Amtrak NEC, Downeaster, Acela, & Long Distance

ulrichomega

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Do you have a link to the station layouts/study? I've never been able to track them/it down.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Do you have a link to the station layouts/study? I've never been able to track them/it down.

See p. 79 for the MA track schematic.

I think this is the year they need to update this report since it's now 10 years old, so we could be seeing changes. The major shorting of 128 when it's structurally pre-built for 4 tracks/2 islands + the major shorting of Canton Jct. when it's got tons of room for a southbound platform turnout w/ center passer between junction switches and Canton Viaduct + the more minor shorting of Sharon/Mansfield are head-scratchers that need more fleshing-out. Hyde Park is depicted here as a placeholder, but in the NEC FUTURE copypasta of the same schematic drawing it showed as a squished island for some reason which really didn't make sense. When the NEC FUTURE traffic modeling came out mid-decade for 2040 HSR + Regional service levels, it immediately called into question why the earlier Master Plan didn't max out the stations more. So TBD on further clarifications if/when they revise this document.

Attleboro thru all the future Rhode Island infills all pretty much make perfect sense as depicted, and new Pawtucket Station now has a final design where 10 years ago it was depicted as a placeholder.
 

odurandina

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1. Is there also replacement planned for aging Acela regional traincars? or will
the Amfleet stock remain for years to come after the recent Siemans ACS-64 arrived?

2. Would it be advantageous to continue to use the fleet into on Adirondack, New England,
Virginia, & North Carolina, & the Chicago-St Louis-Illinios-Michigan medium distance trains
as service demand increases--or are they still good for Northeast Regional for years to come?

3. Are the Gen 1 Acela Express sets or their cars so badly morbid--they're not capable of any
continued service even at 125mph Acela Regional/Harrisburg line or the lines serving Chicago--
or are the whole trains heading for scrap just like the aging Eurostar trains of mid-90's vintage
now being phased out?
 
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odurandina

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Thanks,
a couple hours ago, i found this info after initiating the self-LMGTFY procedure.


"At the end of 2012, 473 Amfleet I and 145 Amfleet II cars were still in service. The Amfleet I cars had traveled an average of 4,125,000 miles (6,638,544 km), the Amfleet II cars 5,640,000 miles (9,076,700 km).....

"Amtrak announced an overhaul of the Amfleet I interiors in September 2017. The following year, Amtrak began to investigate options to replace the Amfleet I cars altogether.

"In January 2019, Amtrak issued a Request for Proposals to replace the 470 Amfleet I cars and Ex-Metroliner Cab cars then in use. Proposals were due on May 1, 2019."


I would think the superliners would almost never need replacement, since they probably between about 40~79mph, 90-what% of the time?
 
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Arlington

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^ Yes initial Amfleet replacement RFP is the one that F-Line and I (and most RR nuts) would say will go to Siemens for some sort of close variant on the coaches that Siemens has already delivered to Brightline and will be delivered starting in 2020 "CALIDOT" (California + Illinois fleet for use by Amtrak in state-supported services) [big PPT here ] on the CALIDOT aka CA/Midwest order.

This is what leads us to conclude that any question that asks "what's the right expansion fleet for Amtrak to run..." will be answered by a follow-on order from either Alstom's Hornell NY plant (more Avelia Liberty (TGV variants) if there's an overhead wire), or by Siemens coaches (Brightline/CALIDOT, made in Sacramento) if they'll run diesel hauled at some point.

And, also to recap, questions of dual mode locomotives (instead of Siemens Charger (diesel only) and Sprinter (NEC/wired) just got more interesting when Virginia committed to a big expansion of NEC service south of Washington and the case for having a locomotive that could run wired on the NEC but diesel off-corridor got more compelling.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Note that AMTK refreshes interior livery on about 10-15 year intervals as company practice so there's nothing special about the Amfleet I program initiated in '17. They were due for their next turn at an interior update, and the replacement sequence ensures that this latest refresh will hit the 8-10 year mark before the last of them are pulled from state-sponsored service.

