Regional New England Rail (Amtrak & State DOT)

Jahvon09

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Theyre supposed to start on the San Joaquin this summer
With the same type of trains? I thought that Alstom was only making 28 train sets for the Northeast Corridor.
 

jass

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With the same type of trains? I thought that Alstom was only making 28 train sets for the Northeast Corridor.
Oh youre talking about the new Acela. No, the new regular trains. Last page you can see a picture of it with the San Joaquins branding. Thats what this news is about, more of these.
 

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With the same type of trains? I thought that Alstom was only making 28 train sets for the Northeast Corridor.
Wrong cars. The Alstom Aveilas replace the Acela. The Siemens Venture replaces:
  • the 1988 vintage Horizon coaches (92 cars) in Chicago Hub
  • the 1975-77 vintage Amfleet I's (450+ cars) on the East Coast, with a future option order on this contract expected to replace the 1981-83 vintage Amfleet II long-distance cars (138 cars)
  • the 1967-70 (rebuilt 1980's) vintage Metroliner cab cars (15 cars) assigned to the Keystone, Pennsylvanian, and, Springfield Shuttle/Valley Flyer push-pull routes
  • the 1975-88 (converted late-90's) Non-Powered Control Unit "cabbage cars" (21 cars) made out of hollowed-out ex-F40PH locomotives for use with push-pull routes and assigned to the Downeaster, Cascades, Texas Eagle, and several Chicago Hub routes.
  • the 1994 vintage Talgo Pendular integrated trainsets on the Cascades route between Vancouver and Portland (the retired "VI" series...the supplemental "8" series order of Talgos is staying).
. . .with. . .
  • the California order being fully expansionary for the San Joaquins so the bi-level California Cars can be reassigned to other routes. The San Joaquins also needs future compatibility with high-level platforms because a portion of the route will be relocated over CAHSR Phase I, while the other California routes remain all 8-inch boarding matching the bi-levels' doors.
  • a near-identical order in Canada replacing VIA Rail's Montreal-Toronto-Windsor Corridor fleet of 1970's LRC cars, ancient 1940's Budd coaches that were Amtrak Heritage hand-me-downs, and 1990's U.K.-import Renaissance cars that don't meet Canadian/U.S. accessibility regs because of their smaller-size loading gauge (aisles too narrow).
  • and Brightline in Florida already running an earlier order of these cars
 
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Jahvon09

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Post the link, please, so that I can find it. Thanks. :)
 

jass

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You can see how the new and old compare in these test trains

 

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Comparison pics. . .

Venture (Chicago Hub car) default interior:

  • Aisle width
  • Vestibule door width (partially obscured by open crew storage door)
  • Big overhead info screens (go back to last page's post and the Brightline examples show these are full-graphical computer displays capable of showing full HD video -quality info)
  • Window size (esp. size of the emergency exit window on left)
  • Available headroom (esp. on aisle seats)
  • Multiple types of luggage racks (overhead and standing)
  • LED lighting, and groove on the side of them where the LED "ambient" lighting is (go back to last page's post and Brightline example)
  • The "rail"-mounts on the floor and sides where the seats and racks are installed. This is the "snap-in" modular livery. You can detach all fixtures quickly in the shop and redo the car on short-notice and low-expense to different seating configurations and alternate liveries, including combo coach/baggage cars if necessary. All large-scale structures inside the car can be parted out by detaching from their mounting rails, and the end caps of the carbodies and vestibule walls can be temp-removed to faciliate large-scale loading/unloading of snap-in sections.

-----------------------------------

Amfleet I (2019 refurbish) default interior:


Brand new interior just installed across the fleet, so it's quite nice as-is. But note especially:
  • The very small windows. And how cramped the emergency-exit (on right) windows are for evacuating the train.
  • Slightly narrower aisles.
  • Way narrower vestibule doors
  • Less headroom because of tubular carbody shape, and much lower headroom clearance below overhead luggage bays
  • Less clearance in the overhead luggage bays because of the sloping roof
  • Text-only scrolling LED's, no different from Commuter Rail ASA signage
  • One type of airliner-style lighting...either all-lit or partial-lit in "ambient" setting, but limited fine-tuning of light levels allowed.
  • (not shown by this view) Seats are hard-bolted to floor, fixtures hard-bolted to walls. Not rack-mounted for quick changeout. Vestibule wall & door are hard-built into frame, so fixtures can only be piecemeal-loaded in parts big enough to carry through the default door. Limited configurations available, takes a lot of shop downtime to update livery.
 
