• Siemens to manufacture 83 Intercity Trainsets for Amtrak: Design, Delivery, Acceptance

  • 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 scratchyX1
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:44 am Just like much of what I said about not electrifying the Springfield Line, there is no need to electrify the former RF&P plus the restored S-Line(if gets rebuilt). The dual powered trainsets will significantly serve their purposes when they continue beyond the Northeast Corridor.
Electrifying to at least Fredericksburg, so VRE can have metro like service with EMU should be left in plan.
  by electricron
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:37 pm Electrifying to at least Fredericksburg, so VRE can have metro like service with EMU should be left in plan.
Sounds like a great idea. who do you suggest should pay for the electrification?
VRE, Amtrak, Virginia, or a combination of the three?
How much do you think it might cost?
Caltrain electrification is going to cost $2.3 Billion for the infrastructure and the trains, for just 51 miles.
Union Station in DC to Fredericksburg is 54 miles, where will another $2.3 Billion come from?

Just to put just a little comparison between these two markets for trains. Caltrain was having 63,000 daily ridership in 2019. The DC to Fredericksburg VRE having 19,000 daily ridership in 2019.
Math 64/19 x 100 = 337%

At some point you have to look at costs per rider to determine is electrification worth all the extra costs.
Caltrain = $2,300,000,000 / 63,000 = $36,508 per daily rider
VRE Fredericksburg Line = $2,300,000,000 / 19,000 = $121,052 per daily rider
Caltrain charges $10.50 fare for this distance over 4 zones, and VRE charges $12.15 fare for this distance over 9 zones.
How many fares will VRE and Caltrain have to sell to make this much money?
Caltrain = $2,300,000,000 / $10.50 = 219,047,619 fares
VRE = $2,300,000,000 / $12.15 = 189,300,411 fares
How many day?
219,047,610 / 63,000 = 3,477 days, or 9.5 years
189,300,411 / 19,000 = 9,963 days. or 27.3 years
And that's assuming every penny raised in fares went to pay of the costs of electrification, which never ever happens.
Money does not grow on trees or magically appear out of nowhere. At some point in time, which should be now, someone needs to look at how long these construction projects take to break even. Yes, I took a very simple approach to the problem, using direct fares vs indirect benefits such as reduce pollution and lower traffic congestion. Never-the-less, the significance difference in ridership should effect both direct and indirect benefits while comparing electricfication costs of these different trains.
  by David Benton
 
If public transport had to pay for itself from fares , there would be none. then wouldnt be many roads if they had to pay for themselves from tolls either. not just the highway , the entire journey . you would find it costing you $ 10 to dive to the corner store.
  by eolesen
 
Perhaps, but there's an argument to be made that with post roads being a constitutional obligation in the US, funding for public highways is Constitutionally required.

Public transit is not Constitutionally obligated. It's a convenience driven largely by urbanization, but not necessity.
  by electricron
 
David Benton wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 3:08 am The costs remain the same, constitutional or not.
Yes, I even assumed the costs were the same in my earlier response. But the benefits are NOT the same. And that's including every benefit you might wish to throw in, including the kitchen sink. The benefits are different because the ridership is different; 63,000 daily riders vs 19,000 daily riders. The benefits , all of them, will always be 337% higher with Caltrain vs the VRE Fredericksburg Line.
  by electricron
 
David Benton wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 3:37 am Yes , but the aim of the trains is to provide transportation , not make money .
63,000 daily riders vs 19,000 daily riders, which train is providing more transportation with more benefits for the same amount of taxpayers money?

There has to be a minimum number of passengers a train must attract to make the costs of electrification worthwhile.
  by STrRedWolf
 
electricron wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:54 pm Sounds like a great idea. who do you suggest should pay for the electrification?
VRE, Amtrak, Virginia, or a combination of the three?
How much do you think it might cost?
Caltrain electrification is going to cost $2.3 Billion for the infrastructure and the trains, for just 51 miles.
Union Station in DC to Fredericksburg is 54 miles, where will another $2.3 Billion come from?
Apparently someone forgot that these lines are owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern. So any electrification has to accommodate for freight traffic, and whoever pays for it has to pay off CSX/NS in order to do it.

The question now is: How much is electricity usage over those 54 miles vs diesel usage and prices?
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Oh yes, at the end of the day, the Amtrak routes that continue south and west of DC are used heavily by freights. While the bypass around Franconia-Springfield and the extra track capacity will help along the former RF&P, CSX will always continue to run many trains down that line as that's a very important route linking the Southeast with the Northeast. Plus the two Amtrak routes that leave the former RF&P to head to their destinations in the Hampton Roads are used by many freight trains. The route from Norfolk heading to Petersburg and continuing across Virginia sees those long coal trains. I don't think NS and CSX would react too well to having the lines that they use and own be electrified.
  by kitchin
 
Both CSX/RF&P and NS have long coal, container and manifest trains. There are some maybe long-range plans to reroute the Amtrak trains between Norfolk and the chokepoint in Suffolk where three (?) company's lines converge. I'm a flat wheel on this, but I'll say it again, the Norfolk trains are a nicer ride than the Newport News trains.

As for VRE, it's been built out conservatively from Day 1. With all the other expenses upcoming in Virginia (putting aside political changes state and national), it's hard to see buying new electric locos for VRE. But the old ones will wear out eventually.

