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

Brattle Loop

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Honestly you're probably right as far as the Acela / NEC is concerned. (And the 66/67 no longer appears to be part of the NEC schedule) Half the appeal to me is the fact that you could probably do it within standard passenger coaches, without needing to touch the dedicated sleeper fleet. (Though expanded sleeper capacity would have the same functional result, I feel that a roomette is less "short ride" friendly, and isn't well set up for a singleton.) The Acela may not be the best service for it, but once the National venture fleet comes along, refitting some of the amfleets could give the longer corridor services / shorter LD trains a sleeper / premium option where one doesn't currently exist, such as the Adirondack or Niagara Empire services, or the VA regionals. Apparently Breeze is looking at lieflats for the 220, so it's probably possible. And unlike planes, trains are relatively length unconstrained, given 14 car regionals are a thing.
Hmm, lie-flats as the 21st century descendant of the Slumbercoach. Even if, as is probably likely, enough seats could be stuffed in, I'm having trouble envisioning the market. Anything longer than the core NEC runs (or, really, the core Acela runs) is well into territory where a plane is going to be faster, and anything overnight a lie-flat's inferior to the dedicated sleepers. I do wonder about the Amfleet club cars that run as 2-1 business class on some of the mid-distance trains off the corridor; might be able to market a more-premium quasi-sleeper on some of those runs. 66/67, incidentally, was one of the regular users of those cars (I don't know if that was always the case, but until they were pulled from the schedule a few months back they were running with club cars, and I distinctly recall one on my one trip on 67, incidentally exactly nineteen years ago.) I thought 66/67 (like the independent Silver Meteor) got pulled for Covid-related staffing shortages, though I don't know if that's turned into an Arborway-style "temporarily suspended" meaning gone forever or not.

As an additional aside, why are Amtrak roomettes longitudally oriented anyways? Every international sleeper I've been on had them transversely, and so are the Amtrak Bedrooms.
Width, probably. A Viewliner roomette is 6'8", and the car's only 10'6" or thereabouts. You'd only be able to fit a notional 13 rooms of equivalent dimensions, so take your pick of restrooms, shower, or car attendant's room, two of the three has to go or you're down a roomette on net. (I know the V1s didn't have dedicated restrooms, but even in that case one of the shower or the attendant's room has to go.) For whatever reason, the one decent night's sleep I ever got on an Amtrak sleeper was the only one in a roomette.
 

Jahvon09

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The Superliners have sleeper rooms upstairs a little larger. I've experienced that whille riding one of them on the Auto Train. At night, the car had almost felt like it was going to fly off the track! It shook rather violently at times!! And the toilet would flush by itself at night! :eek:
 

Riverside

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The 66/67 is the overnight service on the NEC, right? Last I heard it was temporarily canceled due to track replacement work somewhere on the line. (I had a reservation that got canceled and that was what they told me when I called.) And for the last year they had indeed been running a sleeper coach on it as well.
 

jass

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The 66/67 is the overnight service on the NEC, right? Last I heard it was temporarily canceled due to track replacement work somewhere on the line. (I had a reservation that got canceled and that was what they told me when I called.) And for the last year they had indeed been running a sleeper coach on it as well.
Yeah they did a whole big thing last year about adding the sleepers...and then 6 months later the entire train was pulled from the schedule with no announcement and no info.
 

Jahvon09

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The new Acelas are being delayed for service on the NEC for yet another damn year!!! Here's why: :mad:


They shouldn't be promising people that a new startup is about to or soon to take place, then delay the startup for a 2nd time. This is just plain ridiculous! Just say soon & leave it at that. Then when everything checks out ok, THEN & ONLY then, announce a startup year. This 'we're starting up this year', then changing it again is just plain stupid! :mad:
 
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Jahvon09

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New coded interiors for the new Acelas. :)

 
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kingofsheeba

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The new Acelas are being delayed for service on the NEC for yet another damn year!!! Here's why: :mad:


They shouldn't be promising people that a new startup is about to or soon to take place, then delay the startup a 2nd time. This is just plain ridiculous! Just say soon & leave it at that. Then when everything checks out ok, THEN & ONLY then, announce a startup year. This 'we're starting up this year', then changing it again is just plain stupid! :mad:
You’ll thank them when you’re heading from Boston to DC at 180 mph and the car that you’re in can handle those curves.
 

Jahvon09

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You’ll thank them when you’re heading from Boston to DC at 180 mph and the car that you’re in can handle those curves.
It was said that the new Acelas would run up to 160mph, & only in certain areas of Rhode island, Coneciticut & New Jersey. Will that change? Just like the MBTA, & again, new trains are being used with decades-old, in THIS case, more than a century old tracks. The one & only way that the system will ever work is if & when an entirely new set of trackways are built mainly for the Acelas to run smoothly & efficiently. The lousey gov't is just too cheap & stingy to help finance this type of system. Amtrak will also always & forever be fighting with the freight trains, mainly because it doesn't own all of the railways. It'll be a constant never-ending battle. No need to just keep on Mickey-Mousing the old system to make it work for the new Acelas. They replace the train cars, but do little or nothing to improve the tracks. What's wrong with this picture?! :unsure:
 
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Riverside

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On a totally different note: I was looking at SEPTA trolley schedules, and was wondering -- do they really run upwards of 50 trolleys per hour in each direction through their subway during the PM rush? Or are the schedules "aspirational" in that sense (i.e. lower reliability prevents the actual throughput from ever rising that high)?
 

themissinglink

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Was the New Brunswick-Trenton high speed upgrade project on the Northeast Corridor ever completed? I thought it was supposed to be finished in 2020, but I don't recall hearing any updates.
 

