Acela 21 development, testing and deployment

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At this rate how is rail supposed to be a viable mode of transport for the average US citizen?!
Uh, the old trains will still be running. It's not like people won't be able to ride the NEC until 2023, and while the current Acelas aren't spanking new, neither are the Northeast Regionals -- or my car, for that matter, and they're still viable modes of transport. (By the way, I own a 2001 Honda CR/V, as old as the Acelas, and it still runs fine.) I think people will still be riding trains on the NEC in 2023.
 

Mailliw

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Which is exactly why I am not ok with it. It's basically an attempt to elminate the LSA jobs.
Unless Amtrak is planning on eliminating hot food and alcohol the cafe cars will still be staffed. This just makes things more efficient for passengers and staff. Ideally other crew could be cross trained to cover breaks too.
 

Cal

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Ideally other crew could be cross trained to cover breaks too.
What other crew? The conductors, who have to be paying attention to aspects of operating the train? Or the train attendants dealing with first class service, does that mean first class will have to go without an attendant during that time? Or the engineer, and have the train go without anyone driving?
 
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Unless Amtrak is planning on eliminating hot food and alcohol the cafe cars will still be staffed. This just makes things more efficient for passengers and staff. Ideally other crew could be cross trained to cover breaks too.
Oh, yeah. alcohol, I forgot about that. No way they can sell alcohol without a live human crew member to dispense it.
 

jis

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How does it card the customer? (And make sure that the person showing the ID is actually the person on the ID.)
I'm specifying something similar for a project right now - I think they scan the ID like some stores do. Good question, however, about the identification of the ID holder vs purchaser. I'm going to look into that next week.
 
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They say you make your own luck or in this case your own grief.
From the article:

"Now Amtrak says Alstom needs to complete extensive computer modeling and simulation tests and “ensure they meet [Federal Railroad Administration] safety requirements with this latest generation of high speed technology.” A prototype began testing on the route between Washington and Boston in 2020."

Given that there are actual prototypes (and even production models) actually in operation, how will running computer simulations help the manufacturer meet the safety requirements? I always thought that computer modeling was something you did in the design phase, and, of course, the prototypes never act exactly like the computer model, but you can test and tweak things with the real prototypes, not a computer model that doesn't 100% map to reality. And I would think that the original design should have met the FRA safety requirements in the first place.
 

Ryan

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Given that there are actual prototypes (and even production models) actually in operation, how will running computer simulations help the manufacturer meet the safety requirements? I always thought that computer modeling was something you did in the design phase, and, of course, the prototypes never act exactly like the computer model, but you can test and tweak things with the real prototypes, not a computer model that doesn't 100% map to reality. And I would think that the original design should have met the FRA safety requirements in the first place.
In my (albeit different) line of work, we use real-world testing to anchor the models. So model to your heart's content in the design phase, but then go run a bunch of real world tests (we're actually doing one today) to help validate the model accurately represents reality (narrator: many times it doesn't), then you can model to your heart's content and find out what the *actual* performance is because you have a computer model anchored in real world data.
 

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Oh, yeah. alcohol, I forgot about that. No way they can sell alcohol without a live human crew member to dispense it.
When you travel abroad and see beer in soda machines, wine on tables, and self-serve spirits you realize alcohol is really only quasilegal here.

Many sports venues in the US have figured that obstacle out.
I did a quick search and got this back...
There are two points of age verification: a cashier next to DraftServ station and an ID-checker at line entry.
You might as well just have someone serving drinks at that point. The clumsy hodgepodge of state, county, and municipal liquor laws that replaced federal prohibition are likely to create a slow and tedious process for approving a fully automated self-serve draft machine on wheels.
 
