• AMTRAK NEC: Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Valley Flyer

  • 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 lordsigma12345
 
jp1822 wrote: Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:52 pm I am sure the answer to my question is buried in the 125 pages of data here, but can someone advise on how many additional trainsets this new service will need - and will it be the standard P42 with just two Amfleet coaches, or will they add a third? This is a corridor that would really benefit from DMUs or something more efficient.

Also, I get the fact that this is a MA funded pilot program, it’s too bad though that VT couldn’t have kicked in some money to try a round-trip shuttle train leaving White River Junction at 6 am and return either late afternoon or late evening.

The shuttle service north of Springfield should be VERY popular with college students (and parents). This market may also tap the Lake Shore Limited - 448/449 - to get to/from Boston. Currently that’s the only east-west train across central MA. Its reliability is obviously a big challenge being that it is a LD train. It’s too bad there’s not at least ONE Inland shuttle.

OVerall though, this should be an amazing service and hope it’s a huge success!
According to Amtrak's five year fleet plans they are considering some type of diesel fixed trainset for the Shuttles for the future. They are also looking at some type of dual mode setup to eliminate the engine changes at New Haven for the through trains. Whether they would do some type of new dual mode locomotive or run both a Sprinter and a Charger on the Vermonter and Springfield Regionals for the whole trip is yet to be determined - both a dual mode loco and a two loco approach are being considered. What they decide to do with the Amfleets will also affect the ultimate approach. If the Amfleets end up being replaced by an EMU trainset than it may be that those trainsets that go off the NEC into diesel territory may be paired with a diesel locomotive. Or possibly they could do EMUs for trains limited to the corridor/Keystone corridor, and buy a pool of traditional cars that could be used for the single level Long Distance trains and all all the Regionals/state supported trains which operate in both diesel and electric territory. If they changed all the regionals and keystones confined to the electric territories into EMUs, you wouldn't need as many Sprinters for the corridor and you could probably just have them dead head on the train into diesel territory and eliminate all regular engine changes including the long distance trains.
  by jp1822
 
Gotcha!

Some believe it a mortal sin to have a diesel or electric motor "deadheading" in a regular consist - the expense of fuel to drag that deadheaded unit around. I think there's actually some efficiencies that could be gained because the labor to do the "switching" would be saved, or perhaps an offset to the extra fuel being consumed.

For ONE round trip train, Amtrak has to maintain a "switching" crew at 30th Street Philadelphia Station and even a partial crew at Harrisburg. The Pennsylvanian could also be sped along and have reduced trip time at both Philly and Harrisburg if the "switching" was eliminated at 30th Street Station. Harrisburg contains a cushion for making up time and potential "what if's." So passenger benefit of reduced trip time overall and savings with switching crew. Others don't see it that way - and I respect their opinion too. No one really knows the true costs involved.

I have seen the five year plan with the new equipment consists that are being proposed. It actually contains some thinking outside of the box, and goes right for the jugular - minimizing labor costs (e.g. switching crews at Washington DC, New Haven, etc.). I just hope the coaches are comfortable, meet the needs of the patrons being carried (the Amfleets are coming up short in the 21st century), and there are descent sized windows. Passenger rail travel needs to be differentiated from airline travel and travel by car. People in the Supleriner coaches still comment on how comfortable the coaches are (extra leg room, seating cushions, etc.) in comparison to airline travel.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Amtrak is considering DMUs for some of its state sponsored corridor routes and the Springfield/Greenfield shuttles would be great candidates. There are numerous stop pairs very close to each other for Amtrak standards-Wallingford and Meriden(6 miles), Meriden and Berlin(7 miles), Hartford and Windsor(6 miles), and Windsor and Windsor Locks(5 miles). Even if Amtrak, CDOT, and MassDot agree with just using locomotive hauled trainsets for the Springfield/Greenfield shuttles, then that wouldn't be much of an issue. The charger locomotives have excellent acceleration and when pulling a two or three car train, it is probably just like an mu set. Hopefully on the Springfield/Greenfield shuttles, when the Amfleets are replaced, there will be at least three cars and a maximum of either four or five cars. Any shuttle trains that run between New Haven and Boston would have to be at least six cars.
  by Safetee
 
I continue to be amazed at the optimism for the Valley flyers. There is very little demand to go to Connecticut from the Valley by rail. There is not a heck of a lot of demand for service by rail to New York with the possible exception of the holidays and and start and finish of school. The Interstates
available, including I 91, I 90, I 84, and I 95 make it too damn easy to just jump into your Honda when you want to go. And, the buses operated by Peter Pan offer a cheaper alternative than Amtrak. By the same token, I don't think there's a lot of folks in New Haven and NYC dying to visit the Pioneer Valley by rail.

