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RFP issued for Amfleet I replacement

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west point

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It does not make any sense IMO to get DMUs - EMUs that would be limited in usage. It is better to have just one type equipment that can be used nationwide. Who knows what ridership divisions will be in the future ? Now if Amtrak ever got to 3000 passenger cars it might mean some diffusion would be possible ?
 

mainemanman

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It's currently out west somewhere, last seen being pulled by UP power:

Oh good! I'm taking it they're gonna have to hook it to the Horizon set. There'll be good catches, I'm sure!

On the topic of EMUs, I gotta agree with west point. Don't they frequently use NEC equipment outside the NEC, on the Downeaster, Empire Service, and even the long-distance Palmetto and Pennsylvanian? Or is the proposal to replace all those with straight DMUs? I think coaches would be better since the ACS-64 and SC-44s have just started their lifespans, and to negate their use at this point would honestly be such a waste. EMUs, IMO, are better suited for frequent-stop, shorter distance commuter ops than long-distance regional services.
 
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Steve4031

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How is the Downeaster equipment operated on the corridor? It would seem that for the most part this equipment would operate between north station and Portland. I could see some rotation during maintenance cycles if there were no facilities in Boston or Maine.

How does this work anyway?
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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How is the Downeaster equipment operated on the corridor? It would seem that for the most part this equipment would operate between north station and Portland. I could see some rotation during maintenance cycles if there were no facilities in Boston or Maine.

How does this work anyway?
There is a non-revenue route through Cambridge used to transport equipment between South Station and North Station.
 

Green Maned Lion

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My I suggest you look into a concept called the sunk-cost fallacy, and consider it carefully.

EMUs are exactly what the corridor needs, and buying ones that are capable of being effectively put in neutral and being locomotive hauled by a diesel when needed has a lot of sense to it. There is also no reason why these single level cars can’t be ordered in both EMU and trailer form. Kicking the EMU transition the NEC truly needs down the road 50 years because they bought the wrong equipment 5 years ago is not a sensible decision.
 

Trogdor

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It does not make any sense IMO to get DMUs - EMUs that would be limited in usage. It is better to have just one type equipment that can be used nationwide. Who knows what ridership divisions will be in the future ? Now if Amtrak ever got to 3000 passenger cars it might mean some diffusion would be possible ?
The NEC is by far large enough and busy enough to handle a fleet that is specialized to it. In fact, it already does (the Acela). There's no reason for it to be hamstrung by some random need for the equipment to be able to work just as well in Los Angeles or Oklahoma City. The Northeast is the one part of the country where we actually have halfway decent, passenger-centric intercity railroad infrastructure. Why wouldn't we want to take full advantage of that?
 

jiml

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What would be smart is the dual-mode trains that are used several places in Europe and the UK (formerly in Europe;)). That would allow EMU's to continue to all those destinations south of WAS, now served by Northeast Regional trains, without a loco change. I believe both Hitachi and Siemens have products that would work well.
 

mainemanman

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How is the Downeaster equipment operated on the corridor? It would seem that for the most part this equipment would operate between north station and Portland. I could see some rotation during maintenance cycles if there were no facilities in Boston or Maine.

How does this work anyway?
Grand Junction Line through Cambridge. It's used for both MBTA and Amtrak equipment, and for transfer of cars to Beech Grove.
 

Trogdor

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What would be smart is the dual-mode trains that are used several places in Europe and the UK (formerly in Europe;)). That would allow EMU's to continue to all those destinations south of WAS, now served by Northeast Regional trains, without a loco change. I believe both Hitachi and Siemens have products that would work well.
The question is what would the net cost/benefit be of dual-mode locomotives vs. standard EMUs that become regular trailers pulled by a diesel locomotive when off wire.

