• 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 NRGeep
 
Is the Princeton Branch an anomaly? Or could it be a model for applicable short existing spurs or branch lines to mainline stations?
  by mtuandrew
 
NRGeep wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:07 pm Is the Princeton Branch an anomaly? Or could it be a model for applicable short existing spurs or branch lines to mainline stations?
Absolutely a historical anomaly, and even if there was equivalent service to be started today, it would never be run by Amtrak.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
The Princeton Branch will never be operated by Amtrak. In fact, it's future isn't looking great-it's up to NJT.
  by andegold
 
NJT and Princeton University have been trying to kill the Branch for decades. The locals keep it alive. Luckily those locals are both politically connected and also actually use the line. It has more than decent ridership and eliminating it would put way too much stress on the parking situation and local traffic patterns around Princeton Junction.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Funny that we are addressing the electrified Princeton Branch here at the RDC/DMU topic, but to that I must say "oh well".

Surprised to learn that the University would like to be rid of the 2.7 mile Branch. If I recall correctly, noted New York Times columnist (some times a bit too "libby" for me) until he became Professor Emeritus at Princeton, would walk from his office to the "Dinky" (as it has been known) and ride to New York for his duties with The Times and whatever else.

But on the flip side, I "heard stories" from my Brother-in Law ('65) about how students would "suddenly become" Rules Qualified Locomotive Engineers and "take 'er for a spin". Possibly recent Princeton Alum Mr.Andrewjw may have a comment to add.

Finally, must wonder if the 8.2mi New Canaan Branch on the New Haven (whoops, Metro North) is in like jeopardy.
  by Pensyfan19
 
The Colorado Railcar demonstrator actually tested service on the Princeton Branch with a Comet V cab car back in 2004, so that's a DMU. :wink: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rPNsy7qdbw)
I have been on the "Dinky" once and I feel that it is essential for the community since it is perfect for anyone, especially students at Princeton University and people who want to tour the town (I have been to the nice little town on numerous occasions) to travel from that region to a busy Amtrak and NJT station, so this way they can go from the town to the main line without renting a car.

But since this is an Amtrak discussion and seeing how we are talking about short operations, could it be possible for Amtrak to run or contract out someone to run short branch lines to connect towns to Amtrak stations? The rolling stock used for this cannot be limited to existing stock and coaches, and maybe they could use new small DMUs, Stadler/Siemens/Alstom two or one car multiple units, or even something known as a "very light rail"(https://www.tdi.uk.com/en/revolution-vlr-consortium/).
Last edited by John_Perkowski on Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Removed quote
  by Arborwayfan
 
I've driven much of the road parallel to the Princeton branch and I can see the value of trains on the line because of traffic on the road.
  by Jeff Smith
 
So what other areas would be good for an RDC for an Amtrak connection? One comes to mind: Tampa. Yes, the Star goes there already, but I'm thinking in place of the Star. And, if not in place of the Star, how about something out of Tampa up or down the Gulf Coast?

How about other areas of Florida? Since the Silver Palm was truncated, how about Ocala? Gainesville?
  by Tadman
 
It probably wouldn't be under Amtrak, but the entire Atlantic Coast of Florida could be covered by frequent DMU service. They have the population density. And the southerly Gulf Coast.

It would also make sense to run the new Mobile train as a DMU. I'm sure they'll find a way to stretch it to four hours, but that should be a 2:30 run.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I think Brightline (FEC) could end up with Stadler's if they end up doing commuter runs to Miami as has been proposed, but it might hurt their brand. But other areas could be "non-Amtrak"; we've been talking about Amtrak Ops, e.g. the Downeaster, with separate branding. That could be a model.

Could be a good use for radiating out of New Orleans, as you've mentioned Mobile. Maybe the proposal for Baton Rouge? Also, a service from Birmingham to Mobile as well.
  by mtuandrew
 
Picturing all of these as sections off the Empire Builder: Green Bay and Eau Claire from MKE, MSP-Winona via Owatonna and Rochester, Grand Forks-Pembina (continuing to Winnipeg if possible, with a bus connection if not), Shelby-Great Falls (-Helena, if money comes up for rehab of that line.)

Lots more options I can think of, not enough time to post.

I’m assuming (maybe wrongly) that these DMUs will be able to quick-couple with a regular train, even if they are still subject to a brake test. There are such things as Tightlock couplers with auto hose connections, that would be perfect for Amtrak DMUs specifically and Amtrak coaches generally as they’re also backwards compatible.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Green Bay for sure. The EB is a great candidate, as would any of the transcon LD's with the possible exception of the Sunset due to its 3-day schedule.
  by Pensyfan19
 
I have a few proposed intercity routes which I wrote to Amtrak about a year ago, most of which could be perfect for DMU service, and include some of the routes which were discussed here. (skip the "proposed long distance routes" list for this purpose. Start on page 4.) With extensive research for nearly a year, I was able to come up with 118 proposed Amtrak intercity routes to be restored and/or created with the combination of other discontinued routes.

https://railroad.net/download/file.php?id=21773
  by Tadman
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:58 am Green Bay for sure. The EB is a great candidate, as would any of the transcon LD's with the possible exception of the Sunset due to its 3-day schedule.
I'd suggest the new Mini-Builder instead. The Big Builder is often so late that a DMU link to Green Bay would be more hassle than its worth. One could drive to MSP, Madison, MKE, or Chicago in the time it takes to lay over twiddling thumbs waiting for the second leg on the very late builder. It's the same reason I advocate for the new Duluth train (good dmu candidate as well) not to be interlined with the Big Builder.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Tadman wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:11 am
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:58 am Green Bay for sure. The EB is a great candidate, as would any of the transcon LD's with the possible exception of the Sunset due to its 3-day schedule.
I'd suggest the new Mini-Builder instead. The Big Builder is often so late that a DMU link to Green Bay would be more hassle than its worth. One could drive to MSP, Madison, MKE, or Chicago in the time it takes to lay over twiddling thumbs waiting for the second leg on the very late builder. It's the same reason I advocate for the new Duluth train (good dmu candidate as well) not to be interlined with the Big Builder.
Or better yet, have at least two or three trains a day in order to serve the corridor, similar to the extensive amount of Lincoln Service trains going between a somewhat short distance, longer than Chicago to Green Bay. Or it could even be possib;e to extend the Hiawatha to Green Bay! ;-)
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