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

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rickycourtney

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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?
I don't have a copy of it, but BNSF has issued a "general track bulletin" (recent orders not printed in a timetable) that permits Amtrak Cascades trains operating with Horizon/Amfleet equipment can observe posted Talgo speeds and operate with PTC in Tilt train mode. Maybe an Amtrak/BNSF insider can post it?

This is a very good thing.

Why?

WSDOT has made it clear... they are done with Talgo.

Period. End of story.


When WSDOT buys new trainsets they plan to join the Amtrak order which will almost certainly not have a passive tilting feature.

New trainsets that can observe posted Talgo speeds without passive tilting will offer quality and can maintain travel times (heck, with trainlined doors they could probably go faster). Putting the Point Defiance Bypass into service will make an even bigger difference in making travel times more attractive.

We will have to see if the lack of passive tilting will make a difference in comfort so noticeable that it drives passengers away. I doubt it.
 

jis

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Indeed, tilting trains are mostly a comfort thing. There are no basic safety issues involved if operated without tilt. That is a basic safety requirement that must be met by all of them.
 

cocojacoby

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I was involved in the NEC high-speed rail tests in the 80s. Yes Amfleet could run as fast as the Talgo and the LRC but it was rather uncomfortable.

I recall on one part of the test when we were standing (we stood and sat at different times) there was a sharp pain in my ankle as the Amfleet rounded a curve. There was no pain with the Talgo.
 

jis

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Always remember that an Amfleet consist pulled by an AEM-7 made it around the Elezabeth S-Curve at 100mph due to an operator error, without derailing, due to an operator error.
 
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zephyr17

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The Talgo tilting was always a matter of passenger comfort, not safety.

There are many, many curves on the line with higher (not by a lot, usually 5 mph or less) speed restrictions for Talgos. There are always sets of 3 speed boards on the line, T, P, and F
 
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Chris I

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I was involved in the NEC high-speed rail tests in the 80s. Yes Amfleet could run as fast as the Talgo and the LRC but it was rather uncomfortable.

I recall on one part of the test when we were standing (we stood and sat at different times) there was a sharp pain in my ankle as the Amfleet rounded a curve. There was no pain with the Talgo.
This is my point. WSDOT knows nothing about train service, which is why I'm not shocked that they would think standard equipment would be equivalent on this route. This is just another mistake in the series of mistakes they've made here, and ridership will suffer. Moving to the Bypass route will mitigate it somewhat, but we still have many sections where it is going to degrade service. Look at the section between Vancouver, WA, and Chehalis, WA.
 

zephyr17

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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? :)
It is a very curvy route. Most of the curves have marginally higher speed restrictions posted for Talgos.

The Talgos were purchased primarily because of the passive tilting in curves in the first place, due to the curviness of the line.

Doubt BNSF would cooperate on electrification. It is a primary line with very heavy freight traffic.
 

railiner

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Indeed, tilting trains are mostly a comfort thing. There are no basic safety issues involved if operated without tilt. That is a basic safety requirement that must be met by all of them.
It could be a safety defect if it tilts too much, IIRC...weren't the Acela's 'banned' from using tilt on the MNRR portion of the NEC for awhile, because of tight clearance?
 

Steve4031

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I’m planning a ride in the evening trip from Portland to Eugene. Is this service operated by Talgo equipment?
 

Chris I

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I’m planning a ride in the evening trip from Portland to Eugene. Is this service operated by Talgo equipment?
From recent videos posted on YouTube, it looks like they've been using a 10-car Talgo consist the past few days. Hard to say, though. We know the Horizons are here now.
 

Steve4031

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Ouch. That would be painful to seee those pull into Portland on Thursday 8/20. Think I would cancel and return to Chicago a day earlier.
 

Barb Stout

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Does the passenger comfort problem with non-tilting trains have to do with car/sea/sickness or something else? Like being a passenger (a certain kind of passenger) in an automobile going fast on curvy roads?
 

jis

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It could be a safety defect if it tilts too much, IIRC...weren't the Acela's 'banned' from using tilt on the MNRR portion of the NEC for awhile, because of tight clearance?
Actually that was more political than technical. There never was a problem except MNRR throwing its weight around. Nothing changed except getting a firm political kick in the butts of MNRR to get them to allow the tilt. No track centers were changed and no curves were modified or anything like that.
 

zephyr17

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Does the passenger comfort problem with non-tilting trains have to do with car/sea/sickness or something else? Like being a passenger (a certain kind of passenger) in an automobile going fast on curvy roads?
Centripetal force. Passengers feel pushed to the outside, as well as laptops, drinks, cups of Ivar's Clam Chowder, etc.

