Trains.com

Article from retired NH engineer

15797 views
387 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 20,015 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 9:14 AM

There are some stretches in the NEC where I believe with a proper signal sysem, speeds could be as high as 200mph.  But they are not the majority of the length of the line.  So I do agree with you that true HSR is simply not possible.

Money wasted?  That is an entirely different matter, because without the money the NEC would not be doing the job it is doing today, both for Amtrak and the commuter authorities.

And I-95 and airport congestion, serious enough, would be a lot worse!

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 20,015 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 9:07 AM

Wikapedia is using the fastest timing, the near-non-stops, to describe all.   I rode the trains and am giving you first-hand information.  If you choose to believe Wikapedia as applcable to trains making the usual stops, that is your choice.

The line really never fully recovered from the WWII deferred maintenanc, and the work, welded rail, mangense-steel frongs and at switches, etc., to get it shape for the Metrolines addressed the worst problems.

I agree there has been no improvemet in speed, NY - Washington, since the original Metroliners.  I am simply presenting what the facts are.  The alignment is essentially unchanged from the work done for electrification in the late 1920's and the 1930s.  But a lot of money was required to get it into decent shape.

Perhsps you are the one to contact Wikapedia for them to check the schedules?

 

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 8:12 AM

daveklepper

The only two-hour-thirty-minute Metroliner that I rode stopped only at Newark, no other stops.  I understand that a Philadelphia (30th St., of course) stop was added, and then the schedule was dropped.

All the other Metroliners I rode were either 2:50 or 2:55 - until they were out of service for overhaul, and GG1-hauled consists subsituted, which required more than three hours, forget exactly how much more.

But exactly what track changes were made for the Acela operation?  I no of nothing except restoration to good repair and replacement of very worn catenary.

I don't know of any curves realigned or crossovers replaced by one of higher speed.

If  you know of any of this, please be specific.

Bascially, the plant isn't that much different than it was during WWII!  A few minor changes before Metroliner introduction, but minor.

 

Mr.Klepper have you read the article that this thread is based on?

https://www.nhregister.com/opinion/article/Forum-High-speed-train-trathat Acela Exvel-is-not-feasible-on-11310852.php

Have you read that the Acela Express has not exceeded the running times of almost 50 years ago?

Have you researched the AEM-7 hauled Amfleet equipment on Metroliner schedule?

This from Wikipedia:

Service originally ran with Budd Metroliners, self-powered electric multiple unit cars designed for high-speed service. These proved unreliable and were replaced with locomotive-hauled trains in the 1980s. The trains had reserved business-class and first-class seating. The fastest trips between New York's Pennsylvania Station and Washington, D.C.'s Union Station were scheduled for 2.5 hours, though some midday trains around 1980 had schedules as long as 4 hours

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 8:00 AM

Deggesty
Volker Landwehr stated that buildings that were destroyed were rebuilt in the same locations they had occupied before the war--which is to say that in the cities (where most of the damage was done) there was no relocation of lines. Granted, he was not of an age that would have taken part in such--but he gave the impression that he was familiar with what was done to get the railroad into operation quickly. Do you have any facts that negate his statement?

Why should I be required to present facts to negate a statement and an "impression"? As you have observed he posted no facts to support his "statement". You also seem to have lost sight of the fact that my statement was not singular to Germany.

Deggesty
Or do you simply suppose that the Germans did what you think they should have done?

I would suppose that anyone with common sense would see the merit in pursuing a straight line where PRACTICABLE.

Deggesty
As to high speed unitized trains on the Northeast Corridor, if it were feasible to obtain real estate that would permit a right of way with far fewer curves and drawbridges such trains would be possible.

This from the attached article in the New Haven Register. Have you read the article?

"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."

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 20,015 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 7:20 AM

The only two-hour-thirty-minute Metroliner that I rode stopped only at Newark, no other stops.  I understand that a Philadelphia (30th St., of course) stop was added, and then the schedule was dropped.

All the other Metroliners I rode were either 2:50 or 2:55 - until they were out of service for overhaul, and GG1-hauled consists subsituted, which required more than three hours, forget exactly how much more.

But exactly what track changes were made for the Acela operation?  I no of nothing except restoration to good repair and replacement of very worn catenary.

I don't know of any curves realigned or crossovers replaced by one of higher speed.

If  you know of any of this, please be specific.

Bascially, the plant isn't that much different than it was during WWII!  A few minor changes before Metroliner introduction, but minor.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Monday, December 3, 2018 9:05 PM

243129

 

 
Deggesty

Quoting 243129:"So you see changes were made as opposed to not being made. No information exists to prove that this was not done with an eye on the future. "

What information exists to prove that in the original reconstruction changes were made with the future in mind?

 

 

 

Where there was once an obstruction to a linear route that had been 'removed' would it not make sense to take advantage of it? Basic geometry teaches us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  So you(pl) are stating that no curves in Europe and Japan were eliminated due to Allied bombing. Any railway construction engineer with a modicum of railroad sense would certainly see the benefit of such a tactic.

So Mr. Deggesty to get back on the broader subject here what are your thoughts on the feasibility of high-speed unitized trains on the Northeast Corridor?

 

My question was if you had any facts that stated that obstructions were removed so that the tracks could be better laid out. You did not answer my question but asked another question.

Volker Landwehr stated that buildings that were destroyed were rebuilt in the same locations they had occupied before the war--which is to say that in the cities (where most of the damage was done) there was no relocation of lines. Granted, he was not of an age that would have taken part in such--but he gave the impression that he was familiar with what was done to get the railroad into operation quickly.

