Other People's Rail: Amtrak, commuter rail, rapid transit news & views outside New England

F-Line to Dudley

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VIA doesn't skimp on headlights.
The third one in the triangular pattern right below the windows is an experimental narrow-focus HID beam for long-distance viewing. They trialed it on their mid-2000's F40PH rebuilds, liked it, and decided to apply fleet-wide. Their GE Genesis fleet has now got the same thing. Apparently nobody else does this anywhere except for VIA. I dunno...do their trackside deer not adequately scatter at the sight of normal-intensity train headlights like our deer???:unsure:

I thought they were supposed to be ordering Brightline-clone SCB-40 Chargers with the retractable nose cover over the coupler, but looks like it got switched (right down to the model number Wikipedia refs) to stock cover-less SC-44's.


The fact that their Corridor fleets are going to be identical Siemens power+coaches as Amtrak's Chicago Hub fleet and East Coast Amfleet replacements certainly ups the chances of the Chicago-Toronto International Ltd. being restored in our lifetimes, since that '04-suspended route used to mix and run-thru each RR's fleets with crew changes at the Port Huron-Sarnia border crossing. Longer-odds possibilities for the Wolverine's former continuation to Toronto via Windsor border crossing on the Windsor Corridor fork (Penn Central to '71, chopped from Amtrak on "A-Day"), as well as restoration of the '79-chopped NYC-DET via Windsor Niagara Rainbow.
 
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jass

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Considering one of their lines goes to "the polar bear capital of the world" maybe its not deer theyre trying to spot
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Considering one of their lines goes to "the polar bear capital of the world" maybe its not deer theyre trying to spot
Winnipeg-Churchill only runs twice a week, usually with the oldest falling-apartest pieces of shit on VIA's roster leaking interior heat into the tundra. TOR-MTL Corridor is where they want to blind every creature a mile up track. Maybe if they ran fast enough to actually sneak up on someone the perk would help them, but the Corridor doesn't even sniff 80+ MPH.


VIA is stuck in this Amtrak-in-1985 time warp. Right down to the mainstay F40 fleet and having half their cars rostered out of non-accessible garbage Amtrak either retired or rejected by 1985 for being too unreliable. It's more likely they thought custom-ordering hi-beam headlights was their home-cooked self-perception of "innovation" rather than anything informed by known best-practice (since literally no one else practices that). At least as unicorn customizations go it's a cheap one.
 

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I'm not the first to observe this by a longshot, but it's entirely possible that Caltrain might be little more than an elaborate troll to discourage U.S. Regional Rail-ification by choosing the wrongest, most hilariously mis-executed means imaginable of enacting electrified Regional Rail. First it was the vehicular Frankenmods and the world-unicorn signal system that had to be scrapped at the last possible second because it didn't bloody work. Now construction of the lineside electrification has risen yet another fifth. In large part because they forgot things like "Return current goes through the running rails so make sure your signal system track circuits use some differing electrical frequency, m'kay!" that everybody running on the NEC figured out 90 years ago. Durr-dur-durrrrrrrrrrr!
 

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Amtrak and State of Maryland finalize $4B replacement for the 148-year-old Baltimore & Potomac tunnels, to be called the Frederick Douglass Tunnel.


Triple the speed limit, and one wide banking curve instead of the B&P's razor-sharp S-curve that restricts it to an excruciating 30 MPH. 2 tracks, same as the tunnel it replaces...but several times more capacity because the trains can move faster and be signaled tighter on the way more favorable geometry. Decrepit West Baltimore MARC station will also be rebuilt, finally making all commuter platforms between D.C.-Baltimore on the Penn Line completely full-high. The deal also mandates that all Penn Line commuter trains using the new tunnel be fully electric, as they're VE'ing out some of the diesel ventilation to damp down the costs. It'll vent for a couple widely-spaced daily Norfolk Southern intermodal freights to Port of Baltimore who need the new tunnel's tall clearances, but the ventilation won't be powerful enough to clear the air for regularly-spaced commuter diesel service. MARC had let its Penn Line electric fleet atrophy significantly enough that a portion of the service is now being held down by less efficient diesel trains. Either they'll have to buy some new Sprinter locos, or they might be a candidate for slushing off NJ Transit's Bomardier MultiLevel EMU's (MARC has a 54-car incumbent fleet of MLV coaches, so could go self-propelled rather easily by slushing some NJT-option power packs and extra cab cars).

The old tunnel is expected to go disused. Original plans called for rehabbing it as a relief valve for pulsing up MARC frequencies to true Regional Rail levels and handling any non-tall clearance freights, but that's been tabled because the structure needs a shitload of very expensive rehab to stay usable in any form. It'll be idled in-situ for purposes of future revisiting the relief-valve idea at MDOT's leisure, but it'll come off Amtrak's books.
 
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Arlington

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And they’ve preserved the option of 3rd and 4th bore on the new alignment (the original design was 4 single track tunnels, but they’ve only funded 1&2 for now)
 

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And they’ve preserved the option of 3rd and 4th bore on the new alignment (the original design was 4 single track tunnels, but they’ve only funded 1&2 for now)
Bores 3 & 4 reserved probably the likelier outcome for the relief valve than trying to rehab the B&P. The B&P takes on a lot of water leakage, so the cost in waterproofing and refinishing the surfaces for all the accrued water damage is manifold. It might legit be easier to just pour +2 new bores in the soft fill next to the first 2 so long as the original project relocated all utilities out of the way beforehand.
 

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Apparently Bores 3 & 4 only add 20% cost to the project. I hope they're angling for a negotiation to get that included, because they probably will only get it at such a deal if the extra bores are poured simultaneously rather than coming back after the fact. I get that it's a lot of money in the absolute, but comparatively if you're already spending $4B on 2 bores then rounding up to $4.8B to net 4 bores really isn't that much extra.
 

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