• Could Superliners Serve Boston???

  • 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

  by 7 Train
A few days ago, I just concieved this interesting (and posssible) idea:

Could the Boston branch of the Lake Shore Limited use Superliners while the NY train must continue to uses Amfleets and Viewliners (due to NYC tunnel restrictions)? That would be a very unique concept.

I have two concerns:

-Can Boston-South Station's platforms accomodate Superliners?
-What about the clearance in the Back Bay tunnel at Copley/Back Bay Station?
  by hsr_fan
7 Train wrote:-Can Boston-South Station's platforms accomodate Superliners?
-What about the clearance in the Back Bay tunnel at Copley/Back Bay Station?
With the catenary there, I highly doubt it.

  by efin98
1. South Station is a full length high platform station so no Superliners can be used. Back Bay has a mini-high platform but I don't think that would impact a two coach and sleeper train.
2. The MBTA runs two leveled commuter rail coaches every day over the Framingham/Worcerster Line(shared with the Lake Shore Limited Boston to Worcester) so the catenary shouldn't be an issue.

  by DutchRailnut
Superliners can not run to Boston account of clearances. besides they need low level platforms.
The Boston section of 448/449 now runs with to Amtubes and Amcafe I believe and as shuttle only, no longer being added/subtracted to 48/49

  by TomNelligan
I believe that the tunnel under the Prudential Building just west of Back Bay Station historically prevented use of Superliners (or domes) on the B&A even before the catenary went up in South Station. Then there's the high level platform issue. Note that MBTA bilevels are a foot or two shorter than Amtrak Superliners so they're not the same thing... I'm sure someone else has the exact numbers.

  by astrosa
16'-1" for Superliners vs. 15'-6" for the MBTA bi-levels.

Looking at photos, there's a foot or two of clearance between the MBTA cars and the catenary, but adding the extra height would be a little close for comfort.

But you never explained in the first place - why would they even want to run Superliners on 448/449?

  by efin98
The 15'6" is right in line with the average for domes during their heyday, unless the Prudential tunnel has been reworked in the last 34 or so years I don't think that story is accurate. I'll gladly eat crow if proven wrong, but I haven't heard of the tunnel being rebuilt, renovated, or otherwise altered at all.
  by CSX Conductor
According to TimeTable Special Instructions for the Bostn Subdivision, Cars exceeding 15'6" from top of rail must not be operated east of CP-3. :wink:

I recall seeing SuperLiners on the B&A, but that was non-revenue trips from the Central Vermont a Palmer in the early to mid 1990's, on their way from the Bombardier plant in Barre,Vt.
  by Noel Weaver
What point in running Superlines between Boston and Albany? All of the
area and connecting trains are Amfleet equipment.
In the event of a needed change in the cars, they would have to be
deadheaded all the way to Chicago for change out and there are more
high level platforms to deal with too.
This would make absolutely no sense.
Noel Weaver
  by PennsyFan
The LSL Boston section did run with a dome at one point in history.
  by R Paul Carey
Back in 1989 - if memory serves correctly, when I was with CR we ran a test with a short dome for Amtrak between Albany-Rensselaer and Boston on the request of Graham Claytor. We had eased clearances on the Boston Line for multi-levels as far east as Framingham.

The limiting clearance (2" +/-) was at Beacon Street, west of the Prudential tunnel. Without catenary, 4" clearance "to strike" was the minimum acceptable without a speed restriction. This would have had to be a walking speed restriction.

The car was safely put away at South Bay Yard - IIRC - using the then-new connection over the Fort Point Channel and avoiding South Station.

There was a stream draining the Back Bay Fens adjacent to the Beacon St bridge, so there was no good option to lower the track for clearance.

Oh - the dome was "walked" out on its return west to Rensselaer.

  by Gilbert B Norman
I guess that as soon as New York State opted to build high level platforms at Syracuse, Utica(?) Rochester(?) and Albany, the assignment of Superliners to any train over the "Empire Service" route was a closed chapter.

Regarding Mr. Carey's thoughts, we have noted here that Superliners once were parked at 30th Street for a travel industry (general public too, IIRC) equipment display. Access to the display was through an Amfleet Coach then visitors walked through a Transition car; one thing for a display, something else for daily operation.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by DutchRailnut
Also at 30th street its only 12.5 kv vs Boston having 25kv.
The safe airgap required for catenary is about 6" per every 10 Kv.

  by Silverliner II
Not only that, it had to operate a VERY specific route into 30th Street and the display was on Track #1 (with the catenary de-energized). I also heard the Superliners for that display operated into town via the then-Conrail Harrisburg Line.

  by Robert Paniagua
You're right, it is practically impossible to operate Superliners anywhere in the NEC. And as Mr. Astrosa mentioned in an earlier post, Superliners are 16'-1" tall while the MBTA's Double Deckers are 15'-6" tall, which is enough for them to operate from BOS to PVD, beyond PVD, even MBTA bilevels can't run due to the combination of low-bridges and the catenary.