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

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GDRRiley

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The ALC 42 switched to a HEP inverter instead of an HEP alternator so the engine RPM can follow the traction load even in HEP mode correct?
yes. older units like P40 had to be locked to a specific RPM to make HEP. the P42 with max hep draw drops all the way down to 2500hp for traction motors
 
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Someone who I suspect knows told me that the current agreements dictate no greater than 16 passenger cars.
First I’ve heard of that limit although there was a 50 total car limit at one time. Not sure why CSX would care about the number of passenger cars? Hope they do get to 9 sleepers as additional capacity will keep fares lower, at least if traveling in the opposite direction of the seasonal swings. That’s something that has worked well for us.
 

frequentflyer

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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.
That would make sense, the auto carriers used are captive, why not the pax cars. And order enough for three full sets. For the times when a late Auto Train cannot be turned in time.
 

GDRRiley

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That would make sense, the auto carriers used are captive, why not the pax cars. And order enough for three full sets. For the times when a late Auto Train cannot be turned in time.
you'd need 4 full sets if you wanted to deal with late arrivals. the thing that will improve autotrain OT performance quite a bit is if southeast HSR happens and they can run it down the S line for a section
while I doubt amtrak will get 110 or 125mph capable autoracks being able to control dispatching would help a lot
 

sitzplatz17

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That would make sense, the auto carriers used are captive, why not the pax cars. And order enough for three full sets. For the times when a late Auto Train cannot be turned in time.
Precisely, and you free up a whole bunch of Superliners for the west. Probably one of the fastest ways to increase capacity on other trains. Also would add to the “premier“ feeling of the Auto Train to have their own rolling stock.
you'd need 4 full sets if you wanted to deal with late arrivals. the thing that will improve autotrain OT performance quite a bit is if southeast HSR happens and they can run it down the S line for a section
while I doubt amtrak will get 110 or 125mph capable autoracks being able to control dispatching would help a lot
How much would SEHSR shave off? I feel like the current timings for the AT are pretty great. Maybe a slightly later departure (like 6pm?) would be good but I think the issue there is finding a slot amongst VRE and other Amtrak trains when headed SB from Lorton.

It just seems like going for an existing rolling stock type (that’s very ADA compliant) that’s on the market gives more time to procure and design a solution for the other routes, regardless of if that ends up being a bunch more single level Ventures, or some unknown future product.
 

GDRRiley

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Precisely, and you free up a whole bunch of Superliners for the west. Probably one of the fastest ways to increase capacity on other trains. Also would add to the “premier“ feeling of the Auto Train to have their own rolling stock.
They just need to start fixing the superliners they have, whatever it takes to get beach grove fixing cars and getting more of the fleet out into service needs to happen.
How much would SEHSR shave off? I feel like the current timings for the AT are pretty great. Maybe a slightly later departure (like 6pm?) would be good but I think the issue there is finding a slot amongst VRE and other Amtrak trains when headed SB from Lorton.
less so reduce time more make a major section of it consistently fast and less likely to have delays. Unless they get autoracks that can do 110mph. That would make the Richmond to Savannah section under 5 hours vs its current 7 hours.

They'd likely join back up at Savannah
It just seems like going for an existing rolling stock type (that’s very ADA compliant) that’s on the market gives more time to procure and design a solution for the other routes, regardless of if that ends up being a bunch more single level Ventures, or some unknown future product.
Stadler made these in Europe so to build a batch here wouldn't be a quick as the shells would get made there then set to their US plan in SLC to be finished and without a competitive bid other manufactures would be mad.
 

John819

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It's an engineering services procurement so one wouldn't expect any earth-shattering details as this engineering firm is likely to assist in developing the program. Still the mere fact that it's going out is newsworthy.
Yes. It means that management is going ahead with building a new LD fleet.
 
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Precisely, and you free up a whole bunch of Superliners for the west. Probably one of the fastest ways to increase capacity on other trains. Also would add to the “premier“ feeling of the Auto Train to have their own rolling stock.
You're overlooking the fact that this entire thread is about replacing the Superliners. So you wouldn't be increasing capacity by freeing them up for use on lines other than the AutoTrain, you'd just be retiring them with all the rest.
 

