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  #1361  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 1:57 AM
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^Regarding the dual loco use planned for the Midwest, perhaps there is some efficiency benefit here. Is there an engineer that could confirm running 2 locomotives with each responsible for half the load (both push and pull) be more fuel efficient than 1 handling all the load? They may also be considering longer term wear and tear on the diesel engines by pushing them less and limiting higher RPM's? Just a thought. I find it a bit far fetched to think they would operate with 2 locomotives for aesthetic purposes or to eliminate turnarounds at the end of the route, preposterous really.
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  #1362  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
TBH, this seems like an attempt by IDOT to get that sleek MU look, as Brightline is doing. Why commit two locomotives to each train when a cab car is much, much cheaper? That extra locomotive adds a metric shit ton of extra weight to pull, also...

The answer is because you want it to look like European or Asian high-speed rail, not like a frumpy commuter train.

If they are going for a sleek look, it would be counterproductive to mix in Heritage fleet.

I assume the new cars will go to Hiawatha and Lincoln Service while all other corridors continue to run the Heritage. Maybe Wolverine, too.
Missouri and Michigan have participated financially in purchasing both the new Siemens built cars and locomotives - Wisconsin did not. Hiawatha trains should not be seeing brand new equipment before Missouri and Michigan see them.
I'm not aware how many cab-baggage cars the Midwest is buying, and anyone stating so without providing a link proving it is only spreading rumors.
I prefer facts, and so should you!
The only reasons anyone should place two locomotives on Midwest trains is to run faster than 110 mph - or to replace existing cabbage cars. The only Midwest trains using cabbage cars regularly today are the Hiawatha trains.
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  #1363  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 5:52 PM
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I agree the only reason to have two locomotives on both ends is to run at higher speed (110 mph). That makes sense for Illinois and Michigan, but no sense for Missouri.

Also from the Trains article, the breakdown of cars ordered by Illinois (et all) is as follows:
  • Cafe: 17
  • Business/Coach: 17
  • Coach: 54

So it appears as though the intention is to run 17 trainsets, each with 1 cafe, 1 business/coach car, and 3 coaches (with three spare coaches). If this is the case, somebody miscounted, since Illinois only has 33 charger locomotives, and 34 would be needed to put one on both ends of 17 consists.

Currently, Lincoln Service trains operate with two locomotives and 5 cars, so no change in capacity:



As for the debate between cab cars vs locos on both ends, I think there are problems with both. California will be really lucky if the Siemens cab cars turn out like the renders, because these would be the absolute best looking cab cars in the USA:


Usually cab cars are either utilitarian to the extreme, or just plain sad:



There is also the safety problems of having a lightweight car being pushed by a heavy locomotive. The potential for derailments, and the effects of those derailments, is significantly more than a locomotive-hauled train:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...903-story.html


Even putting a locomotive on both ends of the train has this problem, though. Like the recent Talgo derailments in Washington. The derailment last July featured a train being pulled by a locomotive without a trailing locomotive, and the result was that the locomotive and the first cars derailed, but the rest stayed on the track:


Compare that to the recent Talgo crash in December, in which the lead locomotive derailed, but then the heavy trailing locomotive continued to push the lightweight Talgo cars off the bridge - the result being all the cars derailed and only the trailing locomotive remained on the tracks:


I'm beginning to think that the optimal inter-city arrangement of cars and locomotives is to have a bi-directional locomotive (or two locomotives coupled with their cabs facing out) always pulling the train, and then have the locomotive switch ends at each terminus. It takes more work, but it improves the ride quality and is safer in the case of a crash. And because it is safer, the equipment doesn't necessarily need to be built as much like tanks as equipment that is designed to be sandwiched between heavy locomotives.
Take this Talgo set, for instance:

It looks pretty slick, it operates well, and when it crashes the passengers remain safe, like the July Talgo derailment:


Or, better yet, compare this to what Amtrak already does on the Northeast Corridor, with bidirectional ACS-64 locomotives always pulling a string of cars:


And even when these crash, most of the cars at least stay intact; The Philadelphia crash of 2015 was also 50 mph over the speed limit on a curve, like the December Cascades derailment, but in this case some cars even remained on the track:


It's also worth noting the survival rate of the Philadelphia crash was 97% even though that crash was much more energetic, compared to the Cascades crash which was 96% survivable.

