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

JeffDowntown

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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
Isn't it also the case that a lot of the current NEC alignment is never going to be Class 9 (thinking the Shore Line in CT). Without realignment of the route true HSR is just not possible.
 

BosMaineiac

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Isn't it also the case that a lot of the current NEC alignment is never going to be Class 9 (thinking the Shore Line in CT). Without realignment of the route true HSR is just not possible.
Amtrak did have a plan to build a bypass around the curvy Shore Line route, from Rhode Island to Old Saybrook. This would presumably bring the track to FRA Class 9, but was ultimately dropped circa 2017 due to concerns about a tunnel under Old Lyme’s historic center. I think a better bypass route would be from Providence to Hartford, like the North Atlantic Rail plan alignment. This would be longer but run through more sparsely populated areas, and bring Hartford onto the mainline.
 

themissinglink

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Isn't it also the case that a lot of the current NEC alignment is never going to be Class 9 (thinking the Shore Line in CT). Without realignment of the route true HSR is just not possible.
I probably should have been more specific, my question pertained only to the very straight sections of track (Sharon - Attleboro MA, Cranston RI, East Greenwich - Kingston RI, New Brunswick - Princeton Junction, NJ) which are already maintained to FRA Class 8. I've heard that the Avelia Liberty trains are capable of 186 MPH but I wasn't sure what it would take/how realistic it would be for the Acela to run 186 MPH revenue service over certain segments of the NEC.

The Shore Line route obviously can't support Class 9 trackage due to the constrained track geometry, same with the New Haven Line due to MNRR congestion.
 

themissinglink

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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
I'll try to find F-Line's explanations for my questions, thank you!
 

F-Line to Dudley

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There is no FRA Class 9. It hasn't been ratified yet.

But 186 MPH on those 3 segments isn't going to lead to much time savings because the portions are so small and you're only talking a 21 MPH increase on those small portions. Getting 60 MPH curves uprated to 90 MPH so speed restrictions aren't so punitive will help more, in large part because it'll help commuter traffic as well. Getting 80-90 MPH sections up to 110 and 90-110 MPH sections up to 125 will help more because there's so many more of them. Having long segments of 125 MPH will help more because then it won't be such an intricate dance mixing Regionals with Acelas.

And the dollars will go further if you fix those sections first. Class 9 requires a maintenance premium that's pretty far over even the Class 8 maint premium, so if you're not getting large time savings from the relatively small sections that can handle it it's not a good capital investment vs. fixing the bona fide slow zones.
 

Arlington

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Amtrak unveils "Airo" its fleet to replace
1) In 2026: The Cascades (currently Talgo trainsets) starting in 2026 and
2) In 2027 The Amfleets that are most of the "not Acela" fleet on the Northeast Corridor and any service touching NYC

One "F-Line" question: will the NEC really see the "no separate engine" / "passengers in lead car" setup shown here:
(this was such a FRA safety no-no that the Acela II / Avelias had to have a separate engine at both ends despite getting the FRA to adopt global standards versus the earlier Acela I's "bank vault" heavy design)

Hopefully the page at https://media.amtrak.com/2022/12/amtrak-airo-renderings/ will come back (it is 404, but the Google Cache is Here; images here Amtrak President Roger Harris:
“Amtrak Airo will debut in 2026 on our Cascades service and eventually operate on routes throughout the country,
including on all of our Northeast Regional trains and other trains that operate in and out of New York City.”
The Metroliner* (1969) Amfleet I (1973)and Amfleet II (1980) are probably one of the most successful government vehicle procurements since the Jeep or the B-52. Anyone from Charleston SC to Vermont or Maine who pictures a non-Acela passenger train is picturing the tubular corrugated stainless steel design by the Budd company from the mid-1960s

*The Budd Metroliner was created by the DOT working with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the tooling was reused for Amfleet I and Amfleet II
 
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Brattle Loop

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One "F-Line" question: will the NEC really see the "no separate engine" / "passengers in lead car" setup shown here:
(this was such a FRA safety no-no that the Acela II / Avelias had to have a separate engine at both ends despite having many other innovations to the Acela I's "bank vault" heavy design)
I know the ex-Metroliner cabs are ancient, but they run at (current) Northeast Regional speeds on the NEC, don't they? For some reason I had it in my head that the Acela had to have the power cars because of something FRA-specific about high-speed rail. These things are presumably more crashworthy than the rustbucket Metro cabs.