Bog-standard WSH-BOS Regionals on full national funding will be the first recipients of new cars. Then it goes on a sliding scale to the overlap state/national funded runs like the Keystones (also a necessity because they'll need a little more design-build time on the cab cars vs. the straight coaches). And finally the 'pure' statie routes like the Empire pool (which, BTW, is where the Downeaster's equipment is sourced remotely from).
 

Arlington

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Cloned from the SPG Hub thread:
Long ago there was discussion of actually making an entirely new ROW for HSR from Boston to NYC, likely via going roughly alongside I-84. Is anyone still discussing this option or it kaput?
I'd say "kaput."

The most "entirely new" that is still officially under discussion is inside the blue-dotted ellipse below, wherein they punted on the question but had looked at these alternatives
- a rail-on-unused-highway alignment Hartford-UConn-Providence
- a straight, inland replacement ROW and station serving New London/Groton CT

The Record of Decision in the NEC Future Tier 1 EIS can be summarized in this picture:
 
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Wash

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Had there been any discussion of VA extending the wires South of DC? Richmond would seem a natural endpoint.
 

Arlington

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Had there been any discussion of VA extending the wires South of DC? Richmond would seem a natural endpoint.
  • Politically, yes (but never much more than a crowd-pleasing throwaway line)
  • Geographically, yes (the density and demand are likely there)
  • Operationally, not yet: not enough trains can get across the 2-track Long Bridge across the Potomac to make it "worth it" to electrify them on a 3-or-4-track rr
The DC2RVA Higher Speed Rail Tier II EIS ROD does not ask for electrification. It simply says"
the DC2RVA Project does not preclude adoption of, or adjustment for, future technological changes which could include electrification.
Just before Christmas we started discussing here that Virginia bought a large package from CSX including half of the Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac RR, wherein CSX gets to keep the part with 2 continuous tracks, and VaDOT has bought the "other side of the centerline" which sometimes has a track or two (operationally 3rd or 4th track) but very often has no tracks at all.

Railway Age article here.

So for the next 10 years the goal is to
  • Run 2 more commuter trains and 2 more Amtrak trains per day (a concession by CSX partly made possible by CSX's double-track, double-stack Virginia Avenue tunnel having sped its freight ops)
  • Virginia pays billions to build another 2 track span for the Long Bridge
  • Virginia starts laying track on "its half" (mostly passing sidings)
  • Run about a dozen more trains (see below)
Eventually, once there's lots of service and grade separation (no connection between the freight and passenger tracks) it will make sense to electrify and send "Acela 2050" to Richmond and merge VRE & MARC's electric operations.

But the $3.7B purchase and commitment to about an equal value of upgrades is all about (for now) just running more trains (a doubling) with a freer hand.

These are VA DRPT's pictures which Railway Age hosted as part of its article, where you can kind of assume that where you see 2 tracks, that's what CSX is keeping, and where you see a 3rd, 4th, or none, that's what VA is buying:



Once VRE (commuter) and Amtrak are running this schedule and planning more on their tracks, I'm thinking they'd love to electrify to just south of Richmond.

AMTRAK


VRE (CSX was needed from WAS Union Station, through Alexandria, and particulary through where NS splits to go to Manassas)
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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BTW...

The Amfleet I's last assignment is likely going to be covering for the Amfleet II's on long-distance routes. The II's were originally slotted first in the retirement sequence due to being more worn out, but have now been punted to last because financing was preferable for doing the Regionals + statie pool first.

So you'll likely see the dinettes raided for LD service to manage routes that don't need a full Viewliner kitchen diner. Then the biz class cars. And then the coach-class cars as more Am2's get pulled. Amtrak will manage the somewhat less spacious seating on the corridor-configured Am1's vs. the LD-configured Am2's by stocking more coaches per trip to spread out seating, doing some ad-hoc ripouts of seating on the Am1's more recently refreshed livery, and having the fullest sleeper fleet they've ever had with new supplemental Viewliner II sleepers joining rebuilt Viewliner I sleepers that are imminently going into midlife overhaul.