With Virginia taking steps to electrify the corridor south of DC towards Richmond, the long-term costs of building in DMU capability into these cars might outweigh their benefit.
 

sttom

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Siemens already makes dual mode locomotives so its not like they couldn't include a few of them in an order for more Viaggio cars and train sets. I also don't really get why the engine swap at Washington is that big of a deal. I've been on European trains that had to split a train and swap the engines and this was still done in about 20 minutes. If a crew change and a smoke break is included in the stop at Washington, 20 minutes isn't too much to ask.

As for a "standardized fleet" to replace the Superliners with single level equipment, you'd need to replace 2 Superliners with 3 single level cars to have a near even capacity. And I don't know how standardized the fleet would be since it would probably take 20 years for CAF to finish enough Viewliners for a 1 to 1 replacement of the Superliners let alone replacing them at the same capacity.

Best case scenario would be if Siemens or Stadler adapted the Viewliner design to the Viaggio Classic design or the coaches that Stadler makes on occasion. If that were the case, I am not sure how "standardized" those would be compared the the original Viewliners and the CAF Viewliners.
 

Green Maned Lion

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The Viaggio car shells are made in lounge, dining, and sleeper configurations. The Viewliners were a massive mistake. CAF should take their tail, shove it fully up their tuchus, and beat it back to whatever country they come from that tolerates ID-10T errors throughout their business model.
 

Palmetto

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I presume CAF did what they were ordered to, by Amtrak. I believe we could put at least a little of the blame there. I was also interested to know that lounge cars exist, but could not find any info on them on the Siemens website.
 
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NativeSon5859

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Have often seen and rode AM-1s on the Crescent usually blocked off south of Atlanta.
Yep, when I worked as a TA on the Crescent, an AM-1 did pop up on more than one occasion for the short haul riders heading north of ATL.

When the train ran with four coaches, two were used on an average day out of NOL, the two closest to the diner. We'd put all pax except for BHM/ATL in one car, and one car for BHM/ATL only. The other two (next to the engine) were opened up in ATL. So generally by the time the train was in the Carolinas, it was running probably 95%-100% full in coach. That system worked pretty well. Same thing south, basically. All four in use until ATL, and then the two forward coaches would be closed unless a sporting event, mardi gras, jazz fast, french quarter fest, etc. was going on in NOL.
 

Green Maned Lion

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I presume CAF did what they were ordered to, by Amtrak. I believe we could put at least a little of the blame there. I was also interested to know that lounge cars exist, but could not find any info on them on the Siemens website.
Your presumption is largely in error according to the OIG.
 

sttom

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I presume CAF did what they were ordered to, by Amtrak. I believe we could put at least a little of the blame there. I was also interested to know that lounge cars exist, but could not find any info on them on the Siemens website.
I'm not sure if Siemens makes any "lounge cars" in the Sightseer Lounge sense, but the Viaggio Classic is the base design for many new overnight trains in Europe. They are a flexible design and they are the base design for what is the Viaggio Comfort that we are getting in California. Sort of like how the Superliner is the base of the original California Car.

Siemens also makes the Viaggio Twin which is a "bi level" (we'd call it a multi-level). It could be adapted into being Superliner compatible. They are about a foot narrower than a Superliner, about as tall as the old Hi-Level cars, and 19 inches longer than the Superliners. Adapting existing designs to semi custom orders is well within Siemen's wheelhouse. And with the US's changes in passenger crash test standards, adapting them would be the easiest course of action for future car orders.

Viaggio Classic Brochure

Viaggio Twin Brochure

Stadler Sleeper Brochure
 

railiner

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Noticed that in the specs listed for the 'Classic' cars, it allows a higher speed (200k for the 1435mm gauge tracks, versus 160 for the 1520mm gauge tracks).

That seems contrary to logic...you would think the wider gauge could handle higher speeds....must have something to do with the general condition of the different railways?🤔
 

rickycourtney

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Kicking the EMU transition the NEC truly needs down the road 50 years because they bought the wrong equipment 5 years ago is not a sensible decision.
We are still talking about Amtrak, right? They’re not exactly known for making the most sensible decisions.

