Amtrak NEC, Downeaster, Acela, & Long Distance

F-Line to Dudley

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New pics on Amtraks instagram. The blue doesnt seem so weird here.



Link
I highly doubt that's the final paint scheme. Amtrak's sent all of its recent purchases like the Sprinter and Charger locos to the same USDOT testing facility during prototyping, and they all wore provisional factory paint schemes that changed a lot before they graduated to non-revenue testing on Amtrak trackage. This is probably no different.
 

HelloBostonHi

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I highly doubt that's the final paint scheme. Amtrak's sent all of its recent purchases like the Sprinter and Charger locos to the same USDOT testing facility during prototyping, and they all wore provisional factory paint schemes that changed a lot before they graduated to non-revenue testing on Amtrak trackage. This is probably no different.
Unlikely. They made a big deal about unveiling this as the final livery.
Personally I find it very ugly.
 

JeffDowntown

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I may be misinterpreting this, but the new Acela locomotive does not appear particularly aerodynamically designed. It seems to have a lot of turbulence generation points. Also the interface between the locomotive and first car is not aligned for aerodynamics? Is Acela so slow that they just don't care (unlike real bullet trains)?
 

stellarfun

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I may be misinterpreting this, but the new Acela locomotive does not appear particularly aerodynamically designed. It seems to have a lot of turbulence generation points. Also the interface between the locomotive and first car is not aligned for aerodynamics? Is Acela so slow that they just don't care (unlike real bullet trains)?
See the video starting at about the three minute mark. Quite the proboscis.
 

ceo

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The power car does look kind of like a running shoe, but it's reasonably handsome. The difference in side profile between the power car and the passenger cars is quite jarring, however.
 

Arlington

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Slightly Crazy: let's imagine a future where the Downeaster runs on upgraded tracks that would allow service similar to Florida's Brigthline (90 to 110 mph service)
Would such a service need/want to be limited stop? Imagine cutting a deal that somehow required "Acela-like" stop spacing.

What would the stops be?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Slightly Crazy: let's imagine a future where the Downeaster runs on upgraded tracks that would allow service similar to Florida's Brigthline (90 to 110 mph service)
Would such a service need/want to be limited stop? Imagine cutting a deal that somehow required "Acela-like" stop spacing.

What would the stops be?
The only way you're doing 90 on more than trace *part* of the Downeaster is if it gets re-routed via the Eastern Route, because the Western is nowhere near straight enough for that. Trace on a map Revere-Portsmouth vs. Andover-Dover and it's screamingly obvious that geometry is not going to cooperate for that on the current routing out to the Maine border. While the trip would benefit from a Lowell Line speedup to 90 MPH where that is mostly feasible out to Wilmington, there's not a lot else you can do to push it above 60-79 MPH anywhere else. The Western is pretty much sitting right now at historical high speed limits.

If Portsmouth commuter rail restoration were to come first on the much more arrow-straight Eastern, you would be approximately 10 miles shy of the Eastern's old bend-back to the Western. The active stretch of Newington Branch bending sharply west of downtown Portsmouth to Bloody Point at the Piscataqua River covers 4 miles of that gap and is mercifully straight. That's the replacement for the old mainline from Kittery which isn't a good option because it ran too close to the side of the road on ME 236 to work all that well today. From the Newington end-of-track the NH 16 expressway cannibalized 5 miles of ROW to Dover when it was originally constructed, with the ROW reappearing for the last mile into Dover station at the Exit 7 offramps. You would have to reconstruct 16 from the Bloody Point bridge to fit in a new rail line on the side, but it's a fairly wide-buffered expressway and NHDOT will inevitably want to add-a-lane it. While the odds are slim of converging interests in backwards little NH giving an opening for project synergies, you could easily shotgun a highway reconstruction with a rail line reconnection that would feature similar speeds as the south-of-Portsmouth section. And it wouldn't cost an arm-or-leg to do in absolute terms...just probably too much for lowly NHDOT to consider in isolation.