The bigger issues upthread? Young people with good prospects favor public transit and Amtrak and bicycles and the rest, and many don't expect to be able to afford buying a house. (The Norfolk and Newport News trains just started accepting bicycles.) We'll see what happens when they glom into families with children. Amtrak could make money on transit-oriented development either way. An actual good use of gov't money, if it weren't for politics? The new James River bridge should accommodate light rail to south Richmond (a.k.a. Manchester), a gentrification area; and all the rest to Northern Virginia. Bristol is a slight farce in an area with declining population. Sure, if there were $660b build higher speed to Bristol and revitalize the region, build up UVa Wise, etc. Not going to happen. But neither are NoVa and the urban crescent and Cville/BBurg going to get a truly visionary amount of dough. With the political shift in Richmond, and probably nationally, we'll likely just see annoyingly inefficient diversions of funding, on whatever scale.

A wild card is Brightline or Texas Central or copycats, and how much capital they can or might deploy elsewhere. Brightline seems too tied up in FLA and CAL-NEV to expand to other markets. And only FLA was a situation with enough political heft to smooth the way, building on the state's freewheeling speculative tradition. The governor may have a personal stake, and Miami takes shenanigans to another level with the mayor likely front-running MiamiCoin, the free money for computer-using residents scheme. Contrary to griping in Miami, they can put infrastructure on and in the ground; witness the well executed tunnels to the port, and Tri-rail and Metrorail. The young people's response? "Miami has terrible public transit for a city its size" and/or "it's all going to be underwater in 20 years anyway."

To give the most minor example of Brightline's private/public double game, it got a federal safety grant to give haircuts to kids in mobile barbershops and teach them not to play on the rails. (Sorry for repeating myself.) And it benefits from competing against Amtrak's baked-in high labor and construction costs, as Southwest Airlines originally did with its young workforce, competing against United, AA and Delta.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I have ridden Amtrak to both Newport News and Norfolk. It's been almost 12 years since I last rode to NPN and almost a decade for NFK. I remember the route to and from NFK being better than NPN. First off, I remember there is consistent 79 mph running NFK to Petersburg. I would love to see those Siemens trainsets do 90-100 mph on a lot of the NFK-Petersburg segment of their trip as the right of way of very straight in many areas.

I'm sure that when these Siemens trainsets enter revenue service, they will be able to handle bicycles. Plenty of bikers like being able to use the train to get to their biking destinations. It's nice that a Viewliner baggage car was added to the Pennsylvanian which will definately be getting those brand new Siemens trainsets.
  by scratchyX1
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:14 am
electricron wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:54 pm Sounds like a great idea. who do you suggest should pay for the electrification?
VRE, Amtrak, Virginia, or a combination of the three?
How much do you think it might cost?
Caltrain electrification is going to cost $2.3 Billion for the infrastructure and the trains, for just 51 miles.
Union Station in DC to Fredericksburg is 54 miles, where will another $2.3 Billion come from?
Apparently someone forgot that these lines are owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern. So any electrification has to accommodate for freight traffic, and whoever pays for it has to pay off CSX/NS in order to do it.

The question now is: How much is electricity usage over those 54 miles vs diesel usage and prices?
Remember, one of those tracks the state now owns.
OK, then what would be cheaper, electrifying to at least Lorton, or running metro rail there?
There is a serious effort for doing so, when increased Vre service combined with rt 1 Brt could do the job.
Then again , this is Virginia, not amtrak.
  by STrRedWolf
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 1:29 pm Remember, one of those tracks the state now owns.
OK, then what would be cheaper, electrifying to at least Lorton, or running metro rail there?
There is a serious effort for doing so, when increased Vre service combined with rt 1 Brt could do the job.
Then again , this is Virginia, not amtrak.
Lets talk about the initial build-out then.

Per mile it's cheaper to electrify WAS to Lorton, because all you're doing is planting caternary lines and structures over the tracks. With MetroRail, you're extending the Blue Line from Franconia-Springfield down to Lorton, which means laying down tracks, third rail, signaling, possibly even tunneling or building elevated lines, and plunking down a station. Ether way, you'll need a feeder power station. Engineering would be cheaper on electrifying existing lines VS building the extension.

Overall, it may not be as cheap. As I said, we're going WAS to Lorton, verses going from Franconia-Springfield to Lorton. It may be cheaper per mile but we got a lot of miles to cover. It may even be a wash.

Which is why I look at the long term as well. Compare the electric bill vs the diesel bill.
  by electricron
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 3:15 pm Which is why I look at the long term as well. Compare the electric bill vs the diesel bill.
How many trains does it take to move 63,000 daily passengers vs 19,000 daily passengers? Three times as much at a minimum. Whatever savings you will get from using electric power vs diesel power, assuming there were any, you'll get three times less overall savings with VRE vs Caltrain.

The point I'm trying to make is ridership numbers affect whatever savings you will get with electrification, and I do not think 20,000 daily riders is sufficient to warrant the capital costs of electrification over 54 miles of track.

I am not even sure 63,000 daily riders is sufficient, but I am less worried with Caltrain because eventually CHSR trains will be using the electrification infrastructure as well.

There is a valid economic reason why Amtrak has ordered dual mode diesel electric and electric locomotives. Good choice for NEC trains extending into Virginia and North Carolina, and saving an half hour on the train schedules not having to switch locomotives in DC.
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