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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 31st, 2013, 08:48 AM   #4261
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http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/530/930/...ATK-13-081.pdf
Quote:
PUEBLO, Colo. – The new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotives are
now in a comprehensive and rigorous testing program, and are being put through the paces
before entering Northeast service this fall.
Today, Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman, Federal Railroad Administrator
Joseph Szabo and Siemens Rail Systems President Michael Cahill traveled to the U.S
Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Technology Center (TTC) facility in
Pueblo, Colo., to get an update on the testing program and to observe a testing demonstration.
“These locomotives are the new workhorses of the Amtrak fleet in the Northeast and they
must meet our performance-based specifications and reliability needs so we can keep the
region’s people and economy moving,” said Boardman.
Two locomotives are at the TTC facility to undergo a series of tests, including maximum
speed runs, acceleration and braking, operating with Amtrak passenger coach cars attached and
testing the overall performance capabilities of the locomotive. Engineers are also validating the
on-board computer system and software, as well as evaluate ride quality by using instruments to
measure things such as noise and wheel vibrations.
A variety of additional tests and validation exercises are being conducted as part of the
commissioning process to ensure the locomotive is operating and performing as designed and
that it is ready to provide reliable service for Amtrak passengers.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said Szabo. “Today’s testing regime demonstrates
the extraordinary safety standards FRA requires manufacturers and railroads to meet when
building passenger rail equipment. One in seven Americans lives along the Northeast Corridor
and as demand for passenger rail service continues to grow across the country, we will continue
to ensure that rail equipment is safe, reliable and efficient.”
In addition to the robust testing regime at TTC, a third locomotive will run field tests on
the Northeast and Keystone Corridors this summer and be used for training Amtrak locomotive
engineers and mechanical crews. A fourth locomotive will be tested in a climate-controlled
chamber to determine how well it performs in extreme heat and cold temperatures.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 11:23 PM   #4262
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Very cool, I never knew those Amfleet passenger cars were rated for 125mph.
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Old August 1st, 2013, 03:45 AM   #4263
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Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post


Very cool, I never knew those Amfleet passenger cars were rated for 125mph.
lol those cars run at those speeds every day, and have been since the advent of electric locomotives for amtrak that could attain those speeds (the AEM-7 in and 1980s)
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Old August 1st, 2013, 08:30 PM   #4264
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Even earlier (late-60s) if the metroliners' similarity can be considered.
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 06:42 AM   #4265
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Do we have any unified bodies to press for interests?
Seems like we must rely on State Transportation Departments and the DoT - and other private/public partners.

I wish we could all sit down, draw up and agree on a basic network. And then go about it piece by piece with everyone knowing (acknowledging) what the ultimate system will be/look like.
Unfortunately, it seems quite fragmented with many bodies from various HSRAs including USHSR, AHSRA, Midwest HSRA, etc. If you could bring the organizations under NARP (National Association for Rail Passengers) with a unified vision, we could press further in terms of a national vision.

USHSR wants to take on everything including some of the more impractical lines, the regional HSRAs like the Midwest HSRA have priorities in their region and want to extend further as funds permit.

I think we need to emphasize more on connections within the megaregions first. NEC, California, Midwest, Flordia, and Texas being the big five and going from there to extend and interconnect the HSR networks.
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 07:56 AM   #4266
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I did find two new videos apparently from someone who has access at Pueblo.
- Flyby video
- Video of info screen showing acceleration with 8 amfleets from stop to 125 mph.
I also find the comments from the crew about the engine being "too quiet" amusing. #thatsthewayitshouldbe
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 06:19 PM   #4267
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The front looks more like a ES64F4, while the side resembles a HLE-18. Due to the compared to Europe extremely high overhead wire the proportions of the pantograph look a bit weird to me.

The rest of the cab also has some interesting points: There doesn't seem to be a 'cruise control' fitted, the traction/e-brake regulator works the other way around compared to the older models (now forward = more power) and why didn't they integrate the brake controls into the console?
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 10:23 AM   #4268
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Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
The front looks more like a ES64F4, while the side resembles a HLE-18. Due to the compared to Europe extremely high overhead wire the proportions of the pantograph look a bit weird to me.