So perhaps it would be better if, instead of putting a charger on both ends, Amtrak would couple them B end to B end and run them around the train at the end of their routes. It would take more time at termini, but at least when accidents happen (and Amtrak has proven that it is certainly not if but when the next one will happen), the entire trainset won't be totaled, and fewer people will die.

Last edited by Hatman; Jan 4, 2018 at 6:10 PM.
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  #1364  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 6:34 PM
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Wouldn't that kind of shuffling cripple Chicago Union Station? I'm not sure there's room to move a bunch of locomotives around without it congesting the departures of hundreds of Metra and Amtrak trains. Obviously there's no room to build a balloon loop.
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  #1365  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:31 PM
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Fair point. How is it done in Washington DC or in Boston?
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  #1366  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 9:52 PM
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Chicago has a wye where trains are turned, but I can't imagine that offers very much capacity, and it certainly conflicts with Metra's Southwest Service and Heritage Corridor trains.

Maybe that's the reason for the double-ended consist, to avoid straining the wye at CUS?
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  #1367  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2018, 6:43 PM
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High-Speed Rail Study Shut Down in the Midwest

http://www.governing.com/topics/tran...minnesota.html

Quote:
.....

- An environmental study exploring the viability of high-speed passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Milwaukee has been shut down after two Minnesota Republican legislators said it was a waste of taxpayer dollars. In December, Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, and Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, objected to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) accepting federal grant money to complete the study -- largely because Wisconsin opposes high-speed rail. --- "Minnesota should not be squandering precious tax dollars -- whether local, state or federal -- on a wasteful project actively opposed by other states whose support is necessary to proceed," the legislators wrote in a letter to the commissioner of the Department of Management and Budget. Torkelson and Newman are chairmen of transportation committees in the Minnesota house and senate, respectively.

.....
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  #1368  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2018, 6:46 PM
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  #1369  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 12:26 AM
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As of January 22, travel times have been slightly reduced on Amtrak's Wolverine and Blue Water routes serving Michigan. It looks like additional time savings could come later in the year.

Source: http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/2018/01/22/track-improvements-cutting-amtrak-travel-times/1053568001/


Quote:
Track improvements cutting Amtrak travel times
Jeremy Irvin, Times Herald
Jan 22, 2018

Passengers of the Amtrak Wolverine and Blue Water routes to Chicago can expect faster travel with fewer delays.

[...]

MDOT has seen time reductions on the Wolverine Service from Detroit to Chicago of 20 minutes, according to MDOT spokesman Michael Frezell. The Blue Water line, from Port Huron to Chicago, is quicker too, but the time savings isn't as large.

"For the Blue Water, it shaves about seven minutes off the schedule," Frezell said.

[...]

The work improved speeds by replacing worn track and smoothing out curves. Railroad crossings were upgraded for safety reasons. Train communication and signaling were improved for efficiency. Maximum speeds on some track segments are rising from 79 mph to 110 later this year.
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  #1370  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2018, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
Missouri and Michigan have participated financially in purchasing both the new Siemens built cars and locomotives - Wisconsin did not. Hiawatha trains should not be seeing brand new equipment before Missouri and Michigan see them.
I'm not aware how many cab-baggage cars the Midwest is buying, and anyone stating so without providing a link proving it is only spreading rumors.
I prefer facts, and so should you!
The only reasons anyone should place two locomotives on Midwest trains is to run faster than 110 mph - or to replace existing cabbage cars. The only Midwest trains using cabbage cars regularly today are the Hiawatha trains.
new locomotives are being used in missouri, now. same dirty galvanized garbage can cars. same crummy tracks.
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  #1371  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2018, 2:30 AM
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Report shows 'large economic development potential' for Vancouver-Portland rapid rail

http://vancouversun.com/news/local-n...tle-rapid-rail

Quote:
.....

- An ultra-high-speed rail line between Vancouver and Portland would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in economic benefits for the Vancouver-Seattle corridor, according to an economic analysis. — The economic analysis focused on a seven-stop route between Vancouver International Airport and the Rose Quarter station in Portland which has the highest potential ridership of about two million annually by 2035.

- The analysis assumes the use of maglev technology, which uses magnets to lift a train off its tracks and move it along a guideway at more than 400 km/h, reducing the time it takes to get from Vancouver to Seattle to under an hour. It pegs the project cost at around $40 billion. — The memo focuses on the effects in the nine-county corridor in Washington state and in B.C., and looks at the employment and labour income impacts from construction and operation of the service, along with some wider economic spinoffs.

