Alstom making progress on Acela 2 contract

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,395
So from the looks of it, yes. I can't wait for Engineers to complain about being centered instead of on the right hand side of the control stand.
They already are. It is likely going to become an issue when it comes to training students.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
They already are. It is likely going to become an issue when it comes to training students.
Of course. I had the thought of operating the trainset with a student. During my time at NS certain units had a jump seat for such an occasion. I’ll take a guess that the cabs will have a jump seat. Either way it’s not the same as sitting next to someone who can give you tips and show you certain tricks of operating.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
Progressive Railroading has an article about the new Acela sets. It seems that Amtrak and Alstom had a media day on June 12th where they showed off the building progress of the new Trainsets. In the article it also states that for a while both the Alstom sets and the Bombardier sets will be in service. Once all of the new Alstom sets are in service they will phase out the original equipment.

https://www.progressiverailroading.com/amtrak/article/Amtrak-to-introduce-next-gen-Acela-trains-in-2021--57887
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ziv

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,549
Interestingly, the power heads even in the Bombardier sets are mostly Alstom.
 

PRR 60

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Feb 18, 2003
Messages
8,332
Interestingly, the power heads even in the Bombardier sets are mostly Alstom.
The existing Acela sets were a joint venture between Bombardier and Alstom. Alstom designed the power cars and provided the traction equipment, electronics and the powered and non-powered trucks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jis

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
I believe it was 75% Bombardier and 25% Alstom. Personally I don’t think that was the way to go.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,549
I believe it was 75% Bombardier and 25% Alstom. Personally I don’t think that was the way to go.
The power heads were more or less entirely Alstom. Bombardier’s main contribution was the LRC derived cars and the tilt system.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
The power heads were more or less entirely Alstom. Bombardier’s main contribution was the LRC derived cars and the tilt system.
I think the major problem with the current fleet is simple. They brought it online and was built during a time where technology was going through a major change. The new trainsets won’t have that issue. AFAIK. Either way I personally look forward to hopefully being able to photograph both the old and new at track speed somewhere. But that’s just a matter of luck and timing things out in the employee timetable. Which the employee timetable is harder and harder to get a hold of these days. With good cause.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,549
I think the real problem with the current fleet is that it had to be built to a FRA imposed standard that makes no sense in the real world. FRA has since recanted and finally admitted that they had no idea what needed to be done for speeds above 125mph and were simply shooting in the dark.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
I think the real problem with the current fleet is that it had to be built to a FRA imposed standard that makes no sense in the real world. FRA has since recanted and finally admitted that they had no idea what needed to be done for speeds above 125mph and were simply shooting in the dark.
The Feds shooting in the dark? Now that doesn't surprise me one bit! :p
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
So here is an interesting tidbit of note. I was browsing Alstom's jobs page and they are looking for someone to basically be in charge of certain aspects of testing the new HST's. It says the first Trainset will go to Pueblo. Obviously.. The second.. Philadelphia! We shall see something soon. :)
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
In the September issue of "Trains" Magazine their is an article relating to the new Acela sets. I actually caught wind of it by accident when I accidentally ended up on their website. So IF you have a subscription to "Trains" magazine you should have that issue now, and if you're not like me head to a place that sells magazines usually after the 21st of the month. A family friend who is a subscriber says that the article is good and has some good photos.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,549
Yes. The article in Trains is good.

Incidentally, the latest PTJ also has an article on Alstom and the new Acela.
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,395
I guess I'm skeptical but I'm wondering if they will get 30 to 40 years out of this equipment. The fact they need to replace the current Acela fleet still boggles my mind.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,037
I guess I'm skeptical but I'm wondering if they will get 30 to 40 years out of this equipment. The fact they need to replace the current Acela fleet still boggles my mind.
It is not replace as much as to expand capacity. Expansion from 20 -1s to 28 -2s train sets and more capacity on each -2 train set. As well additional cars can be bought to insert into the Acela-2s train sets at a cost that was going to be much less than Acela-1s sets if they could be bought at all ? Probably one way to expand -1s would be to split up some -1s and insert them into other -1s. However that would only happen if passenger demand exceeded any Amtrak projections which is highly unlikely.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,549
Acela 1s are toast no matter how much railfans want to dream otherwise.

Acela 21 cars (Yes Amtrak official terminology is Acela 21 for the new sets) are basically standard TGV cars with a few tweaks, so it is not a big deal to conjure up a few additional ones if needed, unlike Acela 1 cars which were a one of a type thing and for which there was no production line extant once the order had been delivered.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
Acela 1s are toast no matter how much railfans want to dream otherwise.

