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WSDOT retiring, selling Talgo trainsets, not acquiring "Wisconsin" trainsets yet

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rickycourtney

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Wait, why did they remove a "dining" car and a business class car? Did Talgo need to be reminded what they look like to make more?
 

rickycourtney

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Sorry in advance -- this is a technical explanation.

The ODOT Series 8 trainsets are 13 cars long: a cab, two business class cars with a bathroom and wheelchair lift, a dining (table) car, a bistro car, four coach cars, three coach cars with a bathroom and wheelchair lift, and a baggage car.

The layout is like this:
Cab - Business(WC) - Business(WC) - Dining - Bistro - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Baggage

The Wisconsin Series 8 trainsets are 14 cars long: a cab, six coach cars, five coach cars with a bathroom and wheelchair lift, a bistro car, and an end car with coach seating and bike storage. Plus the spare cab, bistro and end cars.

The layout is like this:
Cab - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Bistro - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Coach(WC) - Bike/Coach

If the plan is to keep the business class product (and keep it consistent) six of the Coach(WC) cars will need to be converted into Business(WC) cars (should be a
"simple" as swapping out the seats).
If the plan is to keep offering checked baggage service, the three end cars will need to be converted into Baggage cars (this will be a bit harder to do).

After that -- if they pull one Coach(WC) car per ODOT set, and one Coach(WC) car and two Coach cars per Wisconsin set they'll be able to make up five trainsets of 12 cars:
Cab - Business(WC) - Business(WC) - Bistro - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Coach(WC) - Coach - Coach - Baggage/Coach

The dining cars would remain on the ODOT sets, but those are non-revenue seats, so that doesn't matter as much.

That's just one possible re-configuration of the trainsets, but it's the one that seems most logical to me. It's a loss of 29 seats per train but the gain of an entire trainset and a consistent number of revenue seats across all five trainsets.
 

KnightRail

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The dining cars would remain on the ODOT sets, but those are non-revenue seats, so that doesn't matter as much.
It is crystal clear that the non-revenue dining(table) cars are NOT remaining in the ODOT sets. They were already removed. That’s not an idea or a plan. It already happened. Crews with cranes already worked through the night with the cars flying through the air completing this. Sets will now have one(1) business class car and no table cars. The new ODOT configurations are final:
Cab
Coach
Coach(WC)
Coach
Coach(WC)
Coach
Coach(WC)
Coach
Bistro
Business(WC)
Baggage

The two removed business class cars will give the two exWI sets each one business class car. The dining(table) cars are prime candidates for easy reconfiguration. Tables out, seats in, with one likely becoming the business class car for the third set being built out from the spare cars and the other table car becoming another coach or baggage car. All five Talgo Series 8 sets will be configured as similar as possible when this project is completed.
 

Willbridge

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I think these are the things that determine a premium service: How comfortable are the seats? It's easy to beat the Talgo VIII's. Are the trains on time? An extra 15 minutes won't make that much of a difference on a 3.5 hour trip but just being on time is important. Are there decent foods and beverages in the cafe? The menu was acceptable in the past, but reductions in demand may necessitate lower quality. Is there a pleasant boarding process? The elimination of assigned seats (I think in October, 2019) creates a free-for-all rush to get good seats. Are the trains and stations clean? I once saw the Talgo tech refilling the paper towels in a bathroom on the train.

Washington and Oregon can have a good transportation corridor if attention is paid to details.
The fastest pre-Amtrak running time was 3:45, with the Amtrak stops plus Chehalis. The NP was working on a 3:30 schedule but dropped that after Menk became president. The 3:45 time was well-adhered to, possibly because they had an RPO contract (I was at either Vancouver or Portland to meet newspaper shipments on Pool Train 408 on many days).
 

Willbridge

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The ones they built for the Russians are fantastic looking. But then again I think Russian interior design on a lot of their trains is nothing short of amazing for public transit.

For those who don't know much about Russian trains here are some links for you to take a look at.


