New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by supermop » 27 Oct 2016 14:29

Baldy's Boss wrote:Baldy's Boss wrote:
And of course it is the specific journey from NY Penn Station and 30th Street,Philadelphia that I was referring to as insane to take by car...there are mass transit connections at both ends.

However, who is going to just take that journey alone? And whilst there are mass transit links at both ends, these can still add 30 minutes-1 hour to the journey time. And at what extra cost is such a journey too?
That journey is already well served by Acela and Amtrak regional service, and many people do make that journey regularly. It is precisely journeys like this that have made Amtrak a notable success in the US. Many companies have offices in either city but will serve customers in the other, generally in consulting or corporate legal fields. It is somewhat common for employees some companies to work Monday through Thursday at an office in a different city on occasion when projects require it. Get on a morning Acela in either direction at NY Penn and it will be packed with senior lawyers, consultants, engineers, etc making their way to clients or satellite offices in other North East cities. This is Acela's raison d'etre as it were.
Baldy's Boss wrote:If the tracks down the Hudson were upgraded to take the Acela/Avelia trains,though,the reduced trip time between NYC and Albany would change the equations.
I am not sure, this is getting pretty hypothetical. Of course some additional number of people would commute from Albany to the City if it were faster to do so, but it isn't clear who exactly they would be, how many they would number, and if they would be the type of people who would want to commute by high speed train. Conceivably the very wealthy would either have already located to more prime areas in or near the city, or would even fly if they absolutely had to live in Albany. If we are talking about opening up New York job opportunities to people in Albany, I don't believe that providing them with a high speed rail link help or is economical, nor is it part of Amtrak's mandate. The Billions of dollars required to upgrade the line could build or improve existing subway or commuter rail service in the New York area, under the aegis of state government through the MTA, or provide more accessible housing development in areas already served by transit for people upstate to relocate to.

The New York Metro area contains some 20 Million people, who all benefit from from improved regional mass transit. Albany has about 100,000 people, and still only just over 1 million if you include the metro area. Each billion dollars of rail investment in New York goes much farther, both in network effects and sheer numbers served, than a billion spent on premium services to cities upstate.

Personally I'd love to see a more extensive high speed network here, but I don't think this particular case is where to start. As previously mentioned, the Acela sets are nearly at end of life. It could conceivable take 10 years to bring track up to high speed standard between here and Albany, by which time the Acela sets will be significantly older and worse for wear. If the federal government did decide to build that line for some reason, the cost of new up to date trains would be a drop in the bucket compared to the infrastructure.

If the Acelas really do have life left in them in 2021, it makes much more sense to run them on the 'local' NEC tracks to displace or supplement some of the current locomotive hauled stock on regional trains. That stock can then be scrapped or diesel hauled anywhere else in the country.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Baldy's Boss » 27 Oct 2016 18:53

If high speed service on Amtrak is ever to be expanded beyond the bare Boston-to-Washington lines,the Hudson River is the most logical first step in that process.If those lines are accelerated it improves Amtrak service not only from NY to Boston,but NY to Chicago (via Buffalo),NY to Toronto(likewise),and NY to Montreal.

Where would you start expanding HSR outward from the NEC instead?...Keystone?
Virginia?

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Pilot » 27 Oct 2016 19:36

Baldy's Boss wrote:If high speed service on Amtrak is ever to be expanded beyond the bare Boston-to-Washington lines,the Hudson River is the most logical first step in that process.If those lines are accelerated it improves Amtrak service not only from NY to Boston,but NY to Chicago (via Buffalo),NY to Toronto(likewise),and NY to Montreal.

Where would you start expanding HSR outward from the NEC instead?...Keystone?
Virginia?
Chicago to NY via Buffalo? Why run it a longer way, taking it 150 miles out of it's way, and adding an extra hour or so onto the journey? High Speed rail isn't about linking everywhere to everywhere, it's about providing the quickest connections between your main cities. You start to run it meandering to other Cities and towns out of the way, and adding stops, then you're defeating the point straight away. A journey from NY to Chicago via Buffalo would be around 5 and a half hours long (running at 160mph), your airlines do it in half that time, and such a high speed line wouldn't be competitive. You remove going up to Buffalo, and you have something more competitive.

If you look at an High Speed network, they don't weave in and out between towns, they take the fastest route available, just take a look of this map of the French High Speed Network, for example. It passes several major towns without stopping. The UKs planned HS2 is planned to run non-stop between London and Birmingham, running through miles of country-side instead of meandering it's way between Milton Keynes, Northampton and Coventry on the way.

