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120 new bi-levels for various location

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, August 7, 2011 6:36 PM

http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/news/single-view/view/fra-releases-loco-and-rolling-stock-grants.html

fra  announced grants to purchase both locomotives [ fast acceleration type ? ] and 120 bi-level cars.

California                                  6 locos    42 passenger cars

illinoois  and mid - west        12   locos  30 passenger cars

michigan                                   7  locos    48 cars

Of course these are just allocated numbers. Am sure they will be interchanged and maybe even one or more trains will run thru. maybe a real start for HrSr????

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, August 7, 2011 7:01 PM

Pls excuse the posting many errors. borrowed computed has a mind of its own. Note: also 8 locos to wash state and one additional talgo set. 

Some one who is aware now of what routes in the midwest use superliners and the number can give a guess as to how many superliners will come available from this order replacing them and their reassignment to various LD trains including auto train. I believe California also uses about 5 SLs on their trains??

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Posted by jeaton on Sunday, August 7, 2011 9:34 PM

None of the Chicago hub regionals use Superliners, so they won't be providing anything for the LD trains. 

"We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo Possum "We have met the anemone... and he is Russ." Bucky Katt "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr, Nobel laureate in physics

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, August 8, 2011 7:12 AM

I don't think that the bi-levels would be Superliners.  They would probably be similar to the various California cars assigned to the Surfliners, Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, August 8, 2011 8:29 AM

jeaton

None of the Chicago hub regionals use Superliners, so they won't be providing anything for the LD trains. 

Jeaton: Thanks: I guess that I was reflecting on the substitution that Amtrak did on some winter days replacing Horizon with SLs.  So that being the case I guess that the Horizons will be going some place?? Anyone with any ideas??  Cannot believe any regional manager would want them on any of his routes??  maybe some to a daily Sunset SAS = NOL?? 

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, August 8, 2011 8:38 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

I don't think that the bi-levels would be Superliners.  They would probably be similar to the various California cars assigned to the Surfliners, Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins.

 CSS: You are correct. there is a joint committee of commuter agencys that worked out the interior layout of these bi-levels. The recommendation was to make the intorior very similar to the present California cars. That will give compatibility and interchange capability for all these orders and follows the Amtrak fleet plan published earlier.  However the exterior and all auxillaries will be the same as the next Amtrak order for Superliner additions / replacements. One difference may be 2 doors on each side vs. 1 for Amtrak but that is not set in stone yet  for Amtrak. 

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, August 8, 2011 8:39 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

I don't think that the bi-levels would be Superliners.  They would probably be similar to the various California cars assigned to the Surfliners, Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins.

 CSS: You are correct. there is a joint committee of commuter agencys that worked out the interior layout of these bi-levels. The recommendation was to make the intorior very similar to the present California cars. That will give compatibility and interchange capability for all these orders and follows the Amtrak fleet plan published earlier. 

see  http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer/Page/1241245669222/1241245669129

under fleet plan

However the exterior and all auxillaries will be the same as the next Amtrak order for Superliner additions / replacements. One difference may be 2 doors on each side vs. 1 for Amtrak but that is not set in stone yet  for Amtrak. 

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Monday, August 8, 2011 6:41 PM

Tilt capability is not significant for Illinois; but infrequent 1-deg curve speed reductions would need to be made from 110-mph on CHI-STL Corridor.  Assuming 3.25" cant for 70-mph intermodals, bi-level cars would be restricted to 95-mph; and recovery would take a few miles.  Less than 10 minutes might be lost overall compared to a tilting Talgo.  Quincy and Carbondale would be little affected for 80 mph.

Michigan is another story where frequent, successive curves would limit speed between Kalamazoo and Dearborn.  Predominant 1.5-deg curves would require 3.75" cant for 80 mph for Amtrak bi-levels if NS would allow it..  A Talgo could do 102-mph with the same cant.    Some 2-deg curves would need a problematic 5.75" cant for 80-mph bi-levels while a Talgo could do 85-mph with only 3" cant.  Existing cant was reduced for moderate Conrail secondary freight route train speeds; and Michigan faces much more costly curve modification to enable faster service rather than acquiring tilting trains.

I also do not see the California-type bi-level being the best solution for the Hiawatha service which I have written about previously.  Track capacity is constrained in the rush hour; and the cost of a third express track for as many as 8 trains does not seem warranted, and certainly not for the 2 existing trains.  I have suggested a combined Metra express and Amtrak Hiawatha where Chicago suburban stops would serve both Metra and Wisconsin-oriented commuters that makes for effective use of existing track capacity.  #330 and #339 already take 10 min longer; so why not make that productive and accommodate more commuters?  This can be facilitated with Nippon-Sharyo gallery cars fitted for both Amtrak with reduced seating and Metra - like the C&NW Bi-Level 400s - so this is not a radical idea but one that worked before.

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 9:17 AM

Note: this figure of 120 follows the 130 single levels order announced earlier this year. I suspect that next year or the year after we will see another order for both types of cars to meet the Amtrak fleet strategy plan. It states about 70 single levels and 65  bi- levels per year to be ordered.

This present orders is for 2 years delivery.

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 11:24 AM

As a follow-up, let me say that between 35th St, Chicago and as far as University Park on the Carbondale - New Orleans route, 110-mph service would require 4-in. cant on 50-min. curves.  This would be little problem other than at Kensington Jct on segregated and grade-separated track; and CN might be persuaded by Illinois to allow 110-mph with changes in the cant on such infrequent curves as far south as Carbondale.  This also would benefit extended service to Memphis and a Saint Louis service by way of Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield.

By comparison, a Talgo would be capable of a sustained 140-mph, assuming Kensington is rebuilt, on the grade-separated segment between 35th St and University Park with 4.25-in. cant on 50-min. curves.  The good news is non-electric traction would not face vertical curve limitations as with catenary.  The bad news is two-fold: new Amtrak non-electric locomotive specs call for only 125 mph and 6-in under-balance - sounds like Amtrak is still buying freight locomotives for passenger service.

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, August 11, 2011 11:04 AM

I may have mis led the forum by my statements.  this bi-level grant  is not ordering the equipment but allocating funds for their purchase. Amtrak's fleet plan did not fully anticipate this change in ordering dates. It comes about because the mid-west equipment committee  [ short haul ]  decided to go with bi-levels. There will be RFP SOON TO BUILD THESE CARS .   No date for the RFP has been announced yet. I expect the first cars may be delivered in 2014. The biggest problem is that  this order is may cause a  delay in getting new Superliner type sleepers which Amtrak says there is a big need. [at least 46 + for 1 additional each train] 

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Thursday, August 11, 2011 11:05 AM

The Talgo does not actually provide all that much tilt correction because it is really just placing the springs up high to provide a little bit of lean into the curves.  My understanding is that the Talgo is designed to provide 3 inches of tilt correction at 9 inches of underbalance leaving 6 inches of cant in the passenger cabin.  At 6 inches of underbalance, which is what they are limited to by those locomotives with freight-standard axle loadings, they are probably correcting 2 inches, leaving 4 inches of uncorrected cant.