The equipment on the Trans-European-Express is found on many other RZD services as well, the Red Arrow uses the VIP cars, and sleepers from the TEE for the Mockba-Санкт-Петербург route. I also believe the Россия has just been upgraded with them as well. I saw a Russian Railways post announcing that that train is now running daily between Mockba-Владивосток where it used to run every other day. Now it runs on a 24 hour slower card but has newer equipment. The trains former equipment has been handed down to a new unnamed Firmney train that runs on the old schedule, on the old days.

Then you have the private owned "Grand Express" on the Mockba-Санкт-Петербург which is all but on the same level as the VSOE. The pictures on their site are incredible.


Take a look at that train. I read the dining car menu for that train and its comparable to VIA Rail.

Fun fact the Mockba-Санкт-Петербург is the most competitive sleeper market in the world. With 12 different sleeping car trains running per day and three operators.
I read the dining car menu on the secondary Tomich in 2010 and it looked great, but a lot of items were out of stock on a three night trip between Moscow and Tomsk.
 

Willbridge

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Actually the West Side Express is a DMU service that shares 95 percent of it's routes with the shortline Portland & Western. The Colorado Railcar DMU's they are using are not overly reliable to the point that they have two Budd RDCs in service to augment schedules when the other cars are down. Recently they just bought three more Budd RDCs for the route as well. Now generally I haven't seen freight when the WES is running but it wouldn't surprise me if there was some mixing.
In my 2019 visit a freight came through Tigard right after the last commuter train of the evening. BTW, if one is visiting WES, the mid-route Tigard station is the best place for handy coffee and cakes and meets. It also has frequent direct bus service to and from downtown Portland, including a segment on the former Red Electric right-of-way.

P1050801.JPG

P1050792.JPG
 

Willbridge

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I believe the River Line DMU's that New Jersey Transit operates also share a line with freight service. But the freight service scheduled times are never in conflict with the DMUs. DMUs by day freight by night. And I believe those are on a waiver too.
Right. The transit industry term is "temporal separation". NJT fits in some odd schedule quirks to work around the freight hours.
 

rickycourtney

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It is crystal clear that the non-revenue dining(table) cars are NOT remaining in the ODOT sets. They were already removed. That’s not an idea or a plan. It already happened. Crews with cranes already worked through the night with the cars flying through the air completing this. Sets will now have one(1) business class car and no table cars. The new ODOT configurations are final:
Cab
Coach
Coach(WC)
Coach
Coach(WC)
Coach
Coach(WC)
Coach
Bistro
Business(WC)
Baggage

The two removed business class cars will give the two exWI sets each one business class car. The dining(table) cars are prime candidates for easy reconfiguration. Tables out, seats in, with one likely becoming the business class car for the third set being built out from the spare cars and the other table car becoming another coach or baggage car. All five Talgo Series 8 sets will be configured as similar as possible when this project is completed.
Do the dining (table) cars have vestibules? I've forgotten. That would require It would require A LOT of reconfiguration to add boarding doors. In that case, converting one of the Coach(WC) cars will be far easier. Furthermore, it's workable to have a door-less coach in the middle of a train.

The ODOT configuration (which I don't doubt is the current configuration) leaves seven cars unused... so they almost certainly will need to be reconfigured.
 
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rickycourtney

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I found that Amtrak published a new FY20-FY25 Asset Line Plan document with a section called "Amtrak Cascades Talgo VI Retirement and Interim Fleet Solution " which puts Amtrak's plan in black and white...

On May 21, 2019, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its findings regarding the December 18, 2017 accident involving Train 501 at DuPont, WA. The NTSB recommended that the FRA remove the car design waiver which allows the Talgo VI fleet to operate on Amtrak Cascades.​
Subsequently, we developed a plan with our Washington state partner to retire Talgo VI equipment, used on all but two trainset assignments for the Amtrak Cascades service. This plan includes substituting non-Talgo VI equipment on Amtrak Cascades service until new equipment arrives to permanently replace the retired Talgo VI trainsets.​
In the short term, we are reviewing locations where more efficient utilization of Horizon and/or Amfleet equipment may free up railcars for use on Amtrak Cascades. Additionally, we are reviewing the feasibility of leasing additional equipment, such as unused, newer Talgo 8 trainsets (which do not require the car design waivers in question), to supplement cars shifted from other corridors. In the longer term, Washington State is likely to participate in Amtrak’s Amfleet I replacement / Intercity Trainset order of equipment. Between now and the likely delivery of new equipment, additional Horizon and Amfleet equipment will be shifted from service in the Midwest and California thanks to the procurement of 137 new Siemens single level cars by our state partners, increasing the availability of other Amtrak fleet types which can be used for substitutions.​

So, no matter what happens with the Talgo 8 trainsets... they're a short/medium-term plan.
 