By the time the brand new cars have made their way down to the LD options on the procurement they'll have all bases covered being able to plug their Am1 surplus temporarily into schedules while pulling most of the Am2's early to avoid them becoming a reliability concern.


As for the Superliners...yes, the next mega-procurement is going to be for replacing them as the Superliner I majority-share of the fleet is just as old (but far less worn by mileage) as the Amfleets. Nippon-Sharyo's contract for corridor bi-levels was *supposed* to provide the design template for the Superliner III (which has one center set of low-boarding doors in an LD config vs. 2 sets like the Surfliner/California Car corridor-config derivative design). But they fucked up so bad the contract was pulled for the emergency Siemens single-level replacement, so now that modernized S3 design template doesn't exist.

That'll set back the timetable for new Superliners as somebody else will need to come up with a from-scratch 8-inch level boarding car with modular bi-level livery (bi's needed so every specialty car like baggage, diner, lounge, or cross-country crew dorm can be one level's worth of regular coach seating to reduce total fleet requirements on most LDs' farebox recovery). But scraping off a lot of other old crap like the Amfleets and GE Genesis locos in favor of an all-Siemens loco and single-level fleet with much-expanded vendor Service & Support agreements frees up tons more shop bandwidth to give the Superliners more intensive maint TLC while they're more or less forced into another 10 years of service. California not needing to constantly borrow Superliners to plug statie route equipment shortfalls also helps for pacing themselves on maint while the cars are still running well.

It's an absolutely enormous backlog of procurements they have to process, but things are actually starting to come together and pace themselves for the next dozen years of furious renewals.
 

odurandina

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Wow. i'm amazed how big states are going on expanding rail + new equipment.
i've pulled off I-55 in Central Illinois near here,
or south of Bloomington, and been impressed to see fast trains and >100mph signage.
i also heard there's been delays getting them up to top speed (though).

....nothing special about the Amfleet I program initiated in '17. They were due for their next turn at an interior update, and the replacement sequence ensures that this latest refresh will hit the 8-10 year mark before the last of them are pulled from state-sponsored service.

Bog-standard WSH-BOS Regionals on full national funding will be the first recipients of new cars...
So, i assume this means the nifty old Amfleet cars never find a home on any Midwest long distance commuter fleets. Still surprised [with so many other commuter lines being started or expanded, w/ the critical need for passenger cars] there'll be no home for them on a commuter rail [someplace] when a new Siemans train arrives on the NEC--
i wonder if that's due in part to
1. they're just so freaking old.
2. re; increasingly costly to keep them going vs the punishment
they'll receive even at much lower commuter speeds.
3. that^^ + cabins being so costly to refresh & refit for commuters.
4. Transit authorities trending to [nil] demand for single level cars.

Then it goes on a sliding scale to the overlap state/national funded runs like the Keystones (also a necessity because they'll need a little more design-build time on the cab cars vs. the straight coaches). And finally the 'pure' statie routes like the Empire pool (which, BTW, is where the Downeaster's equipment is sourced remotely from).
So the current cab cars (i assume/ ancient Metroliners) will never be desirable to attach to the new trains?
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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So, i assume this means the nifty old Amfleet cars never find a home on any Midwest long distance commuter fleets. Still surprised [with so many other commuter lines being started or expanded, w/ the critical need for passenger cars] there'll be no home for them on a commuter rail [someplace] when a new Siemans train arrives on the NEC--
i wonder if that's due in part to
1. they're just so freaking old.
2. re; increasingly costly to keep them going vs the punishment
they'll receive even at much lower commuter speeds.
3. that^^ + cabins being so costly to refresh & refit for commuters.
4. Transit authorities trending to [nil] demand for single level cars.
In addition to being old and starting to show signs of body fatigue. The vestibules, for instance, now leak like a sieve when it rains because the seals are giving way after 4 decades of being ridden hard. Stuff like that is hard to roll back in a rebuild without starting to spend a very unattractive premium. Amfleets also have a somewhat uncommon truck design that Amtrak self-fabricates some parts for because the supply chain isn't all that robust. While the frames are incredibly strong, there's very little market for rebuilding them one more time into commuter service. No one's buying single-level loco-haul cars anymore in commuter land, 8-inch boarding territory outside of the East Coast has a bumper crop of vanilla-generic used gallery cars and Bombardier BLV's to rebuild more cheaply with none of the ADA concerns, and something like the much more lightly worn Horizon cars (virtually make-identical to the T's Pullmans and Bombardier coaches, and the Comets and Shoreliners on NJ Transit and Metro North) are the better pick for rote parts supply plug-compatibility with existing stuff that's been on commuter railroads for eons.