Hey wait a minute, Paul! you are thinking.  The FRA limits uncorrected cant to 3 inches.  Well they do and they don't.  A "conventional passenger car" that actually leans out in curves is limited to 3 inches because what is acting on the passengers is somewhat more because of adverse roll.  Don Oltmann tells me they have given a waiver to run "outside spring cars" (cough, Amfleet, cough) to operate at 6 inches of underbalance, just as they operate in Europe.

You could probably get all of the curve-tracking performance of Talgo with some minor suspension mods on an Amfleet coach.  There is a Japanese patent on a passive tilting system using the deflection of springs as on Talgo, but instead of putting the springs up high between the cars as Talgo does, the springs are at the truck level and outboard like on Amfleet but they are canted inward, giving the same effect as Talgo.

With a bi-level, that is another story, whether you would run anything that tall with that much cant deficiency or employ any kind of passive tilt on a tall train car.  It probably depends on how much higher the center-of-gravity is on a bilevel -- it is not necessarily that much higher than a single level depending on weight distribution in the coach -- and where the rotation center of the tilt is in relation to upper deck seats and seasickness problems.

And then there is the issue of locomotives with 30+ ton axle loadings pounding out the rails with their axle-hung traction motors at 110-125 MPH.  Dunno, is Amtrak rushing into this without thinking through all the implications.  I am not talking about some exotic train here, just to follow best-practices that have been developed in the Japan-UK-Europe in recent years.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by HarveyK400 on Thursday, August 11, 2011 4:49 PM

Paul Milenkovic

The Talgo does not actually provide all that much tilt correction because it is really just placing the springs up high to provide a little bit of lean into the curves.  My understanding is that the Talgo is designed to provide 3 inches of tilt correction at 9 inches of underbalance leaving 6 inches of cant in the passenger cabin.  At 6 inches of underbalance, which is what they are limited to by those locomotives with freight-standard axle loadings, they are probably correcting 2 inches, leaving 4 inches of uncorrected cant.

Hey wait a minute, Paul! you are thinking.  The FRA limits uncorrected cant to 3 inches.  Well they do and they don't.  A "conventional passenger car" that actually leans out in curves is limited to 3 inches because what is acting on the passengers is somewhat more because of adverse roll.  Don Oltmann tells me they have given a waiver to run "outside spring cars" (cough, Amfleet, cough) to operate at 6 inches of underbalance, just as they operate in Europe.

You could probably get all of the curve-tracking performance of Talgo with some minor suspension mods on an Amfleet coach.  There is a Japanese patent on a passive tilting system using the deflection of springs as on Talgo, but instead of putting the springs up high between the cars as Talgo does, the springs are at the truck level and outboard like on Amfleet but they are canted inward, giving the same effect as Talgo.

With a bi-level, that is another story, whether you would run anything that tall with that much cant deficiency or employ any kind of passive tilt on a tall train car.  It probably depends on how much higher the center-of-gravity is on a bilevel -- it is not necessarily that much higher than a single level depending on weight distribution in the coach -- and where the rotation center of the tilt is in relation to upper deck seats and seasickness problems.

And then there is the issue of locomotives with 30+ ton axle loadings pounding out the rails with their axle-hung traction motors at 110-125 MPH.  Dunno, is Amtrak rushing into this without thinking through all the implications.  I am not talking about some exotic train here, just to follow best-practices that have been developed in the Japan-UK-Europe in recent years.

Re: tilting

  • Paul, I noticed that you wrote "My understanding is that the Talgo is designed to provide 3 inches of tilt correction...."  All the Talgo material shows substantial tilting - up to at least 8-degrees (7.9 in.).  I can confirm from riding that there is no lateral force sensation through curves.  I also read elsewhere that the lack of lateral sensation caused a problem for a few riders; and compensation was slightly reduced, but not by anything like 6 in.
  • I read that New Haven and successors including Amtrak were allowed 5-in.cant deficiency.  Maybe that has been raised to 6-in?  I experienced similar cant deficiency on SNCF from Lyon to Paris on the old PLM before the TGVs, and can tell you that while only mildly uncomfortable when seated, standing or walking through the train is very difficult, even hazardous - and the track was as smooth as glass.  These trains were allowed 140 kph instead of 120 kph.  For this reason, the practice was limited to all-reserved trains which also is generally true for Amtrak.  I didn't find out how this affected a cup of coffee or glass of wine.  Any readers with experience riding a Regional (Acela has tilting) between New York and Boston want to give your ride impressions?
  • The Japanese tilting arrangement seems interesting - similar geometry as a swing hanger and bolster - and I assume there are control rods.  I'd love to see a photo (hint!).  In the same vein, the UA Turbo Train adapted the tilting linkage to the power truck, undoubtedly patented as well.
  • The F59 weighing 263,000 lbs was allowed 7-in. cant deficiency for the Cascades; so the new spec for 6-in. cant deficiency, probably for a 286,000 lb locomotive (35.75 tons/axle), is a couple steps backward including the added weight.  In addition, the additional weight exacerbates the issue of unsprung weight of nose-mounted traction motors.   In order to justify heavier locomotives, it seems that 6-in uncompensated under-balance is being compared to (nearly?) fully compensated under-balance claiming no difference in performance while ignoring comfort and safety.

Except for seating capacity and low-level, I would agree that Amtrak and this Midwest Committee either rushed or blindly followed Amtrak's current choices in deciding on equipment.

  • Bi-levels at least facilitate faster low-level de-training and boarding, at least for the first few passengers, and have automatic doors for spreading alighting and boarding among all cars to minimize dwell time.
  • Equipment will be capable of 125 mph; but few routes around the country, including the NEC, have the alignment for it, and the cost for full grade separation for just 15 mph more speed is exorbitant compared to the benefit.  Another limitation is the distance needed to recover speed after a curve restriction, especially with the limited power of non-electric traction.
  • The decision for bi-levels precludes faster service between Chicago and Pontiac, MI where at least single-level cars might be allowed 95-mph with 4-in cant for predominant 1.5-deg curves.  Modifying Acela with traps and stops for low-level boarding may be one way to provide a faster, more comfortable ride on Midwest routes; but the problem remains of limited boarding capacity and speed with manual door and trap operation.
  • With the notable exception of Niles-Kalamazoo, bi-levels will be limited to 80 mph and less for much of the route between Chicago and Pontiac.  This assumes a 4-in cant maximum for frequent curvature and Amtrak ownership or a deal with NS.  This hardly qualifies as high-speed rail.
  • Extensive sections of the Chicago - Twin Cities route also have many curves, although not as much as in Michigan.  Most restrictions will be in the 70-80 mph range; but the question is whether any significantly higher speeds could be attained and sustained over some segments.
  • Illinois routes will face occasional speed restrictions with bi-levels; but at least numerous sections will allow substantial 110 mph running.  Even the 35th St, Chicago - University Park CN grade separation would have at least a couple 110 mph curve restrictions even with 4-in. cant at Hyde Park and at the Calumet River on segregated tracks in addition to possible intermediate stops.
  • The selection of bi-levels for the Midwest should not have been a "Buy American" issue since Talgo was willing to put an assembly plant in Wisconsin and Nippon-Sharyo is building in Illinois. 
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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:33 PM

The article is

J. Carballeira

 

, L. Baeza, A. Rovira and E. García (2008), "Technical characteristics and dynamic modelling of Talgo trains", Vehicle System Dynamics Vol 46, pp 301-316.

