Alstom making progress on Acela 2 contract/delays

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keelhauled

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Correct. But it’s not really possible to put the electric outlets in each seat while they can rotate.
You can put a distributor ring and brushes in the seat to get the electrical connection. Actually, if it's only a 180 degree rotation you could probably use a cable with a bit of slack. It would be one more point of failure though.
 

Acela150

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Correct. But it’s not really possible to put the electric outlets in each seat while they can rotate.
You can put a distributor ring and brushes in the seat to get the electrical connection. Actually, if it's only a 180 degree rotation you could probably use a cable with a bit of slack. It would be one more point of failure though.
Exactly. And if it fails in a rotating seat cause of something like that. It’s not a cheap fix.
 

cocojacoby

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Well, Boston and New York have a loop and D.C. has a wye so the entire train could be turned. Also, I think a cord/cable attached to a 180 degree turning seat would be very easy to accomplish. I could easily be protected inside the base or with a removable shield of some sort.
 

Thirdrail7

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Unless something has changed, I probably saw (and voted) in the same presentation as Anderson. If that is the case, the electrical outlets are going to be in a space between the seats. They space will be similar what exists in the current split club seating. This will eliminate the need for you to be a contortionist to plug in your stuff....like you currently need to be on the Acela. You will no longer have to reach across people on the inside....although they could still have the outlets full by the time you arrive.

That being said, turning seats requires personnel. Turning trains requires personnel. Personnel=costs. Turning seats with existing automated technology increases the costs and maintenance of the train, which is something that is not desired. Therefore, since there are groups of passengers in the United States and a great deal of other countries operate in this configuration, it was decided that this train would follow suit. They will also cut down on the number of available bathrooms (costs lowered and revenue spaces increases) and add other things like tables and stuff.

Naturally, I'm against most of this and submitted my preferences. I will say, they had this seat that was a contender that I loved. It had the space, it could turn but instead of the back of the seat fully reclining, the bottom portion of the seat moved. It was extremely comfortable. Since they are going with fixed seating, that was what I voted for.

I still think it is bogus. The reality of the situation is they know damn well some people don't like riding backwards. It is a revenue grab (which I alluded to before....I'll attempt to find the quote) They know people will make reservations in advance and with pre-selected seating, I'm of the opinion they are counting on those people to pay more for window seats, forward facing seats, table seats, etc, while the budget minded person wil lsay, it is cheaper to ride backwards.....and vomit on the person in front of me....or is it behind me, since I'm backwards?


And they are probably right.
 
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cocojacoby

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I don't remember the exact location of a report I read but I think it was England. The single biggest complaint the company was getting was the fixed seats and the unpleasantness of riding backwards.

Can not believe Amtrak is doing this.
 

Skyline

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I never thought I'd find a reason severe enough to not ride a train, but being forced to ride backwards is the first. I have balance issues resulting from a (benign) brain tumor almost 20 years ago, and I know from experience how nauseous I get riding backwards. It can last several days after onset, and I cannot afford that. It's one reason I don't fly, too.
 

cpotisch

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Well, Boston and New York have a loop and D.C. has a wye so the entire train could be turned. Also, I think a cord/cable attached to a 180 degree turning seat would be very easy to accomplish. I could easily be protected inside the base or with a removable shield of some sort.
However the high-platform Acela tracks in DC stop at the station, so it's way faster and easier to just switch the seats for the train back.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I'm not sure what y'all are complaining about. Riding backwards on the world's slowest and roughest high speed network with longer trains featuring fewer restrooms sounds like a great experience to me. I personally cannot wait for this new upgraded replacement to be delivered and hope I can be among the very first people watch it leave the station without me.
 
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districtRich

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Aren't nearly half the seats in the first class car already backwards no matter which way the train is running, and that doesn't seem to be too big of a deal. They're usually the last chosen from what I've noticed, but the car does fill when I've been on it, and a lot of people do end up riding backwards. If first class can handle it now I'm sure business class will adjust when the time comes.
 

cpotisch

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I'm not sure what y'all are complaining about. Riding backwards on the world's slowest and roughest high speed network with longer trains featuring fewer restrooms sounds like a great experience to me. I personally cannot wait for this new upgraded replacement to be delivered and hope I can be among the very first people watch it leave the station without me.
They are fewer bathrooms now? Great.
 