NSC1109

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I found that Amtrak published a new FY20-FY25 Asset Line Plan document with a section called "Amtrak Cascades Talgo VI Retirement and Interim Fleet Solution " which puts Amtrak's plan in black and white...

On May 21, 2019, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its findings regarding the December 18, 2017 accident involving Train 501 at DuPont, WA. The NTSB recommended that the FRA remove the car design waiver which allows the Talgo VI fleet to operate on Amtrak Cascades.​
Subsequently, we developed a plan with our Washington state partner to retire Talgo VI equipment, used on all but two trainset assignments for the Amtrak Cascades service. This plan includes substituting non-Talgo VI equipment on Amtrak Cascades service until new equipment arrives to permanently replace the retired Talgo VI trainsets.​
In the short term, we are reviewing locations where more efficient utilization of Horizon and/or Amfleet equipment may free up railcars for use on Amtrak Cascades. Additionally, we are reviewing the feasibility of leasing additional equipment, such as unused, newer Talgo 8 trainsets (which do not require the car design waivers in question), to supplement cars shifted from other corridors. In the longer term, Washington State is likely to participate in Amtrak’s Amfleet I replacement / Intercity Trainset order of equipment. Between now and the likely delivery of new equipment, additional Horizon and Amfleet equipment will be shifted from service in the Midwest and California thanks to the procurement of 137 new Siemens single level cars by our state partners, increasing the availability of other Amtrak fleet types which can be used for substitutions.​

So, no matter what happens with the Talgo 8 trainsets... they're a short/medium-term plan.
Say goodbye to the Talgos, then. The PacNW is finally going to come in line with the rest of the network.
 

rickycourtney

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Now hearing (from Trainorders) that BNSF will allow Amtrak to operate the Horizon trainsets at the same speed as the Talgo trainsets. If true, that removes one of the big "selling points" of the Talgo trainsets. The ride won't be as comfortable (more centrifugal force through curves) but will be just as fast.

Presumably, if the Horizon trainsets can travel at the same speeds as the Talgo trainsets... nearly any other single-level trainset would also be allowed to travel at the same speeds.

I would guess that the Superliners would be more unstable at the higher speeds.
 

NSC1109

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Now hearing (from Trainorders) that BNSF will allow Amtrak to operate the Horizon trainsets at the same speed as the Talgo trainsets. If true, that removes one of the big "selling points" of the Talgo trainsets. The ride won't be as comfortable (more centrifugal force through curves) but will be just as fast.

Presumably, if the Horizon trainsets can travel at the same speeds as the Talgo trainsets... nearly any other single-level trainset would also be allowed to travel at the same speeds.

I would guess that the Superliners would be more unstable at the higher speeds.
That is correct. Superliners are limited to 100mph. Horizons can do up to 110 easy.
 

Willbridge

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As I mentioned earlier in this thread that some of the last Pool schedules did Portland<>Seattle in 3:45 with the Chehalis stops, but no Tukwila. I checked and the timetable dated October 25, 1970 showed three trains running that fast. One of them, BN196 (NP407), also showed a conditional stop at Puyallup.

The NP was studying a 3:30 schedule to go along with their installation of double-track CTC and then Menk took over. I don't know if that included deleting any stops, but of course it was via the Point Defiance line. The Pool schedules had assumed a certain amount of heavyweights in the consists, but by 1968 I only recall them using lightweight cars, even on excursions.
 

Chris I

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As I mentioned earlier in this thread that some of the last Pool schedules did Portland<>Seattle in 3:45 with the Chehalis stops, but no Tukwila. I checked and the timetable dated October 25, 1970 showed three trains running that fast. One of them, BN196 (NP407), also showed a conditional stop at Puyallup.