The rest of the cab also has some interesting points: There doesn't seem to be a 'cruise control' fitted, the traction/e-brake regulator works the other way around compared to the older models (now forward = more power) and why didn't they integrate the brake controls into the console?
There's probably a cruise feature somewhere. It doesn't make sense not to have one. The brake stand is not from Siemens, hence the lack of integration.
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Old August 4th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #4269
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This is a bit off topic but... I was wondering if this idea for HSR in the Northeast would work. Even if true HSR does come to the Northeast (not the phony Acela) it won't be able to be efficient enough if it still stops at every single stop like the Acela does now.. My idea works like this. You designate five hubs: Washington, Baltimore, Philly, New York, New Haven, and Boston. All trains would start and end at these hubs rather than the Acela only starting and stopping in DC and Boston. So a New York to DC train would stop at all the stops that are after Baltimore and then end at DC. So instead of going through Newark, Trenton, Philly etc. to get to DC you only stop at the trains AFTER the Baltimore stop in case anyone else on the train wants to get off at one of the stops after Baltimore like Greenbelt or one the DC suburbs. So there would be direct trains between each of the hubs which would make a total of 15 different routes between the cities. It would be a lot faster since you don't have to stop at every single stop and would reduce overcrowding. It sounds really confusing but makes sense rather than having the train stop at every stop so if you want to go from Baltimore to Washington you have to cram yourself onto a train filled with New Yorkers, Bostonians, and Philadelphians. The demand is to big to have the train stop at every stop which is why I think my plan would work.
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Old August 4th, 2013, 09:11 AM   #4270
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Originally Posted by baavaz17 View Post
This is a bit off topic but... I was wondering if this idea for HSR in the Northeast would work. Even if true HSR does come to the Northeast (not the phony Acela) it won't be able to be efficient enough if it still stops at every single stop like the Acela does now.. My idea works like this. You designate five hubs: Washington, Baltimore, Philly, New York, New Haven, and Boston. All trains would start and end at these hubs rather than the Acela only starting and stopping in DC and Boston. So a New York to DC train would stop at all the stops that are after Baltimore and then end at DC. So instead of going through Newark, Trenton, Philly etc. to get to DC you only stop at the trains AFTER the Baltimore stop in case anyone else on the train wants to get off at one of the stops after Baltimore like Greenbelt or one the DC suburbs. So there would be direct trains between each of the hubs which would make a total of 15 different routes between the cities. It would be a lot faster since you don't have to stop at every single stop and would reduce overcrowding. It sounds really confusing but makes sense rather than having the train stop at every stop so if you want to go from Baltimore to Washington you have to cram yourself onto a train filled with New Yorkers, Bostonians, and Philadelphians. The demand is to big to have the train stop at every stop which is why I think my plan would work.
The Acela currently has about 15 stops along the route. Some, even if you skipped them would not make much of a time savings due to track curvature.

If you do take a look at Amtrak's Vision for the NEC page 21 of 42 for the 2012 update. You will see the concept of a Super Express service only serving DC, Philadelphia, NYC, Route 128, and Boston. My thinking would be to do a three level service with a brand new HSL like in Japan. Super-Express, Limited-Express, and Local. Limited-Express would not serve as many stations as a regional but service more than a Super-Express.

It is hard to say on what stops should be made or not made for a limited stop train if there should be a combination or how that would work out. I would like to start with the following.

1x per hour Express Boston South, Back Bay, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC
1x per hour Limited-Express Boston South, Back Bay, Providence, New Haven, Jamaica (presuming HSL goes via Long Island), New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, DC

Amtrak's Acela schedule does not make sense in the aspect that a few afternoon trains skip New Haven even though you can only pass through New Haven at 30 mph. Yet all trains stop at Route 128 in Boston.

From there, I do not know. Currently, BWI, Metropark, and New London are only served by select Acela Express trains. BWI Airport-Baltimore can be done via NE Regional in one stop, to DC in two stops to where I do not believe serving the airport by a new service will be beneficial. Philadelphia, Newark, and Jamaica I am not sure would be worth serving. In terms of reducing Northeast air shuttles, serving the cores of downtown cities would probably eliminate the hourly air shuttles. Would people use the trains to connect to destinations like New Haven? Perhaps. For most instances, the regional trains would probably do better for that job rather than HSR. I think some select service to airports would be okay, but not for all trains.
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Old August 4th, 2013, 06:34 PM   #4271
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hi I just want to ask question.. a stupid one I know

how is it development in the US? if I'm not mistaken, average US states receive 0% to 1% of GDP growth. It hardly got 4%. So I assume construction there are not active
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Old August 4th, 2013, 06:56 PM   #4272
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Originally Posted by ahmadinejad View Post
hi I just want to ask question.. a stupid one I know

how is it development in the US? if I'm not mistaken, average US states receive 0% to 1% of GDP growth. It hardly got 4%. So I assume construction there are not active
Economic growth last quarter was 1.7%. But, 1.7% growth of the largest economy in the world is much larger (in absolute value) than 10% growth in an emerging economy.
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Old August 4th, 2013, 07:25 PM   #4273
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Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
The longer I read about developments in the US the more I come to the conclusion that hell is going to freeze sooner than there will be a proper high speed rail line in the US. What a pity.

