• Acela Disposition Discussion

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by electricron
 
jonnhrr wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:26 am In talking about using the Acelas elsewhere, one thing people forget is these are high level platform only trains. A lot of the suggested alternate routes have low level platforms so it becomes a non starter. Modifying the Acela sets to have steps would probably be prohibitive.
CHSR will be building high platforms. It would not financially hurt Amtrak or SEPTA to raise the platforms on the Keystone corridor. Likewise for NJT, MARC, MBTA on the NEC, but would these trains be worth more than what CDOT and MTA North already have with max speeds on their part of the NEC limited to 79 mph?
How much does raising an existing platform cost? While not exactly the same kind of construction, it is close enough to get a balkpark figure..
https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/inf ... e-stations
$128 million to extend and raise 28 platforms at 21 stations, or $4.5 million per platform.
DART's light rail stations have various forms of pavers atop the base concrete. Do not think that many paving stones are use on NEC and Keystone platforms.
  by ExCon90
 
Actually, Harrisburg has the original yellow bricks in place on the raised platform normally used for the Keystone trains -- apparently they were preserved and installed on the raised platform. Nice gesture, I thought. Offhand I can't think how many platforms still need to be raised (half a dozen, maybe?) but where that stands on the to-do list I don't know.
  by electricron
 
ExCon90 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:01 am Actually, Harrisburg has the original yellow bricks in place on the raised platform normally used for the Keystone trains -- apparently they were preserved and installed on the raised platform. Nice gesture, I thought. Offhand I can't think how many platforms still need to be raised (half a dozen, maybe?) but where that stands on the to-do list I don't know.
I'll admit I do not know either. But come on guys and gals, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, over 30 years ago. Level boarding, whatever the height, helps everyone board and alight trains with greater safety. Those with baby trams, those with bikes, those with scooters, those in wheelchairs, those with grocery carts, those with canes and walkers, just about everybody.

Transit agencies, including Amtrak, need to get on the ball and fix their platforms NOW! It is hard to believe that after 30 years they could not find the money to do so from their own bank accounts. Stop beseeching the Feds to solve all your financial issues when it comes to safety. How many half off and free fares have they given away these past 30 years. and how much more money could they have raised charging full fares? That's where the money went instead of passenger safety.

We should not be seeing an argument made that the Acela trainsets can not be used anywhere in the country because they lack traps.
  by STrRedWolf
 
ExCon90 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:01 am Actually, Harrisburg has the original yellow bricks in place on the raised platform normally used for the Keystone trains -- apparently they were preserved and installed on the raised platform. Nice gesture, I thought. Offhand I can't think how many platforms still need to be raised (half a dozen, maybe?) but where that stands on the to-do list I don't know.
  • Middletown (although it's close to Harrisburg Airport and is only one side so you can just move it)
  • Parkesburg
  • Coatesville
  • Downington
  • Exton (maybe)
  • Ardmore
Most of those are also SEPTA stations, so some coordination is required there.
  by mcgrath618
 
Ardmore is currently “under construction”. In reality, there’s a trailer that’s been on site for over a year and little to no work has been done.

Exton has been raised IIRC.
Last edited by nomis on Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote
  by rcthompson04
 
Middletown is under construction as well. That leaves Coatesville, Parkesburg and Downingtown.

The bigger issue is that nobody is interested in running an expensive set of trains on a line where PennDOT cannot even come up with a desire to run a cafe car. The Keystone Service is a glorified commuter service.
Last edited by nomis on Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Thompson has made a point not to be ignored.

Sure this community would like to see equipment that still has some service life remaining after it is finally withdrawn from Corridor premium service likely during '24, but the sponsoring agency for proposed PHL-HBG Keystone service holds their needs will be met with 79mph existing or replacement A-I equipment.

That agency, PENN DOT. simply does not wish to pay additional costs associated with "flashier" equipment that likely will become even more a "money pit" with time.

Next stop for the equipment that got Amtrak "back in the game" in the NY-WASH overhead market is either a museum or the scrapyard.
  by Pensyfan19
 
I can see the acelas being used for the Keystone, but more likely for a Keystone "express" service (Philly, Paoli, Lancaster, Harrisburg) if one were to be created since those four stops all have high-levels. [Or the Keystone route can be transferred to SEPTA and Amtrak can focus on increasing frequency to Pittsburgh, but that's another discussion. ;)]
  by ApproachMedium
 
UGH the dreaded KEYSTONE argument again..