- During the nine years (2025-2034) it’s expected to take to construct the rail line, the study estimated that 38,000 jobs would be created each year and there would be $29 billion in annual labour income. Lindsay Meredith, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, said there is unquestionably value in creating temporary construction jobs, but the key is to look further into the future. — For the first 20 years of the rail line’s existence, operations and maintenance activities are expected to result in 3,000 long-term jobs per year in total and $5 billion in labour income.

.....
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  #1372  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2018, 1:19 PM
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_


http://railcolornews.com/2018/07/12/us-calidot-new-single-level-cars-from-siemens-for-caltrans-and-idot/

Could a mod dig up the Midwest Rail thread, I was unable to find it in the genius search engine here on SSP. Thanks
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  #1373  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2018, 3:19 PM
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The more shiny (and remarkably quiet) Chargers I see pushing/pulling Amtrak runs at CUS the more depressing it is to watch all the ancient power METRA has dragging trains in and out of the city. Even the rebuilds with new paint are belching up soot. If we're never going to pay for new locomotives at least retrofit the god damned things with SCR.
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  #1374  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2018, 4:00 PM
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The new cars look good. Not technically a trainset, but nearly as sleek.

Looks like the Midwest trains won't be getting cab cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Could a mod dig up the Midwest Rail thread, I was unable to find it in the genius search engine here on SSP. Thanks
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...171728&page=68
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  #1375  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2018, 5:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
The new cars look good. Not technically a trainset, but nearly as sleek.

Looks like the Midwest trains won't be getting cab cars?
Not right away I guess but the Hiawatha Service is running Chargers with F40 Cabbage cars. Probably cheaper to just scoop up some more used up locomotives on the cheap and have them converted. Not the most elegant solution but practical.
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  #1376  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2018, 9:52 PM
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Not right away I guess but the Hiawatha Service is running Chargers with F40 Cabbage cars. Probably cheaper to just scoop up some more used up locomotives on the cheap and have them converted. Not the most elegant solution but practical.
Hi all, I'm NSC1109.

Just to kick things off really fast, I have somewhat extensive knowledge of Amtrak's midwest operations, specifically the Michigan Services. This is what I have to share:

The Midwest trains will not be getting cab cars. As far as I am aware, the wye is for turning LD trains as well as corridor services that need to be turned. Recently, Amtrak has been running some Wolverine trains with only one P42. This is because of various incidents that have pulled a few of the engines out of service. As a result, they have to be turned in Chicago instead of pulling into the station and pulling out again. My bet is that Amtrak wants to keep the dwell time as small as possible to allow the possibility of increased frequency on the Michigan Services. Additionally, Port Huron and Pontiac do not have ready access to wye tracks, meaning that turning the train is not an option.

Granted, these goals can be achieved with cab cars as well as engines. I cannot speak to why Illinois (purchasing for the entire Midwest network) decided against cab cars, as it isn't detailed in any meeting minutes for the NGEC, but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's in case of an engine failure so the train can continue on its journey.

The MI Line will not be seeing the Chargers any time soon. This does not include the Pere Marquette, which currently has a Charger dedicated to it. Techs are having issues integrating the Siemens and Wabtec PTC software with each other, and until this is resolved, testing cannot go forward. Amtrak is looking at a P42 replacement date no sooner than Fall 2018.

New coaches will be coming in the early 2020s. They'll look similar to the Brightline coaches, but probably with traps (stairs) like the current cars, as the Michigan Services has an assortment of both high and low platforms at the various stations. Illinois cars have pairs of semi-permanently coupled coaches with individual coaches mixed in.

A second PM is possible. According to a source on another forum, the only thing holding back a second PM trip is the lack of equipment. As the new cars begin to arrive, Amtrak will probably be able to spare the equipment for a second PM trip mid-day. I'm still hoping for a second Blue Water and a separate section of the PM from Detroit to GR via Lansing.

Bikes have been added to the Wolverine; four spots per train. Amtrak is trying to get this to four spots per car by 2020.

I'll try to stay on top of things here as I get updates from other forums and meeting minutes from the NGEC, which detail any new procurement updates.

Thanks,

-NSC1109
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  #1377  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2018, 11:04 PM
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^Welcome and thank you for the info!!!
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  #1378  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2018, 12:41 AM
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^Welcome and thank you for the info!!!
Thank you, and you’re welcome!

This is a preliminary plan I drew up on another board. I’d love some feedback.

Quote:
MICHIGAN SERVICES:
Bring the International back, routed via Detroit to Toronto.