Figure 11 on p 312 shows a figure of how the center car in a Talgo consist responds to entering and leaving a curve.  The figure caption says that the uncompensated cant is 1.32 m/s^2, which I calculate to be about 7.5 inches, the amount of cant remaining after tilting I read off the graph as .75 m/s^2, which works out to about 4.3 inches, and the train car is shown as tilting by 3.2 degrees or about 3.1 inches, and that these numbers don't add up is in the use of approximations in the cant calculation, and if you want the exact formulas for combining superelevation, cant deficiency, tilt angle, and what the passenger experiences, those formulas are in

P. Milenkovic (2011) "Series solution for finite displacement of planar four-bar linkages" Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, Vol 3, pp 014501-1-014501-7.

So in rough round numbers, if the Cascades Service is running their Talgos at 7 inches uncompensated cant, the Talgo tilt supplies 3 inches of correction and the passengers feel about 4 inches uncompensated, which is probably the FRA allowed amount in conventional equipment running at 3 inches uncompensated because non-Amfleet non-Talgo equipment leans the wrong way in curves.  So the Talgo picks up about 4 inches on conventional equipment because it leans in by 3 inches whereas conventional trains lean out by about 1 inch.

About that conventional-train tilting truck -- the UA TurboTrain had such a thing on the Power Dome Cars, and I am sure the patent on that has expired by now -- that was filed nearly 50 years ago.  I have to look for that canted spring tilt truck patent.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by HarveyK400 on Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:59 PM

Interesting!  Thank you, Mr J. Carballeira.

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, August 11, 2011 7:46 PM

Harvey: Since the RFP has not yet been issued do you think there is a possibility that tilting will be included in that RFP?

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Friday, August 12, 2011 12:07 AM

Given Amtrak's conservative nature, I doubt they'll want to put any effort into bi-level tilting.  What was good enough for California 20 years ago will have to make do elsewhere.  There is no mandate to meet a running time goal anywhere as there was for the NEC.

Wisconsin went rogue with Talgo, following Washington and Oregon.  According to the Railway Gazette, Michigan is on board for bi-levels; so running time can be expected to hover around 5 hrs to Detroit.  They must have bought the story that tilting doesn't help.  Amtrak, and maybe the Feds, seem to be lobbying hard for acceptance and compliance with the three-sizes-fit-all fleet plan and a sustainable car-building industry.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, August 12, 2011 2:14 PM

Harvey:  As an advocate for both sides of any discussion I would like to speculate as to why the mid – west equipment committee may have picked the bi-levels. I will use what information is available especially the Amtrak fleet plan version 2; Comprehensive business plan; Fleet plan

  http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer/Page/1241245669222/1241245669129   

1. Passenger loads:

The loads on various routes varies wildly. When legislatures are in session there is much traffic to and from Springfield, Il, Jefferson City, Mo both north and south. Friday’s and Sundays you will have many college students to / from the various institutions. At present there are usually not enough seats for the students. Weekends of football games cannot carry the persons that desire to ride to games.  OTOH some of the new and developing routes at first may not have the passenger demand for a Talgo?  [present Talgos seat 468 - 444 [ ? ] [36 for each coach, # in Business and lounge not known ] but that may not be the seating plan for the mid – west?  Some present routes [ ex CHI – MKE ] have many trips that are not carrying many passengers but they have committed to TALGO.

2.  Consist flexibility:

Some of the new routes and present routes that have more 1 train will have low loads. These would not need a train of 444 [ ? ] capacity.  OTOH if a TALGO trip is overbooked constantly either adding another consist to that train [platform length is a problem: more later] or starting an additional train may be expensive. I can imagine some trains with only a Bi-level coach and combination coach – snack – lounge. One possibility may be on the overbooked trains of adding single level cars to the front of a Talgo? But that would negate any tilting capability.?

3. Equipment compatibility:

The California cars presently used seem to be the model for the future orders. California’s cars hold 90 passengers in coach configuration and the 7 wrecked Superliners that Ca rebuilt and is leasing from Amtrak carry 96 pass. [they slated to return to Amtrak when this order is delivered’]. Although some new auxiliary items will be of new design many others will go into the present SLs. There may be some backward compatibility to Ca-1 cars. For want of a designation will call the new bi-level cars CA-2s.

The spare parts needed may be reduced with a larger car base? [ saving money?]

4. Maintenance:

TALGOs would require a separate facility built to service them. That would include a major overhaul facility built somewhere in CHI? The facility that is proposed for MKE would not have the capacity to service all the units. OTOH the present facilities in Chi may be cramped for the bi-levels and the old ATSF car yard is no longer available? AT Beech Grove there is quite some area for expansion in present buildings and they have experience in SL overhauls.  [ more savings ]

5. Platform length: Equipment length:

A 13 car Talgo is approximately 560 ft long [ 43’1” each requires 520 ft platform]. A 5 car bi-level [85’ each ] is 420’ long and would carry approximately 450 passengers. [requires a 400 ft platform ] Platforms may be a problem at some stations. A Talgo is going to require the 560’ of length to prevent a double stop. Are all the stations you propose for the Talgos that length? May be more initial savings  not  to lengthen platforms?

 6. Financials:

It all comes down to congressional mandates on financials. According to the May 2011 YTD financials the Cascades TALGO service has a loss of 0.9 cents / mile and fully allocated 3.5 cents / mile cost loss. This is even though Wash DOT owns 2 of the TALGO sets. Granted  California has a higher cost loss. The Midwest states are going to have to pay for the operating costs and may want to reduce those operating costs as much as possible.  Shorter trains where possible will save fuel and car mileage costs? Another bi-level saving may be the combining of trains for some distance out from CHI to save train miles and train starts?

7. Future considerations:

Platforms may be lengthened at a fairly reasonable cost and that would be a capital cost. Do not know the track geometry of the various routes but certainly some curve mitigation may in the futures be done as another capital cost vs. operating costs. The situation approaching STL will need to be addressed in the future and that should also be a capital cost? Michigan would have to grade separate their line to get full TALGO benefits. [ FRA 110 MPH speed limit thru at grade crossings.]      

