Updated Acela Replacement news and pics

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 09, 2017 12:13 PM

The entirely new feature would be how Johnny is getting Kalmbach e-mails directly to him that don't show up in the forum thread.  I certainly haven't seen anything by that poster, and I did not think any notification of new postings to a thread contained any actual text of a post -- particularly if the new posting is supposed to be 'in moderation', as a new member is supposed to be.  That could be a highly dangerous bug if a live link or executable is included with the post, and if the very formatting of the text is screwed up it would seem more than likely that 'improper' material might make it across.  Johnny: did the message you received show how many posts member "243149" had made?

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:05 PM

I have also recieved emails that never made it to postings....a rather famous/infamous poser from our very recent past...the email is if it were a posting, but never got on the thread itself. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:41 PM

Every now and then, I have received in my e-mail postings that did not get to  my reception of the thread.

The email post that excited my question had nothing about the poster except his (her?) screen name, and nothing about other posts by the same person.

Does anyone recall other posts by this person? I do not.

Johnny

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:51 PM

I'm tentatively thinking that this issue needs to be elevated and brought directly to tech attention.  It gets far more fun: use the 'search community' tool for all the posts containing this number -- the posts where the number was pasted in do not appear!

Can everyone who has received 'mystery' posts like these direct to their e-mail make a copy, complete with 'long header' information, and be prepared to send or forward these to Kalmbach when we have a direct e-mail for them to go to?

I'm thinking this is a bug in some optional feature, perhaps related to why the mobile version of the PM interface rejects that I'm actually signed in to view messages, but selecting 'full site' (and then squinting to read the two-point type that results) lets me in just fine.  The vague thing that's bothering me is that, somehow, people reading the list are getting access directly to e-mail data because the e-mail addresses are directly readable or harvestable somewhere -- the point of the PM system was to allow communication without having to give out the e-mail directly.

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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 7:03 PM

Deggesty

Concerning  243129's post of this morning (it appeared in my email, but not in the Passenger forum): Can you,  243129, fill each line of your post completely, and not break words at the end of every other line (such as "dol" et the end of one line and "lar" at the beginning of the next? (this is the way the post appeared in my e-meil) Or, is this a problem of which you were not aware?problem of which you were not aware?  

This makes it difficult to read your thesis that the Accela is not true high-speed travel, as it appears in my email.

 

I did not send this to your email I posted it to this blog. I have no idea how it became truncated. I shall attempt to post again.