Arlington

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Was the New Brunswick-Trenton high speed upgrade project on the Northeast Corridor ever completed? I thought it was supposed to be finished in 2020, but I don't recall hearing any updates.
Funny you should ask! From the AmtrakTrains.com forum this weekend:

Effective at 5am on 5/9 Tracks 2 & 3 will now be rated for the following speeds:

Between County and Midway 145 MPH

Between Midway and CP Clark (Just west of PJC) 150 MPH
 

themissinglink

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Funny you should ask! From the AmtrakTrains.com forum this weekend:
Thank you! It's about time the speed improvements were completed.

I'll be taking the Acela from Boston to Washington in a few months, I was hoping that the speed improvements would be complete by then. I'm very glad to hear that they're being put into effect.
 

bakgwailo

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Will these lead to any meaningful impact on trip time for the existing fleet? I guess also true for the Acela 2, which I think the track will be up rated to 160mph?
 

Arlington

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Will these lead to any meaningful impact on trip time for the existing fleet? I guess also true for the Acela 2, which I think the track will be up rated to 160mph?
I think the answer is that there may be an impact on reliability but no new schedule improvemetns: I think the plan is (was?) that the AX1s will be able to do 145 & 150 to keep time (make up lost time) but that there won't be any schedule change until the AX2s predominate in the fleet.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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As of today, ConnDOT's Shore Line East is now being run 100% with M8 EMU's. Took a long time to get to this, as the state had to acquire more cars, expand NEC substation capacity, address platform issues at New London, and address testing problems with an undergrade bridge tearing off the third-rail shoes from the M8's (solution: the SLE-assigned sets have had their shoes temporarily removed while ConnDOT haggles with Amtrak for future structural mods to the offending bridge). But that plucky Shoreline operation is finally all-electric.

The freed-up diesel equipment now goes to the Hartford Line, where they'll immediately be able to increase service levels. Speculation as well that ConnDOT will soon be ending their lease on spare MBTA MBB single-level coaches, since the SLE fleet of Mafersa single-levels can now satisfy all their needs.
 

Badusername

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As of today, ConnDOT's Shore Line East is now being run 100% with M8 EMU's. Took a long time to get to this, as the state had to acquire more cars, expand NEC substation capacity, address platform issues at New London, and address testing problems with an undergrade bridge tearing off the third-rail shoes from the M8's (solution: the SLE-assigned sets have had their shoes temporarily removed while ConnDOT haggles with Amtrak for future structural mods to the offending bridge). But that plucky Shoreline operation is finally all-electric.

The freed-up diesel equipment now goes to the Hartford Line, where they'll immediately be able to increase service levels. Speculation as well that ConnDOT will soon be ending their lease on spare MBTA MBB single-level coaches, since the SLE fleet of Mafersa single-levels can now satisfy all their needs.
Is a Shore Line East extension to Providence possible or planned? It would be great for the gap between MBTA and SLE to be closed. I imagine it would enable a cheaper Boston > NYC option than the Northeast Regional.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Is a Shore Line East extension to Providence possible or planned? It would be great for the gap between MBTA and SLE to be closed. I imagine it would enable a cheaper Boston > NYC option than the Northeast Regional.
SLE to Westerly is proposed. But that's because Westerly station is literally 3 blocks across the state line from the densest-population part of Stonington, CT...so it's very much an in-district constituency. Westerly Station also features next-door layover yard real estate already under Amtrak ownership. And SLE needs an outer layover if its service levels are to usefully increase.

Providence is much, much too far afield for a Connecticut transit agency to administer. They have no interest whatsoever in that, as that's an Amtrak audience. The gap will be filled by RI intrastate Commuter Rail running Pawtucket-Westerly under parasitic MBTA auspices (but not as any sort of Boston run). Although the pace of RI's intrastate commuter rail dreams has slowed dramatically and disappointingly during the Raimondo/McKee administration(s).
 

Riverside

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Today also marked the opening of the core section of the Crossrail project, with Elizabeth line services running from Paddington through Central London to Canary Wharf and on to Abbey Wood. Existing TfL Rail services from Paddington to Heathrow and Liverpool Street to Shenfield continue to run on the surface lines, but now under the Elizabeth line branding.

There are any number of YouTube videos marking the occasion, but I'll share Jago Hazzard's video, as it gives a nice introduction and bit of background history to the project. Geoff Marshall has done a number of explainer videos over the years as well, so curious minds can take a look there as well.

 

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