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Friday, August 12, 2011 9:48 PM

blue streak 1
Harvey:  As an advocate for both sides of any discussion I would like to speculate as to why the mid – west equipment committee may have picked the bi-levels. I will use what information is available especially the Amtrak fleet plan version 2; Comprehensive business plan; Fleet plan
1. Passenger loads:
The loads on various routes varies wildly. When legislatures are in session there is much traffic to and from Springfield, Il, Jefferson City, Mo both north and south. Friday’s and Sundays you will have many college students to / from the various institutions. At present there are usually not enough seats for the students. Weekends of football games cannot carry the persons that desire to ride to games.  OTOH some of the new and developing routes at first may not have the passenger demand for a Talgo?  [present Talgos seat 468 - 444 [ ? ] [36 for each coach, # in Business and lounge not known ] but that may not be the seating plan for the mid – west?  Some present routes [ ex CHI – MKE ] have many trips that are not carrying many passengers but they have committed to TALGO.
Amtrak seems to allocate equipment to meet a nominal level of daily demand - more seats than they need on some days, less for others, like your example of college week-ends, because most services share the same peaks and valleys.  Consists are not changed; so the difficulty in adjusting train length for fluctuating demand is over-stated.   And unlike the railroads that had extra equipment for peak demand and special events, Amtrak has no extra equipment that isn't awaiting repairs.
2.  Consist flexibility:
Some of the new routes and present routes that have more 1 train will have low loads. These would not need a train of 444 [ ? ] capacity.  OTOH if a TALGO trip is overbooked constantly either adding another consist to that train [platform length is a problem: more later] or starting an additional train may be expensive. I can imagine some trains with only a Bi-level coach and combination coach – snack – lounge. One possibility may be on the overbooked trains of adding single level cars to the front of a Talgo? But that would negate any tilting capability.?

Last year the Saint Louis and Carbondale trains had been running with as many as 7 cars, 400-430 seats including business class (and Amtrak said that car supply was too tight to expand consists or add trains!).   A 13-car 552-ft Talgo might have 404 seats (360+44); and a 15-car 638-ft train would have 476 seats (404+44) to meet this demand. 

If the demand has grown to over 450 passengers, maybe another frequency should be added - these are more seats than Acela will have with 8-car trains.  Lighter routes like Quincy only may need an 8-car 340-ft consist with 238 seats (216+22) day in and day out.  Cars can be added and removed with general changes in ridership; but I grant it is more complicated than just coupling cars and connecting trainlines.

Let's not get crazy about flexibility - does Amtrak add a Horizon coach to an Acela?  No, they gouge the customer with premium fares.  If customers don't want an earlier or later Acela or a seat on a Regional, they can find another way because Penn Station is at capacity and adding another Acela, or even another car, is virtually impossible

Some Amtrak Hiawatha runs have low ridership; but consists for the maximum loads carried by #330 and #339 still shuttle between Milwaukee and Chicago without change with an NPCU at the south end for push-pull operation.  The Talgos on order will meet current peak demand; and flexibility will be no more of an issue than now.  (My opinion is that small off-peak loads result from a wrong-headed fare policy with exorbitant 1-way fares on the one hand and unnecessarily discounted monthly passes that do not take advantage of demand pricing on the other - and that was before Megabus.)

I know over-booking is practiced; but maybe it should stop.  In this electronic age, it should be possible to find out if space has come available at the last minute for a potential passenger.

I hope Illinois would not implement a service that projects less than about 150 passengers per train on average. 

Most Midwest routes do not handle checked baggage; but space for bicycles might be desirable.  Carrying baggage and/or bicycles on a Talgo might be a challenge; but it's one way to utilize a rougher-riding end unit, adding 13 tons and ~50 ft to the train.


3. Equipment compatibility:
The California cars presently used seem to be the model for the future orders. California’s cars hold 90 passengers in coach configuration and the 7 wrecked Superliners that Ca rebuilt and is leasing from Amtrak carry 96 pass. [they slated to return to Amtrak when this order is delivered’]. Although some new auxiliary items will be of new design many others will go into the present SLs. There may be some backward compatibility to Ca-1 cars. For want of a designation will call the new bi-level cars CA-2s.
Compatibility certainly wasn't an over-riding concern for the NEC.  Long-distance Superliners and Talgos can co-exist at Midwest stations; but Amtrak can't extend Acela through service south of Washington (I don't know about west to Harrisburg).
Furthermore, the bi-levels won't match up with Metra gallery cars (or Caltrain or Metrolink).
The spare parts needed may be reduced with a larger car base? [ saving money?]
4. Maintenance:
TALGOs would require a separate facility built to service them. That would include a major overhaul facility built somewhere in CHI? The facility that is proposed for MKE would not have the capacity to service all the units. OTOH the present facilities in Chi may be cramped for the bi-levels and the old ATSF car yard is no longer available? AT Beech Grove there is quite some area for expansion in present buildings and they have experience in SL overhauls.  [ more savings ]
Talgos will be built and maintained in Wisconsin (they beat Illinois on that).  Maintenance and storage capacity needs to be expanded in Chicago as well; but Amtrak may not have acted fast enough to get Canal St.  Capacity would be reduced further if a needed direct connection is built between Union Station and the Air Line and CN to the Lakefront that would displace some current tracks.
5. Platform length: Equipment length:
A 13 car Talgo is approximately 560 ft long [ 43’1” each requires 520 ft platform]. A 5 car bi-level [85’ each ] is 420’ long and would carry approximately 450 passengers. [requires a 400 ft platform ] Platforms may be a problem at some stations. A Talgo is going to require the 560’ of length to prevent a double stop. Are all the stations you propose for the Talgos that length? May be more initial savings  not  to lengthen platforms?
I won't deny that multi-level cars allow for shorter platforms than for single-level cars; but that really isn't much of a problem for services other than for the Hiawathas (related to line capacity in the peak).  For very small volume Illinois stations such as Gilman, a single stop at a short platform would suffice, even if a couple passengers have to walk through the train to their assigned car and seat.  Other platforms should be lengthened accordingly - if a stop is warranted, so is the platform. 
The only problem I see is at large stations such as Champaign and Springfield where a secure boarding area would be desirable.  Pre-checked passengers can be distributed throughout the train with computerized car and seat assignments and board at every automatic door to minimize dwell time.  Here the platform or boarding area would need to be the full length of the train.  Even so, Metra and Amtrak long distance trains need an 850-ft platform, so much of this discussion is academic.
My ideal station would have a fully-enclosed, temperature controlled boarding concourse with automatic doors that would open when the train is berthed.
 6. Financials:
It all comes down to congressional mandates on financials. According to the May 2011 YTD financials the Cascades TALGO service has a loss of 0.9 cents / mile and fully allocated 3.5 cents / mile cost loss. This is even though Wash DOT owns 2 of the TALGO sets. Granted  California has a higher cost loss. The Midwest states are going to have to pay for the operating costs and may want to reduce those operating costs as much as possible.  Shorter trains where possible will save fuel and car mileage costs? Another bi-level saving may be the combining of trains for some distance out from CHI to save train miles and train starts?
Financials are important; but so is faster service that attracts more riders and revenue that could offset any higher comparative costs.  And you allow that the Cascades do better than California; so where's the beef?
I agree that shorter trains generally will save costs.  Bi-level trains are somewhat lighter per seat than single-level cars; but Talgos also are much lighter than a conventional single-level coach and much lighter per seat.  The resistance of a Talgo due to its length is offset by its smaller perimeter, lower axle load, and fewer journals.
7. Future considerations:
Platforms may be lengthened at a fairly reasonable cost and that would be a capital cost. Do not know the track geometry of the various routes but certainly some curve mitigation may in the futures be done as another capital cost vs. operating costs. The situation approaching STL will need to be addressed in the future and that should also be a capital cost? Michigan would have to grade separate their line to get full TALGO benefits. [ FRA 110 MPH speed limit thru at grade crossings.]
Curve mitigation is costly; and all the more so when bridges and land acquisition are involved.  This may be practical where the curvature is small and realignment can be accomplished within the right of way.  Tilt equipment effectively mitigates all curves along the route.
I'm do not understand your reference to Saint Louis.  The route from Alton to the Mac Arthur Bridge would support 110 mph Talgo and 80 mph bi-level speeds with some changes eliminating existing diverging route turnouts.  Easing curves might allow 110 mph for bi-levels too.  MHSRA anticipates that the expansion of HSR service will require a new Mississippi River crossing, probably adjacent to the existing bridge.  That seems a long way off the way things are going.
Unless Michigan has some more restrictive law, 110 mph does not require full grade separation. 
The only area where 110 mph may be possible for bi-levels would be between Kalamazoo and Porter with some intermediate restrictions; and Talgos would be allowed 110 mph (assuming 7 in. allowable cant deficiency) with less restrictions. 
As it is, the frequent 1.5-deg. curves between Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti that would limit conventional or bi-level equipment to 65 mph or less would allow Talgos as much as 90 mph.  Even if Michigan bought the line or reached an agreement with NS and cant can be raised to a maximum of 4 in. as on the NEC, bi-levels would be allowed only 80 mph while Talgos would be allowed 100 mph.