Old vs. new routings meet at Dover, and stop selection changes from Anderson--Haverhill--Exeter--Durham--Dover over to Salem--Newburyport--Portsmouth--Dover. More or less a wash on ridership, though the downtowns it hits in Salem, Newburyport, and Portsmouth are much bigger destinations and there's a bit more of a true Seacoast focus with the routing. And you can definitely electrify all on the Eastern to here without problems while numerous clearance issues are going to make the Western in MA/NH the very last of the mainlines to get strung up. North of Dover the quantity and severity of overhead bridge restrictions is much lower, so you can try your luck with freight clearances under electrification in just Maine with a clearer (if still not altogether certain) cost ceiling for getting electrics to Portland. The bypassed NH stops on the Western can be then backfilled by NHDOT commuter rail service (almost certainly diesel) as a semi-express flavor of the Haverhill Line, reinstating B&M commuter service that ran until June 30, 1967 three years into the MBTA era. There were 10 commuter stops past Haverhill at the time: Atkinson, Plaistow, Newton Junction, Powwow River, East Kingston, Exeter, Newfields, Newmarket, Durham, Dover. Existing Exeter/Durham + Plaistow + a pick'em of 2-3 of the best of the rest probably suffices, while the others (esp. Atkinson, Powwow) were true zits from a bygone era. If Portsmouth CR schedules get brisk enough through the straight marshlands with the track upgrades to 90 MPH and electrification you could also potentially wrap Portsmouth CR and Dover CR to terminate at the same place in Dover at a large NHDOT layover and realign last-mile transit accordingly. Keep in mind as well, the Conway Branch forks off the Western just north of Dover station. That's used out to Ossippee by the huge Boston Sand & Gravel "DOBO" daily freight, but NHDOT has an archived study for rehabbing the derelict 13 miles of track to North Conway for low-speed passenger and freight service. The North Conway end of the branch is active for the hugely popular Conway Scenic RR, which runs excursion trains through the ex-Maine Central Mountain Division across interior NH. Should those 13 derelict miles get restored Conway Scenic would have direct access into Dover Station for excursion runs, which would be massive for NH's tourist economy. Conway Scenic stops right outside the entrance to Attatash Mountain, and when the branch was still intact and in decent enough shape through the very early-70's B&M used to make a mint running one-off North Station-North Conway ski specials during mid-winter. So there's also an angle to pursue in bullseyeing Dover as an all-things crossroads of New Hampshire transit.



That's probably the extent of it, as the Western is a little bit better-behaved curve-wise in Maine except for the big dive east to Old Orchard Beach from Saco, enough so that you're never going to see cost/benefit in analyzing reactivation of more of the Eastern. The Eastern has two other abandoned segments intact in ME: North Berwick-Biddeford and Saco-South Portland...with a little bit of residential encroachment in Scarborough blocking the old last 2 miles into S. Portland but where an early bail-out across a marsh trestle could rejoin the close-paralleling Western early without trouble. They're both quite straighter than the Western. The N. Berwick-Saco section misses Wells by a lot, trades a path through West Kennebunk where the Western stays 2 miles east near Kennebunk-proper...slight catchment demerits. Few miles in Saco are active for the Saco Industrial Track, and a relocation of Biddeford union station to the Eastern-Western junction and an I-95/195 park-and-ride in Saco-proper would do a bit better than the current route...which misses the highways as it divebombs towards Old Orchard Beach. Last abandoned segment misses OOB, but does stay centered on downtown Scarborough.

I can't see a compelling reason to change routings here even if there was infinite money to do it...which there certainly isn't in a state like Maine. The speeds aren't true game-changing levels better for all those abandoned track miles, and the catchments served on the alt route are par at best...and probably a smidge worse with Wells and Old Orchard Beach not being anywhere in the picture. So the only major pivot really becomes maxing out the commuter-driven investment in Portsmouth service by cranking up speeds where geometry affords, taking in the partially active Newington Branch trackage, and finding some synergy for the 5 miles of multimodal infill along NH 16 to bullseye that Dover crossroads. After that, work the Western in ME for what it's worth. It may not get faster, but you can empty the curve-easing bag of tricks to zero out a few slow penalties for tangible gains. You'll need those time savings anyway if the ultimate endpoint of the Downeaster is going to be Bangor on much longer-haul schedule, and Portland-terminating Northeast Regionals become a minority flavor post-NSRL. In the meantime, 90 MPH to Wilmington on the Lowell Line serves multiple masters in the nearer term. If/when NHDOT ever gets Concord commuter rail online it's slated to be an above-and-beyond express flavor to the Lowell Line, running all-local in NH and express Lowell-Anderson-North Station in MA to keep brisk time while MBTA all-stops locals draw their line at a Nashua terminus. You definitely punch a lot of Downeaster tickets and generate a lot more revenue for those Concord runs being able to slice Lowell-Anderson and/or Anderson-Somerville down to their geometric minimums on the schedule with track upgrades to Class 5/90 MPH. The DE probably doesn't have a paydirt in 2020 to initiate that yet by its lonesome, but by decade's end its margins might be good enough to push such an upgrade project along if there are corresponding stirrings in the Granite State about finally getting their Capitol Corridor CR show on the road.
 
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Arlington

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^ It is strange that he red pinstripe runs the length of the train at floor level but that they've chosen not to do the lower blue stripe on the locomotive.
 