GDRRiley

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You're overlooking the fact that this entire thread is about replacing the Superliners. So you wouldn't be increasing capacity by freeing them up for use on lines other than the AutoTrain, you'd just be retiring them with all the rest.
amtrak though won't have the replacment for the overall fleet for close to a decade and so if you could get some cars just for autotrain early that would free up cars till the replacements come in.
 

jis

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They're hoping to order replacements by end of 2024. Why would AutoTrain-specific replacements be available any sooner?
It seems to me that this Auto Train only replacement is an AU fantasy that is not grounded in any reality given what we heard from Mr. Chestler today.
 

GDRRiley

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They're hoping to order replacements by end of 2024. Why would AutoTrain-specific replacements be available any sooner?
If they didn't go to bid contract using a mostly off the shelf design stalder may be able to deliver them sooner. Will they do it? almost certainly not.
 

west point

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The VIA solution of being able to use two locos for HEP enables a much longer train. Rode a VIA #2 having 28 in service revenue cars. Its HEP was powered by 2 of the three opperating F-40 locos providing that HEP. VIA System uses a cross over plan that splits load to every other car. The way the cars are wired it appears that that wiring would allow immediate connection to a regular Amtrak HEP train. If not the wiring in these special wired cars might need an extra set of transfer relays.

Essentially power comes in the right front HEP car connection to power that car and that line exits by the left rear connection. Power coming in left front car connection passes thru car to right rear without poweing that car. Each car does have a cross tie relay to connect it to left front cable if right front source fails,

The locos can be configured to either provide power to one cross over line only and pass the other connection thru loco. If only one loco used then loco provides HEP to both sides of connections.
Now Via type locos used to pull cars on a regular Amtrak train would need no modifications.

Now would different station ground cabinets need any modifications? Have no idea how each are wired or their load capacity for the track(s) they service.
 

jis

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The VIA solution of being able to use two locos for HEP enables a much longer train. Rode a VIA #2 having 28 in service revenue cars. Its HEP was powered by 2 of the three opperating F-40 locos providing that HEP. VIA System uses a cross over plan that splits load to every other car. The way the cars are wired it appears that that wiring would allow immediate connection to a regular Amtrak HEP train. If not the wiring in these special wired cars might need an extra set of transfer relays.

Essentially power comes in the right front HEP car connection to power that car and that line exits by the left rear connection. Power coming in left front car connection passes thru car to right rear without poweing that car. Each car does have a cross tie relay to connect it to left front cable if right front source fails,

The locos can be configured to either provide power to one cross over line only and pass the other connection thru loco. If only one loco used then loco provides HEP to both sides of connections.
Now Via type locos used to pull cars on a regular Amtrak train would need no modifications.

Now would different station ground cabinets need any modifications? Have no idea how each are wired or their load capacity for the track(s) they service.
In case you missed this up above ;)

 

AmtrakBlue

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It appears from this thread that the two main issues for Superliner (and Viewliner / Amfleet II) replacement are ADA compliance and HEP. These are interrelated, but clearly are solvable.
How are ADA and HEP interrelated?
 
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Green Maned Lion

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you'd need 4 full sets if you wanted to deal with late arrivals. the thing that will improve autotrain OT performance quite a bit is if southeast HSR happens and they can run it down the S line for a section
while I doubt amtrak will get 110 or 125mph capable autoracks being able to control dispatching would help a lot

Actually you’d need 4 full sets of passenger cars (call it 16), and four full sets of auto racks (30 each?) so 64 passenger cars plus 2 spares of each type you 75 pax cars, and 125 auto racks, versus the number they use now, plus construction of two extra sets of platforms and rack loading docks (because otherwise the late train would have to be held waiting for the spare set to depart) in order to combat lateness on the train whose audience is the least truly time sensitive of any train?

Among most so called transit advocates I think I am among the least “wasteful spending” sensitive, but that hits my gag reflex!

Yes. It means that management is going ahead with building a new LD fleet.
No, I hate to inject my cynicism here, but it means management has decided to go ahead with enough consideration of the idea of fleet replacement that they want to pay somebody to help them decide what kind of equipment they would select in that eventuality. I believe 20-25 years passed between the design of the first view liner diner and its prototype and the construction of a second car of that type. All that initially came out of that contract was a reduction of the single level sleeper fleet from ~125 cars to 50, with two major train cancellations and several superliner switchovers to accomodate that.
 
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