• Acela Replacement and Disposition 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 trainmaster611
 
Greg Moore wrote:
Arlington wrote:
Matt Johnson wrote:
MattW wrote:Perhaps we won't see much 220mph right of way, but what other high speed trains are out there, off the shelf, offer the amenities of Acela, and can operate at 160mph? Frankly I don't see why it's a problem to use say, a Siemens Velaro, but only run it 160mph, I highly doubt there would be much price difference for ordering a 160mph only version.
Exactly. In fact, that's what Russia did. I think its Velaro trains run at 155 mph:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapsan
Right, a procurement win! 220mph is what "off the shelf" HSR trains do these days. If Amtrak says the whole reason for cancelling the extra Acela cars and getting FRA waivers was to buy "off the shelf" then they darn well better actually buy off the shelf!
So, what off the shelf equipment meets current FRA (or proposed) specs?
None. That's the problem.
  by Greg Moore
 
trainmaster611 wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:
Arlington wrote:
Matt Johnson wrote:
MattW wrote:Perhaps we won't see much 220mph right of way, but what other high speed trains are out there, off the shelf, offer the amenities of Acela, and can operate at 160mph? Frankly I don't see why it's a problem to use say, a Siemens Velaro, but only run it 160mph, I highly doubt there would be much price difference for ordering a 160mph only version.
Exactly. In fact, that's what Russia did. I think its Velaro trains run at 155 mph:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapsan
Right, a procurement win! 220mph is what "off the shelf" HSR trains do these days. If Amtrak says the whole reason for cancelling the extra Acela cars and getting FRA waivers was to buy "off the shelf" then they darn well better actually buy off the shelf!
So, what off the shelf equipment meets current FRA (or proposed) specs?
None. That's the problem.
Exactly my point.
  by Arlington
 
trainmaster611 wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:
Arlington wrote:220mph is what "off the shelf" HSR trains do these days. If Amtrak says the whole reason for cancelling the extra Acela cars and getting FRA waivers was to buy "off the shelf" then they darn well better actually buy off the shelf!
So, what off the shelf equipment meets current FRA (or proposed) specs?
None. That's the problem.
Is there any doubt that the FRA is going to grant Amtrak's request to change or waiver the rules so it can buy off the shelf? I just can't see Joe Szabo delivering anything but a complete bubble within which the NEC can buy pretty much whatever California can buy. This time around, knowing the Europeans have good crash performance (and Japanese, 'cept they never crash ;-)), we're going to have the standards fit the trains, not the other way around.
Last edited by Arlington on Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by MattW
 
trainmaster611 wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:
Arlington wrote:
Matt Johnson wrote:
MattW wrote:Perhaps we won't see much 220mph right of way, but what other high speed trains are out there, off the shelf, offer the amenities of Acela, and can operate at 160mph? Frankly I don't see why it's a problem to use say, a Siemens Velaro, but only run it 160mph, I highly doubt there would be much price difference for ordering a 160mph only version.
Exactly. In fact, that's what Russia did. I think its Velaro trains run at 155 mph:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapsan
Right, a procurement win! 220mph is what "off the shelf" HSR trains do these days. If Amtrak says the whole reason for cancelling the extra Acela cars and getting FRA waivers was to buy "off the shelf" then they darn well better actually buy off the shelf!
So, what off the shelf equipment meets current FRA (or proposed) specs?
None. That's the problem.
How about we actually wait until we see the standards before declaring "none."
  by trainmaster611
 
Arlington wrote:
trainmaster611 wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:
Arlington wrote:220mph is what "off the shelf" HSR trains do these days. If Amtrak says the whole reason for cancelling the extra Acela cars and getting FRA waivers was to buy "off the shelf" then they darn well better actually buy off the shelf!
So, what off the shelf equipment meets current FRA (or proposed) specs?
None. That's the problem.
Is there any doubt that the FRA is going to grant Amtrak's request to change or waiver the rules so it can buy off the shelf? I just can't see Joe Szabo delivering anything but a complete bubble within which the NEC can buy pretty much whatever California can buy. This time around, knowing the Europeans have good crash performance (and Japanese, 'cept they never crash ;-)), we're going to have the standards fit the trains, not the other way around.
The FRA is a government bueracracy so there'll always be doubt. However, I think this deal may have partially been a clever ploy by Amtrak to force to FRA's hand on such regulations, lest the government's precious HSR project in California be subject to an Acela-like debacle with trainsets.
How about we actually wait until we see the standards before declaring "none."
I was only referring to the first part of the question because what exactly those "proposed" regulations are we can only speculate so it would be pointless to try and answer.
  by Arlington
 
trainmaster611 wrote:The FRA is a government bueracracy so there'll always be doubt. However, I think this deal may have partially been a clever ploy by Amtrak to force to FRA's hand on such regulations, lest the government's precious HSR project in California be subject to an Acela-like debacle with trainsets
I think the difference this time is that Obama actually has actually lined up all the pieces
1) He's got an HSR & Stimulus agenda that is close to his union and urban base of support (not so with Clinton)
2) He's got an FRA administrator who is a team player who's going to get that agenda rolled out
3) The Chase Maryland crash (fall 1987) is now a distant memory (it was fresh even in Clinton's day)
4) The Europeans have been free to innovate (and have succeeded) in applying car-crash techniques to trains
  by David Benton
 
I'm sure they'll find the need to move something , from the lefthand side to the righthand side , or vice versa . Hopefully they wont pick a random part to make twice as heavy .
  by ThirdRail7
 
Arlington wrote: 3) The Chase Maryland crash (fall 1987) is now a distant memory (it was fresh even in Clinton's day)
Even if we're to assume Gunpow is distant memory to the general public and politicians, Chatsworth isn't. The southern portion of the NEC is INFESTED with freight traffic, particularly after 9pm.

