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  #201  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2019, 4:28 PM
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Great news for Amtrak - Amfleet's to be retired - 21st century rolling stock procured

January 20, 2019

After 40-plus years, Amfleet I replacements sought

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief


Penn Central Metroliner 864 at Princeton Junction, N.J., August 1971. Photo by Roger Puta/Wikimedia Commons.


Amtrak on Jan. 18 released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new fleet of single-level passenger cars to replace its dependable but decades-old, 470-unit stable of Amfleet I and ex-Metroliner cars, which were converted from electric-multiple-units years ago. The Amfleet I cars date to 1975, while the ex-Metroliner equipment entered service in January 1969 for Amtrak predecessor Penn Central (PC predecessor Pennsylvania Railroad ordered this equipment in 1966).

A base order will include “75 trainsets or their railcar equivalents” with options to provide equipment for Washington D.C.-New York-Boston Northeast Corridor Northeast Regional service and adjacent state-supported routes, including Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf, Adirondack, Vermonter, Downeaster, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Keystone Service, Virginia Service and New Haven/Springfield Service trains.

The new equipment will have “contemporary rail amenities to better serve Amtrak customers,” Amtrak said. These will include improved Wi-Fi equipment and connectivity, improved seating, weather-tight doors and vestibules, larger windows (larger than the aircraft-style narrow slits that have contributed to the Budd Company-built Amfleet cars being referred to as “AmCans” and “AmTubes”), improved climate control systems and completely new designs for restrooms and passageways between cars. The new equipment will feature bi-directional operating capability that Amtrak says “will minimize endpoint turnaround times and provide operating efficiency.”

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  #202  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2019, 4:35 PM
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Here's hoping Amtrak leaves the 20th century fluted stainless steel in the rearview mirror. I'd love to see lightweight composite or aluminum carbodies that reduce energy costs and can be painted. Also great to hear plans for large windows, modern interiors and plans for cab cars so trains can operate in a efficient manner.
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  #203  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2019, 4:49 PM
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What are Amtrak's most profitable routes? It probably makes the most sense to update them first. The Northeast Corridor is clearly the most profitable, thanks to the high population density in that region. The Wolverine route connecting Detroit to Chicago seems quite popular too. Most of the times that I have taken it, the conductor announced that it was sold out. It's likely the second or third most profitable route, which is probably why Amtrak upgraded it to "higher-speed" rail (reaching 110 mph) over the past few years. But delays are still frequent and the trains are aging, so a further update would be welcome.
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  #204  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2019, 5:36 PM
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Want to bet it’s going to be the same Siemens fleet going to bright line/Virgin Rail, the Midwest, California, and VIA in Canada?
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  #205  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2019, 7:06 PM
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If it ends up being Siemens viaggio, that would be fine by me.
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  #206  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2019, 9:40 PM
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Originally Posted by pianowizard View Post
What are Amtrak's most profitable routes? It probably makes the most sense to update them first. The Northeast Corridor is clearly the most profitable, thanks to the high population density in that region. The Wolverine route connecting Detroit to Chicago seems quite popular too. Most of the times that I have taken it, the conductor announced that it was sold out. It's likely the second or third most profitable route, which is probably why Amtrak upgraded it to "higher-speed" rail (reaching 110 mph) over the past few years. But delays are still frequent and the trains are aging, so a further update would be welcome.
Amtrak's most profitable routes tend to be their "corridors." Basically, the NEC, Philadelphia-Chicago, the Empire Corridor, pretty much everything around Chicago, and everything on the west coast.

I, for one, love stainless steel and hope that Bombardier or even Wabtec gets the contract.
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  #207  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2019, 6:15 AM
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Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
Want to bet it’s going to be the same Siemens fleet going to bright line/Virgin Rail, the Midwest, California, and VIA in Canada?
Considering that the NGEC altered their specifications for single-level railcars specifically to accommodate the acquisition of Siemens Viaggio cars by CalTrans/IDOT, that's a pretty safe bet.
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  #208  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2019, 9:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
January 20, 2019

After 40-plus years, Amfleet I replacements sought

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief


Penn Central Metroliner 864 at Princeton Junction, N.J., August 1971. Photo by Roger Puta/Wikimedia Commons.


Amtrak on Jan. 18 released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new fleet of single-level passenger cars to replace its dependable but decades-old, 470-unit stable of Amfleet I and ex-Metroliner cars, which were converted from electric-multiple-units years ago. The Amfleet I cars date to 1975, while the ex-Metroliner equipment entered service in January 1969 for Amtrak predecessor Penn Central (PC predecessor Pennsylvania Railroad ordered this equipment in 1966).

A base order will include “75 trainsets or their railcar equivalents” with options to provide equipment for Washington D.C.-New York-Boston Northeast Corridor Northeast Regional service and adjacent state-supported routes, including Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf, Adirondack, Vermonter, Downeaster, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Keystone Service, Virginia Service and New Haven/Springfield Service trains.