No matter the logic behind the purchase, I have to imagine that the political and public optics of purchasing EMU trainsets and scrapping the ACS-64 locomotives is weighing heavily on the decision makers at Amtrak.
 

west point

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Let us look at this logically from past purchases. The Acela-2s are not EMUs but rather motor loco at each end. I would think with the many slow sections the AX-2s would be a candidate to be an EMU for quicker acceleration.
There appears to be at least 2 engineering impediments and one regulatory. The FRA is reported to not allow a power bus along the whole length of a train. It may be that there is concern that a bus would be too close to the CAT just above especially at NYP. No operator wants power going to a bus when pans are retracted for some reason. For present married pair EMUs there is a short jumper that actually hangs down between the married pair cars .

It is reported that EMUS at speeds above 100 - 110 set up harmonic waves in the PRR type CAT when more than 2 Pans are contacting the CAT. That causes one or more of the pans to loose contact. Can imagine how continuous interruptions of CAT power to an EMU's electronics would cause premature failures.

So what are solutions ? Get FRA to change its mind ? Well there may be technical reasons why not.
Update the whole PRR CAT to constant tension ?. That includes reducing spacing of CAT hangers to
approximately hangers every 120 feet from 180 feet. Maybe just insert another hanger at 90 foot location ? At the present rate of the upgrading going on now 50 years might be about right ?
Then we have the problem of MNRR. Some one note did MNRR add extra hanger between the New Haven hanger holders as they go to constant tension ? As far as this poster knows MNRR does not exceed 100 MPH ?
 
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NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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I believe both Hitachi and Siemens have products that would work well.
So far, it's just been Hitachi and Stadler, though Siemens would very likely make an electro-diesel multiple unit variant of their Desiro and Mireo if they want to compete with Stadler. Stadler has done this the most but I'm not sure if Amtrak would want an articulated design for the Northeast Regional.

The question is what would the net cost/benefit be of dual-mode locomotives vs. standard EMUs that become regular trailers pulled by a diesel locomotive when off wire.
Amtrak looked into an existing electro-diesel locomotive used in the US (ALP-45DP) and deemed it to be too slow and heavy for corridor services. This was of course in comparison to electro-diesel multiple units.

Siemens already makes dual mode locomotives so its not like they couldn't include a few of them in an order for more Viaggio cars and train sets. I also don't really get why the engine swap at Washington is that big of a deal. I've been on European trains that had to split a train and swap the engines and this was still done in about 20 minutes. If a crew change and a smoke break is included in the stop at Washington, 20 minutes isn't too much to ask.
FRA laws make it much longer to change locomotives. It wouldn't be too problematic on long distance trains like the Silvers but for corridor serives it could pose a problem.

Maybe to reduce weight instead of doing electro-diesel, Amtrak could do electro-battery. Have the batteries be powered by the overhead wires as it goes on the NEC.
 

Thirdrail7

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FRA laws make it much longer to change locomotives. It wouldn't be too problematic on long distance trains like the Silvers but for corridor serives it could pose a problem.

This is at least the second time you've brought up laws regarding engines changeswithoug any sort of citation. As I previously mentioned, I'm guessing you're referring to blue flag rules.


The reality of the situation is most of the time in WAS is a result of dwell time to allow one of the busiest stations in the system to load and unload on a low-level platform and to allow trains to assume their slots on the connecting divisions.

Washington's track configuration also doesn't help and lacks the relay tracks that can expedite the change that is present in Albany or New Haven.

20-minute engine/crew changes to departure (or less---the best I've seen is 12 minutes) and servicing routinely occur in WAS, especially on trains that do not have to worry about loading passengers. Take a look at trains like 90, 92, and 50 over the last few weeks and you'll the arrival to departure time is in the 16-22 minute range.
 
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