities located between Providence, RI and Attleboro, MA with access to commuter rail service. This station will provide relief to overcrowded stations in Providence and South Attleboro, while attracting new riders from adjacent residential redevelopment areas that will take advantage of proximity to transit for access to jobs, educational opportunities, and medical options in Boston, MA and Providence, RI.
  • Fitter Interlocking: This project will include the construction of a new universal interlocking on SLE in Clinton, CT that will divide a 16-mile interlockingto-interlocking segment (Guilford and View Interlockings) into two shorter segments, improving reliability by allowing single track operation over shorter segments during maintenance with less operational disruption.
  • SLE Grade Crossing Elimination Projects: Four of the eleven remaining grade crossings on the NEC will be eliminated, minimizing the risk of train-vehicle collisions and delays caused by grade crossing warning device malfunctions.
  • New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study: Study of investment options to improve capacity and service performance between New Haven, CT and Providence, RI.
 

Arlington

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Let's discuss the "Connect NEC 2035" Plan here, since it is essentially the Biden Era reboot of earlier States+Amtrak plans for the NEC, but this time the states are more engaged.

CONNECT NEC 2035 (C35) is a 15-year plan representing the most ambitious reinvestment program in the NEC’s history and a new way of planning: a multi-agency, multi-year, shared action plan guided by a long-term vision. The state governments of the Northeast, the federal government, eight commuter rail agencies, and Amtrak worked together through the NEC Commission to develop a detailed and efficient sequencing of infrastructure investment covering 150 projects along the corridor.
(complete documents here: http://nec-commission.com/connect-nec-2035/#download)

Each document (grouping states & segments along the NEC) is worth reading in its own right:
 
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Arlington

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Jahvon09

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Well, good to know that there's a 15-year plan to modernize the NEC. Kind of sucks that it will take that long to do it. :(
 

Arlington

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Welcome to the "All things Acela & NEC Thread," a collections of threads about Amtrak's NEC and Acela replacement (Acela II / Alstom Avelia Liberty), with a focus on services that Amtrak operates as part of its Northeast Corridor. Specifically, what today we call:
  • Northeast Regional (as of now, operated by Amfleet rolling stock (the shiny tubes with narrow windows)
  • Acela (the Bombardier-built first generation Acelas
This tread can focus on services are operated by Amtrak "for its own account"

So I picture this thread "only maybe" talking about
  • Amtrak Virginia (partly a NEC service, some originating in Boston, but which is subsidized by Virginia south of WAS)
  • Vermonter (a WAS-originating NEC service that diverges north before it gets to Boston that is subsidized by CT, MA, & VT north of New Haven)
 

Arlington

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My reason for consolidating threads is that:
1) The infrastructure bill will probably result in additional improvements to NEC services that touch Boston
2) Speed improvements in CT, NJ, & MD will matter to New England if it ever makes Acela competitive on BOS-PHL and BOS-WAS (it is already competitive with airon PVD-PHL)
3) The Acela II seem de-bugged enough to start running at high speed, and de-Covid enoughed to be produced at greater rate. (They now say Fall 2023 for "trains should be operational" but it is unclear whether that's a "mostly" or "fully" replacing today's Acelas.

Today there are a lot of photo threads of a real live Acela II that was made available to:
Trains Magazine: Amtrak invites press to inspect new-generation Acela (interior shots)
Railway Age: First Look: Amtrak/Alstom Acela II (deeply nerdy photos of bogie hardware)
NJ.com: New Acela trains on the Northeast Corridor

Kudos, though, for NJ.com for knowing that a key bit of hardware that has kept Acela II from running at max speed under old wires has been that the pantograph was bouncing and that the solution has been to fit the pantograph arm with wings. As I look at them, they'd actually pull *down* on the pantograph at high speeds (their lift is inverted from an airplane's curve) If this is the final solution it removes the largest barrier (that I know) to widespread fleet deployment (assuming they can produce them at volume).

 

Jahvon09

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Sadly, they are delaying the start of the new Acelas until sometime next year. :mad:
 

Scalziand

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I think its more complex than that. The angle of attack of the wings changes depending on how high the pantograph is extended, providing the feedback to keep the pantograph at a steady level. If the pantograph became extended too far, the wings will push down.
 

Brattle Loop

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Kudos, though, for NJ.com for knowing that a key bit of hardware that has kept Acela II from running at max speed under old wires has been that the pantograph was bouncing and that the solution has been to fit the pantograph arm with wings. As I look at them, they'd actually pull *down* on the pantograph at high speeds (their lift is inverted from an airplane's curve) If this is the final solution it removes the largest barrier (that I know) to widespread fleet deployment (assuming they can produce them at volume).
Am I imagining things, or did the Acela Is originally have pantograph wings when they were new?
 

Jahvon09

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Am I imagining things, or did the Acela Is originally have pantograph wings when they were new?
Not sure about that, but both power cars have the pantographs up, whereas the new Acelas will only be using one pantograph.
 

cjbski

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Late to the game here, but does anyone else agree that these new Acela trains already look dated on the inside?
 

themissinglink

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What improvements to the NEC are necessary in order for the Acela to run 186 MPH service (in MA, RI, and NJ) with the new Avelia Liberty trains?
 

Arlington

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What improvements to the NEC are necessary in order for the Acela to run 186 MPH service (in MA, RI, and NJ) with the new Avelia Liberty trains?
The track would have to be FRA class 9 to be above 160.
Amtrak is going to maintain it only to Class 8 (160) and Avelia itself needs to solve its pantograph/catenary bounce problem to be rated a solid 165.

I’m pretty sure F-Line has already answered both the Class 9 question and how a lot of Acela travel time reductions comes from notching up its operations in the 90 to 125 range to the next level
 
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