Let the commuter trains (there is nothing to say these commuter trains can't run at 100mph, which is a common sight here in the UK) serve the less important places (like Buffalo, with it's population of 250,000, and reserve High Speed travel to being between your main cities (NY - Chicago, Boston - NY - Washington (I'm aware this already exists), LA - San Francisco).

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by JamieLei » 27 Oct 2016 21:28

General rule of thumb is that if your train can do the journey in 4 hours, then the rail:air shares of the market will be 50:50.
Any opinions expressed are purely mine and not that of any employer, past or present.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Baldy's Boss » 27 Oct 2016 22:36

Pilot wrote:
Baldy's Boss wrote:If high speed service on Amtrak is ever to be expanded beyond the bare Boston-to-Washington lines,the Hudson River is the most logical first step in that process.If those lines are accelerated it improves Amtrak service not only from NY to Boston,but NY to Chicago (via Buffalo),NY to Toronto(likewise),and NY to Montreal.

Where would you start expanding HSR outward from the NEC instead?...Keystone?
Virginia?
Chicago to NY via Buffalo? Why run it a longer way, taking it 150 miles out of it's way, and adding an extra hour or so onto the journey? High Speed rail isn't about linking everywhere to everywhere, it's about providing the quickest connections between your main cities. You start to run it meandering to other Cities and towns out of the way, and adding stops, then you're defeating the point straight away. A journey from NY to Chicago via Buffalo would be around 5 and a half hours long (running at 160mph), your airlines do it in half that time, and such a high speed line wouldn't be competitive. You remove going up to Buffalo, and you have something more competitive.

If you look at an High Speed network, they don't weave in and out between towns, they take the fastest route available, just take a look of this map of the French High Speed Network, for example. It passes several major towns without stopping. The UKs planned HS2 is planned to run non-stop between London and Birmingham, running through miles of country-side instead of meandering it's way between Milton Keynes, Northampton and Coventry on the way.

Let the commuter trains (there is nothing to say these commuter trains can't run at 100mph, which is a common sight here in the UK) serve the less important places (like Buffalo, with it's population of 250,000, and reserve High Speed travel to being between your main cities (NY - Chicago, Boston - NY - Washington (I'm aware this already exists), LA - San Francisco).
So you are looking at a map rather than working from existing service?
The daily Amtrak train from NY to Chicago,the Lake Shore Limited,goes via Buffalo...a legacy of the New York Central's "Water Level Route".Speeding up sections of that route is less of a logistical nightmare than trying to create new rights-of-way through several states.You may not want to stop as many places as existing service but you can still use existing trackbeds.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by supermop » 27 Oct 2016 22:56

Pilot wrote:Let the commuter trains (there is nothing to say these commuter trains can't run at 100mph, which is a common sight here in the UK) serve the less important places (like Buffalo, with it's population of 250,000, and reserve High Speed travel to being between your main cities (NY - Chicago, Boston - NY - Washington (I'm aware this already exists), LA - San Francisco).
If commuting from Albany is unlikely, commuting from Buffalo is absurd. Most of Amtrak's stock can already make 100mph in the places where track allows it, but outside of the NEC almost all of the traffic is business or leisure travel, not commuters. (in fact, Amtrak owns no 'commuter' stock).
Pilot wrote:Baldy's Boss wrote:
If high speed service on Amtrak is ever to be expanded beyond the bare Boston-to-Washington lines,the Hudson River is the most logical first step in that process.If those lines are accelerated it improves Amtrak service not only from NY to Boston,but NY to Chicago (via Buffalo),NY to Toronto(likewise),and NY to Montreal.

Where would you start expanding HSR outward from the NEC instead?...Keystone?
Virginia?

Chicago to NY via Buffalo? Why run it a longer way, taking it 150 miles out of it's way, and adding an extra hour or so onto the journey? High Speed rail isn't about linking everywhere to everywhere, it's about providing the quickest connections between your main cities. You start to run it meandering to other Cities and towns out of the way, and adding stops, then you're defeating the point straight away. A journey from NY to Chicago via Buffalo would be around 5 and a half hours long (running at 160mph), your airlines do it in half that time, and such a high speed line wouldn't be competitive. You remove going up to Buffalo, and you have something more competitive.
If you branch out from New York, you really only have 3 options to get to Chicago: Up along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie via northern New York; Via Pittsburgh; or via DC, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. None of them are ideal, but the inland areas of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are mountainous and sparsely inhabited. The existing rail lines run along the best available passes, and I doubt the Federal government has the stomach to start a national network with 400-600 miles of deep Shinkansen style tunnels just to get to the symbolic destination of Chicago.

