• Amtrak DMU / RDC Potential Operation Discussion

  • 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 Gilbert B Norman
 
I must ask, before more foam is spewed over DMU/RDC's run over Class I roads, how many of you have actually ridden in one?

You certainly haven't on Amtrak since about 1984 when they were last operated New Haven-Springfield or Chicago-Dubuque.

I guess those here who have been overseas have had the chance to do so (I avoided such on my six journeys '14-'19); as well as those near the Regional rail systems that have them around here.

But to me, they always were a "shabby experience". Set rear of car and you get bounce to the ounce; after all those trucks are "drivers" drawing their power from a reciprocating engine. Sit center car and you get to listen and be shaken by the "banger" beneath you.

Guarantee you, I'm not going out of my way to ride one; those in my history book represent "enough".
  by bdawe
 
I'd like to think that the ideal DMU route would be a lot of low-frequency state-supported routes, using the DMUs to provide more daily frequencies
  by Tadman
 
I have been on the British DMU fleet pretty extensively. This includes the 158 Express Sprinter, 170 Turbostar, and 175 Corradia. The 158 was not that great, but it was packed to the gills and it had more to do with seat pitch and density than the equipment itself. Had I some more space, the 2 hour ride wouldn't be that bad. The first class accomodations on the 170 were quite nice for the rural/remote nature of the trip, and the triplet config meant the middle car had no engine, it was pretty quiet. The 175 I don't remember much, which means it wasn't that bad.

Overall my grips were more with seat density than anything. A set of headphones and the diesel wasn't a factor.

The DMU sprinter has been a great piece of equipment for connecting remote/rural areas of Scotland and Wales. It would be very useful on:
- Springfield Shuttle
- Eugene branch of Cascades
- Pontiac spur of the Detroit line if they go back to using MCS
- Newport News shuttle to Richmond
- Pere Marquette

If they used the right Cummins truck engine, there are already parts and skilled mechanics in every corner of the US. Now this doesn't mean they should overcook the idea like the brits did and run DMU's everywhere.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Andrew, like all of those. The exception might be ATL-SAV, definitely as spokes off of ATL, might not need to go all the way to SAV. I'd say definitely along the I-75 corridor down to Macon, and even my current location of exile, Warner Robins, Perry, and so on. I don't believe ATL has a thruway bus, but we could skip that step! I see SAV as more of a traditional LD from ATL coming from the north.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 9:13 am I must ask, before more foam is spewed over DMU/RDC's run over Class I roads, how many of you have actually ridden in one?
... (SNIP)
Fair point indeed, but I imagine the new stock rides a bit better. I don't recall ever riding a Budd RDC, but I used to ride the SPV on the Upper Harlem quite frequently. Mostly I remember it was loud. But it got me from Brewster North to Patterson (all of one stop) and reminded me of the older cars the New Haven used to have, so I enjoyed it.
  by Tadman
 
mtuandrew wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 10:30 am -Tucson-Phoenix off the Sunset Limited
-Milwaukee-Green Bay
-Atlanta-Savannah
I still say the Tucson run should be the next Brightline. Plenty of land to do real estate deals with, two huge universities, two airports easily accessible, two cities with small streetcar/light rail, plenty of baseball spring training, a giant air force base, resorts everywhere, etc. It's perfect. Also, Phoenix is #5 by population and Tuscon is #33. Similar to Chicago (3) and MKE (31).
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I don't think there are any plans to have Richmond to Newport News shuttle trains as they are supposed to be extensions of Northeast Regional trains. I know that there is a proposal to run intra-state Amtrak trains in Virginia from the western part to the Hampton Roads and DMUs might work on that route. NHV-SPG would be fine for DMUs.
  by SouthernRailway
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 9:13 am I must ask, before more foam is spewed over DMU/RDC's run over Class I roads, how many of you have actually ridden in one?
I have, in Sweden and Denmark- and I don't want to take another one. EMUs are fine, but DMUs have vibrating motors, making the whole train shake a little bit, which I prefer to avoid.
  by Tadman
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 1:28 pm I don't think there are any plans to have Richmond to Newport News shuttle trains as they are supposed to be extensions of Northeast Regional trains. I know that there is a proposal to run intra-state Amtrak trains in Virginia from the western part to the Hampton Roads and DMUs might work on that route. NHV-SPG would be fine for DMUs.
I know this is the case, but it doesn't make it a good idea. NPN and Norfolk riders are going to Richmond, Richmond Airport, Reagan airport, and Washington. A few are going to Philly or New York. Almost none are going to Chicago or Cleveland by train. The two-branch tidewater with 4x/day total between the two with through service to Boston is an awful idea. Metro North gets a cold and NPN goes to the hospital, and for what? So two people per day can have a one-seat ride to see Grandma? For 90pct of the riders, a 3-car DMU that pingpongs all day between Staples Mill, Richmond, Richmond Airport, Williamsburg, and NPN is more than adequate. With two crews, you could run 5am to 10pm all day long, whenever there isn't a freight train.


Say what you will about the DMU's and their noisy motors, in rural areas of Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, etc... one shows up every few hours and drops you at a transfer point. You can get a ride out of any town with 100,000 people. Over here we keep trying to tell folks "Look we can serve you once a day with a train that goes all the way to Boston and New York, and plus it was designed by Caesar Vergara, and the amfleets look like planes!!!!" and nobody cares, and we wonder why.
  by SouthernRailway
 
Tadman wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 2:04 pm Over here we keep trying to tell folks "Look we can serve you once a day with a train that goes all the way to Boston and New York, and plus it was designed by Caesar Vergara, and the amfleets look like planes!!!!" and nobody cares, and we wonder why.
I think I know the reason- those Flexible Dining breakfasts. :(
  by Rockingham Racer
 
I rode the B&M's Budd Highliners loads of times. They rode just fine, but were a little noisy with the engines on the roof.
  by scratchyX
 
SouthernRailway wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 1:32 pm
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 9:13 am I must ask, before more foam is spewed over DMU/RDC's run over Class I roads, how many of you have actually ridden in one?
I took the MARC RDC's on Class 1 CSX as a kid (including on an old main line excursion).
I found them pretty smooth, and not that bad, in the noise dept.
  by eolesen
 
I've ridden DMUs in Scotland/England and on the Trinity Railway Express as a daily commuter. Not a fan when it gets to be over an hour.

All the places mentioned seem to be places where commuter service or an extension of light rail might be more cost effective than trying to make Amtrak run it.
  by mtuandrew
 
eolesen wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 2:22 am I've ridden DMUs in Scotland/England and on the Trinity Railway Express as a daily commuter. Not a fan when it gets to be over an hour.

All the places mentioned seem to be places where commuter service or an extension of light rail might be more cost effective than trying to make Amtrak run it.
They are, but commuter services aren’t running it so... a placeholder by Amtrak seems appropriate.

To add to my list:
-MSP-KCY via Des Moines and/or Omaha
-GFK-Winnipeg
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