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west point

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It appears although appearances can deceive. The AX-2s are having difficulty in operating at the 160 speeds of the PRR. No problems are noted New Haven - BOS. However, any time something is changed for the PRR the test trains need to make a quick trip to BOS to verify no unintended consequence.
 

jis

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It appears although appearances can deceive. The AX-2s are having difficulty in operating at the 160 speeds of the PRR. No problems are noted New Haven - BOS. However, any time something is changed for the PRR the test trains need to make a quick trip to BOS to verify no unintended consequence.
Do you suppose that half the voltage in catenary is causing some issues with developing as much power as is needed for getting to higher speeds? Usually these trains' high speed performance is significantly down rated when operating on lower voltage catenary in Europe. But I did not think this should be an issue with getting to 160mph. The issue with pantograph on rickety old non constant tension catenary is quite real though, but that seems to have been resolved.
 
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From the article:

"Now Amtrak says Alstom needs to complete extensive computer modeling and simulation tests and “ensure they meet [Federal Railroad Administration] safety requirements with this latest generation of high speed technology.” A prototype began testing on the route between Washington and Boston in 2020."

Given that there are actual prototypes (and even production models) actually in operation, how will running computer simulations help the manufacturer meet the safety requirements? I always thought that computer modeling was something you did in the design phase, and, of course, the prototypes never act exactly like the computer model, but you can test and tweak things with the real prototypes, not a computer model that doesn't 100% map to reality. And I would think that the original design should have met the FRA safety requirements in the first place.

This was from The Washington Post. It was a lengthy rundown about both the delay in rollout and the interiors. Overall, a very good read. One sentence that caught my attention was this: "Seats are equipped with personal outlets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights. They will recline in a way that officials said will not encroach on other passengers’ space." I interpret this to mean minimal recline similiar the Siemens Venture coaches.
 

west point

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Do you suppose that half the voltage in catenary is causing some issues with developing as much power as is needed for getting to higher speeds? Usually these trains' high speed performance is significantly down rated when operating on lower voltage catenary in Europe. But I did not think this should be an issue with getting to 160mph. The issue with pantograph on rickety old non constant tension catenary is quite real though, but that seems to have been resolved.

That has me wondering as I had not considered that. My Electrical exposure really has not been that precise. Assume ( assuming anything is dangerous ) that the apparent resistance of AX-2 is the same R ( resistance, capacitance, reactive ) at both 12 Kv and 25 Kv. Then power would be V squared / R. So 4 times power at 25 Kv. Maybe that could have some effect beyond my pay grade. Now PRR is 12 Kv 25 Hz. Since the transformer has the lower frequency could that effect the acceleration. Have no idea. MRR is 60 Hz but does not even come close to the higher speeds.

That brings up the question what if PRR is ever converted to 60 Hz 12.5 Kv? Would the variable tension CAT cause problems at the higher speeds?
 
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Assume ( assuming anything is dangerous ) that the apparent resistance of AX-2 is the same R ( resistance, capacitance, reactive ) at both 12 Kv and 25 Kv. Then power would be V squared / R. So 4 times power at 25 Kv. Maybe that could have some effect beyond my pay grade. Now PRR is 12 Kv 25 Hz. Since the transformer has the lower frequency could that effect the acceleration. Have no idea. MRR is 60 Hz but does not even
The only thing I would add is that the power in Watts drawn for each voltage should be the same, although the efficiency of the transformer at 25Hz vs. 60Hz may be different this affecting power draw slightly. However the lower voltage means almost twice the amps drawn through the pantograph which might be an issue along with the variable tension catenary not providing as uniform a contact surface. I am not an EE so take my comments with a large grain of salt.
 

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Don't know if this has been posted but an interview with Assistant VP of Operations about the Acela 2 testing. Takeaway, these guys take a lot of heat on forums like this but they are railroad guys. If you have two hours and want to know the facts behind testing and introducing new equipment, give it a watch. Its about one year old. The NEC is one messed up piece of railroad. The fact many of us take it for granted when we arrive within 15 minutes of scheduled time shows just how good these employees are behind the scenes.



I remember reading the European Railroad officials shake their heads at the state of repair the NEC is in, but are in awe that it works as well as it does.
 
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jis

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This Railway Age article has some more very technical photos in addition to the usual...

 
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