The new equipment will have “contemporary rail amenities to better serve Amtrak customers,” Amtrak said. These will include improved Wi-Fi equipment and connectivity, improved seating, weather-tight doors and vestibules, larger windows (larger than the aircraft-style narrow slits that have contributed to the Budd Company-built Amfleet cars being referred to as “AmCans” and “AmTubes”), improved climate control systems and completely new designs for restrooms and passageways between cars. The new equipment will feature bi-directional operating capability that Amtrak says “will minimize endpoint turnaround times and provide operating efficiency.”

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They are over 40 years old but they are still more comfortable to ride in than SEPTA's newer trains. I can take Amtrak's Keystone Service into Philly instead of SEPTA...it only costs a few dollars more and I get to Center City in 33 minutes instead of the hour on SEPTA. They have put newer seats in some of the cars at least on the Keystone trains.
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  #209  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2019, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PhillyRising View Post
They are over 40 years old but they are still more comfortable to ride in than SEPTA's newer trains. I can take Amtrak's Keystone Service into Philly instead of SEPTA...it only costs a few dollars more and I get to Center City in 33 minutes instead of the hour on SEPTA. They have put newer seats in some of the cars at least on the Keystone trains.
If you're taking it from Paoli, I would recommend trying to catch one of their express trains. They use Amtrak-grade cars which are much more comfortable to ride in than the normal MUs. I am not sure what their morning assignments are other than the Great Valley Flyer, but I know in the evening almost every express going out to Thorndale is one of these.
All that having been said, SEPTA is getting new multi-level MUs and coaches, which should be far more comfortable than the 40+ year old SLIVs.
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  #210  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2019, 3:15 AM
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Originally Posted by pianowizard View Post
What are Amtrak's most profitable routes? It probably makes the most sense to update them first. The Northeast Corridor is clearly the most profitable, thanks to the high population density in that region. The Wolverine route connecting Detroit to Chicago seems quite popular too. Most of the times that I have taken it, the conductor announced that it was sold out. It's likely the second or third most profitable route, which is probably why Amtrak upgraded it to "higher-speed" rail (reaching 110 mph) over the past few years. But delays are still frequent and the trains are aging, so a further update would be welcome.
I'd put the Pacific Sunliner from San Luis Obispo to San Diego up there.
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  #211  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2019, 3:52 PM
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Amtrak expands weekend Acela service (Washington Post)

Amtrak expands weekend Acela service


By Lori Aratani
April 17, 2019
Washington Post

"Amtrak is increasing weekend service along the popular Northeast Corridor, adding additional Saturday departures starting next month.

Beginning May 4, travelers headed north from Washington’s Union Station will have the option of an additional midmorning departure via Train 2252. Amtrak is also adding an additional midafternoon departure via Train 2255 from Boston. Tickets for the new service are on sale.

“Amtrak continuously works to be responsive to customer feedback and looks for opportunities to expand our highly popular Acela Express service between Boston, New York and Washington,” said Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson..."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/trans...=.85fb06b3cc69
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  #212  
Old Posted Aug 31, 2019, 10:42 PM
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Amtrak wants more short-distance, city-to-city trains. But at what cost?

https://www.chicagotribune.com/busin...311-story.html

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Amtrak wants to increase its city-to-city, short-haul trips. That could mean adding trains between cities like Chicago and Cleveland, or Chicago and Cincinnati -- routes that could offer a time-competitive alternative to driving.
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  #213  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2019, 9:54 AM
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Amtrak wants more short-distance, city-to-city trains. But at what cost?

https://www.chicagotribune.com/busin...311-story.html
Unless there are changes made to PRIIA Section 209, it'll be a mixed bag establishing more short-distance/medium-distance routes.

Under 209, all operating expenses for any route under 750 miles are the responsibility of the states that are served by that route. And, barring a federal grant, capital expenses fall on the states as well.

In the Midwest, adding three more round trips onto the Hiawatha in the next five years? Good. The State of Indiana allowing the Hoosier State to disappear? Not so good. Kasich rejecting funding for the 3C route in Ohio, Walker rejecting funds for the Milwaukee-Madison route, and Branstad rejecting money to extend the Quad Cities train to Iowa City? Really not good.

More trains to Cleveland or Cincinnati? Great idea. Convincing Indiana to help throw something into the pot to start those trains running? Good luck with that. Indiana let the Hoosier State die a very long, very obvious death to serve as an object lesson for anyone foolish enough to propose any passenger rail within the state (The improvements and expansion to the South Shore are a completely different situation, before anyone brings that up).

The same problem exists on the proposed New Orleans-Mobile route. They have money for capital expenses to start the route, but Alabama is balking at having to pay a share of the operating expenses.

