Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:39 pm

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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby Matt Johnson » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:00 pm

Hmm, I liked the initial Alstom CGI version better. I think they could have done better on that paint scheme, but as long as it delivers where it matters...

I wonder if the locomotives will have active tilt. The sides are vertical apparently, and different from the profile of the tilt coaches.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:11 am

The gray paint makes it look like a snail with a really long shell. Better than looking like a duck though, I suppose.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:59 am

Railway Age's content management system which loads all of their articles appears to have crashed ... seems in line with the usual observation that among the enthusiast community there's nothing that generates more interest than livery selection.

Also worth noting ... this article is the first confirmation yet that Amtrak will continue to brand the new trainsets with "Acela". A very good choice on their part. They have generated excellent brand equity.

On a different and more techinical note can anyone describe the difference between the regenerative braking capacity of the current Acela trainsets and the new Avelia Liberty systems? Alstom seems to be implying that there's a change or improvement of some kind but it isn't clear to me at all what that is.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:40 pm

gokeefe wrote:Railway Age's content management system which loads all of their articles appears to have crashed ... seems in line with the usual observation that among the enthusiast community there's nothing that generates more interest than livery selection.

Also worth noting ... this article is the first confirmation yet that Amtrak will continue to brand the new trainsets with "Acela". A very good choice on their part. They have generated excellent brand equity.

On a different and more techinical note can anyone describe the difference between the regenerative braking capacity of the current Acela trainsets and the new Avelia Liberty systems? Alstom seems to be implying that there's a change or improvement of some kind but it isn't clear to me at all what that is.


Yes, "Acela" is here to stay.

But I do prefer "Metroliner" over "Northeast Regional" or "Northeast Direct"!
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:02 pm

A VERY WISE choice to retain the name Acela.

As stupid as it sounds, it has become a brand name for premium Corridor passengers.

Likely, a "less wise" decision by Mr. Gunn was to mock the name with "Acela O'Cello, what's that; a household cleaning product?"
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby ExCon90 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:27 pm

"Kodak" was meaningless at first, but if the public gets used to a name, stick with it.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:39 pm

Pretty interesting interview with Mark Yachmetz, Senior Vice President for Strategic Rail Initiatives at Amtrak, released on YouTube by Alstom.

First confirmation that manufacturing parts for the new trainsets has begun.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:46 pm

Video from Alstom explaining the basics of their Tiltronix technology. Indicates allowable 25-30% increase in speeds through curves. I'm guessing that may assume using full tilt capacity (8%) which probably is not possible in the Northeast but interesting to consider nonetheless.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:49 pm

Philadelphia Magazine has published some additional photos of the livery.

The 28 new trainsets are set to replace current Acela Express equipment in 2021. They’ll feature about one-third more passenger seating, enhanced food service, and improved Wi-Fi access, as well as personal outlets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights at every seat.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:52 pm

Here's the tweet for the Avelia Liberty livery unveiling from the official Amtrak Twitter account.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:04 pm

Digging a little further this newsletter from APTA reveals for the first time I have seen that Amtrak's contract with Alstom includes options for additional trainsets in the future and/or additional cars to lengthen trainsets. The discussion of gap fillers and train leveling technology to adjust the height of the train to the exact level of the platform is pretty interesting as well.

Part of the contract with Alstom is for future options. There exists a firm fixed price for both more trainsets, and the ability to lengthen these trainsets if demand warrants it.


Also confirms no requirement to lengthen high speed servicing facilities.

The new trainsets, consisting of a power car at each end and nine passenger vehicles, will be slightly longer than the existing Acela but still fit inside the Amtrak maintenance facilities in Washington, New York and Boston.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:08 pm

And here is the official spec sheet for Avelia Liberty.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby Matt Johnson » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:02 pm

gokeefe wrote:Here's the tweet for the Avelia Liberty livery unveiling from the official Amtrak Twitter account.


They put the locomotive on the wrong end of that model! :) Not really a fan of that schnoz, which the grey tends to exaggerate. I would've done the paint scheme differently, but as long as it works I guess the color scheme ain't so important.

