• Amtrak EMU Discussion - Metroliners, Current Proposals, etc.

  • 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

  • 114 posts
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  by mtuandrew
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 8:06 am I think Tad’s hypothetical order has merit. I think the other part of it is you reorder the Santa Fe hi-level cars, and fully re equip the Western fleet. Build either the lounge or the diner to be the transition, and you’re done.

Here’s a point worthy of considering: A heavyweight sleeper outshopped in 1929 by Pullman was as old on A-Day as the Amfleet I and Superliners are today.
I want to push back against this. Order all the single-level Pullman-Standard and Budd coaches you want* but if you want to use the Hi-Level dynamic envelope you may as well go whole-hog on what would become the Superliner. Knowing that the archetypal 10-6 sleeper would have to become at best a 10-4-1 sleeper (1 accessible room) and more likely a 12-2-1 sleeper as with today’s Viewliner, I’d rather have the flexibility and capacity of a 14-5-1-1 Superliner.

* as for the standard coaches, Tad is half-right: the Horizon was a great purchase and not very troublesome, though the Amfleet was a better purchase for Amtrak. Would’ve been nice to split the massive Budd order into a large Budd Amfleet order (converting the Metroliner fleet thusly into cabs), a medium P-S Comet order, and a mid-small Silverliner order for the high-speed service we were discussing.
  by Tadman
 
So a few points worth addressing here:

1. Hi-Level v Superliner - I see this as evolutionary. Superliner coach has very similar floor plan, and the spatial envelope is just a bump in size. Contrast this to a materially different fleet, like BBD cigar cars versus P-S gallery cars. But also are the original Hi-Level cars claustrophobic or would we get away with them?

2. Horizon and Amfleet were both really good orders, but would either have been necessary if they had observed best practices in 1971 and just ordered 300 budd 60-seat coaches? All three would arguably work, either together or apart.

3. Regarding JP's window size comments, I'm of two minds. I hate that there is a regulation about it. Nobody is going to lower a stretcher 15' to the ground. "Hey barely alive guy, you're going to fly like Michael Jordan to the ambulance below! More if we're on a superliner!" But one does notice the window sizes when they suck. Superliner roomette windows are great. But pay $500+ to ride the Caledonian to Inverness and you get a gun port, not a window. There's nothing like passing the Cairngorms national park at $500/night with little view.

But window size is an evolutionary issue. Great Northern and Southern Pacific ordered P-S cars with oversize windows. Appekunny Mountain was famous for being in the original Builder, then used when 4449 was reborn for 1984 Worlds Fair. Such oversize windows are certainly a best practice that could be easily incorporated into most designs without much changes.

Image

Image

Here's a great Marty Bernard / Roger Puta shot of a SP business car with big windows
Image
  by Tadman
 
And pardon my pics for going down a sidetrack, but the question remains:

How would Amtrak look with a 1971 equipment order of ATSF-like FP45, CB&Q/DZ-like Budd 10/6 sleepers, Budd 60-seat coaches, and PRR-like Silverliners for the corridor? Maybe also some Hi-Levels for out west? By look I mean not just visual, but financially, operationally, etc...

Sub questions arise such as:

1. Would their credibility be better with passengers and congress for not having as many failures?
2. Would there be more/better service on NEC?
3. Would their relationships with freight/Class 1 be better?
4. Would they save lots of money in design and consulting fees?
5. Would as many shops be required?
6. If this worked well, what was the next phase? Perhaps around 2000 a "FP70-2MAC" and another tranche of similar rolling stock?
  by west point
 
This is 3rd hand. Other sites said that runs of the Metro liners often caused the PRR variable tension CAT to bounce to where PANs would loose contact and power. You can imagine the power surges . Also some Metro had pans on several cars.
2. It has been posted that FRA will not allow a power cable or conduit to run across whole cars or the whole train. Best FRA allows is a power jumper from a EMU to adjacent EMU such a NJT has.. So with present regulations an ACELA - 1 or -2 has only power cars at each end.

Too many pans on an Acela in old PRR CAT territory would cause these CAT swings. Constant tension CAT needed every where. A power line across the top of a whole train would IMO allow for distributed traction motors on each car that are smaller and allowing for rapid acceleration. Lower traction motor would reduce track wear. So getting the FRA to change is required.
  by John_Perkowski
 
Tad,
If Amtrak had followed best practices, we’d have re equipped with proven designs. It’d have given Budd a full life cycle. It’d have given the US a generation to design and modify the tweaks for true HSR
  by MattW
 
Tadman wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 11:28 am So a few points worth addressing here:
*SNIP*
3. Regarding JP's window size comments, I'm of two minds. I hate that there is a regulation about it. Nobody is going to lower a stretcher 15' to the ground. "Hey barely alive guy, you're going to fly like Michael Jordan to the ambulance below! More if we're on a superliner!" But one does notice the window sizes when they suck. *SNIP*
It's not concern about moving a stretcher when the vehicle is right side up, but when it's on its side and a stretcher has to be lowered in from the "top" through the windows. During a rescue, there isn't time to be messing with a single small passage and be climbing over seats one victim at a time.
  by mtuandrew
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 10:01 pm Tad,
If Amtrak had followed best practices, we’d have re equipped with proven designs. It’d have given Budd a full life cycle. It’d have given the US a generation to design and modify the tweaks for true HSR
Budd and perhaps Pullman-Standard too. The best way to support P-S would have been a steady stream of Comet intercity cars.
  by Tadman
 
west point wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 6:32 pm It has been posted that FRA will not allow a power cable or conduit to run across whole cars or the whole train. Best FRA allows is a power jumper from a EMU to adjacent EMU such a NJT has.. So with present regulations an ACELA - 1 or -2 has only power cars at each end.