Thirdrail7

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I don't remember the exact location of a report I read but I think it was England. The single biggest complaint the company was getting was the fixed seats and the unpleasantness of riding backwards.

Can not believe Amtrak is doing this.
As much as I'm not a fan, Amtrak is already doing this. Indeed, they've been doing it for years:

Aren't nearly half the seats in the first class car already backwards no matter which way the train is running, and that doesn't seem to be too big of a deal. They're usually the last chosen from what I've noticed, but the car does fill when I've been on it, and a lot of people do end up riding backwards. If first class can handle it now I'm sure business class will adjust when the time comes.
When I actually brought up that our passengers don't like to ride backwards, I was informed the Pacific Surfliners run 50/50 seating. In addition to the Acela sets and anyone occupying a four seater, the Keystones run 50/50 seating. The Pennsylvanian runs its entire trip between NYP-PHL with backwards seating. Before the Vermonter was rerouted, it had 50/50 seating.

This will encourage you to make advance reservations and pick your seats. It may also encourage people to take the bus or the plane too.

That being said, I need to help out Devil's Advocate and fix his quote:

I'm not sure what y'all are complaining about. Riding backwards on the world's slowest and roughest high speed network with longer trains featuring fewer restrooms, much higher prices and possibly less seat pitch sounds like a great experience to me. I personally cannot wait for this new upgraded replacement to be delivered and hope I can be among the very first people watch it leave the station without me.
You're welcome DA.
 
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MikefromCrete

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Last summer, i rode an Italian high speed train between Naples and Rome. A large part of the seating was sets of four seats facing each other with a table in between. Most of the seats were occupied and I didn't notice any problems with people refusing to sit "backwards." The seats in the original Highliner commuter cars on Metra Electric had fixed seating with all seats facing the center of the car. While "forward" facing seats were more popular, it wasn't like rear facing seats were left empty. People get used to it. If you're got a medical problem, then claim a handicap and you'll be seated in a forward facing seat. Like everything else on AU, this debate seems overwrought.
 

railiner

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It has been long recognized that most passenger's prefer to ride facing where they are going, as opposed to where they've been...

As proof of this, I point to the old practice of The Pullman Company giving the occupants of the more expensive lower berth's, the right to ride in the forward facing seat, during the day...
 

OBS

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I will never forget the day I had a passenger come in for dinner, completely dark outside, and make a big production about how she" had to ride forward or she would be sick". I led her to a table and let her choose her seat, upon which her and her husband proceeded to sit facing backwards and enjoyed her evening meal without a problem.....
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Last summer, i rode an Italian high speed train between Naples and Rome. A large part of the seating was sets of four seats facing each other with a table in between. Most of the seats were occupied and I didn't notice any problems with people refusing to sit "backwards." The seats in the original Highliner commuter cars on Metra Electric had fixed seating with all seats facing the center of the car. While "forward" facing seats were more popular, it wasn't like rear facing seats were left empty. People get used to it. If you're got a medical problem, then claim a handicap and you'll be seated in a forward facing seat. Like everything else on AU, this debate seems overwrought.
As to Metra, the new seats that are slowly being installed are permanently fixed in place as well. In my opinion, they are much more comfortable which makes up for not being able to turn them, although I have heard many complaints about the seats from others.
 

PerRock

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I don't remember the exact location of a report I read but I think it was England. The single biggest complaint the company was getting was the fixed seats and the unpleasantness of riding backwards.

Can not believe Amtrak is doing this.
As much as I'm not a fan, Amtrak is already doing this. Indeed, they've been doing it for years:
I was going to say... the Michigan service regularly has half the seats facing the other way.

peter
 

Bob Dylan

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Lest we forget, current Amtrak Sleepers have Backward Facing Seats in the Roomettes and half of the Regular Bedrooms.
 
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I actually like riding backwards, but I don't know how it would be on a really fast train. I've done it on NJT, the Keystone, and (long, long ago) in my uncle's station wagon where all the children wanted to sit in the seat that looked out the back when he drove me and my cousins down the Shore--it was considered a special treat to have that seat, and we took turns. However, we were probably going only about 40 miles an hour, if that, on real back roads. But we always stopped for frozen custard, and I never got sick.

But that's a whole lot different than 160 miles per hour or whatever the Acela goes.
 

