• 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 Backshophoss
 
The last "intercity" train service of the Reading RR was the Phila-Newark "Wall Street" that somehow made it to the Conrail/SEPTA/NJT era.
There were RDC's used on this service,were rigged with "Scrubber Blocks" and some sort of "Shunt amp" to insure that there was
shunt across the track circut,when the Aldene Plan and ramp was put into Action,the last part of the run was on the NEC,
from Hunter to Newark and lay up at Harrison Yard till the return trip.
  by Jeff Smith
 
electricron wrote:<SNIP>...Locales using modern DMUs are:
Ottawa ON, Toronto*, ON, Anchorage* AK, Camden to Trenton NJ, West Palm Beach* to Miami FL, Beaverton* to Wilsonville OR, Oceanside to Escondido CA, Leander to Austin TX, Carrolton to Denton TX, and soon Pittsburg to Antioch CA, and Santa Rosa* to San Rafael, CA. None run more than 2 married pairs on each train normally. Note: Those DMUs with * are fully FRA compliant.
And none of these are Amtrak, I believe.

I suppose a public agency could contract with Amtrak to run DMU's on lines where the ridership fits the profile and it feeds into a main line. The Springfield line used to use them, as has been noted previously. And the shuttles seldom have more than two cars. Building a DMU set in a pair, with only one cab per car, could work. These could potentially work on inland routes east of New Haven, say, New London - Worcester, or Worcester - Providence, and so on.
  by DutchRailnut
 
I seriously doubt, Amtrak will ever again try DMU's they learned from RDC, SPV, flexliner.
They all had their problems, and proved to be costlier than running push pull equipment.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Jeff Smith wrote:
electricron wrote:<SNIP>...Locales using modern DMUs are:
Ottawa ON, Toronto*, ON, Anchorage* AK, Camden to Trenton NJ, West Palm Beach* to Miami FL, Beaverton* to Wilsonville OR, Oceanside to Escondido CA, Leander to Austin TX, Carrolton to Denton TX, and soon Pittsburg to Antioch CA, and Santa Rosa* to San Rafael, CA. None run more than 2 married pairs on each train normally. Note: Those DMUs with * are fully FRA compliant.
And none of these are Amtrak, I believe.

I suppose a public agency could contract with Amtrak to run DMU's on lines where the ridership fits the profile and it feeds into a main line. The Springfield line used to use them, as has been noted previously. And the shuttles seldom have more than two cars. Building a DMU set in a pair, with only one cab per car, could work. These could potentially work on inland routes east of New Haven, say, New London - Worcester, or Worcester - Providence, and so on.
Those are commuter rail. Amtrak playing mercenary contractor to run somebody's commuter rail system has nothing to do with the Amtrak system or state-sponsored Amtrak routes. We still seem to be at a loss for any fits on the actual Amtrak system current or future where DMU's offer any advantage over the current fleet or meet a viability threshold that'll get a prospective route funded. The Shuttles aren't going to be the Shuttles forever. If they get extended to Boston they're gonna need 5-6 coaches and no cab cars for every run.
  by dowlingm
 
If VIA consider themselves satisfied with Sarnia-London RDC testing, that use case is a bit closer to Shuttle than commuter, no? My understanding is that the Nippons in Metrolinx service don't have traps (UPX being all high platform) which means no chance of borrowing them for trials on VIA even if VIA wanted to.
  by electricron
 
Assuming the RDC testing was satisfactory, VIA could order brand new Nippon Sharyo DMUs with traps. I don't think adding trap doors to these DMUs will be an impossible engineering task.:)
Although it might be expensive to engineer for a very small order. Chicago's double level "Galley" cars and single level Southshore EMUs built by Nippon Sharyo have traps. So Nippon Sharyo have shown the capability to design traps before.
  by CHTT1
 
Since CN requires Amtrak to operate a minimum of six or seven cars on the Illini/Saluki route, would they allow VIA to run a one or two car DMU? Or are CN's Canadian crossing gates smarter than those in the U.S.?
  by jp1822
 
The Shuttles between Springfield and New Haven need to be extended somewhere. Frankly, all could be extended "somewhere" - Springfield to NYC/Philly. New Haven to Boston (not sure how this will happen unless CSX double tracks the old B&A), New Haven to White River, New Haven to Albany (again the B&A issue comes into play).

If Amtrak is going to operate a such a short route between Springfield and New Haven, they need to figure out a way to do so without full train sets - diesel and cab car with another Amfleet coach in stuffed in the middle. It's not going to look good when CDOT starts-up commuter service on this line (even if to just Hartford).