Amtrak unveils "Airo" its fleet to replace
1) In 2026: The Cascades (currently Talgo trainsets) starting in 2026 and
2) In 2027 The Amfleets that are most of the "not Acela" fleet on the Northeast Corridor and any service touching NYC
Great find on the pictures, though it's hard to tell, are these just stock Ventures given another name for some reason, or are they a modified version (lightly, heavily, or somewhere in between), anyone know?
 

stick n move

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Are these charger style trains that will run on the NEC fully electric? Im not seeing the pantograph anywhere in the first pic. I know metro north is getting chargers that run off third rail but do any chargers out in the wild have any pantographs today?
 

Brattle Loop

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Are these charger style trains that will run on the NEC fully electric? Im not seeing the pantograph anywhere in the first pic. I know metro north is getting chargers that run off third rail but do any chargers out in the wild have any pantographs today?
I don't think there are any dual-mode electric Chargers in existence yet.

If you look really, really, really closely at the first picture, there actually is a pantograph, near the leftmost overhead catenary support pole. The car front and center in the image is a cab car (they get fancy Charger/ACS-style noses instead of the ex-Metroliner stripes and welded doors); the pantograph's at the other end of the train, on the auxiliary power car immediately adjacent to the engine (which is a mildly-modified Charger diesel). They'll run fully electric under wire, is my understanding.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Are these charger style trains that will run on the NEC fully electric? Im not seeing the pantograph anywhere in the first pic. I know metro north is getting chargers that run off third rail but do any chargers out in the wild have any pantographs today?
Sort of. They'll be led by an ALC-42E diesel loco, and the first passenger coach behind the loco will have a pantograph with electrical transformers underneath. The electricity is then piped into the loco to power the traction motors for same 125 MPH running that the current Sprinters do, with the diesel engine off. It's basically splitting the guts of the electric loco partially in the front car, and portioning the loco to just the 'common' elements like the motors. It'll eliminate all the Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New Haven engine swaps in lieu of pantograph dropping and diesel engine starting at those diverging points.

The first pic shows the trailing cab car. The cab cars are just like the current Metroliners, except for having a full-width operator's cab (i.e. no pass-thru like the Metros' commuter rail-style half-width cabs).
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I know the ex-Metroliner cabs are ancient, but they run at (current) Northeast Regional speeds on the NEC, don't they? For some reason I had it in my head that the Acela had to have the power cars because of something FRA-specific about high-speed rail. These things are presumably more crashworthy than the rustbucket Metro cabs.
Metroliners run primarily on the Keystones and Pennsylvanian for the Philadelphia reverse move. The new cab cars will be a little bit more crashworthy by having full-width operator cabs instead of the half-width + pass-thru vestibule of the Metroliners, but it's not a big difference in crashworthiness overall. The Metroliners are fully up-to-spec for FRA crashworthiness regs since they were midlife-overhauled not too many eons ago.

Acelas are bookended with power cars in part because of the shared bogies in all the passenger cars. There needs to be some sort of rump end to taper the bogies into. If the power requirements for HSR running didn't require 2 engines, they'd have to have some sort of hardened cab end if for no other reason than conventional coupling in the yard or emergency tows/pushes.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Vimeo video from Amtrak
(mostly just "flying camera" views of the static renders, but does show spacious vestibules)
Video's a little misleading in that the wide-view shot seems to show cab cars at both ends. You'll still have a stock one of these at the front. . .
 

Jahvon09

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On these new trains, will Business Class be similar to First Class on Acela, where the meal service & drinks are complimentary? Also, is it in just the first car? It looks almost like the Acela in configuration. They DO look fresh & new. Then gone will be the decades-old Amfleet cars, & what will become of the Sprinter locos that are only just several years old? While these new trains will be a welcome change to the service, I'd say that Amtrak is finally going to get rid of ancient decades-old railcars & will be introducing the very latest technology in rail travel!! :)
 
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stick n move

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Vimeo video from Amtrak
(mostly just "flying camera" views of the static renders, but does show spacious vestibules)
Also note: push-pull seating, where half of any seats face forward, and half backward
Awsome! That video is extremely high quality so I was able to get some really clear stills from it. Some exciting times ahead with these, the aveila liberty, and the new orange red and green trains all coming online within a few years of eachother. A lot of cities around the country are also replacing their metro rolling stock as well, and cali and texas both are running new stadler flirt trains, as well as canadas new via trains. North american passenger railroading is going to be in a whole other league soon.
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Jahvon09

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These ones look even better than the new Ventures for Chicago!! There WAS talk of new train sets for the NEC & other routes. Aside from the new Acela's, these new trains look far better & more modern than anything that Amtrak has ever introduced in eons!!! And the renderings of the trains make them look so realistic & promising!! :)
 
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