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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 7:27 PM
High speed train travel is not feasible on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Congress recently approved a 2.45 billion dollar loan package for Amtrak of which a good portion will be spent on twenty eight Generation 2 high speed trains. Why? Generation 1(Acela Express) high speed trains only accomplished a fraction of what they were touted to do. There is no reason to expect Generation 2 to be any different. The reasoning being that you can only travel so fast on the existing roadbed no matter the tilt technology. Generation 1 trains were equipped with the latest tilt system yet could only equal, not exceed, the running time of the 1969 Metroliners  between New York and Washington D.C.
The present roadbed with minor deviations dates back to the 1800’s taking a circuitous route to service large population centers and various industries. To attain a true high speed system on the Northeast Corridor there must be a dedicated and exclusive infrastructure built as straight as the geography will allow. The cost and environmental impact of such an undertaking would be
astronomical given the real estate values in that portion of the country.
As far back as the 1950’s when the New Haven purchased the Talgo trains and in the 1960’sUnited Aircraft unveiled it’s state of the art Turbo Liner, they eventually went the way of all of these ‘trains of the future’ since World War II, to the scrap heap. Unitized trains such as theAcela Express (and the aforementioned ‘trains of the future’) have proven not to be practical.
Should a car in the consist of the Acela Express become defective the entire train must be removed from service resulting in a massive delay to the travelers. A defective car in an Amfleetstyle consist may be removed and result in a delay and continuation of the journey.
Amtrak force fed the Acela Express to the traveling public trumpeting it’s airplane style decor,desktop seating replete with USB ports, Wi­Fi, receptacles for charging sundry electronic devices masking the fact that for the extra cost they did not arrive at their destination much sooner than the Regional Service trains and the time difference was due mainly to the Acela making less stops than the Regional Service trains. Amtrak’s thirty plus year old AEM­7 locomotives with Amfleet
coaches and an experienced engineer, were they allowed, could equal
Acela Express running time as did the Metroliners of 1969.
The demise of the Supersonic Transport touted as an engineering marvel to revolutionize airplane travel turned out to be a business bust due to high maintenance costs, environmental impact and declining ridership gives credence to the notion that the traveling public is not in thatmuch of a hurry.
Comparisons to the European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe andJapan were bombed into rubble as a result of World War II. With nothing in the way the Marshall Plan and SCAP with an eye on the future rebuilt the railway systems as straight as practicable.
The pluses of conventional train travel far outweigh the expense, upheaval and environmental impact that construction of a dedicated roadbed would have on the crowded Northeast Corridor.
The hassle and expense of airline travel coupled with an outdated Interstate system should place the 500 mile and under mode of travel squarely in Amtrak’s lap.
If the bulk of the 2,45 billion dollar loan were used to upgrade the present fleet with all the bells and whistles i.e. USB ports, Wi­Fi, desktop seats etc. the Acela Express would soon be forgotten. America is not in that much of a hurry. Frequent, dependable, timely train travel trumps enormous outlays of taxpayer dollars for minimal results.
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 10, 2017 10:10 AM

243129
Comparisons to the European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe andJapan were bombed into rubble as a result of World War II. With nothing in the way the Marshall Plan and SCAP with an eye on the future rebuilt the railway systems as straight as practicable.

This is a terrible misunderstanding of the actual situation regarding practical HSR in both Japan and Europe.  (The theory works well for things like steel production, but not at all here).

All the practical Japanese 'shin kansen' started explicitly with construction of the New Tokaido Line, and the story of how Old Man Thunder basically rooked much of the construction cost out of the 'rest of the world' has been properly told elsewhere.  While the French were experimenting with very high speed electric traction by the mid-Fifties, any inspection of the post-run trackage or catenary arrangements will tell you conclusively that higher speeds weren't practical at that time, and while the Mistral was an impressively fast train for its era, it was nowhere near the kind of high speed that would require, say, extensive rebuilding of the Corridor.  The development and progressive construction of the LGV came much later; we were still seeing initial track-mechanics papers for the effort in the mid-Seventies (one notable detail that sticks in the memory was the use of sixth-order differential equations!) and the only relationship between the new lines and anything involving Marshall Plan wartime remediation would be the use of existing trackage arrangements to bring the new TGVs into old city-center stations -- scarcely something requiring or even done at high speed.

In case you were unaware, the entire line from New Brunswick to Trenton is basically straight and easily suitable for speeds in the 170mph range, and there are many other sections even of the 'legacy' route that would permit high sustained speed if TGV-level acceleration is permitted.  A key problem on the NEC is not curves, but track-center and clearance distances that don't permit safe proper tilt operation; relatively material decreases in travel time could be achieved by addressing these, but much else in the tired old infrastructure would have to be fixed as part of that effort.  Careful attention to bypassing 'bottlenecks' on the legacy PRR or New Haven routes with new high-speed construction (tolerant of severe grades at high speed) represents a much lower-cost method of reducing trip time, but whether the small relative gain from each of a number of sometimes very expensive projects adds up to meaningful-enough saving in time is a different argument altogether.