Personally I don't think we need to grow a contiguous HSR network from New York. The next step should be, as the government has previously studied, to build a regional high speed service around Chicago, and subsequently other separate regional hubs. There is no need (yet) for a completely connected system that allows someone to travel from Miami to Juneau solely on high speed trains. Chicago is about the absolute farthest city from New York that could conceivably make sense to get to by HSR instead of flying, and even that is a stretch. However, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville, St. Louis, Des Moines, Cleveland, Columbus, Toronto, and Detroit, would all be ideal connections from Chicago. It might never make sense to take a train from LA to Vancouver or Houston for anything other than scenic reasons, but SF, Fresno,and Las Vegas have the right combination of distance and economic connection. The current approach of separate independent HSR lines by states or private groups in California, Texas and Florida probably make the most sense in terms of maximum benefit to residents per dollar spent. When these networks eventually do meet, there will be emergent network effects for those living in small cities at the boundary between two regions, but those people are a minority compared to those who live closer to a region's center.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by kamnet » 28 Oct 2016 03:03

Pilot wrote:
Baldy's Boss wrote:I've only travelled Acela once,from NYC to Philadelphia (a trip that would be insane to take by car or air)
I wouldn't say that trip is insane to take by car, it's only 100 miles, I've done journey's like that several times in a car. In fact, people in the UK are known to drive that sorta distance rather regularly.

I just drove from Kentucky to Allentown, PA this weekend. About 650 miles. Wasn't bad at all. 100 miles is easy for me. :)

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Baldy's Boss » 28 Oct 2016 03:05

The fact that the local initiatives like the California project and All Aboard Florida are not part of Amtrak means they're not part of what Amtrak needs to plan.
I know that recent proposals in NY state have run into resistance from CSX's belief that boosting speeds further than 90 mph is too much of a disruption.But every link possible on the NY-Albany-Syracuse-Rochester-Buffalo-Erie-Cleveland-Toledo-South Bend-Chicago
chain should be made faster where it can be with rolling stock that can take advantage of it.Plenty of people won't go the whole distance on the train but will go to intermediate cities where it's most efficient (as with my own NY-Philadelphia trip noted before).

Kamnet...if there had been an HSR link it would have saved you time;)

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Pilot » 28 Oct 2016 08:39

Baldy's Boss wrote:
Pilot wrote:
Baldy's Boss wrote:If high speed service on Amtrak is ever to be expanded beyond the bare Boston-to-Washington lines,the Hudson River is the most logical first step in that process.If those lines are accelerated it improves Amtrak service not only from NY to Boston,but NY to Chicago (via Buffalo),NY to Toronto(likewise),and NY to Montreal.

Where would you start expanding HSR outward from the NEC instead?...Keystone?
Virginia?
Chicago to NY via Buffalo? Why run it a longer way, taking it 150 miles out of it's way, and adding an extra hour or so onto the journey? High Speed rail isn't about linking everywhere to everywhere, it's about providing the quickest connections between your main cities. You start to run it meandering to other Cities and towns out of the way, and adding stops, then you're defeating the point straight away. A journey from NY to Chicago via Buffalo would be around 5 and a half hours long (running at 160mph), your airlines do it in half that time, and such a high speed line wouldn't be competitive. You remove going up to Buffalo, and you have something more competitive.

If you look at an High Speed network, they don't weave in and out between towns, they take the fastest route available, just take a look of this map of the French High Speed Network, for example. It passes several major towns without stopping. The UKs planned HS2 is planned to run non-stop between London and Birmingham, running through miles of country-side instead of meandering it's way between Milton Keynes, Northampton and Coventry on the way.

Let the commuter trains (there is nothing to say these commuter trains can't run at 100mph, which is a common sight here in the UK) serve the less important places (like Buffalo, with it's population of 250,000, and reserve High Speed travel to being between your main cities (NY - Chicago, Boston - NY - Washington (I'm aware this already exists), LA - San Francisco).
So you are looking at a map rather than working from existing service?
The daily Amtrak train from NY to Chicago,the Lake Shore Limited,goes via Buffalo...a legacy of the New York Central's "Water Level Route".Speeding up sections of that route is less of a logistical nightmare than trying to create new rights-of-way through several states.You may not want to stop as many places as existing service but you can still use existing trackbeds.
Yes, I am looking at a map instead of existing services, as High Speed Rail isn't built using existing track beds. The Planned High Speed Service from Manchester to London for example (itself replacing a 125mph route) will miss out towns such as Stockport, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Milton Keynes and Watford. If you want a High Speed train from NY to Chicago, you run the direct route, otherwise, it's not high speed. The thing is, you can build a direct high speed line, and run a couple of trains an hour direct, but you can also build a couple of junctions off it, including one which heads up to Buffalo. This would allow one train an hour to run up to Buffalo, and serve there as well.

