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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
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Old February 19th, 2014, 02:05 AM   #4621
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Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
Isn't it a chicken and the egg problem? Limited services will cause low demand, but low demand will cause limited services as a result. However the investment required to create new lines is such that nobody wants to take the risk.
This is why I believe we need government to make that push. I honestly Believe it will work, and the Acela Express is running proof!
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:33 PM   #4622
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http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/...tml?channel=54
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 07:02 AM   #4623
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Finally, I get the chance to catch ACS-64 600 myself at Newark Liberty International Airport Station. Here she is in all of her glory:
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Old March 4th, 2014, 09:46 PM   #4624
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Old March 12th, 2014, 06:16 AM   #4625
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Amtrak ACS-64 Action today, 3/11/14:
In order:
600 on Northeast Regional Train 184; Trenton Transit Center, 11:45 am.
601 on Silver Star Train 91; Trenton Transit Center, 12:00 pm.
600 on Northeast Regional Train 129; Metropark, 5:15 pm.

It seems that they have moved 601 to the long distance train set rotations for the time being, as it came up from WAS on the Crescent on 3/10/14 and went back down to WAS on the Silver Star today. Word has it that 602 will be seeing service relatively soon; as soon as the end of this week.
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Old March 30th, 2014, 05:22 AM   #4626
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http://articles.philly.com/2014-03-2...-acela-express

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WASHINGTON - Amtrak's planned new Acela Express trains will carry more passengers and be more reliable than the current ones, even if they won't travel much faster, Amtrak president Joseph Boardman said Thursday.

Amtrak is seeking proposals, with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, for new high-speed trains that can run at 220 miles an hour on the West Coast and 160 miles an hour on the Northeast Corridor.

Proposals from train-builders are due by May 17. A builder will be selected by the end of the year, Boardman said.

The first of the new Acela trains are supposed to be in service between Washington and Boston by 2018.

The specifications for the new trains call for many different requirements for Amtrak and for California, but Boardman said he was optimistic that train manufacturers could come up with a common design that could be modified to fit both.

If not, he said, Amtrak will proceed on its own to purchase new Acelas, expected to cost about $50 million each.

"We're going to get a train set that operates for us. We hope it's useful to California . . . but California is not my problem," Boardman said in an interview.

Amtrak in 2012 outlined a $151 billion vision for high-speed travel on a rebuilt Northeast Corridor, with 220-m.p.h. trains between New York and Washington by about 2030 and between New York and Boston by 2040. That plan envisioned 37-minute trips between Philadelphia and New York.

That is still Amtrak's long-range goal, Boardman said, but that vision must be balanced against today's reality: The Northeast Corridor, with its current configuration and equipment, can't handle trains faster than 160 miles an hour.

Amtrak's Acela Express trains now travel up to 150 miles per hour on a short stretch in New England, but the top speed between New York and Washington is 135 miles an hour.

And the train's average speed is considerably lower: On the 319-mile trip between Philadelphia and Boston, including stops, Acela averages about 64 miles per hour.

Amtrak is currently rebuilding a 23-mile stretch of track in central New Jersey that will permit 160-mile-an-hour travel. Boardman says that $450 million project is part of a gradual approach to upgrading the corridor, with limited money from Congress and no multiyear funding.

"We do it a piece at a time. I do what I can do," Boardman said, "but I don't sit back and wait for $15 billion to rebuild the Northeast Corridor."

In the railroad's current budget request, Amtrak is seeking authority to use the operating profit generated on the Northeast Corridor to upgrade the corridor. Currently, that profit is used to help subsidize money-losing, long-distance operations elsewhere in the country, Amtrak says.

The new Acela trains are to carry about 450 passengers, compared with the current capacity of 304. That will help increase capacity on the crowded Northeast Corridor, Boardman said.

Amtrak envisions buying 28 new train sets to add to its current fleet and to replace the 20 existing Acela train sets in the early 2020s.

The new state-of-the-art trains will be more reliable than their predecessors, improving on-time performance, he said.

But the specifications for the new trains do not call for much improvement in current travel times.

The new high-speed trains will be required to make the trip between New York and Washington in no more than 2 hours and 45 minutes, which is the same as some currently scheduled Acelas. The specified travel time between Boston and New York for the new Acelas is 3 hours and 30 minutes, seven minutes faster than current schedules.

Boardman on Thursday renewed his call for Congress to approve a new way of funding Amtrak, instead of relying on annual appropriations. The railroad needs the certainty of multiyear funding to make long-term improvements, like new tunnels into New York City and Baltimore, new bridges, and improved signals and power equipment.