I think your point about enhancing amenities rather than time reduction is an interesting one, and it does have to be asked whether all the expense on a true high-speed 'second spine' by the 2040s is actually a valid national priority vs. improving either trip quality or train frequency at lower (but still significant) peak speed.  I agree with you that it is relatively pointless to design equipment to, say, 186mph peak speed, with all the FRA waivers such construction would imply, when operation at that speed anywhere on a revised NEC it is possible would result in a practical time saving measurable in no more than tens of minutes at most; but this raises a parallel question, which is how much expensive construction is needed to justify a railroad that provides extended 125-mph running, which is easily achieved with modern technologies, for a full Washington-to-Boston trip time shorter than what a Metroliner could have achieved 'as built' had there been wires east of New Haven.  (I note that the last time I rode from Baltimore into DC, in a train pushed by one of the remaining HHP8s as it turned out, we routinely accelerated to 119mph indicated at which speed some of the curves on the PW&B began to look decidedly like a carnival ride seen from the cab, but effective forms of tilt would ameliorate any effect for riders)

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, November 10, 2017 10:52 AM

243129

Thank you, 243129, for re-posting your thoughts on high speed rail travel. It came through much more readably--and it DID COME THROUGH 

 
Deggesty

Concerning  243129's post of this morning (it appeared in my email, but not in the Passenger forum): Can you,  243129, fill each line of your post completely, and not break words at the end of every other line (such as "dol" et the end of one line and "lar" at the beginning of the next? (this is the way the post appeared in my e-meil) Or, is this a problem of which you were not aware?problem of which you were not aware?  

This makes it difficult to read your thesis that the Accela is not true high-speed travel, as it appears in my email.

 

 

 

I did not send this to your email I posted it to this blog. I have no idea how it became truncated. I shall attempt to post again.

 

Thank you for reposting your comments on high speed rail.

Incidentally, I know you did not send it to me; Kalmbach sent it to my e-mail because I had asked that all posts to this forum be sent to my email. As I noted, there was the problem that it did not exist in what I had received when I called the forum up.

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Posted by 243129 on Friday, November 10, 2017 10:52 AM
" and anything involving Marshall Plan wartime remediation would be the use of existing trackage arrangements to bring the new TGVs into old city-center stations" I would say that the Marhsall Plan and SCAP were indeed involved. Did they not clear the the way after the Allied bombing raids which made land available?
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Posted by 243129 on Friday, November 10, 2017 11:01 AM
"in case you were unaware, the entire line from New Brunswick to Trenton is basically straight and easily suitable for speeds in the 170mph range", My whole point about investing vast sums on the NEC is that the enormous investments such as upgrading both sides of Trenton to New Brunswick ( a relatively short distance) to sustain higher speeds ia a waste of funds for minimal results.
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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, November 10, 2017 11:08 AM

Thanks, Overmod, for your clarifications.

Incidentally, 3 1/2 years ago, when I  went up to Boston in regular service, I saw that there were spots in which we did cover two miles in one minute (using the "old-fashioned" system of checking train speed).

I made a first class round trip Washington-Boston-Washington this past spring, using Acela, and I did enjoy the trip. The meals are not really anything to write home about, but they are quite different from those offered on the long distance trains (the lunch is close to being a proper meal).

Johnny

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Posted by David Lassen on Friday, November 10, 2017 3:23 PM

Here's what happened on that post that went out via email but didn't show here: as a moderator, the only way to see how a post will look on line is the "approve and view" function. Using that, I saw that the post in question had some sort of bug that broke the words in a strange way and also ran below where text is supposed to end, covering up the "reply" button, for example. So I deleted it and asked it to be reposted. But the original approval meant it was emailed.

And I apologize to those of you who received an email with my first attempt to explain this; I had to delete it because of an error on my part.

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, November 10, 2017 3:37 PM

Thank you David, for your post. As I commented yesterday, this was not the first time that I had received by e-mail a post which did not come into my computer in the thread.

You may realize that I was disturbed by the breaking of a word in every other line (which I had never seen before and hope never to see again).

I appreciate greatly the ability to subscribe to a forum or even to a particular thread, and thus receive via e-mail new matter of interest to me. 