Too many pans on an Acela in old PRR CAT territory would cause these CAT swings. ... So getting the FRA to change is required.
Ug. Makes me sick that every other country runs 12+ car HST with only one pan and a power bus line, but the FRA is scared of, um, something, that the French have solved, so we can't do it. Which means we replace $50m of catenary because the FRA thinks we can't run a 12-car bus wire safely.

So to put this in perspective, it is totaly cool to have naked 600vDC third rail all over Long Island, Hudson Valley, Chicago, Boston, etc... thousands of track miles, every subway station, but a 12-car long power bus in insulated cable is a bad idea?

Another gut check: it's totally ok to have the train's power in naked catenary wire 5' above the train, with enough amps to push 20 trains in the area, where casual drunks can and have electrocuted themselves, but it's soooooperbaddangerousscary to have 1/20th the amps in an insulated cable that only trained railroad personell will deal with?

Can't make this up. Wish I had a job at the FRA. I'd lock myself in a dark closet with scary movies and make stuff up we should be scared about. I'd be the best. I'd come up with rules like "railroads cannot have rock ballast for fear it might be thrown at a train" and "train wheels are no longer allowed to be round because if the brakes fail, the train might roll over somebody". My crowning achievement will be "couplers are no longer allowed because we might pinch our fingers".
  by mtuandrew
 
Per the Acela II thread: As long as the cars are (semi)-permanently coupled, high-voltage traction bus cables are fine. Wouldn’t be a problem with a fixed consist. And if I were running Amtrak, I’d be buying EMUs in quad-unit sets - I could accept a train with only two pans.
  by Tadman
 
I think it's interesting what some others are doing. For example, the very unremarkable Montreal MR90 fleet is mostly A+B, in that A is a single-end motor/cab married to a blind trailer. What that means is half of all the fleet is not subject to the higher maintenance regimen of being "locomotives", which is triggered by either propulsion or control. Buenos Aires has fleets or married triplets and quadruplets. Now I think there are 9-couples. I'm not sure, but i think some are blind trailers, again allowing lesser inspections. Finally, British Rail considered the HST125/Mk3 sets to be semi-permanently coupled DMU sets, that just so happened to have two motor-control only at the ends and 5+ blind trailers in the center. This was a bit nuts but they did quickly move to a very flexible arrangement where if a set was shopped for a motor failure, the coaches were quickly detached and given to another motor coming off a shops tour.

It would behoove the railroad to consider that it's not necessary to order 100% fixed-consist HST or 100% single-unit motor-cab EMU.
  by D.S. Lewith
 
west point wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 6:32 pm This is 3rd hand. Other sites said that runs of the Metro liners often caused the PRR variable tension CAT to bounce to where PANs would loose contact and power. You can imagine the power surges . Also some Metro had pans on several cars.
2. It has been posted that FRA will not allow a power cable or conduit to run across whole cars or the whole train. Best FRA allows is a power jumper from a EMU to adjacent EMU such a NJT has.. So with present regulations an ACELA - 1 or -2 has only power cars at each end.

Too many pans on an Acela in old PRR CAT territory would cause these CAT swings. Constant tension CAT needed every where. A power line across the top of a whole train would IMO allow for distributed traction motors on each car that are smaller and allowing for rapid acceleration. Lower traction motor would reduce track wear. So getting the FRA to change is required.
mtuandrew wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 1:54 pm Per the Acela II thread: As long as the cars are (semi)-permanently coupled, high-voltage traction bus cables are fine. Wouldn’t be a problem with a fixed consist. And if I were running Amtrak, I’d be buying EMUs in quad-unit sets - I could accept a train with only two pans.
So how would the FRA view the electric FLIRT trains using NEC tracks (hypothetical), or the 7-car Caltrain KISS EMUs.
Also, all the more reason to electrify the entire NEC and its surrounding electric lines to 25 kV 60 Hz
  by west point
 
IMO it is more important for Amtrak to get constant tension CAT than 60 Hz. That alone requires much rebuilding as Constant tension requires closer spacing of the hangers than the old PRR variety. Essentially for tangent track appears that if you have three hanger points on old PRR you need 4 for constant tension ? That also immediately seems to keep the contact wire from getting harmonic oscillations from a train having multiple pans. Have often wondered if the NJT EMUs 100 MPH max is because of the harmonic oscillations at higher speeds ?

That is PRR NEW PRR ( remove ) NEW PRR.
Or just add hanger points between each old PRR. That seems the easy way but the condition of many of the PPRR poles and cross beams has caused all PRR to be removed and completely new . That is only second hand as this poster has not observed the replacement CAT Trenton - Newark.
  by rcthompson04
 
There is a lot of discussion of the constant tension issue, but wouldn't the real benefit for EMUs for Amtrak to be on services where it is unlikely to get up to 125mph anyway due to frequent stops? The Keystones are a good example of this need. The trains can barely get up to speed between Exton - Downingtown - Coatesville - Parkesburg with the ACS-64 equipment, which is a vast improvement from the AEM-7s.
  by Tadman
 
D.S. Lewith wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 11:17 pm So how would the FRA view the electric FLIRT trains using NEC tracks (hypothetical), or the 7-car Caltrain KISS EMUs.
Also, all the more reason to electrify the entire NEC and its surrounding electric lines to 25 kV 60 Hz
I think diesel FLIRT are running on FRA trackage to Fort Worth now.
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