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Boarding comparison. . .

Venture (Caltrans) with traps set for low-level boarding:

Venture (Brightline) with traps set for high-level boarding. Note the automatic bridge plate that pops out for full level boarding. Because of heavy high-and-wide freight traffic through Brightline stations their platforms lack the 3-inch wide wood bumper seen on NEC and Northeastern commuter rail high-level platforms that go flush with the door, so the bridge plates shoot out automatically upon doors-open to cover the pronounced gap seen there. The bridge plates store inside a small mechanical slot in the floor, and like all other cars with door traps that floor can flip up and stow away against the wall to expose the low-boarding stairs.


  • Doors are wider (34 in.) than most other vestibule doors.
  • Plug doors that slide out on the exterior of the vehicle allow for wider doors than sliding doors which have to live inside a length of vestibule wall.
  • Automated flip gap-fillers mean full-high stations can be built on freight clearance routes like the Downeaster, Vermonter, Adirondack, Pennsylvanian, Ethan Allen Express, and others.
  • Automated flip gap-fillers mean conductors don't have to manual-set a bridge plate for getting wheelchair-bound passengers aboard even on a no-gap full-high (i.e. automatic assistance for going over the 'bump' between platform and floor)
  • Door mechanisms easier to maintain not being stuffed inside the vestibule walls.
  • Plug door seals tight, providing additional climate control and noise damping in the vestibules
----------------------------------------
Amfleet I vestibule door (traps set for full-high but stopped at a low-level platform):

Amfleet I vestibule door (full-high setting) with manual-assist bridge plate for wheelchairs/wheeled luggage. Note that the platform (Portland, ME) is non high-and-wide freight clearance with a gap-filler bumper and only has 1+ inches of space at the door-platform interface vs. ~5 inches at the Brightline platform example. Like with any commuter rail car, you can easily just step over the small gap and don't need to break out the bridge plate except when special-handling people or large objects on wheels. This is the setup you see all throughout the Northeast at full-high stations.

  • Narrower width (see conductor pic...barely shoulder-to-shoulder for an avg. size adult male)
  • Sliding door eats up interior wall space equivalent to full width of door
  • Bridge plates need to be manually set by conductor. On routes with a lot of carry-on luggage, that creates longer door queues and substantially increases assistance time for helping wheelchair-bound passengers.
  • Lack of automation on the bridge plates means doors are only safe to operate at full-highs that have gap-filling bumpers and no high-and-wide freight passing on the platform track (unless it's a retractable-edge 1-car mini-high).
  • With slide doors, vestibule is more exposed to weather and noise because of cavity in the walls when they're in the closed position. The one old-age malady afflicting the Amfleets that the recent livery refresh did not substantially tackle was that the vestibules have a bad reputation for being noisy, damp, and drafty.



Also not a "creature comfort" feature per se...but see the ends of the cars in the Amfleet conductor pic and the Caltrans Venture car pic. On the Amfleets the stainless steel side panels and end caps are pressed together and welded tight and inseparable unless you get the Jaws of Life to rip the end off the car. On the Venture the end cap is bolted on with rivets. It's possible to take the ends off in the shop to open up the entire width of the car for loading/unloading of the modular snap-in livery sections (i.e. forklift in/out multiple rows of seats, whole rows of luggage racks, etc.). While that does require considerable shop labor, it's *extremely* easier and more cost-effective to refresh the Ventures' interior with change-outs of bulk-size sections rather than having to un-bolt every seat and fixture and carry them individually through the narrow doors like an Amfleet. Difference of days vs. weeks and thousands of $$$ for doing per-car configuration changes and/or updates.
 

Stlin

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I can't wait to see these show up in national livery and on regionals, though I'm really curious what Phase VII livery will look like for coaches, as the national post transition ALC42 Phase VII livery doesn't have the cheatline the Midwest fleet has, or even the phase VI and III liveries. Cheatlines look good on trains because they emphasize their inherent linearity, but following the trends established by the airlines, the new livery is a rather generic swoopy "dynamic in motion" thing. (which honestly reminds me of the Patriots jet)

amtrak 300.PNG
pats jet 2.PNG
 

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I can't wait to see these show up in national livery and on regionals, though I'm really curious what Phase VII livery will look like for coaches, as the national post transition ALC42 Phase VII livery doesn't have the cheatline the Midwest fleet has, or even the phase VI and III liveries. Cheatlines look good on trains because they emphasize their inherent linearity, but following the trends established by the airlines, the new livery is a rather generic swoopy "dynamic in motion" thing. (which honestly reminds me of the Patriots jet)