So people keep talking about how it can't be financed but then I look at the obscene "defense"-budget increases even during times of economic crises ... it seems financing destruction in some distant lands is more important than building something in the own homeland.
Rightly said! However I feel CAHSR and NEC projects will still chug along. But yes, there is a problem in the US in general w.r.t public transportation. When the costs of ignoring public transportation and passenger rail become intolerable then a huge majority will realize its importance. However I feel the hardships/costs involved in making that transition at a later date will be tremendous.
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Old August 5th, 2013, 02:42 AM   #4274
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Originally Posted by G5man View Post
The Acela currently has about 15 stops along the route. Some, even if you skipped them would not make much of a time savings due to track curvature.

If you do take a look at Amtrak's Vision for the NEC page 21 of 42 for the 2012 update. You will see the concept of a Super Express service only serving DC, Philadelphia, NYC, Route 128, and Boston. My thinking would be to do a three level service with a brand new HSL like in Japan. Super-Express, Limited-Express, and Local. Limited-Express would not serve as many stations as a regional but service more than a Super-Express.

It is hard to say on what stops should be made or not made for a limited stop train if there should be a combination or how that would work out. I would like to start with the following.

1x per hour Express Boston South, Back Bay, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC
1x per hour Limited-Express Boston South, Back Bay, Providence, New Haven, Jamaica (presuming HSL goes via Long Island), New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, DC

Amtrak's Acela schedule does not make sense in the aspect that a few afternoon trains skip New Haven even though you can only pass through New Haven at 30 mph. Yet all trains stop at Route 128 in Boston.

From there, I do not know. Currently, BWI, Metropark, and New London are only served by select Acela Express trains. BWI Airport-Baltimore can be done via NE Regional in one stop, to DC in two stops to where I do not believe serving the airport by a new service will be beneficial. Philadelphia, Newark, and Jamaica I am not sure would be worth serving. In terms of reducing Northeast air shuttles, serving the cores of downtown cities would probably eliminate the hourly air shuttles. Would people use the trains to connect to destinations like New Haven? Perhaps. For most instances, the regional trains would probably do better for that job rather than HSR. I think some select service to airports would be okay, but not for all trains.

But even with the express if I want to go from Baltimore to DC the train would be packed with people from the stops before me like Philly and NY and Boston. Even if I wanted to get from New York to DC the train would still be packed with people from Boston trying to get to DC.

Even if Amtrak gets new tracks and trains go from Boston to DC on 200 MPH there would be a huge demand to take the train and they would just get overcrowded. You have to think about HSR like a plane. Everything is more efficient if everyone on board is from the same origin and are going to the same destination.
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Old August 5th, 2013, 05:17 AM   #4275
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Originally Posted by baavaz17 View Post

But even with the express if I want to go from Baltimore to DC the train would be packed with people from the stops before me like Philly and NY and Boston. Even if I wanted to get from New York to DC the train would still be packed with people from Boston trying to get to DC.

Even if Amtrak gets new tracks and trains go from Boston to DC on 200 MPH there would be a huge demand to take the train and they would just get overcrowded. You have to think about HSR like a plane. Everything is more efficient if everyone on board is from the same origin and are going to the same destination.
I think you are missing the entire point of rail transport. ICE 3's can carry up to 460 passengers with 8 cars. The current Acela's carry 300 passengers. There is only 1 train per hour meaning there is plenty of room for growth and I would not be concerned. That is the entire point of rail. So you can have some going to the terminus point, while still getting off in between so that there is a higher utilization rate. Bypassing NYC would be a huge mistake and bypassing Philadelphia and Baltimore are expensive due to the high-speed tracks required to bypass the city. Is it worth billions of dollars to bypass cities when there is demand for the train to stop at those destinations? Amtrak tried a limited-stop Acela but demand was weak.