Upgrading the existing track isn't as simple as it sounds, you need to remove all level crossings, upgrade the track, smooth curves which would reduce speeds. If you look at any country with High Speed Rail; France, Germany, China, the Shinkansen in Japan, it is mostly (if not all) new build track.

You guys happily built new alignments across states for the Interstate's, you could easily do it again if High Speed Rail is wanted.
kamnet wrote:
Pilot wrote:
Baldy's Boss wrote:I've only travelled Acela once,from NYC to Philadelphia (a trip that would be insane to take by car or air)
I wouldn't say that trip is insane to take by car, it's only 100 miles, I've done journey's like that several times in a car. In fact, people in the UK are known to drive that sorta distance rather regularly.
I just drove from Kentucky to Allentown, PA this weekend. About 650 miles. Wasn't bad at all. 100 miles is easy for me. :)
Baldy's Boss wrote:Kamnet...if there had been an HSR link it would have saved you time;)
An Aircraft would have also saved him time, your point? Allentown is a city with a population of 100,000, not exactly suitable to sustain High Speed rail, unless it was near to a route already being built anyway, in which case, a station might be considered.
Baldy's Boss wrote:The fact that the local initiatives like the California project and All Aboard Florida are not part of Amtrak means they're not part of what Amtrak needs to plan.
I know that recent proposals in NY state have run into resistance from CSX's belief that boosting speeds further than 90 mph is too much of a disruption.But every link possible on the NY-Albany-Syracuse-Rochester-Buffalo-Erie-Cleveland-Toledo-South Bend-Chicago
chain should be made faster where it can be with rolling stock that can take advantage of it.Plenty of people won't go the whole distance on the train but will go to intermediate cities where it's most efficient (as with my own NY-Philadelphia trip noted before).
This goes back to what is good for CSX, it's CSXs track, and unless the Government purchase it off CSX, nothing has to be done there, especially if it doesn't work for CSX. And boosting the speed of the track can cause massive disruption, you can't rebuild track on a running railway, so passengers would have to find replacements to their journey's or be diverted, Freight would have to go either much longer ways, or be put onto Trucks. Passenger numbers and Freight on that route could drop significantly as a result.

Also, how cute that American's think 90mph is fast for Railways... I'll sit here with a cup of tea on my nice 110mph Commuter train thanks! :lol:

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by supermop » 28 Oct 2016 14:38

Pilot wrote:You guys happily built new alignments across states for the Interstate's, you could easily do it again if High Speed Rail is wanted.
Cars can go up and down hills and around curves much more happily than a high speed trains. I think you should look at a topographic / map of the area between the New York area and central Ohio. The Interstates in this area are by no means flat or straight, due to the very hilly terrain. Any new alignment worth building would be almost entirely in deep cuttings and tunnels, so the 10 Billion or so that Congress might be willing to spend would barely get you outside of New York's suburbs, let alone the 730 miles to Chicago. Even if Democrats sweep congress and the presidency, and vote en masse for a few tens of trillions of dollars of HSR spending, a few trains per hour service that skips almost all regional cities, and is still 3 times slower than flying is going to be deeply politically unpopular. The same amount of cash could give every American city over 300,000 people a decent mass transit system, or augment the existing systems that need extra capacity. Currently flights between LGA and ORD can be regularly found for less than $200, and take about an hour and a half. The only time I would consider driving that would be if I had a van loaded with stuff I needed to take to Chicago, and a train doesn't let me do that either. I simply do not see HSR to Chicago as a priority right now. New York is already connected by rail to the cities that make most sense, Chicago needs better connections to the smaller cities that are tied to it economically and culturally. The rest of the US is not as tied to New York to the same degree that the UK is to London, so very long distance passenger rail is not a business priority in the same way. It's probably helpful to think of the US (and Canada) as 5-7 or so smaller nations rather than two monolithic states. Type of economy, daily routines, travel patterns etc are all fairly unique and encapsulated between regions, and most people will not have a need to travel more than 500 miles away other than for vacations or major relocation.