"What the hell is wrong with this country?" Boardman said. "We're eating our assets alive.

"The debt to the future has to be paid by us," he said. "What we need to do now is to provide for the next 100 years."
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Old March 30th, 2014, 03:59 PM   #4627
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What exactly are the design considerations that must be taken into consideration for running, say, a train spec'd for 200mph service at 150mph?

I get what the reverse would be. I'm curious why they wouldn't be able to simply order the same train sets as CAHSRA and simply run them at slower speeds until the tracks are up to par.
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Old March 30th, 2014, 05:16 PM   #4628
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I'm no expert, so I could be wrong, but I imagine that engineering trains for consistent 200mph service, and the trains themselves, would be more expensive than engineering and buying trains built for 150mph. Even if it's a small difference, every penny counts in US rail projects.
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Old March 30th, 2014, 11:40 PM   #4629
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
I'm no expert, so I could be wrong, but I imagine that engineering trains for consistent 200mph service, and the trains themselves, would be more expensive than engineering and buying trains built for 150mph. Even if it's a small difference, every penny counts in US rail projects.
Maybe. That's what I thought at first, but then why bother to bother to go through procurement with CAHSR at all? It's not like they're asking for two distinct models; they're asking for one optimized for 200mph+ & 160mph or so. That seems to erode any of the efficiencies of conducting procurement together, no?

I don't think it's cost, but something to do with design. I just can't think of a reason why you couldn't simply operate the same trains from California in the NEC at slower speeds.
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Old March 31st, 2014, 02:41 AM   #4630
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Maybe. That's what I thought at first, but then why bother to bother to go through procurement with CAHSR at all? It's not like they're asking for two distinct models; they're asking for one optimized for 200mph+ & 160mph or so. That seems to erode any of the efficiencies of conducting procurement together, no?

I don't think it's cost, but something to do with design. I just can't think of a reason why you couldn't simply operate the same trains from California in the NEC at slower speeds.
If you have the time, you should take a look at the RFP documents (which are quite long and available if you dig hard enough on Google). They might help you understand the situation here better.

But yes, it is definitely a cost issue, because cost is tied to the design. Spec'ing a train to operate continuously at 220 mph is more expensive than spec'ing a train to operate continuously at only 160 mph. Specifically, the running gear (traction motors, gearboxes, suspension, etc) on a slower speed train do not necessarily have to meet the standards that running gear on a higher speed train must meet. At the moment, because of the antics in Congress, a 220 mph NEC is still very far away, so finding a way to reduce procurement costs for the new Acelas, which will arrive way before 220 mph track does, is a big priority. It would be harder to justify (in the eyes of the GOV'T) a higher initial procurement cost for trainsets that are capable of 220 mph if there were no tracks to run them at that speed for the foreseeable future. Instead, this will be treated as a deferred "upgrade cost," for when Congress does approve funding for construction of 220 mph track; Amtrak will ask them to bundle the cost for upgrading the Acela IIs to the higher speed with the cost of building the track. It is more justifiable that way.
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Old March 31st, 2014, 03:50 PM   #4631
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fan Railer View Post
If you have the time, you should take a look at the RFP documents (which are quite long and available if you dig hard enough on Google). They might help you understand the situation here better.

But yes, it is definitely a cost issue, because cost is tied to the design. Spec'ing a train to operate continuously at 220 mph is more expensive than spec'ing a train to operate continuously at only 160 mph. Specifically, the running gear (traction motors, gearboxes, suspension, etc) on a slower speed train do not necessarily have to meet the standards that running gear on a higher speed train must meet. At the moment, because of the antics in Congress, a 220 mph NEC is still very far away, so finding a way to reduce procurement costs for the new Acelas, which will arrive way before 220 mph track does, is a big priority. It would be harder to justify (in the eyes of the GOV'T) a higher initial procurement cost for trainsets that are capable of 220 mph if there were no tracks to run them at that speed for the foreseeable future. Instead, this will be treated as a deferred "upgrade cost," for when Congress does approve funding for construction of 220 mph track; Amtrak will ask them to bundle the cost for upgrading the Acela IIs to the higher speed with the cost of building the track. It is more justifiable that way.
Inverse
Right, I understand that trying to run a train spec'd for 160mph at 220mph is quite impossible, but, from what I've understood of the joint effort between CAHSRA and Amtrak, the inverse is happening: they're essentially looking for a design that will allow them to run a train spec'd for 220mph on track designed for 160mph top speeds: that is, they won't be running the trains at the same speed as in California but at a lower one.