Those indestructible Amfleet frames will live on for generations in excursion service. The museums are definitely going to stampede after that. As well as anyone trying to make a nifty-looking roadside diner out of one of the shells. But once they've been shuffled around as many reserve roles as they can go on AMTK until the very last of the new cars are on all Eastern routes including the LD's...that's probably it for them in public transit. They might be physically immortal, but they don't have anywhere near an economic case for service immortality. They've already been damn near immortal.

So the current cab cars (i assume/ ancient Metroliners) will never be desirable to attach to the new trains?
The Metroliners are the oldest equipment still in Amtrak service...older than Amtrak itself because they were ordered by Pennsylvania RR in 1968 as (extremely unreliable) EMU's and first ran on the NEC under Penn Central. The cabs were quickie conversions after they were de-motored. The only other cabs Amtrak has are the de-motored "cabbages" made out of hollowed-out hulks of old F40PH locos (also up for mass retirement after this procurement). The Metroliners, while virtually 100% identical to the Amfleet I's in everything except the operator's cab, are in very rough shape. Whatever bleeding-edge signal equipment they have is going to get stripped for spare parts and re-used elsewhere, while the fleet itself has no major historical value being a salvage job (the last couple survivors that that still have any of their original-delivery EMU guts left are already in museums as static displays).

And the Amfleet II's--despite having bigger windows than the tiny portholes on the Am1's and Metroliners--are not only badly worn out but also only have 1 set of doors on 1 end of the car unlike nearly all other high-level cars in existence with double-ended vestibules. You can't manage dwell times using them for anything except LD service where people are staying on the train for half the day and doing little business at intermediate stops outside of the huge cities...so they're of zero interest for any commuter, corridor-intercity, or excursion operation. There'll be comparatively few of those preserved beyond static museum displays.
 

Jahvon09

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The block above would mean that there are 5 stations that are not Acela-ready today, and that by even 2024, the three unfunded ones will still be not ready.

There's not a problem with the Acelas sitting somewhere waiting for reuse, but they'd be nearly perfectly analogous to that other cutting edged dead end, the Turboliners which were tech marvels on many dimensions (married set, aerospace construction, compact turbine engine, 100+mph operation) but were also fuel hogs and had slower acceleration than new "regular" diesel-electric locomotives.


By 2023 Amtrak will know both when Keystone high-level platforms will be coming online and how its future fleet will be mixed between Brightline-style or Acela 2 (Avelia Liberty) fleets.

Thing is: by 2023 it is VERY likely that rather than take the Acela 1s back from Bombardier (the parts supply line will be that much more withered and expensive), they'll simply order more of whichever Amfleet 3 (with traps) or Avelias (without..if high platforms come quickly) is best suited to the Keystone and the parts being robust and the assembly lines being ready.

I'm not satisfied that we've identified an ADA-compliant way of both getting people on/off the trapless Acela 1s and not having painfully-long dwells. The stock photos of ADA access to the Long Distance bi-levels show an operation on trains--the western land cruises--where the trip is so long and the freight interference is so bad that there's no expectation of ever being on time: extended dwells are the least of the LD's problems, but are a top issue on the NEC.

Keystones require a system that keeps them on time in PA so they can catch their slot from PHL to NYP.

Those are old & rusty, just like the old Orange Line trains!!😡
 

Andrew

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Good for the Downeaster. Though I do wonder how much of that can be attributed to the increased number of special sales I've seen Amtrak running in the past year. I personally took the Downeaster for the first time last year primarily because I got the tickets in a BOGO sale.
 

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