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, August 13, 2011 4:31 PM

[/quote]

HarveyK400

Harvey: I merely tried to look at some of the reasons the mid-west committee picked the bi-levels. I personally prefer to ride TALGOs especially the 2 axel ones instead of 1 axel.  I feel that finances were the over whelming  metric to build the bi-levels. Any committee member who looked at the success of NC DOT's Piedmont service may have been overly influencial as NC OWNS the track,  rebuilt Heritage equipment to operate, and got an operating agreement with NS that may be better that the mid-west area can get. There fore NC's operating expenses appear to be less. 

Amtrak seems to allocate equipment to meet a nominal level of daily demand -
 Agreeded: but the states may change that?
 And unlike the railroads that had extra equipment for peak demand and special events, Amtrak has no extra equipment that isn't awaiting repairs.
well maybe there will be extra equipment. 
Last year the Saint Louis and Carbondale trains had been running with as many as 7 cars, 400-430 seats including business class (and Amtrak said that car supply was too tight to expand consists or add trains!).   A 13-car 552-ft Talgo might have 404 seats (360+44); and a 15-car 638-ft train would have 476 seats (404+44) to meet this demand.
St Louis and Carbondale are examples of the need to add maybe up to 16 cars? + aybe to City of NO can add drop cars at Carbondale?  
If the demand has grown to over 450 passengers, maybe another frequency should be added
That is where we disagree. Train starts for only certain times will just cost too much to the host RRs. + RRs are going to demand capital improvements to their trackage. The example of UP and the costs to go daily on the Sunset.
 - these are more seats than Acela will have with 8-car trains. 
Yet the quad cities may only need 150 seats?
 Lighter routes like Quincy only may need an 8-car 340-ft consist with 238 seats (216+22) day in and day out.  Cars can be added and removed with general changes in ridership; but I grant it is more complicated than just coupling cars and connecting trainlines.
Which may be an operating expense.
Let's not get crazy about flexibility - does Amtrak add a Horizon coach to an Acela?  No, they gouge the customer with premium fares.  If customers don't want an earlier or later Acela or a seat on a Regional, they can find another way because Penn Station is at capacity and adding another Acela, or even another car, is virtually impossible.
You are correct and Amtrak is proposing to add 2 cars to every Acela consist. Notice that no mention is made of varying Acela consists? 
Some Amtrak Hiawatha runs have low ridership; but consists for the maximum loads carried by #330 and #339 still shuttle between Milwaukee and Chicago without change with an NPCU at the south end for push-pull operation.  The Talgos on order will meet current peak demand; and flexibility will be no more of an issue than now.  (My opinion is that small off-peak loads result from a wrong-headed fare policy with exorbitant 1-way fares on the one hand and unnecessarily discounted monthly passes that do not take advantage of demand pricing on the other - and that was before Megabus.)
With Hia going to TALGOs that fare policy needs changing. Rush hoiurs need to be directed to METRA. 
I know over-booking is practiced; but maybe it should stop.  In this electronic age, it should be possible to find out if space has come available at the last minute for a potential passenger.
I hope Illinois would not implement a service that projects less than about 150 passengers per train on average.
Good points: 
Most Midwest routes do not handle checked baggage; but space for bicycles might be desirable.  Carrying baggage and/or bicycles on a Talgo might be a challenge; but it's one way to utilize a rougher-riding end unit, adding 13 tons and ~50 ft to the train.
Compatibility certainly wasn't an over-riding concern for the NEC.  Long-distance Superliners and Talgos can co-exist at Midwest stations; but Amtrak can't extend Acela through service south of Washington (I don't know about west to Harrisburg).
Furthermore, the bi-levels won't match up with Metra gallery cars (or Caltrain or Metrolink).
This statement confuses me. I seem to remember that the preliminary Amtrak specifications for bi-levels specified matching door floor levels to present CA cars and Superliners. Unfortunately I could not find the reference?
Talgos will be built and maintained in Wisconsin (they beat Illinois on that).  Maintenance and storage capacity needs to be expanded in Chicago as well; but Amtrak may not have acted fast enough to get Canal St.  Capacity would be reduced further if a needed direct connection is built between Union Station and the Air Line and CN to the Lakefront that would displace some current tracks.
First I had heard of that proposal? Know the present backup move is not desireable.
The only problem I see is at large stations such as Champaign and Springfield where a secure boarding area would be desirable.  Pre-checked passengers can be distributed throughout the train with computerized car and seat assignments and board at every automatic door to minimize dwell time.  Here the platform or boarding area would need to be the full length of the train.  Even so, Metra and Amtrak long distance trains need an 850-ft platform, so much of this discussion is academic.
My ideal station would have a fully-enclosed, temperature controlled boarding concourse with automatic doors that would open when the train is berthed.
 That is definitely desireable. However if TALGOs mix with the present LD equipment that may be very difficult.
Financials are important; but so is faster service that attracts more riders and revenue that could offset any higher comparative costs.  And you allow that the Cascades do better than California; so where's the beef
Cascades do better I have been told is because they have a better operating agreement due to the larger capital improvements to BNSF tracks.
I agree that shorter trains generally will save costs.  Bi-level trains are somewhat lighter per seat than single-level cars; but Talgos also are much lighter than a conventional single-level coach and much lighter per seat.  The resistance of a Talgo due to its length is offset by its smaller perimeter, lower axle load, and fewer journals.
Curve mitigation is costly; and all the more so when bridges and land acquisition are involved.
Yes but you can mitigate 3 -4 a year as capital becomes available.
  This may be practical where the curvature is small and realignment can be accomplished within the right of way.  Tilt equipment effectively mitigates all curves along the route.
But if you are limited to 110MPH on host RRs then curve reductions help both host RRs and passenger equipment travel times.
I'm do not understand your reference to Saint Louis.  The route from Alton to the Mac Arthur Bridge would support 110 mph Talgo and 80 mph bi-level speeds with some changes eliminating existing diverging route turnouts.  Easing curves might allow 110 mph for bi-levels too.  MHSRA anticipates that the expansion of HSR service will require a new Mississippi River crossing, probably adjacent to the existing bridge.  That seems a long way off the way things are going.
Well you understand the situation. I have not heard lately but some of the Alton - St. Louis route is close to restricted speed + owned by several RRs?
Unless Michigan has some more restrictive law, 110 mph does not require full grade separation. 
The only area where 110 mph may be possible for bi-levels would be between Kalamazoo and Porter with some intermediate restrictions; and Talgos would be allowed 110 mph (assuming 7 in. allowable cant deficiency) with less restrictions. 
As it is, the frequent 1.5-deg. curves between Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti that would limit conventional or bi-level equipment to 65 mph or less would allow Talgos as much as 90 mph.  Even if Michigan bought the line or reached an agreement with NS and cant can be raised to a maximum of 4 in. as on the NEC, bi-levels would be allowed only 80 mph while Talgos would be allowed 100 mph.
Yes that is entirely true. Again it may be a few curves a year may all that is done much like improvements to surface automobile roads?

