Skip to comments.Amtrak to replace high-speed Acela trains
Posted on 12/13/2012 8:23:34 PM PST by Olog-hai
Amtrak announced plans Thursday to replace its fleet of high-speed trains on the East Coast.
The railroad said that early next year, it would begin the process of replacing its 20 existing Acela Express train sets, which run on the Northeast Corridor rail line between Boston and Washington, DC.
Amtrak said Thursday that it had scrapped a previous plan to add 40 new passenger cars to the existing fleet, deeming it too expensive and insufficient to handle new ridership growth projections.
(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...
Chinese trains a-comin’!
This sounds like a job that only a union can do.
Seriously, train cars should last nigh unto forever. A good thirty, at least.
You miss the REAL question.
What crony of Obama or his minions gets the bloated contract to produce sub-standard junk - a Union shop, of course....
As they say, follow the money...
Funny how the major airlines, who don’t have piles of taxpayer money at their disposal, don’t replace their entire FLEET when they need a few more airplanes.
Last time was from Bombardier. And now of course, Bombardier is kryptonite to Amtrak because of the problems with these custom-made trains that nobody had seen before (completely new design, right on the heels of the new “crashworthiness” specifications that the Federal Railroad Administration made up out of their heads). And this was after testing two existing trainsets, one from Sweden and another from Germany.
The federal government, incidentally, has been promising 160-mph speeds on the Northeast Corridor since the late 1960s. How do they think that telling the same lies over and over for this long can work for them?
Via Rail (the equivalent of Amtrak in Canada), although not too far up on high speed of any shade except for their 100-mph trains between Toronto and Montreal, do a lot better than Amtrak when it comes to railcars. They have completely rebuilt Budd cars from the 1950s and 1960s; they work so well that Amtrak even borrowed some post-Sandy when they had an equipment shortage. Meanwhile, Amtrak had a perfectly-rebuildable fleet of older cars up until the 1990s (they called it the “Heritage fleet”), but instead opted to buy new pieces of junk that passengers don’t like as much (especially the Viewliner sleepers, and all-aluminum Horizon cars which were based on commuter cars originally built for the state of New Jersey on the former Erie and Lackawanna lines). If there’s anything worse than horses designed by committee, it’s horses dictated by committee and designed by contractors . . .
When you’re the only game in town, you get to tell whatever lies you want.
Bottom line, nobody wants the passenger service at these rates - they’d go under in short order.
Willie Green apparently got his wish to come true.
The Metroliner cars are built to reach 160 miles per hour, but initially the speed is being kept to 110.Yup, and they stayed at 110 mph, even getting slowed down to 90 mph when track maintenance deferral caught up. This Northeast Corridor improvement line seems to be repeated in cycles.
Maybe this is the cheapest path if they weren’t able to fix the cracking disc rotors on the brakes. It’s been 7 years since that problem was found...was it ever fixed?
When the rail beds were engineered, what speeds were they designed to accommodate? How do the new trains deal with existing curves of the rails?
It’s nice having the 99%ers subsidize the 1% on our way up and down the east coast. Thanks Occupiers!
Yeah, it was fixed. So were the malfunctioning yaw dampers and the pantograph shrouds that kept getting ripped off the locomotives by strong winds. Instead of suing the Federal Railroad Administration for unrealistic requirements (which meant that the tilt angle had to be reduced from 9 degrees to four), Amtrak sued Bombardier instead. Since we now have Tier IV requirements (Acela is the only type that meets Tier III), it’ll cost more money for these replacements for the Acela Express rather than less.
I suspect it’d be a crony of the VP, Mr. Amtrak Biden.
There is one thing I have to give credit for though. The acela train system is far more robust than the European systems when it comes to snow and other inclement weather.
The acela system just flies right along in snow conditions that would stall pretty much all the euro systems.
The heavier train sets and heavier gauge rail is to thank for that.
If they had taken train sets right from Europe and put then on the tracks here, you would have known what dysfunctional was when it started snowing. The only reason they can run those trains in Europe when it snows is because they constantly keep trains running even when no one is on, just to keep the tracks clear. If they have a hold up for even just a short time, then the snow gets too deep and they have to send special snow clearing trains out to try and clear the tracks. It can takes days to get things up and running again.
So, some may say the federal requirements for the heavier train was stupid, because it means that we cant use off the shelf euro trains, but it seems to be just what the doctor ordered for this continent.
Remember, every continent has different transportation requirements. One size does not fit all.
You would never see this in Europe.
Their trains just cant do that sort of thing. Over an inch or two of snow on the tracks, and they grind to a halt.
And if the snow gets real bad, they can just put the old style electrics or diesels on the tracks to keep things going. That is because they use traditional rail specs for the acela system. Something that is impossible on the euro system.