If the goal is to improve mobility for people and make travel more efficient environmentally and in terms of infrastructure spending, the money still has a much bigger impact if focused on local commuter transit. The most bloated and congested parts of the Interstate system are those used by commuters within metro areas, not the long intercity stretches, and the most miles driven yearly are daily trips in and around cities. Providing people with better metropolitan transit will have an order of magnitude greater reduction both in emissions and and negative impacts of car-focused urban planning than getting them out of a car or plane for their once-yearly 500 mile trip to Grandma's house.
Pilot wrote:Also, how cute that American's think 90mph is fast for Railways... I'll sit here with a cup of tea on my nice 110mph Commuter train thanks!
Ok, great... but why does a commuter train need to run at 110 MPH anyway? Amtrak and NJT have locomotives capable of 125mph, and run on track that allows it, but that kind of speed typically isn't necessary with commuter service patterns. The subway generally is limited to 60 MPH, but there are only a few long tunnels under the East River where they ever bump up against that. I'd say if a large volume of people are commuting from so far away and with so few stops, that 110 MPH running is a required improvement over 90 MPH, then that is indicative of an urban planning/sprawl issue. One of the goals of improving rail service in US cities that currently lack it is to encourage densification and growth in more central neighborhoods rather than to continue to enable exurbs in the way that the interstate system did. The majority of passenger rail miles in the US are traveled essentially on the New York Subway, with most of the balance on other heavy or light rail metro and commuter systems. Long distance rail travel, for which speeds over 100MPH would be meaningful is a small part of the total, and of that, service other than existing NEC a tiny sliver.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Pilot » 28 Oct 2016 17:43

supermop wrote:
Pilot wrote:You guys happily built new alignments across states for the Interstate's, you could easily do it again if High Speed Rail is wanted.
Cars can go up and down hills and around curves much more happily than a high speed trains. I think you should look at a topographic / map of the area between the New York area and central Ohio. The Interstates in this area are by no means flat or straight, due to the very hilly terrain. Any new alignment worth building would be almost entirely in deep cuttings and tunnels, so the 10 Billion or so that Congress might be willing to spend would barely get you outside of New York's suburbs, let alone the 730 miles to Chicago
The thing is, High Speed Rail isn't a $10 Billion dollar project, the British HS2 Project was estimated to cost £55 Billion, for 335 Miles of track, and this is to replace trains that already do 125mph, and to save a maximum of an hours worth of travel. Note also that the cost of Upgrading what is already there was also studied, and these are the costs according to Wikipedia
Wikipedia wrote:Upgrade existing lines
A Department for Transport-commissioned study into alternatives identified the following options:
  • lengthen existing trains and platforms, cost £3.5 billion
  • remodel infrastructure to increase service frequency, cost £13 billion
  • increase capacity and reduce journey times by bypassing slow track sections, cost £24 billion
So, you want to upgrade your existing track, it's still going to cost more than $10 Billion to do that!

And the thing with High Speed Rail is, it's supposed to take the most direct route, whether it's running in tunnels or on bridges or whatever. Just look at China, they've built a 102 Mile long bridge for Crying out loud! There is no point in building a high speed line that goes the long way round that is going to be obsolete before it is even built!
supermop wrote:
Pilot wrote:Also, how cute that American's think 90mph is fast for Railways... I'll sit here with a cup of tea on my nice 110mph Commuter train thanks!
Ok, great... but why does a commuter train need to run at 110 MPH anyway?
Well, many cases, those same commuter trains run on lines shared with express trains, so the commuter trains running at higher speeds allows them to run perfectly well in conjunction with the Express Trains. For example, London Midland had their Class 350 trains uprated from 100mph to 110mph to allow them to run on the Fast Lines into and out of London in conjunction with the Virgin Express services. I believe the slowest (passenger) trains (excluding 139s, they're basically trams!) in this country have a top speed of 75mph, which seems to be the top speed of the majority of American trains (except Acela and the NEC).
supermop wrote:The subway generally is limited to 60 MPH, but there are only a few long tunnels under the East River where they ever bump up against that.
Well you're exceeding our Metro/Underground speeds at least, though unless you live out on the far extremities of some of the lines, you've normally got the option of a faster train to get you to City.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by supermop » 28 Oct 2016 20:23

I think there is a bit of a disconnect in communication here - I am certainly not saying that 10B will build a Chicago to NYC HSR line, just that the last big federal grant of HSR money was of that magnitude, and to be split amongst several states for different projects. Amtrak itself received very little of it. Nor am I saying that it is impossible to build new ROW to Chicago. What I am saying is that such a project would cost at a minimum tens of Trillions (with a T) of dollars, face massive hurdles, and still have to contend with difficult terrain and lack of apparent need. It would need vociferous support from every stake holder along the way, seeing as you'd be blasting through mountain wilderness, buying up tens of thousands of acres of private property through eminent domain, and spending more than on any other single infrastructure project in history ( the Federal Highway Act that created the Interstate system would be just $220 Billion today adjusted for inflation). All this for a train service that even if it were arrow straight and level superconducting maglev would still be at least twice as slow as flying, and would not serve the tens of millions of voters and their elected representatives along the route.