Johnny Degges

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 10, 2017 4:16 PM

243129
I would say that the Marshall Plan and SCAP were indeed involved.  Did they not clear the the way after the Allied bombing raids which made land available?

European members here may be aware of any 'line straightening' projects close to or through cities that were made in the 'Trummerberg' years, or that explicitly received Marshall Plan assistance.  I know of nothing even remotely approaching high-speed construction under the MacArthur administration of postwar Japan; that was all 3'6" anyway if I understand the situation correctly.

It was very thoroughly explained in the '70s that none of the 'terminal approach' trackage onto which TGVs would be switched was permissive of particularly great speed; although I suspect there were improvements in some station facilities that were bombed out, or improvements associated with early postwar electrification, these are explicitly not high speed in any sense relevant to the Northeast Corridor improvement projects.  In fact a number of the projects (and I would include the Gateway Tunnels in this) are actively involved in avoiding as much 'legacy' environment, no matter how recently constructed, as possible in order to increase permissible speed.

Now if you are saying that remediation of bombed-out terminal facilities helped with deciding to use them subsequently for low-speed HSR access instead of building expensive new pure-HSR line and stations through developed areas, then I would agree ... but only in principle; the remediations being accomplished for slower traffic long ago, and only used for HSR in the same way as, say, the convoluted trackage through Philadelphia, or something perhaps more familiar to your experience the part of the ex-New Haven west of the Connecticut/New York state line, is used for the NEC.  With the same explicit and very damaging restriction of overall sustained speed or achievable reduction in trip time that goes with retention of any slow-speed complicated trackage and clearances...

I cannot think of any modern HSR line that particularly benefited from 'clearing' due to wartime activity -- there may have been some in the ex-DDR that remained unremediated until after 1990, but I have no idea what that might have involved.  The required massive investment in earthworks to get the necessary restricted horizontal and vertical curve alignments was not something funded in the postwar programs, any more than the large amount of elevated trackage thought necessary for the New Tokaido Line was.  There was a very instructive YouTube video of one recently completed German line that was posted a couple of years ago, striking for the very large number of consecutive tunnels encountered under not very spectacular hills -- something like that would be a ridiculous misallocation of scarce resources under the Marshall Plan in a Germany reduced to using things like Messerschmitt bubble cars to get around.

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Posted by 243129 on Friday, November 10, 2017 5:09 PM

Regardless I still hold that  NEC  travelers are not in that much of a hurry. Timely, adequate, frequent service can be had on the present NEC overseen by a committee of experienced operating department personnel thereby saving an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, November 11, 2017 2:26 PM

One problem is that the competition for ‘not in a hurry’ gets real strong, real fast.  I traveled from Silver Spring, MD to New York in the fall for $30, with dropoff streetside a couple of blocks north of Penn Station, with the trip being relatively fast (and, in fact, arriving early), on a bus with WiFi comparable to Amtrak’s.  As a devoted Clocker and Metroliner rider almost back to PRR days ... for me to advise a Washington-NY service ought to cause some reflection.  Sure, if you wanted Wilmington you’d still take a train ... but note that you still can’t take local (MARC/SEPTA) across the gap in coverage, and both Amtrak prices and local ‘bus equivalents‘ take full advantage of that.

So for me at least, there better be much more advantage to the train than parlor space or ‘business class’ type amenities or the chance to buy prepackaged snacks instead of bringing my own.  And speed here really is a key differentiator— if it can as you note be practically sustained and not just represent a few minutes here and there.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, November 11, 2017 2:33 PM

One problem is that the competition for ‘not in a hurry’ gets real strong, real fast.  I traveled from Silver Spring, MD to New York in the fall for $30, with dropoff streetside a couple of blocks north of Penn Station, with the trip being relatively fast (and, in fact, arriving early), on a bus with WiFi comparable to Amtrak’s.  As a devoted Clocker and Metroliner rider almost back to PRR days ... for me to advise a Washington-NY bus service ought to cause some reflection.  Sure, if you wanted Wilmington you’d still take a train ... but note that you still can’t take local (MARC/SEPTA) across the gap in coverage between Washington and Philadelphia/New York and both Amtrak prices and local ‘bus equivalents‘ take full advantage of that.