EDIT - correction, meant B&A, not B&M! Thanks for correction!!!
Last edited by jp1822 on Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by dowlingm
 
CHTT1 wrote:Since CN requires Amtrak to operate a minimum of six or seven cars on the Illini/Saluki route, would they allow VIA to run a one or two car DMU? Or are CN's Canadian crossing gates smarter than those in the U.S.?
I don't know what the technical differences are, but VIA used 2 car consist 6105-6208 for the test runs I've seen in YouTube.
  by dowlingm
 
electricron wrote:Assuming the RDC testing was satisfactory, VIA could order brand new Nippon Sharyo DMUs with traps. I don't think adding trap doors to these DMUs will be an impossible engineering task.:)
agreed. The plan as it stands is that UPX DMUs are supposed to be re-powered as EMUs (25kV 60Hz) once Union Station and the UPX track is wired. That would put Nippon in the position of being an FRA single level EMU supplier, not just a DMU one, although it shrinks the FRA DMU population by 18 railcars.
  by Backshophoss
 
jp1822,'Don't you mean the B&A route that is CSX to Worcester,then MBTA to Boston,
the former B&M is part of PAR/PAS slooow zone,and needs years of track work to brought up to passenger train speeds. :(
  by jp1822
 
Yes, B&A. Sorry! I fixed. Thanks for correction.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
jp1822 wrote:The Shuttles between Springfield and New Haven need to be extended somewhere. Frankly, all could be extended "somewhere" - Springfield to NYC/Philly. New Haven to Boston (not sure how this will happen unless CSX double tracks the old B&A), New Haven to White River, New Haven to Albany (again the B&A issue comes into play).

If Amtrak is going to operate a such a short route between Springfield and New Haven, they need to figure out a way to do so without full train sets - diesel and cab car with another Amfleet coach in stuffed in the middle. It's not going to look good when CDOT starts-up commuter service on this line (even if to just Hartford).

EDIT - correction, meant B&A, not B&M! Thanks for correction!!!
The ongoing study is for taking them to Boston with a full B&A upgrade, with a Boston-Montreal via Springfield feasibility study the second service pattern to be studied (basically just takes a B&A-half Inland Shuttle slot and turns it into a second Vermonter frequency north-of-Springfield). Can't find the URL for the study website and don't recall when the full study results are supposed to wrap up and be released, but they have been doing lots of public meetings over the past year with archived meeting presentations on the site. Lot of info out there about what they envision and what they're currently studying. NHV-BOS is definitely going to be a 5-6 car train if they're in go-for-it mode.

The B&A upgrades west of Worcester are not all that pricey relative to mileage because the CSX line is in very good state-of-repair with pre-existing and easily modifiable cab signal installation. It's the double-tracking, new crossovers, and then the decision on whether they want to uprate the tracks to Class 4/79 MPH or spend the money for Class 5/90 MPH to take advantage of the tangent Springfield-Palmer segment as schedule saver for the unimprovably curvy Palmer-Worcester segment. The far bigger expense for making that route cook is all tied up in MBTA territory. Worcester-Framingham is in good shape and just needs the decision on whether to upgrade to Class 5...but Framingham-Boston is in poor state-of-repair with ancient speed-capped signal system and too few crossovers to keep commuter rail locals and CR + Amtrak expresses from getting in each other's way. That part's going to be a brutally expensive fix, and if MassDOT gets scared by a too-high price tag into deferring the project it'll be that stretch of shared MBTA territory that supplies the biggest share of that sticker shock. Not so much Springfield-Worcester.


Alternately, if they're tight on cash for the B&A upgrade a temporary extension of the Shuttles to Greenfield is an easy grab as a placeholder until MassDOT sets up Knowledge Corridor commuter rail up the Conn River Line. That could be useful since jumping the gun on Conn River commuter rail wouldn't net useful service until CDOT Hartford Line service scales up from its meager Year 1 starter schedule to its full-blown Year 5+ schedule and starts to offer usefully frequent transfers out of Springfield.

At any rate, CDOT and MassDOT have lots of options to chew on for a repurposed Shuttle and are going to do something with it--even if just a short-term placeholder in advance of a long-term Boston schedule--to keep it running after the Hartford Line supplants it. It's way too valuable a chip for the two states to turn back in and possibly not get back when they need it for its next-gen role.
  by Jeff Smith
 
There's a topic on the inland route here in the Amtrak forum: http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=75267" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here's the study link: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/northern ... /Home.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

and a 2013 study: https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals ... ctWorkPlan(NNEIRI" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)_June_21_2013.pdf

I don't see any of these services using DMU, unless they decide to run one Worcester - Palmer - Springfield as a feeder. I think we've established that Amtrak won't be using DMU's except as a contract operator for a non-Amtrak branded service, and that it's more of a local option.

If anyone has anything to change that, PM me or a moderator.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Sooooo... we've been having a good discussion on Amtrak and EMU's over here: https://railroad.net/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=18942 and it made me think maybe we should revive a discussion on RDC's aka DMU's, given the relative success of Stadler. Since Amtrak, at least before COVID, was in fleet acquisition mode as well as expansion mode, where would DMU's work?

What existing "branches"? Norfolk, VA? Springfield, CT? The much past discussed proposals for the Vermonter? Previous discussion on Vermonter: https://railroad.net/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=27927

What new "branches" could Amtrak serve? Which Thruway routes could a DMU replace? Anything off the Silver services? Out west?
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