The Shinkansen Nozomi stops at major destinations along the way to Osaka, there is a reason rail runs differently. There is a point in stopping at major destinations which is why I was thinking having 1x per hour Super-Express only stopping at major cities. The 5 stops are not very many and as long as bypasses are not prohibitively expensive, then it would make sense. However, if it costs billions of dollars and not many more passengers will get on board, there is no point in spending money to bypass.
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Old August 5th, 2013, 11:20 AM   #4276
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Originally Posted by baavaz17 View Post

But even with the express if I want to go from Baltimore to DC the train would be packed with people from the stops before me like Philly and NY and Boston. Even if I wanted to get from New York to DC the train would still be packed with people from Boston trying to get to DC.

Even if Amtrak gets new tracks and trains go from Boston to DC on 200 MPH there would be a huge demand to take the train and they would just get overcrowded. You have to think about HSR like a plane. Everything is more efficient if everyone on board is from the same origin and are going to the same destination.
Seats are numbered and tickets could be bought a long time in advance on HSR. Why would you be bothered about the train being completely empty at your station?

Boston-DC is a bit too far to completely fill a train. If the new line were to be built the majority of passengers would probably be NYC-DC and NCY-Boston.
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Old August 5th, 2013, 12:12 PM   #4277
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But even with the express if I want to go from Baltimore to DC the train would be packed with people from the stops before me like Philly and NY and Boston.
But there would also be people getting of at Baltimore.


Quote:
You have to think about HSR like a plane. Everything is more efficient if everyone on board is from the same origin and are going to the same destination.
A train isn't a plane. It is one of the strengths of railways that one service can serve multiple origin destination pairs quite easily.
A train that stops in five cities serves a total of 10 origin-destination pairs. If you wanted to replace this train with trains that only serve one single origin-destination pair you would need 10 trains...

Add another stop and the number or relations served increases to 15. Of course extra stops do increase travel time. Finding the right balance between the two is what designing timetables is all about.
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Old August 8th, 2013, 09:57 PM   #4278
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HSR director promises groundbreaking will come soon



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FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Groundbreaking on the first segment of California's high speed rail project is still scheduled to take place this summer. At a meeting in Sacramento, the director of the high speed rail authority said the contract for construction on the line from Madera County to Fresno will be signed within days. While construction hasn't started planning has been underway for months. Tutor Perini Construction, The major contractor for the nearly $1 billion first segment from Madera County through Fresno has set up shop in Fresno and is awaiting the final go ahead from the California High Speed Rail.

Authority Director Dan Richards says things are about to happen. "We're really on the verge of breaking ground our organization is just about to sign the contract with the contractor," said Richards. "Right now it's logistical issues more than anything else." The City of Fresno is gearing up. Half a dozen staff members have been added and more are expected to be hired with funds provided by the authority to both the city, the county and the Economic Development Corporation.

[...]

One legal challenge to the project remains. A Kings County dairy farmer is part of a lawsuit trying to stop the train. But Richard says he believes that obstacle will soon be removed.

The $68 billion project to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco through the Central Valley is expected to take from 15 to 20 years to complete. Work on the first 29 mile section from Madera County through the city of Fresno is expected to start within the next month or two.

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Old August 21st, 2013, 01:24 PM   #4279
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Here's a teaser video from my Boston trip. Unfortunately I can't upload the rest of it until tomorrow since the hotel internet is slow and inconsistent. Here, at one of the only stops on the NEC where trains can accelerate out of the station at full throttle without low speed restrictions, we are afforded rare opportunities to catch Amtrak's trains showing off their full might and power. Train 173 NE Regional departs first with Toaster Rehab 904. The Acela, train 2163 is running 20 minutes late, and the engineer does a good job of indicating that he plans to make up that time. Just watch her fly out of the station. This is also one of the few spots that affords a decent opportunity to record traction motor sounds. Can't wait to come back in a few years and see how the ACS-64s perform coming out of this station.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 02:03 PM   #4280
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Can't wait to come back in a few years and see how the ACS-64s perform coming out of this station.
I think you'll be massively disappointed. The ACS-64 will only do marginally better then the HHP8. Their tractive effort ratings are comparable and the difference in power rating is only 400 kW and will only show at speeds over about 50 mph. Compared to an AEM7 it will be faster. The only advantage the ACS-64 will have over it's predecessors is it's more advanced control systems, but again the HHP8 isn't exactly old fashioned there either.
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