Until the product gets way cheaper and faster with more perks while you're on the train, this dog won't hunt.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Peter Pan cut back on routes. I don't think they go to Greenfield anymore. I know that they serve Northampton and of course Springfield. I believe that Springfield is considered a hub for them.
  by gokeefe
 
jp1822 wrote: Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:52 pmThis is a corridor that would really benefit from DMUs or something more efficient.
Amtrak identified the NHHS service as a corridor that would be suitable for DMUs in their most recent fleet plan. I would not be in the least bit surprised to see them move forward with an RFP for DMUs within the next 12 months.
  by bratkinson
 
I don't know about you, but I, for one, would not feel safe riding a DMU at 110 mph, the current speed limit on portions of the Hartford line in Connecticut. The 2 car shuttle trains hit that speed every time since the 2nd track was opened a bit more than a year ago. The 8 car trains 141 & 148 don't have enough acceleration to make those speeds.

Granted, the only DMUs I've ever ridden were the RiverLINE trains in New Jersey. I think they top out at 65 mph. Those seem too flimsy to go 110 without jumping the rail or become low flying coffins at that speed.

Granted, the NYC put a jet engine on a Budd RDC and hit 182 back in 1966. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-497_Black_Beetle But the RDCs were built a lot 'beefier' and more durable than anything built these days. Todays' crashworthiness requirements would likely prevent a DMU going faster than 75 or so.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Plenty of countries in Europe use DMUs for intercity trains that go at least 100 mph.

Yes, the NJT Riverline is indeed light rail. It might operate on standard right of ways since it is shared with Conrail Shared Assets on many stretches but still, the light rail vehicles are what they are. They can do anywhere between 65 to 70 mph, I think. There is absolutely no way those RiverLine vehicles would do 110 or anywhere close.

Back to Amtrak on the Springfield Line-I'm sure that 141 and 148 are able to do 110 despite the poor acceleration of a Genesis unit. In fact, a two car train being pulled by a Genesis unit is a waste of horsepower and the acceleration of the consist is probably the same as an 8 car set.
  by daybeers
 
Amtrak's Media Center posted this article on Tuesday about the Valley Flyer. A small fair use quote is below, but there is more info in the full article.
Amtrak, in conjunction with MassDOT, is launching a new state supported seven day a week passenger train on Friday, August 30, called the Valley Flyer. The train will travel along the Connecticut River, a region referred to as the Knowledge Corridor, with trains making station stops in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield. The trains will also connect with Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor at New Haven and serve stations between New Haven and Springfield. Tickets are now available and can be found on Amtrak.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and kiosks, and through 1-800-USA-RAIL.
Of course there is no timetable or route information on Amtrak's website. And the fares look to be the same as the Vermonter prices. Oh, Amtrak...
  by Ryand-Smith
 
bratkinson wrote: Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:21 pm I don't know about you, but I, for one, would not feel safe riding a DMU at 110 mph, the current speed limit on portions of the Hartford line in Connecticut. The 2 car shuttle trains hit that speed every time since the 2nd track was opened a bit more than a year ago. The 8 car trains 141 & 148 don't have enough acceleration to make those speeds.

Granted, the only DMUs I've ever ridden were the RiverLINE trains in New Jersey. I think they top out at 65 mph. Those seem too flimsy to go 110 without jumping the rail or become low flying coffins at that speed.

Granted, the NYC put a jet engine on a Budd RDC and hit 182 back in 1966. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-497_Black_Beetle But the RDCs were built a lot 'beefier' and more durable than anything built these days. Todays' crashworthiness requirements would likely prevent a DMU going faster than 75 or so.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Voyager These are a thing, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nippon_Sharyo_DMU and as they are dual mode you can simply run https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro-d ... tiple_unit these as well!
  by Jeff Smith
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:36 pm Bradkinson, I guess that things have changed and they are supposed to hold connections at New Haven if possible. That was annoying that Metro North had 178 run before 2172. I thought that Acelas are supposed to be the next priority after Metro North. Sadly, on the New Haven Line, CDOT gives MNR the first shots but still, that was probably poor dispatching on CDOT's part for 2172 to be put further in the hole. I laud Metro North overall, but when it comes time for the New Haven Line, I think there is some more room for improvement.
CtDOT does NOT dispatch the NH line; that's MNRR. I don't find their prioritizing of their own trains sad at all... they have x-amount of slots, and if Amtrak misses their slots, MNRR trains should not suffer.
  by Kilgore Trout
 
If Alstom remains in Amtrak's good graces with the Acela II, it's not hard to imagine Coradia-derived DMUs or even EMUs - it's quite a flexible platform which could be adapted to Amtrak's needs.
  by Kilgore Trout
 
The Desiro is the most direct competitor. Admittedly I don't know how well-suited either is for a full BOS-WAS run, but I could imagine either in the running for shorter corridor-type services.
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