• Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

  • 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

  • 91 posts
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  by eolesen
 
Trying to revive 50+ year old practices is foolhardy.

My guess is that once there's critical mass on the Siemens deliveries, you'll see Amtrak start to auction off blocks of excess cars, which commuter agencies will snap up just as quickly as Metra did with the excess F59's.
  by mtuandrew
 
There would be a place for the Horizons as overflow equipment. Like Mr. Olesen suggests though, I bet they’d go to a different outfit because Amtrak doesn’t want to keep an expansion fleet.

Problem is, they and the A-IIs are tailor-made for Amtrak. Because of their respective door situations, having either manual doors or automatic single-vestibule doors, they’re not suited to commuter service. VIA wouldn’t need the spares even if their HEP worked in the same way. That leaves charters, or running their wheels off in Amtrak service, or (my preferred solution) part-time charters and part-time Amtrak overflow fleet while owned by a nonprofit - maybe a partner organization to AAPRCO.
  by Tadman
 
Here's a related question that might indicate the willingness of Amtrak to run a surge fleet:

Why doesn't Amtrak and Via ever lease cars to each other (other than emergencies)? If the Canadian is a hot property in the summer and the Silvers are the hot property in the winter, why not have ten pool cars that are used on the Canadian June-Sept and the Silvers Nov-April? As of right now I think the Budd cars have some minor underbody clearance issues, but if they could be utilized 2x their current use, does that make sense?

And if Amtrak and Via aren't willing to play ball on a surge fleet using built-in seasonalities, would Amtrak keep a true surge fleet?
  by rcthompson04
 
Tadman wrote: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:11 am Here's a related question that might indicate the willingness of Amtrak to run a surge fleet:

Why doesn't Amtrak and Via ever lease cars to each other (other than emergencies)? If the Canadian is a hot property in the summer and the Silvers are the hot property in the winter, why not have ten pool cars that are used on the Canadian June-Sept and the Silvers Nov-April? As of right now I think the Budd cars have some minor underbody clearance issues, but if they could be utilized 2x their current use, does that make sense?

And if Amtrak and Via aren't willing to play ball on a surge fleet using built-in seasonalities, would Amtrak keep a true surge fleet?
The differences in HEP equipment are insurmountable?
  by Tadman
 
I thought Via used 460 like Amtrak while GO used 575 which is the Canadian standard. Not totally sure of that. In the past there have been regular inter-operation of the equipment such as the International, which was a real mixed bag of Via and Amtrak equipment.
  by mtuandrew
 
Tadman wrote: Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:30 am I thought Via used 460 like Amtrak while GO used 575 which is the Canadian standard. Not totally sure of that. In the past there have been regular inter-operation of the equipment such as the International, which was a real mixed bag of Via and Amtrak equipment.
It’s something about how Canadian cars have a dual-circuit HEP feed while American ones have a single-circuit feed. That could be overcome by sending a Canadian P42 south with a full trainset, but any American trainset going north would need to have the proper engine appliances (specifically a hot plate in the cab, maybe other minor differences.) Also, VIA cars may or may not fit into NYP. None of this is insurmountable and it might not actually be an issue, but these are reasons I’ve read in the past.
  by Anthony
 
gokeefe wrote: Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:20 pm
Arborwayfan wrote: Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:58 pmQuestion: are there any seasonal rushes left that don't happen at the same time all over the country? Mass schools have Feb and April vacations instead of one March Spring Break; do those vacations cause extra traffic on the NEC (doubtful, but maybe one of you knows).
Yes, they absolutely do. That schedule is adhered to by Northern New England as well (VT, NH, ME).

Take a look at the Silver Meteor and Auto Train fares around that time of year and you will see what I mean.