So for me at least, there better be much more advantage to the train than parlor space or ‘business class’ type amenities or the chance to buy prepackaged snacks instead of bringing my own.  And speed here really is a key differentiator— if it can as you note be practically sustained and not just represent a few minutes here and there.

I certainly think that there is scope to make ‘normal regional speed’ Corridor service superior by using money for better amenities instead of expensive speed-raising new line construction. But that would involve radically greater amenities than those now provided for the “finest” services there, even the LD trains.  Amtrak has historically had a hard time providing ‘elitist’ service when its Government foes choose to make political hay about that.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, November 12, 2017 3:57 AM

That is exactly why, instead of setting up Amtrak during the Nixon Administration, a really wise intercity and long distance passenger train policy would have been to use an analysis of costs and benfits and contract with the regular railroads on the basis of so much tax credit for so many passenger miles.  The money that has been spent would probably have gone much farther and more of the 1970 passenger network would have been preserved, with better amenities like the Southern's operation of the Southern Crescent and the Rio Grande Zephyr.

But many have said that Amtrak was designed to fail and to give long-distance passenger service a burial, decent of not, and suprised everyone by surviving and making a case for continued subsidy.

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Posted by JPS1 on Sunday, November 12, 2017 8:27 AM

daveklepper

That is exactly why, instead of setting up Amtrak during the Nixon Administration, a really wise intercity ........policy would have been to ........contract with the regular railroads on the basis of so much tax credit for so many passenger miles.  The money that has been spent would probably have gone much farther and more of the 1970 passenger network would have been preserved, with better amenities like the Southern's operation of the Southern Crescent and the Rio Grande Zephyr. 

Amen!

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by 243129 on Sunday, November 12, 2017 9:10 AM

daveklepper

That is exactly why, instead of setting up Amtrak during the Nixon Administration, a really wise intercity and long distance passenger train policy would have been to use an analysis of costs and benfits and contract with the regular railroads on the basis of so much tax credit for so many passenger miles.  The money that has been spent would probably have gone much farther and more of the 1970 passenger network would have been preserved, with better amenities like the Southern's operation of the Southern Crescent and the Rio Grande Zephyr.

But many have said that Amtrak was designed to fail and to give long-distance passenger service a burial, decent of not, and suprised everyone by surviving and making a case for continued subsidy.

 

Amtrak's niche is the 500 mile and under market. The long distance service should be relegated to sightseeing tours perhaps tri weekly in the summer  months, weekly in winter with no service on the northern routes during that period.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 13, 2017 10:46 AM

Currently, some lives are dependent on the northern service in the winter.

The arguments for long-distance service need not be repeated, and if they do not make sense to you now, useless to try to convince you.

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, November 13, 2017 10:59 AM

daveklepper

Currently, some lives are dependent on the northern service in the winter.

The arguments for long-distance service need not be repeated, and if they do not make sense to you now, useless to try to convince you.

 

Dave, I agree with you. 

My life does not depend upon the service, but the service makes it possible for me to meet with friends and visit relatives by traveling in civilized comfort.

 

Johnny

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Posted by 243129 on Monday, November 13, 2017 11:43 AM

daveklepper

Currently, some lives are dependent on the northern service in the winter.

The arguments for long-distance service need not be repeated, and if they do not make sense to you now, useless to try to convince you.

 

Please enlighten me as to the importance of operating these northern trains during harsh winter conditions replete with colossal delays and to what degree are "some lives dependent upon it"?

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Posted by 243129 on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:36 AM

daveklepper

Currently, some lives are dependent on the northern service in the winter.

The arguments for long-distance service need not be repeated, and if they do not make sense to you now, useless to try to convince you.

 

Mr. Klepper?

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