View attachment 12340View attachment 12348
Note that because of PRIIA state-level ownership of car fleets, Empire Corridor (Albany Shops) fleets and Keystone Corridor (Philly Shops) fleets can/will have distinct statie-flavored livery like the Midwest, Caltrans, and WSDOT/ORDOT fleets do. The national scheme/livery will only be on stuff that runs thru from the NEC endpoints and/or where the state-sponsored routes are parasitic pay-ins schlepping off a national equipment base (Wilmington Shops, D.C./Potomac, NYC/Sunnyside, etc.). Virginia Regionals, Vermonter/Valley Flyer/future-Inland Route, etc. will thus wear national colors. NY's scheme could go considerably different, since they also have their own fleet of third rail dual-mode locos that don't intermix with anything else (PennDOT obviously would need to paint its coaches to not clash too heavily with the stock national Sprinter electric that'll be hauling it points east of Harrisburg).

The Downeaster could go either way. Either NNEPRA's terminal case of Shiny Ball Syndrome gets them torturously doing up their own paint scheme and seat fabric swatches, they go parasitic to NYSDOT/Empire (Albany being their current parasitic equipment base laundered to/from Boston on the back of the Lake Shore Ltd.), or they go parasitic to the national fleet. My bet is they do up their own scheme, because NNEPRA-meets-Shiny Ball Syndrome and they're liable to focus more on the optics premium than whether they remembered to order enough cars to bank future growth.
 

jass

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The better get reclining seats though. The Chicago pic doesnt look like they recline. The two story California cars dont have recline either.
 

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The better get reclining seats though. The Chicago pic doesnt look like they recline. The two story California cars dont have recline either.
Should be able to. A little bit, at least. Amtrak Coach Class guarantees that as a systemwide amenity on all Corridor (Amfleet, Horizon, Cali Car, Surfliner) routes, so at least some of the seats in each car are able to do that even if that isn't inclusive of all seats. The Long Distance configurations (Amfleet II, Superliner, Viewliner) have way more generous reclines and wider-spaced seats so you can lay almost flat, but it's supposed to be available across-the-board including for non-reserved seating.
 

jass

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Should be able to. A little bit, at least. Amtrak Coach Class guarantees that as a systemwide amenity on all Corridor (Amfleet, Horizon, Cali Car, Surfliner) routes, so at least some of the seats in each car are able to do that even if that isn't inclusive of all seats. The Long Distance configurations (Amfleet II, Superliner, Viewliner) have way more generous reclines and wider-spaced seats so you can lay almost flat, but it's supposed to be available across-the-board including for non-reserved seating.
Nah Ive ridden the California system many times. The only recline is when they stick a national car at the back. Those seats are much comfier and have a deep recline. Thats infrequent though. The website is incorrect.

Crappy photo, but the seats are all basically bolted together with hard plastic
20170828_062829.jpg


Compare with a national railcar

IMG_3692.JPG
 

Arlington

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So can both doors ever be used at the same time? It looks like:

left door is the trap and maybe a plate filler but I would worry about the plug door getting hung up on a real high platform (with wood edge)

The right door looks like the standard level boarding hi platform and also any platform that had a freight clearance set back where are the filler can shoot out from under the door
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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So can both doors ever be used at the same time? It looks like:

left door is the trap and maybe a plate filler but I would worry about the plug door getting hung up on a real high platform (with wood edge)

The right door looks like the standard level boarding hi platform and also any platform that had a freight clearance set back where are the filler can shoot out from under the door
Yes. It's in the PRIIA car specs that all doors can open at any platform, just like an Amfleet I. The short door has the low-level stairs tucked inside a covered compartment exactly as they are on the Amfleets. It takes one more flip move to expose the stairs. These long-door cars are for regions where *most* platforms are going to be low-level or gapped. The East Coast order may simply have the short door setup on both ends, unlike the Cali/Midwest ones with the long doors. If any of the Midwest cars get cycled onto the NEC, it may just be one end only that opens, sort of like an Amfleet II.
 

Stlin

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I stumbled across the recently signed Scope of Services and contract for the "2021 Nashua - Manchester Project Development Phase." 15% design at 4 station locations, 30% design of RoW, environmental assessment, signal and interlocking, etc, etc. What is genuinely interesting is that NHDOT isn't just taking it from the state line; they're taking it from Lowell Station, and thus including bridges, crossings and interlockings that are on that ~9 miles of MA trackage. I didn't know a state could contract for work outside of itself using federal funds.
 

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