These sets have to go. Junk. They cost too much to maintain. They are falling apart from their age. the amount of life they have left is minimal. Running them on keystones provides zero facilities to maintain and inspect these trains. These are NOT regular trains. They cannot just be run anywhere willy nilly. They must be inspected to Passenger Tier 2 standards. You need the entire HSR building to keep them running. There is no HSR S&I building in harrisburg or philly. No pit/pedestal track.

As far as the electronics go its all 100% customized. Yea the displays in the cab run QNX, yes its on Intel/AMD hardware. But the OS is completely custom based off that and runs bombardier proprietary software, that you would for sure end up with licensing issues moving over to new hardware. And to add to that, the display is designed to fit in the locations of the dashboard and have specialty cannon plugs for the LON interfaces. I have no idea what the CMU is running, it has no display. I interface to that with TELNET and just see prompts thru there. Its got a 386 chip but the entire machine is a purpose built rack mount device with discrete I/O cards designed for the application.

The upgrade of this stuff is not as easy as some vintage computer geeks running in with a bunch of Rasberry PI and ardino devices and playing around with stuff till it works.
  by rcthompson04
 
These units have served their time and hopefully taught Amtrak a lot about running more sophisticated equipment. Running them between Harrisburg and NYP isn’t where they are heading.

One last point on the dreaded Keystone “solution”. How much time would the Acelas save between Philadelphia and Harrisburg?
Last edited by nomis on Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote
  by electricron
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:37 amThese units have served their time and hopefully taught Amtrak a lot about running more sophisticated equipment. Running them between Harrisburg and NYP isn’t where they are heading.
One last point on the dreaded Keystone “solution”. How much time would the Acelas save between Philadelphia and Harrisburg?
Excellent question that can be answered with another very similar, how much time have the existing Acelas and will the future Acelas save between New York City and New Haven?
The correct question to be asked is how much greater ridership will either the existing or new Acelas generate on the Keystones? Acelas increased Amtrak ridership by how much %.
Here's Amtrak ridership data from https://www.bts.gov/archive/publication ... table_c_18
1995 20,349
1996 19,700 (-3%)
1997 20,200 (+2.5%)
1998 21,248 (+5%)
1999 21,544 (+1%)
2000 22,985 (+6.5%)
2001 23, 444 (+2%)
2002 23,269 (-1%)
2003 24,595 (+5.5%)
2004 25,215 (+2.5%)
2005 25,076 (-0.5%)
The answer to that question is apparently, not much.
For the 5 years pre Acela, the increase in ridership was 12.9%, or an average of 2.6% per year
For the 5 years post Acela, the increase in ridership was 9%, or an average of 1.8% per year.
For the 10 years surrounding Acela startup, the increase in ridership was 23%, or an average of 2.3% per year. Would half a percentage point be considered much?
So would having sleeker looking trains on the Keystone corridor that could not go any faster attract many more riders? I don't think so. If we're going to save the existing Acelas for use on another route, it actually needs to be where they can provide a faster service, and the only place would be in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Assuming California ever finishes the HSR route between Bakersfield and Madera.
  by electricron
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:05 am
rcthompson04 wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:37 am One last point on the dreaded Keystone “solution”. How much time would the Acelas save between Philadelphia and Harrisburg?
They wouldn't. Not enough track capacity (no dedicated express track HAR-PHL).
But how much time would the existing Acela trains save on the Keystone trains between New York City and Philadelphia through New Jersey?
My earlier response I hope suggested the folly of placing them on the Keystone trains, but how long can Amtrak keep running Amfleet Is on the corridor? Does Pennsylvania have the cash to buy all new Siemens electric locomotives and Venture passenger cars, or should they pay Amtrak an excessive lease for new rolling stock. Would it not be cheaper to save a few Acelas from the scrap heap? What does the Pennsylvania Legislature thinks is the wiser choice for the immediate future? Ultimately, they will be the ones in the position that decides what should be done.
  by rcthompson04
 
electricron wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:11 am But how much time would the existing Acela trains save on the Keystone trains between New York City and Philadelphia through New Jersey?

Looking at the current schedules and the January 2020 schedule I would say approximately 10 minutes when you factor in additional stops made by Keystones. The Keystones run what I would call an intermediate speed service. Faster than most Regionals but slower than Acela.
  by eolesen
 
Talk about beating a dead horse, guys...

You can't maintain A1's without a facility capable of taking in the entire trainset. Nobody in their right mind will be forking out their own money to build a new maintenance facility for 20 year old trainsets... even if they're "free" for the taking.

Arguing about Keystone service, CAHSR, etc. is rather pointless when you only think about line voltage and none of the other support infrastructure that would be needed.

The A1's will be museum pieces, training cars for SWAT teams, and perhaps a few cars saved for Joe Biden's funeral train. That's about it.
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