- May 11, 2021
- Washington, DC
Streetsblog NYC is reporting that Andy Byford aka Train Daddy is headed to Amtrak as an executive vice president. This is a great pickup!
NYC Streetsblog is where I read it earlier today.Is nyc.streetsblog.org not a public website?
Could possibly mean improvement to Acela,The articles say he will be senior vice president for high-speed rail development.
What HSR is under development at Amtrak?
If you listen to Amtrak marketing every time the Acela increases top speed by a few MPH over some tiny percentage of the route you'd think a new HSR was built. Never mind that Regionals suffer arbitrary speed limits on the same tracks. If I was being a bit more optimistic I might wonder if this is related to interfacing with CAHSR and maybe even TXHSR, if private funding can find a way to survive endless anti-rail court battles. Hopefully this will be made clear in the near future.The articles say he will be senior vice president for high-speed rail development. What HSR is under development at Amtrak?
Yeah, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about the top speed of their flight? It's the gate-to-gate time that matters to most people. The fact that you hit 550MPH for a few minutes over Nebraska means jack all to most people. But I guess marketing folks see things a little different from the rest of us.I don't know about real world standard HSR, but there is quite a bit of higher speed work to be done yet both on the NEC and the SEHSR. I tend to focus on possibilities of significantly reducing end to end running times rather than on the minutea of what is the maximum speed achieved over a few miles. The latter matters a lot less than the former, unless of course the latter actually changes the former significantly in a favorable way.
That's the point. Outside of the NEC there is none. The Connects US map shows more conventional service, even in corridors that the FRA regional plans found would be profitable to operate (but probably not pay back construction cost) with frequent HSR service: Chicago-Florida via Indy & ATL, Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, Chicago-Twin Cities, and Texas Triangle. The Class Is have made it clear that they will not permit fast service or frequent service on their lines, particularly if the route handles a significant amount of freight, which all of these do. The country needs to construct publicly-owned, grade-separated, electrified track on prime routes such as these (maybe, 6000, or so route miles, vs. the 25k+ in China). Conventional Amtrak trains will be able to use them, where available (as they do on the NEC). Hopefully, Byford is the guy to push this concept.What HSR is under development at Amtrak?
One critical collaborative effort would be to have Amtrak call at the SunRail Transfer Station and have Brightline stop there for transfers between the two. Can't see anything big beyond that.I’ll also wonder if he’ll develop a strategy to interface with Brightline West and FL. They really don’t compete since they have different missions outside of the NEC. So an effective partnership might make sense. Although I suspect Brightline might be cautious since they don’t want the STB meddling.
Oh yeah. I remember the first time I logged on to the in flight route map/speed/altitude app. I was a bit disappointed that my up-to-date Boing 737 wasn't going any faster than a 1950s prop plane! Of course, that may have been ground speed, not air speed. On another trip that same 737 was getting close to the sound barrier if you believed the speed indicator, except I think it was because of a tail wind, not that we were going supersonic.Yeah, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about the top speed of their flight? It's the gate-to-gate time that matters to most people. The fact that you hit 550MPH for a few minutes over Nebraska means jack all to most people. But I guess marketing folks see things a little different from the rest of us.
That's not the only thing they do to sell cars. Back when I was a kid, the maximum speed shown on the speedometer was 120 mph. Then, when they had the 55 mph national speed limit, the maximum speed shown on the speedometer was 80 mph. That was highly unpopular with the automakers, so it was soon repealed. Fast forward to today: May 2017 Toyota RAV4 has a speedometer with 140 mph as the top speed, and my 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross had a speedometer with a top speed of 160! The highest speed limit in the USA, as far as I know, is in a couple of short stretches of toll roads in Texas, assuming the traffic is light enough that you can drive that fast. I have a feeling that none of these cars with the 120+ mph top speed on the speedometer can really drive safely at more than 100 mph, and that's stretching things.It's no different than the way they sell cars - promoting how fast they go from 0-60. The main difference though is that, while 0-60 doesn't matter much in the general use of a car,
All that's been discussed here doesn't seem to me to be enough to occupy a Sr. VP. I think Andy's talents could best be used in something like VP of Service Delivery, or Customer Satisfaction, or OTP.
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