Long Distance (LD) fleet replacement discussion (2022-23)

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sitzplatz17

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Maybe maybe not. It is the highest revenue long distance train in the system and had the best revenue vs expenses in the entire Amtrak system in FY2022. I suspect it will be “in mind” when considering the long distance fleet at the least.
Auto train might actually be a good candidate for the Stadler cars that Rocky Mountaineer uses since I don’t think it has any tunnels or other significant height clearances on the route? Besides, it kind of has its own captive fleet anyway.
 

GDRRiley

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Auto train might actually be a good candidate for the Stadler cars that Rocky Mountaineer uses since I don’t think it has any tunnels or other significant height clearances on the route? Besides, it kind of has its own captive fleet anyway.
they've got roughly 10 sleepers 2 cafes/diners and 4 coaches plus 1 lounge per train
I'd bet if they did order non standard cars we'd see a fleet in the 60-70 car range allow sets to be expanded while still having a 20% spare ratio.

For example 16 sleepers, 2 dinners, 1 cafe, 6 coach cars would require
4 cafes
6 diners
38 sleepers
14 coach
 

jis

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they've got roughly 10 sleepers 2 cafes/diners and 4 coaches plus 1 lounge per train
I'd bet if they did order non standard cars we'd see a fleet in the 60-70 car range allow sets to be expanded while still having a 20% spare ratio.

For example 16 sleepers, 2 dinners, 1 cafe, 6 coach cars would require
4 cafes
6 diners
38 sleepers
14 coach
They might need to beef up the HEP capacity a bit to power that many cars. But even at max possible HEP load in the Amtrak HEP system (1.2MW) the proposed train cannot be powered. The proposed train requires close to 1.3MW.

The American standard of 480v HEP severely limits the power that can be distributed using reasonable sized cables. Too bad that RIC standard of Europe which allows 1000v, 1500v or 3000v HEP standard has not been adopted in the US. I guess no one thought anyone would ever run such long passenger trains in the US.

For a very good quick reference for info on US HEP standards

 
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Amtrak mentioned at one point a possibility that the new ALC 42 locomotives could allow for a couple extra superliner cars in the Auto Train consist when they listed the benefits of the ALC42's - but it sounded like something they would need to study further once they had the engines to see what can be done. I doubt that many is on the horizon though. Even if the ALC 42's allow them to physically add more cars I think I heard it may also require an amendment to their agreements with CSX for the Auto Train (which is completely separate from their other agreements to CSX) to allow for more cars as I believe there is a maximum amount of passenger cars stipulated in the deal.
 

cirdan

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Would be smart for Amtrak to add an order for single-level long distant coaches, dining cars, lounge cars, and sleeping cars. Haveing standardized equipment system-wide would solve many maintenance issues.

Whereas I acknowledge there is an argument for the interchangeability of equipment between services, I do not not think total standardization to a single type (which is what would reduce maintenance issues) is ever achievable or desirable across the fleet. Equipment has different ages and thus represents different stages of technological and manufacturing progress. This is actually a good thing IMHO as if all equipment were of the same generation it would all need to be replaced in a single push which would require a lot of money being invested in a single bang. It would also be bad for industry as skills would be lost and need to be rebuilt with inevitable mistakes and inefficiencies.
 

jis

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Amtrak mentioned at one point a possibility that the new ALC 42 locomotives could allow for a couple extra superliner cars in the Auto Train consist when they listed the benefits of the ALC42's - but it sounded like something they would need to study further once they had the engines to see what can be done. I doubt that many is on the horizon though. Even if the ALC 42's allow them to physically add more cars I think I heard it may also require an amendment to their agreements with CSX for the Auto Train (which is completely separate from their other agreements to CSX) to allow for more cars as I believe there is a maximum amount of passenger cars stipulated in the deal.
If they get ALC42s with 1.2MW HEP inverters then they could theoretically add upto 4 Sleepers or 5 Coaches over and above what they can already have with 1MW HEP. Beyond that they will have to change out the entire HEP system since 1.2MW is the Max capacity of the current specification and installation due to cable limitations and such.
 
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If they get ALC42s with 1.2MW HEP inverters then they could theoretically add upto 4 Sleepers or 5 Coaches over and above what they can already have with 1MW HEP. Beyond that they will have to change out the entire HEP system since 1.2MW is the Max capacity of the current specification and installation due to cable limitations and such.
Could a locomotive be inserted between the last passenger car and the auto carriers, to provide isolated HEP to the rearmost cars?
 

Andrew

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Just two. That's why delays cascade and are so hard to recover from (and end up with cancellations so often to get back on schedule). The operation depends on the train arriving in the morning to depart in the other direction that afternoon.

So what happens if one trainset needs to be taken out of service?
 

jis

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Could a locomotive be inserted between the last passenger car and the auto carriers, to provide isolated HEP to the rearmost cars?
Current FRA rules do not allow two disconnected HEP segments in the same locomotive hauled train. So no, under current rules that is not possible.