Unlike in the UK, this isn't a proposal to alleviate congestion on an existing rail network that is over capacity - The NYC to Chicago journey is fairly adequately served by air travel already. The only people driving the 11-12 hour drive between the two are people who must drive, and the only people who are taking the 18+ hour train journey are people who want to be on a train (and generally are fine taking a leisurely time). The train does eventually end up in Chicago, but almost no passengers take it the whole way - just like I rarely take the subway more that a handful of stops.

I also do not think the existing ROW needs to be brought up to 150 or even 125mph standards either - although a faster train to Montreal would be nice (that's the thing; if you live in or around NYC, a fast train to Montreal is probably more useful than to Chicago). Obviously regional service would benefit from improving existing tracks, quadrupling lines and doubling branches, extending catenary, but there is not a compelling case for Federal or State money to go towards a High Speed overland route to the Midwest instead of augmenting commuter and regional service. New York State and its neighbors should focus on building out better regional rail, perhaps even regional high speed routes. Illinois and other Midwestern states should build out their own High speed network centered on Chicago. The Federal government can then support these projects with specific grants, and by having Amtrak operate the resulting service where necessary.

Americans have been shooting ourselves in the foot with HSR since the 60s by failing to focus on attainable, incremental goals and instead pushing for grand re imaginings of the transcontinental network. It seems natural to try to push for connecting our largest cities, but these proposals will always be an uphill battle as opponents can easily point to long travel times and high cost. Much easier to push for a highspeed link from Columbus to Chicago and from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Once those are built and wildly popular, its not so hard to convince voters to go for a train per hour between Columbus and Pittsburgh.
Pilot wrote:Well, many cases, those same commuter trains run on lines shared with express trains, so the commuter trains running at higher speeds allows them to run perfectly well in conjunction with the Express Trains. For example, London Midland had their Class 350 trains uprated from 100mph to 110mph to allow them to run on the Fast Lines into and out of London in conjunction with the Virgin Express services. I believe the slowest (passenger) trains (excluding 139s, they're basically trams!) in this country have a top speed of 75mph, which seems to be the top speed of the majority of American trains (except Acela and the NEC).
The way trains work in the US, its rare to find that type of mixed traffic in time and space. Commuter trains like Metra, NJT, etc generally run only with other trains of the same service during rush hours. The North East Corridor is 4-6 tracks throughout New Jersey, so it is not a problem for Amtrak trains to pass stopping commuter trains. In other parts of the country, Amtrak services are more similar to long distance sleeper services, so they neither need to be particularly fast, nor do they need to arrive or depart cities at the same time commuter trains would be doing peak service. As a result, those commuter trains also don't need to be particularly fast to keep up with intercity expresses either.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Baldy's Boss » 28 Oct 2016 20:29

Allentown is about 50 miles from Philadelphia.Taking the Keystone Corridor across Pennsylvania rather than the Empire Corridor across New York is the main alternative existing-rail route for getting service from NY to Chicago accelerated.No Kentucky links are contemplated at present,I suppose Kamnet could change trains in Columbus if they had a station there.
79 mph to 90 mph to 110 mph to 125 mph to 150 mph to 160 mph...I'll take what increments I can get.
Hudson Line to Albany seems the most logical extension outward from the NEC to me,though I live near it and admit self-interest.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Pilot » 28 Oct 2016 21:18