Well, the Pennsylvania Railroad ran electrics at around 100 mph since the 1930s; they were the fastest railroad between New York and Washington even back then, faster than the competing Baltimore and Ohio, which went to Jersey City instead of Manhattan. They did accelerate a bit slower than the modern trains, mostly due to having twenty cars behind a 4400-horsepower electric engine, and the fastest time was about 3½ hours one-way between the two cities. And of course, the rails back then were all jointed, versus today’s continuous welded rails.
The Acela Express is a tilting train, which means that it is supposed to be able to go through curves faster than a non-tilting train; that is to say, non-tilt trains can go around curves faster than they are rated to but they are held to a certain speed so that passengers will stay in their seats and not get nauseous, which is something that tilting suspensions are supposed to help overcome. Thanks to the Federal Railroad Administration stipulating added weight to improve frontal (primarily) crashworthiness (1.8-million pound frontal impact), the tilt angle had to be cut back from 9° cant deficiency to somewhere between 4° and 5°, which eliminates the advantage of a tilt train. Furthermore, Metro-North Railroad and Connecticut DOT has prohibited Amtrak from using the Acela’s active-tilt system, citing track centers that are too close together for the width of trains for fear of trains sideswiping each other (Acela is 10’ 4” wide and the non-tilting commuter cars of Metro-North are 10’ 6” wide).
The main excuse for not running faster than 125 mph on the former Pennsylvania Railroad even to this date was and is the legacy overhead wires, which are variable-tension (they change tension with changes in atmospheric pressure, which means they sag in hot weather). The federal government has been promising funding to convert the wires to constant tension (a weight and pulley system that keeps the wires at a certain tension no matter the ambient temperature), but of course they have been promising this for decades now, and when the Budd Metroliner first came out, this was not even an issue cited that I can recall (or see in documentation) preventing operation at 160 miles per hour.
How about something made in China? Yup, that's it. Chicom super trains for the BosWash corridor! Bamster is proud of Amtrak.
Meanwhile, they are looking to buy new trains even though these ones aren’t even 14 years old.
We do have rail snow plows; have had them for ages, and generally two types, wedge plows and rotary plows.
Historically, the trend in the USA was to make the passenger trains lighter. Passenger cars went from heavyweight (six axles per car needed, and some cars approaching 300,000 lbs empty) to lightweight, and some of the multiple unit self-propelled cars that came out by the late 50s and early 60s weighed less than 80,000 lbs and had no real trouble in snowy weather either.
HA! Funniest thing I've read all day. Airlines get far more taxpayer largesse than little old Amtrak ever did. It's an industry that only exists because of taxpayers subsidies.
One of the biggest union-related scandals after the dieselization of railroads (which started in the 1930s, paused during WWII and resumed with a vengeance in the 50s) was how the unions strong-armed the railroads into keeping the firemen employed, even though it was a defunct position and the firemen basically had very little to do except keep the steam heat boiler fired in the winter (trains back then used to take heat directly from a steam locomotive’s boiler, and when railroads retired steam, they installed small oil-fired boilers on passenger diesels to keep the passengers warm in the winterthis has been replaced with head-end power, where an electric generator run from the diesel’s crankshaft supplies HVAC to passenger cars).
You ever hear a steam locomotive’s exhaust? Ear-splitting. Never mind the whistle. They are nice in small doses, but for them to be all over the place would be worse on the nerves than living near an international airport. They’re quite a bit more labor-intensive than diesels, and of course a great deal less heat-efficient (best ones were about 6 percent efficient; compare that to diesels at 35-40 percent efficient, and electrics yet higher than that). With coal burners, the railroads now worry about “track fires” all the time; that’s why Union Pacific converted all the locos from their steam program to oil burning.
Most Chicom high-speed trains are unoriginal designs, either licensed or stolen from other countries. After some of those high-profile accidents on those trains, I sure wouldn’t want them running in the USA any time soon.
I saw those running for New Jersey Transit (who kept them in their Penn Central-era black paint); they retired them in 1984. The last route they served was New York to Bay Head; they ran as far as South Amboy, where they were exchanged for diesels.
No, not Soul Train. That was the only "successful" train made in decades.
I agree. Also a successful locomotive, not designed by some government idjets...
Unfortunately, most of the ones left don't look anywhere as good now...
I remember the big fight over firemen on the diesels — this as typical union make-work feather bedding at the expense of the rail roads.
I don't know whether Amtrak will go back to the OEM to replace the Acels, but don't rule out the Chicoms. Yes, I know theirs are pretty much substandard copies of other people's products, but never underestimate the stupidity of the federal bureaucrat. These cretins could opt for Chinese given the morons we have making policy decisions.
Why would they need to take the present trains out of service? Seems like they could continue the Acela and add a super-Acela, faster service as well.