Add 356/357 and 358/359 to the Wolverine route on the holiday schedule. Utilize the renovated MCS in Detroit as a "mini-hub" for Amtrak, with 350-355 and 360-363 terminating there and 356-359 continuing to Pontiac.

Add 366/367 to the Blue Water route to provide mid-day service to that region. It's a real pain to get up on the weekend to go home and you aren't able to take CATA to LNS (since they don't start running until 10). Additionally, the 8:40 AM WB arrival interferes with class schedules.

Add 372/373 between DET and GRR over the CSX Plymouth Sub. This line sees very little traffic (a couple road trains, a local, and as occasional unit grain). Hand 'er over to MDOT/Amtrak and upgrade it for 110 MPH.

Turn MCS into a mini-hub. Sure, Ford owns the building, but since they're only keeping four passenger tracks, there's sufficient space to make an addition and move Amtrak's offices from Pontiac to the MCS. That would all have to be negotiated though.

360/361 and 362/363 as DET-TOL-CIN, connecting with the CL in Toledo and Cardinal in Cincinnati.

368/369 for a Detroit* to Traverse City service under the "Michigander" name, calling at Howell, Durand, Mt. Pleasant, Cadillac, and Traverse City.

*I say Detroit instead of GR because, although GR is closer, the infrastructure doesn't exist to operate directly between GR and Traverse City. Plus, GR is a stub-end station.

NATIONAL NETWORK:

Reroute the LSL via the Michigan Line and Canada to ALB and then split to BOS/NYP.

Broadway Limited between NYP and Chicago, in LSL's old time slot.

WISCONSIN/MINNESOTA SERVICES:

North Coast Limited (instead of North Coast Hiawatha to avoid confusion with the current Hiawatha), CHI-MSP on a schedule akin to the Wolverine's current schedule.

Expand the Hiawatha schedule to include two more pairs.

ILLINOIS SERVICES:

Reinstatement of the Black Hawk, Chicago to Dubuque, IA, under numbers 374-377

Implementation of service to the Quad Cities under the "Quad Cities Zephyr" banner, number 385-388.

Additional trains for the Lincoln Service.

WESTERN SERVICES:
An additional pair for the Missouri River Runner
Some edits that I’m going to make here instead of in the original post (to see which you guys like better):

356-359: Terminate in Detroit and institute DMU service or other computer rail between the Detroit suburbs and MCS. Doesn’t make much sense to be to run a whole train to Pontiac when it can be handled by DMU at a cheaper rate.

368/369: Renamed from Michigander to Lake Cities.

Additional Pere Marquette services: one additional round trip between GRR and CHI and two between DET and GRR.

Lake Shore Limited: Forget splitting into two sections at Albany. Renumber 448/449 to 48/49 and make the LSL run CHI-BOS only and continue the reroute via the Michigan Line and Canada, giving MI a direct long-distance connection to the East Coast. Use the old LSL time slot on the Chicago Line to bring back the Broadway Limited or 20th Century Limited. If the latter is chosen, rename it to 21st Century Limited.

North Coast Limited: Rename to either Arrowhead or Twin Cities.

This is still a work in progress. Please feel free to suggest any changes!

Thanks,

-NSC1109

Last edited by NSC1109; Jul 27, 2018 at 1:37 AM.
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  #1379  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2018, 5:00 PM
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Why reroute Lake Shore Limited through Canada just to give Detroit/Ann Arbor a rail connection to the East Coast? The logistical difficulties of doing a customs check are probably a deal-killer, at best it would add an hour or two to the travel time to New York or Boston. At that point, it's probably easier, cheaper, and no less convenient to just create a Detroit-Toledo corridor with a timed transfer if the on-time performance can be improved for the Lake Shore and Capitol Limiteds. A Detroit-Toledo corridor is almost entirely within the state of Michigan so it doesn't really require Ohio's cooperation.

It would be great to re-use MCS for passenger service but New Center is just better located, with a streetcar connection to downtown and location in Detroit's healthiest neighborhood. Plus it's close to Wayne State, etc. I would want to see at least a streetcar connection down Michigan Ave before MCS is reactivated for Amtrak service.
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  #1380  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2018, 5:45 PM
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It could run as a closed train between Buffalo and Detroit and then perhaps not require a customs check. At least in a sane world. That would also have the advantage of actually hitting Buffalo's main station.

Erie would be the main loser (but perhaps a corridor train between Cleveland and Buffalo could be added... not sure how much demand there is in that corridor.).
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