Arlington

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Old vs. new routings meet at Dover, and stop selection changes from Anderson--Haverhill--Exeter--Durham--Dover over to Salem--Newburyport--Portsmouth--Dover. More or less a wash on ridership, though the downtowns it hits in Salem, Newburyport, and Portsmouth are much bigger destinations and there's a bit more of a true Seacoast focus with the routing. And you can definitely electrify all on the Eastern to here without problems while numerous clearance issues are going to make the Western in MA/NH the very last of the mainlines to get strung up. North of Dover the quantity and severity of overhead bridge restrictions is much lower, so you can try your luck with freight clearances under electrification in just Maine with a clearer (if still not altogether certain) cost ceiling for getting electrics to Portland. The bypassed NH stops on the Western can be then backfilled by NHDOT commuter rail service (almost certainly diesel) as a semi-express flavor of the Haverhill Line, reinstating B&M commuter service that ran until June 30, 1967 three years into the MBTA era.
THanks for this! The Eastern is amazingly straight north of the Merrimack. Sounds like MA's contribution would have to be a new bridge across the Merrimack (even if it was mostly political will and Federal $). And then Electrification to Portland would be awesome.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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^ It is strange that he red pinstripe runs the length of the train at floor level but that they've chosen not to do the lower blue stripe on the locomotive.
If they get enough consensus in public comments on all these YouTube vids they're sharing they'll probably entertain changes to the scheme. Especially if final detailing can mesh the lines. Do post a comment in official AMTK online venues if you feel aesthetically strongly about any of this...the powers that be do monitor those channels with interest.
 

tysmith95

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THanks for this! The Eastern is amazingly straight north of the Merrimack. Sounds like MA's contribution would have to be a new bridge across the Merrimack (even if it was mostly political will and Federal $). And then Electrification to Portland would be awesome.
They've already built rail trails on the ROW. I don't think they'll re-purpose it in our lifetimes.
 

jass

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I think if you showed a random person the outside of Acela 1 and Acela 2, and asked them which one is the newer one, theyd pick Acela 1 every time.

Aesthetically, Acela 2 screams 80s eastern Europe to me.
 

citylover94

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I don't understand where you are getting eastern European and old. The Avelia Liberty aka Acela 2 design was based on a combination of the Avelia Horizon and Pendolino trains neither of which are an 80s designed eastern European train.

Italian Pendolino
pendolino.jpg


Avelia Liberty
alstom_avelia_amtrak24amtrakvideoscreen_202001bnam.jpg

with nose closed
Alstom-Avelia-Liberty_Amtrak-Acela_Railcolornews_8493-600x600.jpg


I just don't understand this comparison personally. I do think one problem the train has is the lack of connection between passenger cars and the power car but I think that is partially driven by some of the weird american requirements for trains such as not allowing passenger seating in the power car like the Italian design allows. Also the current Acela's exterior design is based on TGV cars from the 90s which are actually 20 years old and they look just like the older ones on the TGV from that era so I don't think anyone would look at them and think they look newer.
 

Arlington

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it looks too much like the American Orient Express (diner and sleepers) of the defunct American European Express heavy slow luxurious old style
AOX.jpg
 
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tysmith95

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I don't give a crap about the livery, I just want a nice interior, fast speeds and reliable service.
 

Arlington

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^ the business dynamic at work here is that the Acela brand is worth more than the Amtrak brand--Similar to how Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances were worth more than the Sears brand.

Changing the livery to blue and white from silver and teal is as big a risk as changing Craftsman's color from red to orange.
 

jass

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I don't understand where you are getting eastern European and old. The Avelia Liberty aka Acela 2 design was based on a combination of the Avelia Horizon and Pendolino trains neither of which are an 80s designed eastern European train.

Italian Pendolino
View attachment 3687

Avelia Liberty
View attachment 3688
with nose closed
View attachment 3689

I just don't understand this comparison personally. I do think one problem the train has is the lack of connection between passenger cars and the power car but I think that is partially driven by some of the weird american requirements for trains such as not allowing passenger seating in the power car like the Italian design allows. Also the current Acela's exterior design is based on TGV cars from the 90s which are actually 20 years old and they look just like the older ones on the TGV from that era so I don't think anyone would look at them and think they look newer.
Im not an art person, so I cant explain why.

But maybe the white versus silver?

Or the size of the blue area? Maybe the blue itself?

Also, the windows seem a tad small. Are they smaller than on Acela 1, or is it just an optical illusion?

Anyway, I typed "old eastern European train" into google and look what popped up:






Meanwhile, these Florida trains are slower than Acela but IMO look more modern to my eye.

 

cadetcarl

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I agree with the consensus here that the livery isn't quite working. It's not ugly per se, but folks are accurately connecting the blue-and-white stripes--and I would add their relationship to the cadence of the windows--to designs of a bygone era and I don't think that was the design intent. I doubt the designers would claim they were going for a "retro" look, but that's what we got. I think tysmith95 is more correct than Arlington: yes, this might register as a downmarket refresh among people who notice it, but if you have to be in Midtown or Newark for work every week, what are you going to do besides forget what the train looks like a minute after boarding?

Far more concerned with the panel gap between the head car and second car--does anyone know if the fairing can still be redesigned more aerodynamically? There's much to indicate that this is just a test mule, all flat panels and missing pieces.
 

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