Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:19 pm

While of course all through the Bush 43 administration, we heard the "privatize Amtrak" spiel, that was heard no further during the Obama.

Who knows what's ahead on that point with the Trump?

But relevant to this topic is that there are private sector operations paralleling those of the State's passenger operations on the Continent (in the UK, they're all private operating on Her Majesty's rails). Here is a Seat 61 comparo between the private and State systems in the Vienna-Salzburg market:

http://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes ... -train.htm

Additionally, there is a private sector regional rail operator, Meridian, that operates through Bavaria (SW DE) that includes Salzburg on their route map. I have also learned that there are private sector trains in Italy in competition with the State system.

But with the above having been said, I'm skeptical whether any such arrangement would work over here. I can only consider the Hoosier State a fiasco; same with Subway.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:27 pm

Jon: probably. The test would be to compare the NEC with the no-freight branches on LIRR or the like. (Or more realistically, light rail systems, since American rolling stock is so heavy.)
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby bdawe » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:09 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:(in the UK, they're all private operating on Her Majesty's rails).


Though it's worth noting that many, if not most of the UK rail operators aren't so much private as foreign-public entities, as subsidiaries of DB, SNCF, NS, SNCB, CDPQ, MTR

Maybe Amtrak should join the party and take out a concession :wink:
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:56 pm

From these linked photos at St. Anton am Arlberg, it would certainly appear that Amtrak is more concerned with station preservation than is OBB.

Fortunately, the "head house" at Salzburg Hbf, which dates back to Franz Joseph and was a "high value" WWII target, has been preserved, even if the remainder of the station resembles an airport. Vienna Hbf. could just as easily be an airport.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:51 pm

I checked back in the Wiki article on the old and new stations and was a bit disheartened to find that the new station was the winner of a Europe-wide design competition; I hate to think what the losers looked like. It does state, however, that the old station has been preserved (doesn't say by whom or for what purpose), and it looks good in the photos in the link that either you or philipmartin provided. The article also states that the entire relocation and new station cost 145 million Euros. Over here the lawyers and consultants would have gotten that much.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:50 pm

Tad did you say German and Dutch ?? how did [we] end up in Austria ?
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby AgentSkelly » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:36 am

My friends in Europe (Scotland and France in particular) told me the older stations that were "replaced" over the years were because the older station was deemed not able to handle newer rail services. However, one friend notes that a small segment of stations in France were replaced due to negative use of the station thanks to WWII.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Tadman » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:30 am

I'm in Innsbruck for the weekend.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:07 pm

Mr. Dunville, will you have time to go up to St. Anton/Arlberg? The ride up there is testament to the accuracy of the Microsoft Train Simulation.

I don't see much to joyriding through the Arlberg Tunnel - it's just a big Black hole.

If you go, why not check out the former station. The present one has as much archetectual charm as does Stamford CT.

http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/at/sta ... g/pix.html
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Tadman » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:14 pm

Not this time - I went skiing today and realized I could've gone to St. Anton. I'm out of shape so a coffee or two tomorrow and I'm off to Amsterdam on some budget airline, only one offering direct service, for my ride home on the big blue whale (KLM 744 Kombi).
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Matt Johnson » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:24 pm

Tadman wrote:Another update: I'm currently on ICE Pendolino at a speed well in excess of 150mph. The tilting is much more noticeable here than a Talgo train. After traveling on both, I can say with all seriousness - take every one of the Acela, Talgo, etc and burn them to the ground and replace them with ICE Pendolino. This train is just amazing.


I haven't been on the ICT but I've ridden the Virgin Pendolino which I believe uses the same tilt technology, and I found its active tilt system to be very smooth and impressive. Which probably bodes well for the Avelia Liberty, knock on wood.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby gokeefe » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:31 am

Lately the food on the Downeaster has been astounding. The new contractor, NexDine has a breadth of menu options and quality that make the "cafe" closer to a diner.

There are a lot of things about Europe that are very impressive but at the end of the day I think Amtrak is now remarkably close in terms of quality and quantity. They regularly beat European trains across multiple factors with system schedules and reservations being one of the only areas where Europe (Germany especially) wins hands down.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby AgentSkelly » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:21 am

gokeefe wrote:Lately the food on the Downeaster has been astounding. The new contractor, NexDine has a breadth of menu options and quality that make the "cafe" closer to a diner.

There are a lot of things about Europe that are very impressive but at the end of the day I think Amtrak is now remarkably close in terms of quality and quantity. They regularly beat European trains across multiple factors with system schedules and reservations being one of the only areas where Europe (Germany especially) wins hands down.


No doubt..some of friends from Europe previously mentioned have rode Amtrak and have said its not a fair comparison to European services because North America runs a whole different kind of railroad than Europe does; they were very impressed with sleeper service on the Empire Builder and felt it was a way better value for their money than even when European sleeper trains were in style...
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Tadman » Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:01 am

I spent the morning at Innsbruck HbF and had the same thought - this is such a different railroad culture. Two freights came through, both doubleheaded and perhaps 25 cars. One stopped for a signal on platform 2. It was amazing to see (2) Siemens Sprinters (13,000 hp?) start a freight train so quickly. What a jackrabbit!

I finally found a full service diner on OBB between Munich and Innsbruck. Like Amtrak, they're pre-prepared meals. Unlike Amtrak, the diner was basically empty (although it was a 90 minute run). And, horror of all horrors, the chairs were not bolted to the floor, they were free-moving restaurant chairs. Don't tell the FRA or we'll invade Germany again and make them bolt down chairs... Speaking of FRA violations, I saw a crew change wherein one crewman was wearing athletic sneakers (looked like Chucks, some off-brand euro version) and talking on his cell as he walked across 10+ active tracks at the west throat to the station. FRA rules aside, I don't know that I'd be wearing Chucks if I was on the ballast and climbing ladders.

I was also amazed at the lack of security. I went out to a few different platforms and took extensive pictures. Nobody said a word. In Chicago (or any US city) I'd be locked up for life. Then I got really wild - I walked to the far end of the platform to take more pictures. They don't even let ticketed passengers do such in the US. Heck you can be arrested in the US for conspiring to walk to the far end of the platform, let alone actually doing so.

I'll keep promising but I hope to post pics soon.
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Re: Comparing Amtrak to German and Dutch Rail

Postby Nasadowsk » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:16 am

Tadman wrote:It was amazing to see (2) Siemens Sprinters (13,000 hp?) start a freight train so quickly. What a jackrabbit!


6400 kW, 8600 HP continuous. I don't know if there's a de-rating for two units, though on 15kv, I doubt it. They also sound cool accelerating :)

I don't know that I'd be wearing Chucks if I was on the ballast and climbing ladders.


I suspect they feel that if a train runs over your foot, steel toes ain't gonna do much...
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