MattW wrote: ↑Sun May 24, 2020 10:27 pm
The idea of a single unified fleet is certainly nice, has lots of advantages, but is it absolutely necessary? I don't mean from Amtrak's point of view, I know they'll say yes. But why not have different units for different purposes? ALC-42 for northeastern service, MP54Ac for the heavier trains across the rest of the country? I don't know of too many railroads that have truly uniform fleets. Different equipment is for different purposes.
It's not necessary and virtually impossible. Everybody loves the idea because Ryanair and Southwest do it. But I can't name any railroad other than some of the really small (IE 3 trainsets) carriers that have a homogeneous fleet.
Given that most major passenger carriers receive quite a bit of federal funding, and 3/4 of them are in the Northeast Corridor, it would be interesting if FRA/DOT sat down with the carriers and came up with a cohesive plan. This plan might include designating certain shops as centers of excellence for common makes/models of equipment. That way equipment that is considered orphan on one carrier but common on a nearby carrier could be contract maintained at a place that is familiar with the model and stocks parts.
For example, CtDot has perhaps four Genesis. It's an orphan carrier. But Amtrak has hundreds, and maintenance at Albany makes good sense. If MBTA were to run electric trains on the Providence line, rather than building an electric shop, they could have Amtrak maintain a small group of ACS or MTA maintain a small group of M8's.