The NP was studying a 3:30 schedule to go along with their installation of double-track CTC and then Menk took over. I don't know if that included deleting any stops, but of course it was via the Point Defiance line. The Pool schedules had assumed a certain amount of heavyweights in the consists, but by 1968 I only recall them using lightweight cars, even on excursions.
And I've been on Talgo VI trips that were just slightly over 3:00 on the corridor. We got lucky with no freight delays, and a light passenger load made for shorter stops. I would be surprised if standard equipment could make this time and keep the passengers comfortable. The Talgos sit lower and the passive tilt really helps to erase the lateral forces. I've never had issues with items sliding laterally off of tables, for example. I can't imagine that would be the same in a Horizon car going 60mph along the water route south of Tacoma.
 

NSC1109

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Which doesn't apply here, the entire line is restricted to 79mph maximum. The Talgos were allowed higher speeds through curves, but still 79 or below.
I wasn’t saying that the Horizons can do 110 everywhere. I said that they are able to handle higher speeds. There shouldn’t be any issues with the Horizons moving that quickly through the curves.
 

Chris I

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I wasn’t saying that the Horizons can do 110 everywhere. I said that they are able to handle higher speeds. There shouldn’t be any issues with the Horizons moving that quickly through the curves.
Have you ridden the Cascades route? The passenger comfort issues with running conventional equipment through curves at high-speeds are well-documented, which is why tilting trains are used on routes like this all over the world:
 

rickycourtney

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Have you ridden the Cascades route? The passenger comfort issues with running conventional equipment through curves at high-speeds are well-documented, which is why tilting trains are used on routes like this all over the world
I have been on the Cascades several times. 110 is not possible.

However, Amtrak, WSDOT, and BNSF think there are no safety issues with allowing the Horizon trainsets to travel at the exact same speeds as the Talgo trainsets.

That pokes a bunch of holes in the arguments for the *need* to have tilting trainsets to go faster in the Cascades corridor.

Now, passengers might be slightly more uncomfortable during the curves... but that's something that I think needs a lot more study in this corridor before a definitive statement could be made. I would venture to guess that it's no more uncomfortable than doing full speed over rough track. Amtrak does plenty of that all over the nation.
 

Chris I

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I have been on the Cascades several times. 110 is not possible.

However, Amtrak, WSDOT, and BNSF think there are no safety issues with allowing the Horizon trainsets to travel at the exact same speeds as the Talgo trainsets.

That pokes a bunch of holes in the arguments for the *need* to have tilting trainsets to go faster in the Cascades corridor.

Now, passengers might be slightly more uncomfortable during the curves... but that's something that I think needs a lot more study in this corridor before a definitive statement could be made. I would venture to guess that it's no more uncomfortable than doing full speed over rough track. Amtrak does plenty of that all over the nation.
I never said 110 was possible on the corridor. Not sure why that was brought up at all (must have been somehow who doesn't know the route).

I still have yet to see any information on the Horizons running at the same speeds, aside from comments on this forum. We do have hard data from the past few weeks showing that 500/505 were chronically late (OTP approaching 0%) while running Horizons. Until I see otherwise, I don't buy that a trainset with Horizons can do SEA-PDX and keep the schedule.

This is also what we have seen in the past, when they have supplemented old Amtrak equipment during holiday periods. These extra trains were scheduled for 4:15 on the corridor vs. the 3:30 of the Talgos:

I think people who aren't from the region don't fully understand this line. This is not your standard state-run barebones service. We have business class on the Talgos, and people pay a premium over bus options with similar run times, or they take a slight time penalty over flying to ride in comfort. If you decrease comfort/quality and/or increase travel time, it is going to really hurt ridership. What would happen to ridership on Acela if Amtrak substituted NE Regional equipment on all of the runs?
 

MARC Rider

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Have you ridden the Cascades route? The passenger comfort issues with running conventional equipment through curves at high-speeds are well-documented, which is why tilting trains are used on routes like this all over the world:
How many curves are there on the route where this would be an issue?

Maybe they should just electrify the route and use the old Acela trainsets when they're retired? :)
 
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