I would note that the Horizon cars seem the least likely to be sold at all. They are near perfect cars for surge/reserve use given their 125 MPH capabilities and relative youth.
Given their problems with cold weather, the displaced Horizons would best be used on the proposed corridor trains in the south, such as NOL-Mobile and NOL-Baton Rouge. There's also been studies to reinstate Birmingham-Montgomery-Mobile service - another service they could potentially be used on.
  by mtuandrew
 
I’d love independent confirmation that the Horizon fleet still suffers in cold weather. All I know is, I’ve ridden Horizons in single-digit weather and heavy snow (on the Wolverine) and haven’t noticed any problems with doors opening.
  by Tadman
 
mtuandrew wrote: Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:38 pm I’d love independent confirmation that the Horizon fleet still suffers in cold weather. All I know is, I’ve ridden Horizons in single-digit weather and heavy snow (on the Wolverine) and haven’t noticed any problems with doors opening.
Seconded
  by dgvrengineer
 
Cold weather problems was an issue when the cars were first put in service. The problems have been corrected and I haven't heard of any issues in the last few years.
  by gokeefe
 
A user who would know has confirmed the same elsewhere in these forums.

The biggest indicator in my eyes that Amtrak will keep the Horizon cars is the refresh being undertaken.

Amtrak seems to be pushing out of the box lately and I think it bodes well for future efforts. I would also note that the current CEO is probably quite impressed with the comparative ease with which rail cars can be stored and put back into service as compared to modern jetliners.

Amtrak knows there is unmet demand that they can address. Some of it is in the sleeper units but there are opportunities in coach services as well.
  by mtuandrew
 
gokeefe wrote: Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:56 pmI would also note that the current CEO is probably quite impressed with the comparative ease with which rail cars can be stored and put back into service as compared to modern jetliners.
I’m not sure I follow. Why is this important to Anderson? We’ve advocated for a reserve/surge fleet here, but I don’t think anyone at One Mass has seriously planned such a fleet.
gokeefe wrote: Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:56 pmAmtrak knows there is unmet demand that they can address. Some of it is in the sleeper units but there are opportunities in coach services as well.
This is true. It’s a shame there aren’t more sleepers around, but right now it seems like Amtrak needs more available seats to put butts in. (That could mean increased mechanical availability, better positioning, a bigger and newer fleet, more seats per car, or a surge fleet of older cars either self-owner or leased from another group.)
  by gokeefe
 
mtuandrew wrote: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:06 pmI’m not sure I follow. Why is this important to Anderson? We’ve advocated for a reserve/surge fleet here, but I don’t think anyone at One Mass has seriously planned such a fleet.
He's bottom line oriented and seems to be growing Amtrak out of the deficit as opposed to cutting. Furthermore Amtrak has long since given up trying to make money any other way besides carrying passengers and the occasional package.

I think there are people at Amtrak who have indeed done exactly that and probably with encouragement in their efforts from Anderson. The revenue hounds in the Planning Department have done a tremendous job over the past decade+ squeezing the market for every dollar that it will bear.

I think they would be absolutely drooling at the prospects of being thrown the "bone" of a fleet of Horizon cars that they could push around the system at will to maximize yield. It would be so desirable in some respects that Amtrak would probably want to keep every last coach, dings and all, to themselves.

I am starting to wonder if the "All Station Stops" service I just posted about in a new topic is one intended use for the Horizon cars.
  by daybeers
 
It will be interesting to see what proposals are submitted this Wednesday when the RFPs for the Amfleet replacements are due.

While I agree Amtrak will have more equipment than before once the Cal/IDOT Siemens cars come in, they are definitely not enough cars to go around. I'd be willing to bet one car can be added to every train and demand will still fill it.

Regarding adding extra cars for passengers, I do agree it's unfortunate Amtrak doesn't do this anymore. I was hoping the Amfleet replacements would allow for expansion and extra cars when demand allows, but it looks like that may not be the case.
  by eolesen
 
137 cars isn't enough to go around?...

That's pretty much equal to the entire Amfleet II subfleet or the Viewliner subfleet. Outside the NEC, that's easily one car per corridor train.

I know that some people think single level cars with manual traps are a hindrance to commuter service, but they did just fine on the Budd RDC's operated in Dallas until just a few years ago, and also in the pre-1960's before gallery cars were invented. On a lightly traveled line (there are a couple in the Metra network I can think of) it's simply a matter of announcing only the rear or head XX cars will/won't be available at a particular station. Metra already does that to some degree with off-hour trains.
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7