Tilting banks the car body, offsetting that.
 

cocojacoby

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Does the passenger comfort problem with non-tilting trains have to do with car/sea/sickness or something else? Like being a passenger (a certain kind of passenger) in an automobile going fast on curvy roads?
Here is one giant pet peeve of mine. Amtrak has decided that half of the new Acela II seats are going to face backwards. On the curvy NEC in New England that is going to be a problem for many people who are susceptible to motion sickness.
 

MARC Rider

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railiner

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Centripetal force. Passengers feel pushed to the outside, as well as laptops, drinks, cups of Ivar's Clam Chowder, etc.

Tilting banks the car body, offsetting that.
What the tilting does, is change the forces from pushing people and objects to the side, instead pushing them more straight down towards the floor.
So, instead of being forced to the side, you just feel 'heavier'....
 

Steve4031

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Here is one giant pet peeve of mine. Amtrak has decided that half of the new Acela II seats are going to face backwards. On the curvy NEC in New England that is going to be a problem for many people who are susceptible to motion sickness.
This is not an issue in other parts of world.
 

NSC1109

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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:
Yes, I have ridden the route three times. Once on Talgo equipment from Vancouver to Seattle, once on Superliner equipment from LA to Seattle, and the last on the Builder to Chicago.

Not once did I hear about anyone being uncomfortable nor was I uncomfortable. It was a smooth ride and a beautiful trip.
 

MARC Rider

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I wonder how much minor increases or decreases in speed over small parts of the route really affect total travel time. For example, when I read about the plans for the new B&P Tunnel in Baltimore, it was stated that in the current tunnel, the speeds were restricted to 35 mph. In the new tunnel, they will be able to go 50 mph. The will cut the transit time by 2 minutes. That means that BAL-WAS will now be 28 minutes on the Acela, 40 minutes on the Regional, and 58 minutes on a MARC local. Obviously, they're not doing this for the increased speed, they need to do it before the tunnel (built in the 1870s) collapses on a train or something.

The relevant question about the Cascade service and the elimination of the Talgos, is how much longer is the total travel time increased because the trains have to run around curves more slowly? How many curves? How much more slowly? If non-tilting equipment can go around curves at the same speed as the Talgos, what's the ride like when going around the curves?
 

zephyr17

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Yes, I have ridden the route three times. Once on Talgo equipment from Vancouver to Seattle, once on Superliner equipment from LA to Seattle, and the last on the Builder to Chicago.

Not once did I hear about anyone being uncomfortable nor was I uncomfortable. It was a smooth ride and a beautiful trip.
Superliners run at slower speeds through curves than the Talgos are allowed.
 

crescent-zephyr

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If passenger comfort doesn’t matter why do we have padded seats? Can save lots of money by putting in those plastic bus / subway seats. Don’t worry the seats aren’t any less safe! And it’s not a problem in other parts of the world!
 

Chris I

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I wonder how much minor increases or decreases in speed over small parts of the route really affect total travel time. For example, when I read about the plans for the new B&P Tunnel in Baltimore, it was stated that in the current tunnel, the speeds were restricted to 35 mph. In the new tunnel, they will be able to go 50 mph. The will cut the transit time by 2 minutes. That means that BAL-WAS will now be 28 minutes on the Acela, 40 minutes on the Regional, and 58 minutes on a MARC local. Obviously, they're not doing this for the increased speed, they need to do it before the tunnel (built in the 1870s) collapses on a train or something.

The relevant question about the Cascade service and the elimination of the Talgos, is how much longer is the total travel time increased because the trains have to run around curves more slowly? How many curves? How much more slowly? If non-tilting equipment can go around curves at the same speed as the Talgos, what's the ride like when going around the curves?
Conventional equipment takes about 25 minutes longer on this corridor. Pretty significant when the run time is 3:30 on the Talgo. 4 hour run time is not competitive with alternatives on the corridor (Bolt Bus, Flying with public transit to/from the airport on both ends).
 
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