JRR

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Lest we forget, current Amtrak Sleepers have Backward Facing Seats in half the Roomettes and Regular Bedrooms when 2 occupy them!
Exactly! My wife and I have grown accustomed to our “usual” seats in the roomette and that results in sometimes forward and sometimes backward depending on the particular roomette and which was the car is oriented. Initially we both thought riding backwards would be unpleasant but have both come to the conclusion that there are advantages to each.
 

cpotisch

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I actually like riding backwards, but I don't know how it would be on a really fast train. I've done it on NJT, the Keystone, and (long, long ago) in my uncle's station wagon where all the children wanted to sit in the seat that looked out the back when he drove me and my cousins down the Shore--it was considered a special treat to have that seat, and we took turns. However, we were probably going only about 40 miles an hour, if that, on real back roads. But we always stopped for frozen custard, and I never got sick.

But that's a whole lot different than 160 miles per hour or whatever the Acela goes.
I wouldn't quite say that I like riding backwards, but for the most part I could care less. It can be a little unsettling if we come to a stop quickly or accelerate quickly and I'm facing the other way, but when we're just cruising, there's no real difference.
 

Acela150

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I will never forget the day I had a passenger come in for dinner, completely dark outside, and make a big production about how she" had to ride forward or she would be sick". I led her to a table and let her choose her seat, upon which her and her husband proceeded to sit facing backwards and enjoyed her evening meal without a problem.....
I laughed my rear end off when I read this. So did my co-worker.

ThirdRail, I understand your point about reserving seats. Which that's not an issue. But there is one issue.. How will people know which way the trainset is going say 3 months before they board? e.g Which end the First Class Car is on. Heck no one know where the First Class car is until they board. Now if you're in the know about the Trainset rotation then you can somewhat predict which end it'll be on. But is this something that is being worked out?
 

Thirdrail7

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Like everything else on AU, this debate seems overwrought.
I wouldn't go that far, MikefromCrete. These are real concerns, particularly with this in mind:

I'm not sure what y'all are complaining about. Riding backwards on the world's slowest and roughest high speed network

But that's a whole lot different than 160 miles per hour or whatever the Acela goes.
It can be a little unsettling if we come to a stop quickly or accelerate quickly and I'm facing the other way, but when we're just cruising, there's no real difference.
When we had the meeting and they mentioned the Pacific Surfliner, I was quick to mention the difference in operating conditions. The comparison to a heavier train equipped with slow loading diesels accelerating to 79 mph on wood ties is not the same as bouncing along on at 125+ mph on the concrete ties which are replete with mud spots and interlockings that are quite rough. I can only hope this equipment doesn't brake like the current HST.

I also asked how many of them actually rode the trains and invited them to ride a Keystone to PHL so they could see the "Philly Shuffle" with their own eyes. This is the practice of through passengers PHL boarding a keystone in NYP or HAR and asking which way the train is operating. They sit in the forward facing seats. When the train arrives in PHL, they wait for the train to thin out, and then attempt to switch seats so they are facing the direction of travel for the next leg of the trip.

This is not small group of people.

At any rate, I hope the plan will change but I seriously doubt it will.
 
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Thirdrail7

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ThirdRail, I understand your point about reserving seats. Which that's not an issue. But there is one issue.. How will people know which way the trainset is going say 3 months before they board? e.g Which end the First Class Car is on. Heck no one know where the First Class car is until they board. Now if you're in the know about the Trainset rotation then you can somewhat predict which end it'll be on. But is this something that is being worked out?
Three months in advance? You may not know which way the train is going to point 20 minutes before it is released from the yard. This is one of the main problems with assigned/pre-selected seating and is something that still plagues the seat assignment pilot. The rotations generally remain the same. However, when manipulations and service disruptions occur, the question was asked regarding what resources are available for pointing and are we willing to delay the train to satisfy the diagram. The answer was an emphatic NO.

So, it will ALWAYS have to the potential to be an issue.
 
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jis

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As long as the rest of the world operates trains at upto 220mph with backward facing seats without any issue I just tend to see this repeated discussions/arguments as a peculiarly American pastime. The few that have genuine issues can be accommodated like they are elsewhere.

OK. Now I think I will duck to let the fusillade launched this way go by unharmed. [emoji57]
 
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