The equipment compatibility advantage cannot be overlooked. As a pilot I have seen the ability of Southwest Airlines to operate very profitably exclusively with B-737s although they will be getting B-717 when the merger with Airtran is complete.. Using identical equipment especially auxilliaries makes economies of scale work. The US is not like Europe with hundres of each type of equipment.

When delivered these new CA-2s will be addable to existing LD trains. Can imagine a couple on back of Empire Builder to / from MSP, sw Limited to Kansas City, CO NO to Carbondale, etc. Plus they can readily be ferried to / from California. If extra needed for whatever reason they can be bailed to another operator. [ ex California earthquake? ]

In conclusion these are some of the reasons the the mid-west committee may have chosen bi-levels. Riders for the next 30 years best hope that whole routes can be upgraded to 110 MPH and the construction of separate ROWs for HSR will begin. Both will be needed.   I suspect that most committee members have never ridden a TALGO to realize its ride advantages. 

  

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Posted by beaulieu on Saturday, August 13, 2011 4:55 PM

I think that I should point out that Bombardier is designing tilting bi-levels for Swiss Federal Railways. The technology probably wouldn't be ready for this order, but they are scheduled to enter testing late in 2013.

SBB orders 59 bi-level trainsets

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Monday, August 15, 2011 2:05 AM

blue streak 1

 

HarveyK400:

 

Harvey: I merely tried to look at some of the reasons the mid-west committee picked the bi-levels. I personally prefer to ride TALGOs especially the 2 axel ones instead of 1 axel.  I feel that finances were the over whelming  metric to build the bi-levels. Any committee member who looked at the success of NC DOT's Piedmont service may have been overly influencial as NC OWNS the track,  rebuilt Heritage equipment to operate, and got an operating agreement with NS that may be better that the mid-west area can get. There fore NC's operating expenses appear to be less.

Don't even begin to presume to defend or justify the Midwest decision.

I have no use for present conventional single-level cars for the Midwest that only work well with high-level platforms and can accommodate a few small low-level platform stops when necessary.  That was NC's decision; and use of the few available Heritage cars avoided the issues of new equipment for quick implementation even if it has some drawbacks.  This is not an option for expanding, let alone improving, Midwest service.

Amtrak seems to allocate equipment to meet a nominal level of daily demand -

 Agreeded: but the states may change that?

Why would the states be any more willing than Amtrak to invest in equipment that will be underutilized even more than now?

Last year the Saint Louis and Carbondale trains had been running with as many as 7 cars, 400-430 seats including business class (and Amtrak said that car supply was too tight to expand consists or add trains!).   A 13-car 552-ft Talgo might have 404 seats (360+44); and a 15-car 638-ft train would have 476 seats (404+44) to meet this demand.

Correction: 476 seats (432+44)

St Louis and Carbondale are examples of the need to add maybe up to 16 cars? + aybe to City of NO can add drop cars at Carbondale?

If you are referring to the number of bi-levels, is there any reasonable expectation that average daily ridership on these corridor trains would double again? 

Despite demand, Amtrak has held Long-distance trains to 11 cars exclusive of any head-end cars; so there is little likelihood that 16-car corridor trains would be put together - most likely an hep issue. 

Maybe cars could be added to the City of New Orleans to the 11-car limit; but the present schedule is not very convenient to and from Carbondale. 

If the demand has grown to over 450 passengers, maybe another frequency should be added

That is where we disagree. Train starts for only certain times will just cost too much to the host RRs. + RRs are going to demand capital improvements to their trackage. The example of UP and the costs to go daily on the Sunset.

Okay, we disagree; but even 250 passengers per train would be above average and probably worth the cost of additional improvements.

Yet the quad cities may only need 150 seats?

Lighter routes like Quad Cities only may need an 8-car 340-ft Talgo consist with 238 seats (216+22) day in and day out. 

Cars can be added and removed with general changes in ridership; but I grant it is more complicated than just coupling cars and connecting trainlines.

Which may be an operating expense.

This is still a cost for conventional cars.

Let's not get crazy about flexibility - does Amtrak add a Horizon coach to an Acela?  No, they gouge the customer with premium fares.  If customers don't want an earlier or later Acela or a seat on a Regional, they can find another way because Penn Station is at capacity and adding another Acela, or even another car, is virtually impossible.

You are correct and Amtrak is proposing to add 2 cars to every Acela consist. Notice that no mention is made of varying Acela consists?

Generally as I said. 

Some Amtrak Hiawatha runs have low ridership; but consists for the maximum loads carried by #330 and #339 still shuttle between Milwaukee and Chicago without change with an NPCU at the south end for push-pull operation.  The Talgos on order will meet current peak demand; and flexibility will be no more of an issue than now.  (My opinion is that small off-peak loads result from a wrong-headed fare policy with exorbitant 1-way fares on the one hand and unnecessarily discounted monthly passes that do not take advantage of demand pricing on the other - and that was before Megabus.)

With Hia going to TALGOs that fare policy needs changing. Rush hoiurs need to be directed to METRA. 