Acela 21 cars (Yes Amtrak official terminology is Acela 21 for the new sets) are basically standard TGV cars with a few tweaks, so it is not a big deal to conjure up a few additional ones if needed, unlike Acela 1 cars which were a one of a type thing and for which there was no production line extant once the order had been delivered.
I can agree with you Jis, that the original Acela's are done for. I'm personally looking forward to the new Acela sets. For a wide variety of reasons.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
In the September issue of "Trains" Magazine their is an article relating to the new Acela sets. I actually caught wind of it by accident when I accidentally ended up on their website. So IF you have a subscription to "Trains" magazine you should have that issue now, and if you're not like me head to a place that sells magazines usually after the 21st of the month. A family friend who is a subscriber says that the article is good and has some good photos.
Ok folks.. I picked up a copy of the September issue of TRAINS today and just got done reading the article. Most of the photos in the article are already online. I think their is one photo that would intrigue some of the end of the cars will look like.

Some interesting notes that should be taken into account.
The current fleet is 666 feet in length. (They couldn't add another foot?) :p
The new trainsets will be 698 feet in length. An additional 32 feet. Almost half a car. (Standard Passenger Cars are 85 feet)
The weight of the new trainsets is astonishing to me. 544 tons. The current fleet? 624!! 80 tons will make a huge difference in several ways.
The new fleet will have a continuous power draw of 7,500 KW. The current is at 9,200 KW.
The test track that Alstom has built is going to be limited to 40 MPH. So if you think you're going to see these things really moving in Hornell stop kidding yourself. :p
The tilttronix active tilt system will be much different then what is on the current fleet. The tilttronix will use "software" that will tell the train how much tilt to impose at the trains current speed. Current fleet is limited to 4 degrees. I believe the new fleet will be limited to 6.2 degrees.
Many key components that are related to traction will be within the machine room of the power cars. Which is supposed to improve reliability. (We shall see about that)
Amtrak is looking into bringing back cart service with the new fleet. Claiming that people are working and don't like to leave their seat or thousands of dollars worth of goodys.
Amtrak is looking into the possibility of the entire trainset being assigned seating. Part of this would include information on where to board the train. Which the article states is a work in progress.

Regarding the entire train being assigned seating... Amtrak is looking to PILOT this in January of 2020.

And last but not least.. When do they think they'll see a trainset come out of Hornell????
As stated in a thread this past week. (July NGEC Updates) January is when testing at TTCI will commence. The trainset is slated to be released from Hornell in December.
Corridor testing hopefully beginning March of 2020.
The article also states the TTCI set will stay there for 8 months!
 

JustOnce

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
57
Ok folks.. I picked up a copy of the September issue of TRAINS today and just got done reading the article. Most of the photos in the article are already online. I think their is one photo that would intrigue some of the end of the cars will look like.

Some interesting notes that should be taken into account.
The current fleet is 666 feet in length. (They couldn't add another foot?) :p
The new trainsets will be 698 feet in length. An additional 32 feet. Almost half a car. (Standard Passenger Cars are 85 feet)
The weight of the new trainsets is astonishing to me. 544 tons. The current fleet? 624!! 80 tons will make a huge difference in several ways.
The new fleet will have a continuous power draw of 7,500 KW. The current is at 9,200 KW.
A lot of that is a result of the introduction of the FRA Tier II standards during the design and production of the Acela Is. They weren't supposed to have two power cars, but a power car and a cab so they ended up with double the needed power. The design changes also caused the weight to shoot up.
Many key components that are related to traction will be within the machine room of the power cars. Which is supposed to improve reliability. (We shall see about that)
I'm not sure what wasn't already in the machine rooms: there's a transformer, input inverters/rectifiers/power conditioning, traction inverters, HEP inverters, control hardware, and traction motors. Obviously the traction motors are underneath in the trucks/bogies. The A1's had the transformer "underfloor" (source). Were any of the inverters not in the mechanical room of an A1?
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,549
In modern electric power heads and locomotives, the transformer generally is suspended underfloor, to lower the overall center of gravity of the locomotive/power head. I would be very surprised if that was not the case with the A1 power heads. The rectifier and various inverter banks typically are in the engine compartment together with the control electronic hardware, and a lot of the cooling gear.
 

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
708
Wow, looks similar to the French TGV the set is based on. Thank you FRA for admending the crash rules so we can get the good Euro stuff.
 

JustOnce

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
57
I believe the A2's traction motors are frame-suspended (that is they're part of the "sprung" portion of the trucks) as are the ACS-64s. Frame suspension reduces impact on the tracks (vs nose suspended riding on the unsprung axle) and improves ride quality but requires the railroad equivalent of a car's CV joint to connect the traction motor to the drive axle. I'm sure that adds complexity and maintenance issues.

I believe the ACS-64s have frame-suspended motors. What about the A1s?
 
2
Group Builder
Top