Actually, the nose is very sleek as I look at it. The grey blob just makes it look less so.
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Re: Acela Replacement and Disposition Discussion

Postby AC4619 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:51 pm

gokeefe wrote:Video from Alstom explaining the basics of their Tiltronix technology. Indicates allowable 25-30% increase in speeds through curves. I'm guessing that may assume using full tilt capacity (8%) which probably is not possible in the Northeast but interesting to consider nonetheless.


I don't see, barring a specific FRA reg, why we wouldn't be able to expect 8%. Acela cars were built a bit too wide to fully tilt on certain parts of the RR, and even then, wouldn't tilt that much. I sincerely hope (and expect) that is not a repeated mistake. If Alstom claims 30% faster speeds, they're the ones designing the train, and presumably have studied the NEC quite extensively, so they probably know what they're talking about. Now, in marketing, you can manipulate numbers all sorts of ways to make your product sound good: "The Acela travels at up to 150 mph!" [fine print: for 20 miles after going amazingly slow for a couple hours]. In this case Alstom didn't provide context: what curves, can handle 30% more speed? I'm sure some curves will be able to, but, it depends on curve radius & superelevation amongst other things, as I'm sure you know better than me. Point is...no reason to believe either 8% or 30% are false numbers, just, as is typical in marketing, lacking the scenarios used to come up with them. Not to say you were implying you didn't believe the numbers either, by the way.


Gilbert B Norman wrote:A VERY WISE choice to retain the name Acela.

As stupid as it sounds, it has become a brand name for premium Corridor passengers.

Likely, a "less wise" decision by Mr. Gunn was to mock the name with "Acela O'Cello, what's that; a household cleaning product?"


I couldn't agree more with this statement. I've been worried for months that Amtrak was planning to change the name of Acela with the new trainsets, and I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking that. Acela is a very well known brand in the NE. It means quality, comfort, timeliness, hourly service (NYC-WAS), productivity, and quiet. Changing it with the new trains would be like changing an airline name after they got a new flagship airplane. Acela is a known brand, with a good rep, keep it. The new trainsets will only ADD to the existing brand loyalty with increased amenities, maybe a tad bit faster (or just, more reliably on-time), and comfortable. What a relief.

bostontrainguy wrote:But I do prefer "Metroliner" over "Northeast Regional" or "Northeast Direct"!


Well, "Metroliner" was considered a brand of higher-speed rail operating in a similar product category to the contemporary Acela service, and it would not be correct to label NE Regional Service as Metroliner (that said, one could argue that Amtrak can call whatever it wants, whatever it wants...their product, their rights). Regardless...Metroliner does sound "cool"--- agreed, but the contemporary Northeast Regional is NOT the Metroliner. There is no first class, there are more stops, and it takes longer. The metroliner of which you are referring to, is now the Acela. The Northeast Direct, of that era, is NOW the NE Regional.


Matt Johnson wrote:Hmm, I liked the initial Alstom CGI version better. I think they could have done better on that paint scheme, but as long as it delivers where it matters...

I wonder if the locomotives will have active tilt. The sides are vertical apparently, and different from the profile of the tilt coaches.


One would think, yes, based on the CGI renderings provided by Alstom & the promotional videos posted by Amtrak, which show the locos tilting with the rest of the train on curves, and even show an overhead view with the pant tilting on a hinge as the loco tilts. It could be passive tilt, it could be marketing, but, it'd be weird to make simulation videos that don't depict what you actually expect your product to do. Granted, I too have yet to see an official report stating unequivocally, that the locos have active tilt.

I agree on the paint scheme. That deep blue seemed very 2017, and made the train look sleek and modern. The official livery is missing an element of elegance and class. The current acela's have a good stainless steel exterior with the deep colorful door accents...that seems fitting for a premier product. I think if they blended that grey on the nose more into the blue on coach 1, or shortened the grey and increased the white space, and darkened the tint of the blue they chose all around, it'd look better. One can see what they were trying for, but the livery would've been better on a shorter loco. When you have a big nose, you don't highlight it by painting it unless you're a clown.
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