It may be an issue the FRA will not overlook.
  by trainmaster611
 
ThirdRail7 wrote:
Arlington wrote: 3) The Chase Maryland crash (fall 1987) is now a distant memory (it was fresh even in Clinton's day)
Even if we're to assume Gunpow is distant memory to the general public and politicians, Chatsworth isn't. The southern portion of the NEC is INFESTED with freight traffic, particularly after 9pm.

It may be an issue the FRA will not overlook.
And we all saw how spectacularly FRA standard equipment failed there. It even arguably compounded the problem. What would have prevented that accident is a more advanced signalling system which is precisely what the NEC has.
  by Arlington
 
trainmaster611 wrote:
ThirdRail7 wrote:
Arlington wrote: 3) The Chase Maryland crash (fall 1987) is now a distant memory (it was fresh even in Clinton's day)
Even if we're to assume Gunpow is distant memory to the general public and politicians, Chatsworth isn't. The southern portion of the NEC is INFESTED with freight traffic, particularly after 9pm.
It may be an issue the FRA will not overlook.
And we all saw how spectacularly FRA standard equipment failed there. It even arguably compounded the problem. What would have prevented that accident is a more advanced signalling system which is precisely what the NEC has.
Somewhere on Railroad.net there's also a thread suggesting the inferiority of FRA-standard "heavier-stronger" equipment vs modern crash energy management systems (and a very compelling video). Anyone remember where that was? I'm not saying that's a complete solution, but PTC + crash energy management may be sufficient to create the change/waiver that CASHR+Amtrak are looking for.
  by MattW
 
Arlington wrote:
trainmaster611 wrote:
ThirdRail7 wrote:
Arlington wrote: 3) The Chase Maryland crash (fall 1987) is now a distant memory (it was fresh even in Clinton's day)
Even if we're to assume Gunpow is distant memory to the general public and politicians, Chatsworth isn't. The southern portion of the NEC is INFESTED with freight traffic, particularly after 9pm.
It may be an issue the FRA will not overlook.
And we all saw how spectacularly FRA standard equipment failed there. It even arguably compounded the problem. What would have prevented that accident is a more advanced signalling system which is precisely what the NEC has.
Somewhere on Railroad.net there's also a thread suggesting the inferiority of FRA-standard "heavier-stronger" equipment vs modern crash energy management systems (and a very compelling video). Anyone remember where that was? I'm not saying that's a complete solution, but PTC + crash energy management may be sufficient to create the change/waiver that CASHR+Amtrak are looking for.
I can't remember the thread, but I believe this is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUpUJrk4QBE
  by korax
 
See:
http://blog.sfgate.com/incontracosta/20 ... at-220mph/

"“We applaud both Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority for answering our call to explore joint procurement of the next generation of high-speed rail equipment,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. "

and

"Specifically, Amtrak is seeking a HSR train set able to operate at the current NEC maximum speed of 150 mph and can subsequently operate at up to 220 mph as the tracks and other infrastructure is improved to support the higher speeds. In addition, the preferred train set has Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) power distribution among all cars..."
  by afiggatt
 
The SFGate article is just a copy of the Amtrak news release which can be found here. The Amtrak news release has a link to the RFI page on the Amtrak Procurement Portal for a summary of what the RFI is asking for.

Goal of an RFP by September 2013 and a contract award in 2014? Pretty dang quick if they pull it off.
  by Matt Johnson
 
My question is, will Amtrak give up the active tilt feature (perhaps the acceleration of an EMU makes up for lack of active tilt), will California's trains perhaps include tilt, or will there be two separate variants for each market?
  by Arlington
 
Matt Johnson wrote:My question is, will Amtrak give up the active tilt feature (perhaps the acceleration of an EMU makes up for lack of active tilt), will California's trains perhaps include tilt, or will there be two separate variants for each market?
What's the downside of having tilt you don't use? Seems to me there are three:
1) Acquisition costs (offset by order size)
2) Operating costs (weight, parts, training, complexity)
3) Reduced number of bidders

The upside of requiring tilt are:
4) order size and future parts/procurement economies.
5) Possibly saving money on the right of way (fewer bridges, tunnels / less land-acquisition)

I'd guess it only gets really expensive at #3-- if it reduces the number of manufacturers that can bid. Seems to me if you have tilt, you'll figure out places to use it (on SF's existing commuter lines and in the LA area and branches off the HSR trunk) and end up being happy you had it.

Are there any manufacturers who *don't* make a tilting 220mph train "off the shelf"?
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