supermop wrote:I think there is a bit of a disconnect in communication here
Aye, I believe so, we have both basically been saying the same thing in different ways I think :lol:
supermop wrote:
Pilot wrote:Well, many cases, those same commuter trains run on lines shared with express trains, so the commuter trains running at higher speeds allows them to run perfectly well in conjunction with the Express Trains. For example, London Midland had their Class 350 trains uprated from 100mph to 110mph to allow them to run on the Fast Lines into and out of London in conjunction with the Virgin Express services. I believe the slowest (passenger) trains (excluding 139s, they're basically trams!) in this country have a top speed of 75mph, which seems to be the top speed of the majority of American trains (except Acela and the NEC).
The way trains work in the US, its rare to find that type of mixed traffic in time and space. Commuter trains like Metra, NJT, etc generally run only with other trains of the same service during rush hours. The North East Corridor is 4-6 tracks throughout New Jersey, so it is not a problem for Amtrak trains to pass stopping commuter trains. In other parts of the country, Amtrak services are more similar to long distance sleeper services, so they neither need to be particularly fast, nor do they need to arrive or depart cities at the same time commuter trains would be doing peak service. As a result, those commuter trains also don't need to be particularly fast to keep up with intercity expresses either.
Okay, so the West Coast Mainline (the main route between London and Glasgow) is 6 tracks to Watford, and 4 tracks to Weaver Jn (up in Cheshire, and 175 miles away from London). However, due to the frequency of our services (13 expresses, 11 regional commuters and 3 local commuters (which share tracks with Tube Trains just outside Euston) in 1 hour at Euston) these tracks are very highly utilised. The ability for Commuter trains to be able to run near to the speeds of the Expresses allows the regional commuters to overtake some of the other one's which are stopping at other stations that they aren't.

Also, I'd be interested in seeing what the average speed an Amtrak Service is timed at. Our Sleepers timed to run at 'Slow' 80 mph, but are allowed to run up to 100mph if they are more than 20(?) minutes late.
Baldy's Boss wrote:Hudson Line to Albany seems the most logical extension outward from the NEC to me,though I live near it and admit self-interest.
I would say Charlotte, NC if you are extending the NEC. It's a city with a population of 800,000 and could serve either Durham and Richmond or Greensboro and Richmond on the way. Also, this would be an extension, and not a branch, which I imagine could be more favourable. Also, such a route could be competitive with Airlines, Washington to Charlotte is 330 miles and the flight takes 90 minutes. A train could maybe do it in 2 hours - 2 hours 30 (running at 160mph, the new trainsets speed) and you avoid the check-in time also (I'm not sure what that likes on domestic flights in the states, I imagine 45 minutes?).

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by supermop » 28 Oct 2016 22:22

Pilot wrote:I would say Charlotte, NC if you are extending the NEC. It's a city with a population of 800,000 and could serve either Durham and Richmond or Greensboro and Richmond on the way. Also, this would be an extension, and not a branch, which I imagine could be more favourable. Also, such a route could be competitive with Airlines, Washington to Charlotte is 330 miles and the flight takes 90 minutes. A train could maybe do it in 2 hours - 2 hours 30 (running at 160mph, the new trainsets speed) and you avoid the check-in time also (I'm not sure what that likes on domestic flights in the states, I imagine 45 minutes?).
Currently it would need to be a branch though - Union Station in DC is a terminus facing north. Otherwise it is a great candidate, many young people from NC relocate to DC after graduation, and many businesses serve both markets. It is probably for the best to break service in DC, South Street in Boston to Union Station in DC is a very long trip already, and breaking the line would help prevent a delay in New England cascading all the way down to the South. We don't need every HSR service to provide a single seat ride the entire length of the network.

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Baldy's Boss » 28 Oct 2016 23:24

I have taken the Amtrak Silver Meteor (which terminates in Miami,though I made a connection to a local train for a convention I attended in Boca Raton)...it goes through Richmond,but not Charlotte (NC stops include Rocky Mount,Raleigh,and Fayetteville).This also goes over CSX track.So a southward HSR service could branch from wherever the Silver Meteor leaves the NEC,though Union Station IS served.

(Another Amtrak train,the Carolinian,runs between Charlotte and New York daily and I believe branches from the Silver Meteor route at Rocky Mount).

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Dave » 29 Oct 2016 09:19

Pilot wrote:
supermop wrote:The subway generally is limited to 60 MPH, but there are only a few long tunnels under the East River where they ever bump up against that.
Well you're exceeding our Metro/Underground speeds at least, though unless you live out on the far extremities of some of the lines, you've normally got the option of a faster train to get you to City.
That's not entirely true - the Met has sections where trains can knock on the door of 60-70mph too, although in practice I believe trains generally hold at 55-60.
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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Chris » 29 Oct 2016 11:10