Metra would not extend into Wisconsin more than it has already committed to with Kenosha (UPN) without an agreement, and that is unlikely.

The rush hour trains, despite the low commutation fare, still do much better than any other runs; and is the sole rational justification for the Amtrak Hiawatha service.  It was the commuter service that lead the North Western and Milwaukee Road to virtually embargo intercity passenger trains as well as freight during the rush hours and why the North Shore could do any business at all.

Furthermore, the bi-levels won't match up with Metra gallery cars (or Caltrain or Metrolink).

This statement confuses me. I seem to remember that the preliminary Amtrak specifications for bi-levels specified matching door floor levels to present CA cars and Superliners. Unfortunately I could not find the reference?

I was referring to the height of the train doors between cars.

Talgos will be built and maintained in Wisconsin (they beat Illinois on that).  Maintenance and storage capacity needs to be expanded in Chicago as well; but Amtrak may not have acted fast enough to get Canal St.  Capacity would be reduced further if a needed direct connection is built between Union Station and the Air Line and CN to the Lakefront that would displace some current tracks.

First I had heard of that proposal?

These are proposals I have made, not something "official."

My ideal station would have a fully-enclosed, temperature controlled boarding concourse with automatic doors that would open when the train is berthed.

That is definitely desireable. However if TALGOs mix with the present LD equipment that may be very difficult.

I wasn't aware of the 1'2" difference in coupled length between 2 Talgo cars and 1 bi-level car, resulting in a 5'10 door offset at each end from the center of the train.

Financials are important; but so is faster service that attracts more riders and revenue that could offset any higher comparative costs.  And you allow that the Cascades do better than California; so where's the beef

Cascades do better I have been told is because they have a better operating agreement due to the larger capital improvements to BNSF tracks.

That seems like maybe a fair trade-off; but there is insufficient information here to make any determination.

I agree that shorter trains generally will save costs.  Bi-level trains are somewhat lighter per seat than single-level cars; but Talgos also are much lighter than a conventional single-level coach and much lighter per seat.  The resistance of a Talgo due to its length is offset by its smaller perimeter, lower axle load, and fewer journals.
Curve mitigation is costly; and all the more so when bridges and land acquisition are involved.

Yes but you can mitigate 3 -4 a year as capital becomes available.

So every year 3-4 minutes might be taken out of the schedule for conventional equipment to duplicate what Talgos could do now; but in the end, after 10-20 years, you have a route that Talgos still could do substantially better on.

  This may be practical where the curvature is small and realignment can be accomplished within the right of way.  Tilt equipment effectively mitigates all curves along the route.

But if you are limited to 110MPH on host RRs then curve reductions help both host RRs and passenger equipment travel times.

Illinois corridors allow extensive 110 mph running for bi-levels with occassional 70-80 mph restrictions where Talgos could run with no or limited restriction of 90 mph; but Michigan is quite different with much more frequent restrictive curvature in the 60-70 mph range with little opportunity to recover even 80-90 mph speeds while Talgos would need to slow to only 80 mph and sustain 90 mph.

NS position seems to be that they do not need and cannot use fast train speeds for a secondary route and should not be held liable for a part of the cost of any betterment in the CHI-PON corridor.  On the one hand (Catch-22), UP could run 70 mph intermodals on the CHI-STL corridor; but the anticipated increase in their freight business would be hindered by existing and proposeded Amtrak services and current line capacity.

I'm do not understand your reference to Saint Louis.  The route from Alton to the Mac Arthur Bridge would support 110 mph Talgo and 80 mph bi-level speeds with some changes eliminating existing diverging route turnouts.  Easing curves might allow 110 mph for bi-levels too.  MHSRA anticipates that the expansion of HSR service will require a new Mississippi River crossing, probably adjacent to the existing bridge.  That seems a long way off the way things are going.

Well you understand the situation. I have not heard lately but some of the Alton - St. Louis route is close to restricted speed + owned by several RRs?

Apparently, track conditions deteriorated since the last State-funded rehabilitation in the early 1990s. 

Except for Mac Arthur Bridge, I think UP owns the route.

 

 

The equipment compatibility advantage cannot be overlooked. As a pilot I have seen the ability of Southwest Airlines to operate very profitably exclusively with B-737s although they will be getting B-717 when the merger with Airtran is complete.. Using identical equipment especially auxilliaries makes economies of scale work. The US is not like Europe with hundres of each type of equipment.

While compatibility is a desirable feature; bi-levels simply do not perform as well as Talgos on low-density routes; nor are they operationally compatible with higher-capacity gallery cars on high density routes such as CHI-MKE.

When delivered these new CA-2s will be addable to existing LD trains. Can imagine a couple on back of Empire Builder to / from MSP, sw Limited to Kansas City, CO NO to Carbondale, etc. Plus they can readily be ferried to / from California. If extra needed for whatever reason they can be bailed to another operator. [ ex California earthquake? ]

I have no objections to bi-levels being added to long-distance trains; but this capability seems limited;.

Accommodating short trips seem to be considered to be a lower priority than long trips despite the great differential in fares that decreases with distance.

...Riders for the next 30 years best hope [is] that...construction of separate ROWs for HSR will begin.

I am highly pessimistic that separate hsr corridors can be afforded.  Joint freight-passenger corridors for up to 150 mph (like NEC) may be developed on Illinois corridors and the CHI-CLE route in conjunction with major freight routes.

  [/quote]

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Monday, August 15, 2011 2:12 AM

beaulieu

I think that I should point out that Bombardier is designing tilting bi-levels for Swiss Federal Railways. The technology probably wouldn't be ready for this order, but they are scheduled to enter testing late in 2013.

SBB orders 59 bi-level trainsets

Seems like a possibility that would be worth pursuing, and 2013 is not too distant.

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, August 15, 2011 8:20 AM

HarveyK400

 

 beaulieu:

 

I think that I should point out that Bombardier is designing tilting bi-levels for Swiss Federal Railways. The technology probably wouldn't be ready for this order, but they are scheduled to enter testing late in 2013.

SBB orders 59 bi-level trainsets

 

 

Seems like a possibility that would be worth pursuing, and 2013 is not too distant.

By the time the spec writing committee gets through all the red tape and regulation to finish their work, it will be 2013!

If you go back an read the spring update to Amtrak's doc, you'll see that they addressed some of the same criticisms that many of us made of their original work.  One was that they acknowledged that NJT style bi-levels on the corridor might be worth looking at.  Another was that the stainless steel carbodies of the existing fleet are very long lived, but they rejected rebuilding as an option on economic grounds merely by stating there is a lot more the a coach than the carbody.  They do, however, indicate that the existing fleet will likely reach 50 years old or more before being completely phased out.

Scarily, they expect the cost of a new passenger car to be >$3M a copy.  Yikes!  That's starting to make airliners seem cheap....

But, they are still silent on any effort to improve fuel efficiency and train speed.  They are also sticking to their inclination to require scrapping of the existing fleet.  I would think that Amfleet could be rather cost effectively converted to commuter service - your tax dollars at work!