Under Section 209, this can and will occur anywhere a proposed route runs through a rail-phobic state.
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  #214  
Old Posted Sep 4, 2019, 9:17 PM
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Amtrak's 'Great Dome' car has been retired

https://www.timesunion.com/business/...d-14402221.php

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.....

- Amtrak's Great Dome car, a regular feature during fall foliage season on the Adirondack between Albany and Montreal, has been retired. The two-level passenger car with a glassed-in upper level stretching the length of the car was the last of a fleet of six originally built for the Great Northern Railway's Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle in the mid-1950s. The Milwaukee Road operated its own fleet of 10 "Super Dome" cars that were similar in appearance, with the glassed-in upper level also stretching the full length of the railroad car. They were used on the railroad's Hiawatha passenger trains and later on such trains as the City of Denver. Those dome cars ended up with cruise lines or scenic railroads. Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams on Friday told the Times Union that, "due to the age and expense of maintaining this vintage car, the Great Dome Car will no longer operate as part of Amtrak's fleet."

.....













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  #215  
Old Posted Sep 5, 2019, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Joke Insurance View Post
Amtrak wants more short-distance, city-to-city trains. But at what cost?

https://www.chicagotribune.com/busin...311-story.html
On a similar note, they're looking to add at least another train or two between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The State, Allegheny County, et al would like to see it happen, but the biggest hurdle here is Norfolk Southern's freight schedule. It is a very heavily used corridor that sees 40 to 60 freight trains each day, and there is no dedicated track for passenger service.

Over the years there have been studies to determine the possibility of high speed trains as well as additional trains between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Each scenario has been deemed unfeasible.
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  #216  
Old Posted Sep 5, 2019, 3:12 PM
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If I remember correctly, there used to be four tracks between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh back when the Pennsylvania Railroad ran passenger trains, but now there are three?
Just for blue-sky thinking, what is the rail distance between those two cities and how much would it cost to relay one of the tracks as a state-owned passenger track? (Passing would be done on the other freight tracks through some agreement with NS)
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  #217  
Old Posted Sep 5, 2019, 3:46 PM
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Pittsburgh-Harrisburg is probably the best place in the US for a potential base tunnel. Not that it would ever happen...
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  #218  
Old Posted Sep 5, 2019, 7:41 PM
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The distance between Beijing and Shanghai is roughly the same as the distance between Chicago and NY. I'll let you guess why I would mention that.
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Old Posted Sep 5, 2019, 7:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
If I remember correctly, there used to be four tracks between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh back when the Pennsylvania Railroad ran passenger trains, but now there are three?
Just for blue-sky thinking, what is the rail distance between those two cities and how much would it cost to relay one of the tracks as a state-owned passenger track? (Passing would be done on the other freight tracks through some agreement with NS)
I think that's a pretty reasonable solution to the problem at hand ... The state and Norfolk Southern can and should work together to solve routing and traffic issues between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh (one solution that could work well west of Johnstown is for NS trains to move exclusively to the low-grade line up the Kiskiminetas River, leaving the more southerly route specifically for passenger operations).
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  #220  
Old Posted Sep 6, 2019, 6:14 AM
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The distance between Beijing and Shanghai is roughly the same as the distance between Chicago and NY. I'll let you guess why I would mention that.
Beijing to Shangai is 811 rail miles, and the fastest one stop, at Nanjing South, trains take 4.5 hours to travel that far, averaging 181 mph.
China spent $32 Billion to build it, the initial projections was as low as $16 Billion, a year later projections rose to $25 Billion. So even in China they experience a doubling of the costs to build, where all the land is owned by the government and there are no property taxes to pay, and costs of labor are significantly lower than in Europe or America.

The good news to report is that they report a profit of $1 Billion a year, with 165,000 passengers daily, which is 25% lower than the projected 220,000 daily passengers. 80,000 daily passengers still take the old slow trains between these two cities, so not everyone is willing to pay extra for the faster service.
FYI, 165,000 passengers x 365 days = 60.225 million passengers each year on this one HSR line. That's twice what Amtrak gets nationally.

I do not foresee Amtrak being able to run the 959 rail miles between New York City and Chicago with just one station stop. If it is going to cost CHSR between $63.2 billion and $98.1 Billion to build a 525 rail miles HSR line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, what do you think it would cost to build a HSR between New York City and Chicago? Twice as much as CHSR because it is twice as far? That could be six times more than China's $32 Billion between Beijing and Shanghai, potentially as much as $196 Billion. Would anyone believe any dollar figure Amtrak or anybody else would suggest?

All the $$$$ amounts written in this response was found at Wiki for CHSR and Beijing to Shanghai HSR or calculated from them.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califo...igh-Speed_Rail
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijin...-speed_railway

Last edited by electricron; Sep 6, 2019 at 2:21 PM.
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