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Sumitomo/Siemens Contract for 137 Cars (former bi-levels)

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Cal

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PVD

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I can't speak to their comfort or recline, but if the aisle is wider, then the seats would be a touch narrower, also if there is an armrest in between the seats that would matter also.
 

Cal

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I can't speak to their comfort or recline, but if the aisle is wider, then the seats would be a touch narrower, also if there is an armrest in between the seats that would matter also.
Yea... Not looking forward to that. That was one big plus to Amtrak, as the seats were very large and comfy...
 

IndyLions

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Amtrak can specify whatever seat they want of course – but I thought it would be interesting to check the seat width for Brightline. Brightline seats are 19” and 21” wide respectively in the two classes of service.

From the information I can find, Amtrak seats are traditionally 23 inches wide – they’re probably not all uniform, though.

Since the trend is for wider aisles, I am guessing that Amtrak will narrow their seats as well. Of course, that’s nothing more than my speculation.
 

sttom

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I've been on the "modern" trains in Europe and no their seats are not particularly comfortable. They work pretty much like cheap office chairs and if that's your thing, than you will be fine. But if you want or expect something as comfortable as what is on Amtrak trains presently, you will be SOL. I will say, that those are not the worst possible seats they could have chosen. I rode "First Class" on a refurbished Polish train and the seats felt like Greyhound seats. but this is what you get when you buy "off the shelf" and someone is not being a pain about the quality of something.
 

jis

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How comfortable are Brightline's seats?
To some extent that is a personal taste question. For me, I have found them to be very comfortable, and they do recline, by pushing the base forward, which seems to be what most recent seat designs do.
 
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nti1094

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There are currently no plans to run trains over 90 mph on the CHI-STL section. But agree that it would be good for Amtrak to promote the new cars.
Wait, all that money spent on “Illinois High Speed Rail, all that track rebuilding, and a test segment for revenue 110 operation and a whole decade and all we get is 90mph? Wow.
 
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Wait, all that money spent on “Illinois High Speed Rail, all that track rebuilding, and a test segment for revenue 110 operation and a whole decade and all we get is 90mph? Wow.
Which would you rather have? 3 - 110mph round trips or 10 - 90mph round trips?

I’ll take the 10 round trip option (even at 79mph) any day of the week.
 

nti1094

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For a vast majority of the country, there is much greater time saving potential in just double tracking or adding much longer passing loops. As long as they can sustain a steady 79mph, including while passing much slower freight trains, there will be significant savings in total travel time. Also at 79 mph there is a huge savings in track inspections for FRA compliance and extra maintenance for the more complex grade crossing circuits required for anything above 79.
Plus I can only imagine the extra wear and tear on the locomotives that would come back and bite us hard in a short timeframe. They seem to have huge issues as it is with the new Chargers.

I don’t want to spark yet another ongoing debate about the new Chargers, it seems to be a volatile topic. But since everything is powered off the main inverter output bus (no independent HEP, so that, emissions control, traction motors, command and sensing control, pumps, compressors, etc) I question how sturdy they will hold up if run hard. You can see as it is how a failure cascades through everything killing the engines.
I guess since the midwest isn’t getting cab cars (Caltrans required cab cars and will use them also for baggage and large bike parking, and push-pull ops) they will continue the practice of a loco on each end, which might help a lot. But that could eat into the operations budget and higher maintenance costs causing less service.
 

railiner

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For a vast majority of the country, there is much greater time saving potential in just double tracking or adding much longer passing loops. As long as they can sustain a steady 79mph, including while passing much slower freight trains, there will be significant savings in total travel time. Also at 79 mph there is a huge savings in track inspections for FRA compliance and extra maintenance for the more complex grade crossing circuits required for anything above 79.
Plus I can only imagine the extra wear and tear on the locomotives that would come back and bite us hard in a short timeframe. They seem to have huge issues as it is with the new Chargers.

I don’t want to spark yet another ongoing debate about the new Chargers, it seems to be a volatile topic. But since everything is powered off the main inverter output bus (no independent HEP, so that, emissions control, traction motors, command and sensing control, pumps, compressors, etc) I question how sturdy they will hold up if run hard. You can see as it is how a failure cascades through everything killing the engines.
I guess since the midwest isn’t getting cab cars (Caltrans required cab cars and will use them also for baggage and large bike parking, and push-pull ops) they will continue the practice of a loco on each end, which might help a lot. But that could eat into the operations budget and higher maintenance costs causing less service.
Seems like the opposite of some old, EMD E-9's, so far as redundancy is concerned.
IIRC, some had, in addition to their two 12-567 prime movers for traction power, two separate Detroit Diesel engine-generator sets for HEP replacing the original steam generators....
 

IndyLions

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Wait, all that money spent on “Illinois High Speed Rail, all that track rebuilding, and a test segment for revenue 110 operation and a whole decade and all we get is 90mph? Wow.
It’s infuriating. My understanding (albeit limited) is that the Class I went with a PTC system (I-IETMS) that they only found out later was too slow and delay-filled to run trains faster than 90.

