I think there's an argument to be made for both, as you all have done. I saw an Acela in Stamford recently. It looked tired. Could its visual appearance be refreshed? Of course. The issue is, are the mechanical aspects "refreshable"? Sure. But at what cost?
I would say that the Acela brand is "dependable, fast, and premium". A new fleet will enhance that brand. Will the older fleet continue to reflect that? It could. The refreshed Amfleets do so to a lesser extent. So what to do with the I's, which are still premium to the older, albeit refurbished, Amfleets?
I've seen several options given here.
1. Run them on the Keystone corridor. Drawbacks: lack of high-level platforms. Continued maintenance.
2. Run them in place of Amfleets. Drawbacks: limited high platform space at terminals (the lack of sufficient high-level platforms is so idiotic as to defy belief). Continued maintenance.
3. De-motor them. This mitigates maintenance costs, keeps a higher level of service, allows their use on non-electrified territory. They could run in Regional Service into Virginia and Springfield, and even on some daylight only LD's. You could use Sprinters and Chargers depending upon the territory.
I lean towards 3. Could you imagine being able to ride a de-motored Acela on some of the longer regionals into Virginia? Or even on the Pennsylvanian, the Palmetto, or Empire Service to Buffalo?
Next stop, Willoughby
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