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, August 15, 2011 8:47 AM

2 items that I though about that may affect this delivery.

1. Amtrak fleet plan lists a delivery schedule of 35 bi-levels per year starting in 2015. There has not been a delivery schegule from the MWGC but the timing of service starts indicate that by 2014 these cars would be needed for service. and delivered in the time frame of 2 years??  I cannot locate a copy of the grant award so if some one can..........?  If so that would mean a starting surge of 55 per year then reduction to the planned 35 per year.  Not a good idea.

2. The locomotive order also included in this grant does not specify type. As Harvey so eleoquently notes the unsprung weight on the tracks [110 PH ] needs to be reduced to lower track wear. Also will the locos that go for the Cscades and Hia Talgo trains be of a lower center of gravity and maybe even tilt? [ that does not seem likely ] without these items there may Question be a limitation on the Talgo speeds on certain curves?

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Monday, August 15, 2011 11:29 AM

beaulieu

I think that I should point out that Bombardier is designing tilting bi-levels for Swiss Federal Railways. The technology probably wouldn't be ready for this order, but they are scheduled to enter testing late in 2013.

SBB orders 59 bi-level trainsets

First, Thanks for the link.

In response to those wondering about the option for curve reduction instead of tilting,  "Fitting the passive tilt mechanism specified in the tender to all 59 trains costs less than CHF (Swiss Frank) 100 million in total. But the new technology obviates the need for well over CHF 1 billion worth of infrastructure [improvements]," SBB.  I think tilting is something that needs to be considered more seriously for Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas; and that Amtrak made hasty decisions on equipment that need to be reconsidered.

Regarding the question of tilt for bi-level cars, only 2-deg of passive tilt would be possible for the Bombardier [intercity] double-deck cars for SBB compared to 8-deg for Talgo and others in Europe and Japan.  It''s the locomotive that limits the train's tilt capability on the Cascades to 7 in.; and future Amtrak locomotives would reduce this to 6 in.. 

The additional 2-deg would bring allowable cant deficiency for the Bombardier train to 5.96 in.; so a nominal 95 mph would be allowed on the same 1-deg curve where an Amtrak bi-level might be limited to 80 mph on freight mainlines.  This achieves the same performance for higher-capacity multi-level cars as can be achieved with a waiver for conventional single-level equipment.  A higher allowable speed on curves would save distance and time for braking and recovering speed to an authorized 110 mph limit.

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120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, August 15, 2011 1:54 PM

Harvey: One additinal thought.  when the loads on the bi-levels become near a TALGO capacity on certain departure times [ I do believe that will happpen] then initiate a TALGO trip to lead the conventional bi-level. This TALGO could be first class and business class much like the Acela trips in conjunction with the NEC regionals? That concept calls for at least 2 TALGOs be ordered for these services?   

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Posted by HarveyK400 on Monday, August 15, 2011 2:47 PM

oltmannd

 

If you go back an read the spring update to Amtrak's doc, you'll see that they addressed some of the same criticisms that many of us made of their original work.  One was that they acknowledged that NJT style bi-levels on the corridor might be worth looking at.  Another was that the stainless steel carbodies of the existing fleet are very long lived, but they rejected rebuilding as an option on economic grounds merely by stating there is a lot more the a coach than the carbody.  They do, however, indicate that the existing fleet will likely reach 50 years old or more before being completely phased out.

...[Amtrak] also [is] sticking to their inclination to require scrapping of the existing fleet.  I would think that Amfleet could be rather cost effectively converted to commuter service....

I must have missed that update; but it's exactly those other things beside the body that have a short life regardless of whether the body is new or reused. 

  • Most of the bodies come from some foreign country anyway, so why not get more mileage of of the Am-shells in the "final assembly" performed here? 
  • Could larger FRA-compliant windows be cut into the body and other changes accommodated?  And wouldn't these changes also be needed for a commuter service?
  • I may be repeating myself, but Amfleet (and Horizon) are designed for high level platforms for short dwell time; and few commuter or intercity routes have high volume stations without the need for bi-level capacity that would justify the cost of such platforms and the tracks and signals.
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Posted by HarveyK400 on Monday, August 15, 2011 4:29 PM

blue streak 1

Harvey: One additinal thought.  when the loads on the bi-levels become near a TALGO capacity on certain departure times [ I do believe that will happpen] then initiate a TALGO trip to lead the conventional bi-level. This TALGO could be first class and business class much like the Acela trips in conjunction with the NEC regionals? That concept calls for at least 2 TALGOs be ordered for these services?   

Maybe you meant the other way around given that Talgo would provide a premium service insofar as speed is concerned?  As commented on previously, a supplemental train implies a reserve fleet; and Amtrak has not done that now and seems to have little desire for that beyond meeting normal peak demand as a system exclusive of holidays and rare special events. 

A related issue is pulling together qualified crews for occasional trains and keeping them reasonably employed at other times.

Talgos can handle low and moderate ridership, 150-450 passengers. At 450 riders, a train would be considered well-patronized and subject to an increase in route frequency. 

Again, the problem that arises with the Hiawatha is lack of route capacity in the peak for another train, whether a second section or an hour before or after.  It's not so much the Amtrak ridership that could rise to 900 passengers on a bi-level; but the growth of suburban demand for Metra service and track capacity.  I doubt Amtrak ridership would grow to such load levels without addition peak frequencies

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 10,472 posts
120 new bi-levels for various location
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, August 15, 2011 5:50 PM

HarveyK400

 blue streak 1:

Harvey: One additinal thought.  when the loads on the bi-levels become near a TALGO capacity on certain departure times [ I do believe that will happpen] then initiate a TALGO trip to lead the conventional bi-level. This TALGO could be first class and business class much like the Acela trips in conjunction with the NEC regionals? That concept calls for at least 2 TALGOs be ordered for these services?   

 

Maybe you meant the other way around given that Talgo would provide a premium service insofar as speed is concerned?  As commented on previously, a supplemental train implies a reserve fleet; and Amtrak has not done that now and seems to have little desire for that beyond meeting normal peak demand as a system exclusive of holidays and rare special events. 

Actually I was thinking along the line of NEC history with regular service; then Metroliner service; then the present Acela service. That service building may prove that HrSR demand is there and then provide the preminum service on top of regular bi-level service. . 

A related issue is pulling together qualified crews for occasional trains and keeping them reasonably employed at other times

I was looking at the phase that enough demand is there to operate TALGOs at least 5 days a week.

Talgos can handle low and moderate ridership, 150-450 passengers. At 450 riders, a train would be considered well-patronized and subject to an increase in route frequency. 

Again, the problem that arises with the Hiawatha is lack of route capacity in the peak for another train, whether a second section or an hour before or after.  It's not so much the Amtrak ridership that could rise to 900 passengers on a bi-level; but the growth of suburban demand for Metra service and track capacity.  I doubt Amtrak ridership would grow to such load levels without addition peak frequencies

I cannot predict what will happen on the HIA route.

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