I guess I was just confused as to what design considerations needed to be made. Or, why it was not possible to simply run the train below it's design speed (that seems more attractive, and feasible, than the opposite )

Everything that's been said, on Amtrak's end, has essentially been, " we want these train sets to be optimized for our needs too." Yes, but why?

That's why I was curious. To provide an analogy: a Ferrari owner could drive his car in Manhattan quite easily, but a VW owner would be hard pressed to do much of anything on an actual race track.

In this case, CAHSRA wants the Ferrari and Amtrak is saying, essentially, we want it too, but put in this VW engine.

I always thought the efficiency here was the scale (i.e. putting one, massive number of trains on one order). However, once you begin asking for special designs and considerations, those cost efficiencies erode, right?

Wouldn't it be simpler for them to take the exact same models. Amtrak to run it at the lower speed, while upgrading the corridor?

I'll take a look at some RFP documents. It's all just so curious.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 07:49 PM   #4632
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I guess an issue could be tilt, and whether it's specified for the NEC trainsets - existing tilting trainsets, and true high speed designs capable of 186mph+ are currently based on different design platforms. A design capable of 220mph and with active tilt doesn't exist.

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Old April 2nd, 2014, 08:33 PM   #4633
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher125 View Post
I guess an issue could be tilt, and whether it's specified for the NEC trainsets - existing tilting trainsets, and true high speed designs capable of 186mph+ are currently based on different design platforms. A design capable of 220mph and with active tilt doesn't exist.

Chris
ICE-T and Velaro
Talgo 250 and Talgo 350*
Tilting TGV was also build, but only one, for research purposes.


*which is both 200+ mph and tilting, even if passive tilting only
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 08:54 AM   #4634
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ICE-T maxes out at 230 km/h, the Velaro doesn't have tilt.

It seems the fastest train with active tilt is currently the N700/N700A, which uses it's air suspension for tilting a maximum of 2 degrees. Would that be enough for Amtrak, given that the Acela tilts 4 degrees?

Also consider this: CHSRA doesn't need tilt, but high speed, Amtrak needs tilt but less speed. Thus order trains partly with non-tilting very high speed bogies and partly with tilting high speed bogies, similar to what Alstom does with the Pendolino.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 09:04 AM   #4635
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Quote:
Would that be enough for Amtrak, given that the Acela tilts 4 degrees?
It may be, if Amtrak straightens curves on the NEC and speeds up slow sections at interlockings, bridges, and terminal areas, as well as improve terminal turnaround times.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 05:19 PM   #4636
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
ICE-T maxes out at 230 km/h, the Velaro doesn't have tilt.
Yes, but the question isn't about having both tilt and 300+ speed, but rather having a platform that can have either. ICE is excellent example of such modular approach.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 01:52 AM   #4637
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XAN_ View Post
ICE-T and Velaro
Talgo 250 and Talgo 350*
Tilting TGV was also build, but only one, for research purposes.


*which is both 200+ mph and tilting, even if passive tilting only
ICE-T and Velaros are fundamentally different designs, not based on a common design platform - that's the point I'm making. There are no 186mph+ designs with active tilt available now, and if I remember correctly a HS2 consultation a couple of years back no such design was in development nor was one expected to be.

Chris

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Old April 4th, 2014, 02:12 AM   #4638
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher125 View Post
ICE-T and Velaros are fundamentally different designs, not based on a common design platform - that's the point I'm making. There are no 186mph+ designs with active tilt available now, and if I remember correctly a HS2 consultation a couple of years back no such design was in development nor was one expected to be.

Chris
Still If this system could be used on the NEC in places like Connecticut, that would be AMAZING!!! instead of 80 mph, 170 or so is miraculous!!
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Old April 4th, 2014, 08:48 AM   #4639
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Quote:
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There are no 186mph+ designs with active tilt available now, and if I remember correctly a HS2 consultation a couple of years back no such design was in development nor was one expected to be.
When was this consultation? Because like I said: the N700/N700A, in service since 2007, has tilt and is capable of speeds up to at least 200 mph. In fact the tilt on the N700/N700A is enough to raise maximum speed in the Tokaido from 270 km/h to 285 km/h so even a small tilt of 2 degrees has a profound impact.

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Still If this system could be used on the NEC in places like Connecticut, that would be AMAZING!!! instead of 80 mph, 170 or so is miraculous!!
It is already in use, because it's fitted to the Acela. As a rule of thumb with tilt speeds can increase by 10 to 15 percent. In your example the line itself should already be capable of speeds of 150 mph without tilt. The main problem is probably an insufficient safety system (no ACSES?) and the wrong overhead wire system (PRR used fixed tension instead of the now more common constant tension).
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Old April 4th, 2014, 11:16 AM   #4640
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