One workaround may be to use fully self contained articulated E/DMUs which can be strung together to form long trains, with each E/DMU unit having its own self contained hotel power supply that cannot be connected to adjacent units.
 

jis

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A generator car might be more suitable for this type of thing.
Current FRA rules would not allow HEP to be provided from multiple sources even in disconnected HEP loops in a single train. It does not matter whether it is a locmotive or a generator car providing the second source.
 

cirdan

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Current FRA rules would not allow HEP to be provided from multiple sources even in disconnected HEP loops in a single train. It does not matter whether it is a locmotive or a generator car providing the second source.
What does Brightline do? Is one locomotive physically disconnected from the HEP line?
 

jis

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What does Brightline do? Is one locomotive physically disconnected from the HEP line?
No. Only one locomotive provides HEP. The other does not, just like in a multi-unit lashup on an Amtrak train, only one locomotive provides HEP. The others do not.
 
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If they get ALC42s with 1.2MW HEP inverters then they could theoretically add upto 4 Sleepers or 5 Coaches over and above what they can already have with 1MW HEP. Beyond that they will have to change out the entire HEP system since 1.2MW is the Max capacity of the current specification and installation due to cable limitations and such.
I believe the P42 HEP limit was 800 KW and the ALC 42 is 1000 KW. So not sure how many cars that would amount to.
 
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I think their current max on Auto Train is 16 Superliners and it sounds like they are going to run the max during peak season this year - Amtrak hinted that last year they missed the FY22 target of 9 sleepers on the AT due to staffing shortages and ran 8 but it sounds like this year they're aiming to do it. With 9 sleepers the train will be maxed out with 16 Superliners. Once they get ALC 42s on the Auto Train I think they'd also need to negotiate a change to their agreement with CSX to allow for more than 16 passenger cars on the Auto Train before they can add cars. Someone who I suspect knows told me that the current agreements dictate no greater than 16 passenger cars.
 

GDRRiley

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They might need to beef up the HEP capacity a bit to power that many cars. But even at max possible HEP load in the Amtrak HEP system (1.2MW) the proposed train cannot be powered. The proposed train requires close to 1.3MW.

The American standard of 480v HEP severely limits the power that can be distributed using reasonable sized cables. Too bad that RIC standard of Europe which allows 1000v, 1500v or 3000v HEP standard has not been adopted in the US. I guess no one thought anyone would ever run such long passenger trains in the US.
you could move the the 575V system that gets you 1.5MW capacity. with that I'd move to a dedicated HEP car and let the 2 locos put all their effort into pulling the train.

I just didn't take into account HEP. I wonder if moving to modern heatpumps could shave some of the power requirements off the average coach/sleeper. the level of insinuation will also affect how much you need.
 

cirdan

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No. Only one locomotive provides HEP. The other does not, just like in a multi-unit lashup on an Amtrak train, only one locomotive provides HEP. The others do not.
yes sure, but on a multi locomotive lashup I understand the cables are physically not connected except for the locomotive that is nearest the train. So it is quite clear which locomotive is providing HEP, and no other locomotive could, not even through accident or error.
 

cirdan

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you could move the the 575V system that gets you 1.5MW capacity. with that I'd move to a dedicated HEP car and let the 2 locos put all their effort into pulling the train.

I just didn't take into account HEP. I wonder if moving to modern heatpumps could shave some of the power requirements off the average coach/sleeper. the level of insinuation will also affect how much you need.

In contrast to insulating a building and making it super energy efficient, on a moving train there is a trade off between the usefulness of measures and the extra weight they add to the train. The latter ultimately requires more pulling power and more fuel consumption which may negate much of the gains attributed to heat efficiency and recovery.
 

jis

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yes sure, but on a multi locomotive lashup I understand the cables are physically not connected except for the locomotive that is nearest the train. So it is quite clear which locomotive is providing HEP, and no other locomotive could, not even through accident or error.
Cables are connected to both locomotives. It is just that only one can be in active HEP mode. Trying to put more than one in active mode would trip the whole system because there is no mechanism to synchronize the inverters.

In an articulated train like the Brightline ones with digital bus connecting everything together in a local internet, the two locomotive controls can even be interlocked to prevent such a thing from happening.
 
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Cables are connected to both locomotives. It is just that only one can be in active HEP mode. Trying to put more than one in active mode would trip the whole system because there is no mechanism to synchronize the inverters.

In an articulated train like the Brightline ones with digital bus connecting everything together in a local internet, the two locomotive controls can even be interlocked to prevent such a thing from happening.
I was on the Auto Train on a trip last year where they had an HEP issue and switched the HEP between engines. I believe the normal practice is the lead unit runs as traction only providing the bulk of the traction with the second unit supplying HEP and some traction. This was the case on that train and the HEP unit tripped - the loss of load caused the prime mover to begin overheating. They then switched HEP over to the lead unit which was successful. They then attempted to reset the other unit without HEP on - thankfully it successfully began loading the traction motors with HEP off and the alarms reset and the prime mover temperature started to come down so we were able to complete the trip at nomal speeds.
 
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