The old A-stock used to be capable of 70mph but were later limited to 50 to improve reliability. Iirc the S-stock has a top speed of 100kph
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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by Pilot » 30 Oct 2016 17:02

supermop wrote:
Pilot wrote:I would say Charlotte, NC if you are extending the NEC. It's a city with a population of 800,000 and could serve either Durham and Richmond or Greensboro and Richmond on the way. Also, this would be an extension, and not a branch, which I imagine could be more favourable. Also, such a route could be competitive with Airlines, Washington to Charlotte is 330 miles and the flight takes 90 minutes. A train could maybe do it in 2 hours - 2 hours 30 (running at 160mph, the new trainsets speed) and you avoid the check-in time also (I'm not sure what that likes on domestic flights in the states, I imagine 45 minutes?).
Currently it would need to be a branch though - Union Station in DC is a terminus facing north. Otherwise it is a great candidate, many young people from NC relocate to DC after graduation, and many businesses serve both markets. It is probably for the best to break service in DC, South Street in Boston to Union Station in DC is a very long trip already, and breaking the line would help prevent a delay in New England cascading all the way down to the South. We don't need every HSR service to provide a single seat ride the entire length of the network.
The thing with breaking the journey you do lose a certain amount of connectivity (for example, someone wanting to go from Balitmore to Richmond), and could also require more trains to do the same journey that could be done by one. For example, in the UK, there is an Aberdeen to Penzance train that takes 13 hours 23 minutes. No one is going to do that the whole way though (indeed, it's quicker to get off at Edinburgh, get a different train to Birmingham, and then go the Penzance from there), however, this service is 4/5 trains in one. If you broke it up into different sections, you'd probably require an extra 3/4 trains to provide the same service. Of course, not every train would have to go all the way from Boston to Charlotte (if that link were built), however, to have some that do that journey would be a good thing IMO.

A simple way to help with delays is to give the train longer to stop at some of the major stations. These stops can then be compressed to allow the delays to be made up. I'm not sure how long trains in the US remain stopped at intermediate stations (in the UK, it is normally between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, a train like this may be allocated 10 minutes at some stations though), however, if they already have long stops planned into the schedules, there is your make-up time straight away.

I don't know how feasible it would be to make an Underground Station at Union Station, to allow a through service to be operated also, so in this case, it would probably make complete sense to run it either from another station in the south of DC or to run it around the city itself.
Dave wrote:
Pilot wrote:
supermop wrote:The subway generally is limited to 60 MPH, but there are only a few long tunnels under the East River where they ever bump up against that.
Well you're exceeding our Metro/Underground speeds at least, though unless you live out on the far extremities of some of the lines, you've normally got the option of a faster train to get you to City.
That's not entirely true - the Met has sections where trains can knock on the door of 60-70mph too, although in practice I believe trains generally hold at 55-60.
Chris wrote:The old A-stock used to be capable of 70mph but were later limited to 50 to improve reliability. Iirc the S-stock has a top speed of 100kph
Thanks for correcting me there Gents. I was aware that a Tube train set the speed record for 4th Rail, however, was unsure as to how high it was, and couldn't find it. However, I simple assumed that they would never reach these speeds in normal service conditions, and that 50mph would be the maximum. My apologies!

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Re: New Amtrak Alstom Purchase

Post by supermop » 31 Oct 2016 14:46

One or two trains a day could probably continue past DC - they just might need to reverse and loop around. I believe that south bound Amtrak trains from Union Station currently do this, but there may be one or two tracks that do lead directly south or west from a tunnel - I am not certain. If crew is going to walk to the other power car, might as well schedule a crew change there. If the goal was to find a use for old sets if they still have life in them though they should restricted from the fastest parts of the service where new trains will run.

At the moment Acela trains stop for about a minute at most cities, with a longer 10-15 minute stop to keep time at New York Penn (few continue a journey from south of Penn to north or vis versa so the wait isn't an inconvenience to most. Presumably DC would get a similar wait. It's rare for an Acela to be significantly late on the NEC, but track south of there is not currently quadrupled that I know of.
Pilot wrote:
Dave wrote:
Pilot wrote:
supermop wrote:
The subway generally is limited to 60 MPH, but there are only a few long tunnels under the East River where they ever bump up against that.

Well you're exceeding our Metro/Underground speeds at least, though unless you live out on the far extremities of some of the lines, you've normally got the option of a faster train to get you to City.


That's not entirely true - the Met has sections where trains can knock on the door of 60-70mph too, although in practice I believe trains generally hold at 55-60.
New York Subway r44s have a record top speed of 141 kmh, which was achieved while testing on LIRR tracks. However, there is nowhere in the actual subway system straight enough, or with enough space between stops to achieve this (nor is subway signalling appropriate for it). While they have a metro configuration of seating and doors, subway vehicles are essentially standard gauge 3rd EMUs, of similar loading gauge to most american commuter EMU stock. They have plenty of power with every axle out of 40 powered, but aren't suited for higher speed operation.

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