Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:28 pm

That's a fair assessment, and I think it's safe to say that B&M wasn't overly concerned about aesthetics when they built this line to compete with the Eastern Railroad. :wink: Of course, this is one of the sections where the Western is closer to the water than the Eastern. Interesting how they switched back and forth a few times between Portland and Boston. Fair to say that the Eastern got most of the good water views by virtue of being there first.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:11 pm

Agreed. Even now, the ride to Newburport is scenic beyond Beverly.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:37 pm

The Downeaster cabbages returned this week. 90213, 90214 and 90224 are in service.
90213 is on the east end of the train set ahead of the Dome, with 90213 and 90214 on
the west end of the other two sets. (9/24) is the last day for the dome on the Downeaster.

Thanks to NNEPRA and Amtrak for the six week run of the dome on the Downeaster. During
his commentary on the history of the dome, the conductor noted that the Ocean View had
traveled all over the USA, but had never been to New England until it operated on the
Downeaster in August and September of last year. Hopefully, it will return again next year.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby markhb » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:08 pm

I missed it again, so hopefully indeed!
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby FCM2829 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:57 am

Are powered P42s permitted to lead into the headhouse of North Station now? A recent trip revealed the NPCU on the east bound (north) end. Time was the MBTA always preferred cab cars/NPCU's lead into North Station to lessen fumes, and I can't believe the DE would turn before going in. Ops practice change?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby PT1101 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:57 am

It is customary for cab cars and NPCU's to be in the lead while pulling into North Station for the reason you stated. P42's and other locos may lead while pulling in, provided they stop before going under the "train shed" as required by special instruction. The Downeaster service has been enjoying the use of the dome car 10031, the Ocean View for the past few weeks. The NPCU 406 was brought along as its paint scheme complemented the one on the dome car. As such, they wanted to keep the 406 and dome car next to each other.
The normal "southbound" consist of the train is NPCU, café car, 4 coaches and locomotive. There were two primary reasons for not having the 406 be in its normal position. The first is that everyone who wished to sit in the dome car behind it would have to parade thru "business class", which seemed a bit unfair. The second reason is that the dome car can offer café service as well, staff permitting. The thought was that during days where there were events at the Garden or Fenway, those riders looking for food or beverage would have two options, one at each end of the train. So the decision was made to have the 406 and the dome car leading when departing North Station. Once the dome car departs for points west in a few days, I think you will see the consist return to the typical configuration.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby FCM2829 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:48 am

Is F40 406 a functioning loco or just an NPCU? I thought it actually pulled the exhibit train at some point. Just wondering as it does not have the 90- prefix numbering...
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby electricron » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:57 am

FCM2829 wrote:Is F40 406 a functioning loco or just an NPCU? I thought it actually pulled the exhibit train at some point. Just wondering...

406 is a NPCU with HEP power capabilities.
http://on-track-on-line.com/amtk-roster-cars.shtml#Bags
406 could not pull the exhibit train, but could provide it electricity.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:11 pm

Old Orchard Beach took another hit from NNEPRA. Seasonal service there ended
today, 15 days earlier than last year (Columbus Day). Earlier, when seasonal
service began on May 22, train #680 never stopped there for the whole season.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:24 pm

Based on recent observation I think this was reasonable. I would expect the ridership at the station probably hit an annual record. They had a great year.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:41 am

FCM2829 wrote:Are powered P42s permitted to lead into the headhouse of North Station now? A recent trip revealed the NPCU on the east bound (north) end. Time was the MBTA always preferred cab cars/NPCU's lead into North Station to lessen fumes, and I can't believe the DE would turn before going in. Ops practice change?


That's the T's "preference", but there is no outright ban on diesel locos leading into the headhouse at either North or South Stations as there are some scenarios where that's unavoidable. On the southside it happens every day with the eastbound Lake Shore Limited, which is a pull-only train. It used to happen with pre-2004 Inland NE Regionals, as well as all pre-electrification Shoreline NE Regionals that switched to diesel in NHV (the only time you'd have ever been likely to catch more than one leading diesel at the current incarnation of SS). Amtrak still has carte blanche to do that for any temporary Regionals diesel-stitutions, and for any new services (officially proposed or fantasy) via the Inland Route. As PT1101 describes the DE'-domeset had a special-request scheduled Sox game leading-configuration this weekend.

But the more frequent and mundane reason it happens at either terminal is for mechanical issues when one-off commuter trains have to be lashed-up as double-drafts to bail out an ailing engine or HEP generator, or when a revenue double-draft is fetching/swapping engines with a broken-up consist from one of the outer layovers. Those kinds of moves are fairly common projected across the whole of any given service week...but they are unscheduled one-offs so the overwhelming odds are you'll never ever see multiple diesels facing the trainshed at the same time. And since equipment swaps tend to play keep-away from rush hour when possible to avoid unnecessary FUBAR's they may be a far rarer sight on your particular peak-period commute at the terminal than they are in actual rate of occurrence.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby nomis » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:43 am

However, there is a ban on diesel locos under the overhang at North Station.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Trinnau » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:28 pm

nomis wrote:However, there is a ban on diesel locos under the overhang at North Station.


Spot on, not an issue at South Station because the overhang is the bus garage at the outbound end. Commuter trains actually have to spot accordingly on certain tracks for exhaust issues. Which is why some commuter trains stop so far from the bunter on certain tracks. But pulling loco-in at South Station is a non-issue for diesels - at least until they deck over the whole thing...
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:37 pm

Well ... it doesn't get much better than this:

The Downeaster had its two highest months of ridership in its 15-year history in July and August
of 2017. Ridership in July 2017 of 57,652 was **12%** above July 2016 (51,402) and **15%** above NNEPRA's budget target. Ridership in August 2017 of 57,306 was **7%** above August 2016 (53,627) and **5%** above NNEPRAs budget target.
...
Even more impressive, likely the result of a schedule change allowing for improved fan ridership to the Red Sox on late game nights, the Downeaster cafe car recovered 97%+ of its costs. A phenomenal double-digit improvement over previous performance which had averaged about 80% for many years prior.

The outstanding performance for the first two months of the fiscal year thus far means that the overall cost recovery for the entire Downeaster service year to date is 67%.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:15 pm

That's quite impressive.
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