It can only be resolved by installing a sensor based system in the sections they want to run fast. The satellite based system was cheaper to install and the Class I’s really could care less about passenger trains. They figure they got a free track rebuild, so why not.
 

IndyLions

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In all honesty I think the difference between 90 and 110 only produced about 3 minutes of time savings. So I’ll go with more round trips.
Which would you rather have? 3 - 110mph round trips or 10 - 90mph round trips?

I’ll take the 10 round trip option (even at 79mph) any day of the week.
You are not going to get 10 round trips at 90mph or 79mph. Unless you want half as overnights at 0-dark-30. You need to get the schedule below 4 hours.

While “the perfect is the enemy of the good” - rail travel advocates need to start demanding better.
 
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nullptr

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It’s infuriating. My understanding (albeit limited) is that the Class I went with a PTC system (I-IETMS) that they only found out later was too slow and delay-filled to run trains faster than 90.
I do think that was the problem initially, but Brightline is now having Wabtec install I-IETMS on their Florida corridor, which is supposed to get up to 125 mph. So it must not be a fundamental limit of the technology, though the implementations in the two locations could be different. My understanding is almost certainly also limited. I've been trying to find more information about the original ptc/speed issues in Illinois but haven't come across much so far.
 

jis

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Brightline maybe using track mounted transponders to help with precise train position tracking, instead of depending only on GPS, in their implementation. That would make a significant difference in what top speeds would be workable. FEC already has the passive transponders in place that they used for their previous ATC system which they may have figured out a way of repurposing.

One neat thing about the transponder overlay is that trains that do not go over say 90mph (restricted to MAS of 90) may be operated with locomotives not equipped with transponder readers. They would be classified as something like Category B trains. Only those that travel at higher than 90mph would be classified as Category A trains and transponder equipment would be mandatory for that category. So for example, only Brightline trains would be category A trains. Tri-Rail trains could be category B trains and FECR freights could be category C trains with 70mph MAS or some such.

Incidentally, I think Amtrak has 5 category of trains on the NEC with different physical requirements which are spelled out in the working timetable.

Here is a nice Powerpoint slideset on PTC that I came across, provided by Amtrak.

 
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daybeers

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In all honesty I think the difference between 90 and 110 only produced about 3 minutes of time savings. So I’ll go with more round trips.
I agree, but the Illinois taxpayers might have some words about the promises made with millions of their money and not much of it panning out. Aren't the corridor trains there still severely delayed sometimes? I thought that was the less flashy but more important part of the project: reliability.
 

jis

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I think infer how those transponders work in snow?
They work fine in Siberia and North of the Arctic Circle in Norway and Sweden, not to mention, all of Switzerland. 😏

But I am sure Illinois will find a good excuse for why it won't work there. 😬
 

MisterUptempo

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In all honesty I think the difference between 90 and 110 only produced about 3 minutes of time savings. So I’ll go with more round trips.
From the video I viewed, 90 mph is an intermediate step. 110 mph running will take a few years, but it is the eventual endpoint. Alstom has supposedly been contracted to make it happen.

I'm trying to recall another project like this one, in which the vast majority of a line owned by a marginally cooperative Class I was fully rebuilt to Class 6 standards with money that was not their own, where the construction is supervised by UP, on UP's schedule, and UP making IDOT's decision on a PTC system, however inferior, for them.
 

jis

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Alstom being pulled in is an interesting piece of information. Alstom is the master of the use of transponder based position and even train to track communication (recall TVM430 used by TGVs before ERTMS L2 came by, was transponder based invention of Alstom as is the ACSES transponder based overlay on the NEC coded track circuit based cab signaling system - the NEC PTC).
 
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nti1094

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Seems like the opposite of some old, EMD E-9's, so far as redundancy is concerned.
IIRC, some had, in addition to their two 12-567 prime movers for traction power, two separate Detroit Diesel engine-generator sets for HEP replacing the original steam generators....
I noticed that the RFP put out by Metro-North for dual mode locomotives had 3 interested companies issue interest, but ultimately 2 dropped out and didn’t bother bidding, leaving only Siemens for that order as well. Considering EMD’s disaster of a product with Metrolink (although much better looking aesthetically) it looks like we are down to one captive builder for pretty much all passenger locomotives in the USA now.
I know if you ask engineers about them, they absolutely hate the Chargers. If I’m not mistaken, I believe the winter weather this past month has pretty much knocked almost all the chicago fleet out of service. That is scary to think of. Amtrak does not have the option of putting everything in on a lemon product.
I agree, but the Illinois taxpayers might have some words about the promises made with millions of their money and not much of it panning out. Aren't the corridor trains there still severely delayed sometimes? I thought that was the less flashy but more important part of the project: reliability.
Also, a few years ago CNN’s Anderson Cooper did a hit piece on the long delayed project in IL and how after years and hundreds of millions spent only a very short segment was upped to 110. I would hate for this project to be used in the future to argue against improvements to other corridors.
 
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