• Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

  • 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 MEC407
 
I don't think it was ever 90 MPH territory. Maximum allowable speed on the B&M in the passenger days was 70 or 75 if I recall correctly, and I can't imagine it was higher than that on the MEC.
  by Trinnau
 
Just throwing this out there, but CSX may mean any attempt at speed increase. For example raising a curve from 65 to 75, and not necessarily speeds over Class IV. Remember PTC is designed to protect against overspeed derailments, and making sure it is in place before increasing risk by running faster isn't a bad thing. I know NNEPRA and Amtrak have worked with Pan Am on curve speed increases in the past - not entirely sure how far they got or what they may still be after.
  by MEC407
 
That was my impression as well. There may still be some low hanging fruit available in terms of speed increases, such as curve improvements, grade crossing improvements, and eliminating certain slow orders that have been in place for years.

I'm not sure if the geography of the Plaistow-Portland line will ever be suitable for 90 MPH operation in any kind of meaningful way. There is a handful of long & straight sections where you could theoretically do it, but by the time you accelerated to 90 you'd only be able to stay at that speed for like 15-30 seconds and then you'd be slowing down again. If we still had the Eastern Route in Maine and NH it would be a different story.

Maybe in the future (?) it would be more feasible with trains that can accelerate/decelerate more quickly than today's diesel-electric trains can.
  by gokeefe
 
MEC407 wrote:I don't think it was ever 90 MPH territory. Maximum allowable speed on the B&M in the passenger days was 70 or 75 if I recall correctly, and I can't imagine it was higher than that on the MEC.
"Correct" ... from everything I've ever seen

90 MPH passenger trains are a historic "never ever" in Maine.

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  by gokeefe
 
MEC407 wrote:That was my impression as well. There may still be some low hanging fruit available in terms of speed increases, such as curve improvements, grade crossing improvements, and eliminating certain slow orders that have been in place for years.

I'm not sure if the geography of the Plaistow-Portland line will ever be suitable for 90 MPH operation in any kind of meaningful way. There is a handful of long & straight sections where you could theoretically do it, but by the time you accelerated to 90 you'd only be able to stay at that speed for like 15-30 seconds and then you'd be slowing down again. If we still had the Eastern Route in Maine and NH it would be a different story.

Maybe in the future (?) it would be more feasible with trains that can accelerate/decelerate more quickly than today's diesel-electric trains can.
The aptly named Chargers can indeed accelerate faster than the current P-42 "Genesis" fleet. Also agreed that the reference to speed increases could have been related to curvature.

I would not be in the least bit surprised of CSX considers superelevation on curves to be desirable.

Pan Am always seemed to indicate they felt it wasn't worth the extra wear and tear on the rails.

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  by codasd
 
Doesn't superelevation actually reduce flange wear on the outside rail? I would think CSX would implement it if the Downeaster powers provided the $.
  by Trinnau
 
Without getting too much into it, superelevation is just one part of the equation in determining train speed in curves. Train equipment makes a determination in how much "cant deficiency" a train can overcome - passenger trains can overcome more than freight. And there is superelevation in the Downeaster corridor, just a matter of how much. Higher speed trains push toward the high rail in an "underbalance" condition where slower trains push toward the low rail in an "overbalance" condition.

What does this all mean? If you have too much superelevation and heavy tonnage pounding the low rail with a handful of fast, light trains pushing against the high rail you wear the low rail out very fast. So you want less superelevation which slows down the passenger trains but lets the freight trains run more evenly balanced.
  by west point
 
IMO the average tonnage over any super elevation should be the determining factor. Now if all trains are at about the same speed it is a slam dunk. What is a fly in the ointment is when speeds of trains vary a great deal. A heavy train into no super elevation is going to wear the outside rail a lot. Since Amtrak trains except for locos are much lighter those trains will not wear outside rails hardly at all.
  by bostontrainguy
 
How about running a really light train that makes its own superelevation?
Image
  by David Benton
 
They would be ideal , and according to the latest Trains magazine , have not thrown in the towel and have a USA certifiable design . Electrification would probably give the biggest time saving.
  by BM1566GP7
 
NNEPRA reported today that Downeaster ridership was up to 58% for July of the ridership of JUly 2019, pre Covid.
  by BM1566GP7
 
Several recent YouTube videos and photos of Downeaster service show not a "cabbage" in sight. While cabbages are notorious for developing flat wheels during the falling leave season, that has not yet begun. Two engines on all three trainsets must be pushing up fuel costs, as both enginies are always on line.
  by MEC407
 
I've been wondering about this too. The NPCUs seem to be M.I.A. Where are they?
  by gokeefe
 
Usually when this happens they're out for maintenance. All at once sounds like some kid of major overhaul was needed. I doubt both engines are running. One might be used for HEP.

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  by electricron
 
BM1566GP7 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:45 pm NNEPRA reported today that Downeaster ridership was up to 58% for July of the ridership of July 2019, pre Covid.
An optimistic type personality response, a pessimist personality response would still report Downeaster ridership is still down to 42% for July of the ridership of July 2019, pre Covid.
Same statistic, just with a different spin on the same truth.

"To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be."
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