Do you have any facts that negate his statement? Or do you simply suppose that the Germans did what you think they should have done?

As to high speed unitized trains on the Northeast Corridor, if  it were feasible to obtain real estate that would permit a right of way with far fewer curves and drawbridges such trains would be possible.

Johnny

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Monday, December 3, 2018 4:40 PM

Deggesty

Quoting 243129:"So you see changes were made as opposed to not being made. No information exists to prove that this was not done with an eye on the future. "

What information exists to prove that in the original reconstruction changes were made with the future in mind?

 

Where there was once an obstruction to a linear route that had been 'removed' would it not make sense to take advantage of it? Basic geometry teaches us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  So you(pl) are stating that no curves in Europe and Japan were eliminated due to Allied bombing. Any railway construction engineer with a modicum of railroad sense would certainly see the benefit of such a tactic.

So Mr. Deggesty to get back on the broader subject here what are your thoughts on the feasibility of high-speed unitized trains on the Northeast Corridor?

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,550 posts
Posted by Backshop on Monday, December 3, 2018 11:47 AM

243129

 

 
daveklepper
The Metroliners that ran 2 hours 30 minutes Washington - NY were special cases that skipped Baltimore and Wilmington and in one case even Phildadelphia.

 

Are you saying that the 1969 Metroliner made no stops in it's 2 hour and 30 minute schedule?

 

 
daveklepper
Regular Metroliners making the stops Acela makes did it in 2 hours 50 or 55 minutes, depending on the stop in Trenton.

 

The Acela schedule of 2018, 2hours and 58 minutes NYP-WAS, confirms that in 49 years and billions of dollars (wasted) that high-speed rail is not feasible on the NEC.

 

No, he specifically said that they sometimes didn't stop at all the normal stops.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Monday, December 3, 2018 10:31 AM

Quoting 243129:"So you see changes were made as opposed to not being made. No information exists to prove that this was not done with an eye on the future. "

What information exists to prove that in the original reconstruction changes were made with the future in mind?

Johnny

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Monday, December 3, 2018 9:28 AM

charlie hebdo
Joe McMahon continues to rant about what a waste of money higher speed trains (Acela, et al.) are on the NEC, what a waste of money the improvements have been and how terrible Amtrak's training of operating crew is as well as the crews.

Dispute those facts. I'll wait

 

charlie hebdo
So much negativity tends to raise skepticism. What is his real motivation for this resentment? On here he dismisses, often rudely, any statements which disagree with his opinions. That level of defensiveness is generally indicative of some incident(s) that greatly wounded the subject.

My motivation is to stop the waste of taxpayer dollars and the safety of the traveling public.

Go back and retake Psychology 101 it seems that you failed that miserably.

You it seems have the motivation to antagonize me. What is your underlying problem?

What is the intent of this thread? To elicit derision? Why didn't you point out what you allege are factual flaws?

"Who can be first to spot the factual flaws (the writing is fine) by our resident retired engineer?  My guess is Volker will be first."

 

  • Member since
    September 2017
  • 5,547 posts
Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, December 3, 2018 8:38 AM

Joe McMahon continues to rant about what a waste of money higher speed trains (Acela, et al.) are on the NEC, what a waste of money the improvements have been and how terrible Amtrak's training of operating crew is as well as the crews.

So much negativity tends to raise skepticism.  What is his real motivation for this resentment?  On here he dismisses, often rudely, any statements which disagree with his opinions. That level of defensiveness is generally indicative of some incident(s) that greatly wounded the subject.  

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Monday, December 3, 2018 8:29 AM

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Monday, December 3, 2018 8:24 AM

daveklepper
The Metroliners that ran 2 hours 30 minutes Washington - NY were special cases that skipped Baltimore and Wilmington and in one case even Phildadelphia.

Are you saying that the 1969 Metroliner made no stops in it's 2 hour and 30 minute schedule?

daveklepper
Regular Metroliners making the stops Acela makes did it in 2 hours 50 or 55 minutes, depending on the stop in Trenton.

The Acela schedule of 2018, 2hours and 58 minutes NYP-WAS, confirms that in 49 years and billions of dollars (wasted) that high-speed rail is not feasible on the NEC.

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Monday, December 3, 2018 8:13 AM

Anonymous

 

 
243129
Volker speaks only of Germany and insists no curves were eliminated under the Marshall Plan. He has offered no conclusive proof.

 

I can only speak for Germany, I know nothing about Japanese railways. Sorry, you should read my posts regarding curve changes. The curves that were changed under the Marshall Plan were not changed with an eye on high-speed rail traffic.

Proof, to change a saying, is in the eye the beholder. For me and others here it seems to be enough proof. You are not convinced? So what?

But that same person expects that others take his word as proof for deficits at Amtrak.
Regards, Volker

 

 

cx500
If you can provide a link or reference to any source that describes a specific example of a realignment off the original R-O-W we might back off;

So you see changes were made as opposed to not being made. No information exists to prove that this was not done with an eye on the future.

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 20,015 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, December 3, 2018 1:07 AM

Permit me to interject some facts:

The Metroliners that ran 2 hours 30 minutes Washington - NY were special cases that skipped Baltimore and Wilmington and in one case even Phildadelphia.  Regular Metroliners making the stops Acela makes did it in 2 hours 50 or 55 minutes, depending on the stop in Trenton.  I rode these trains frequently.  schedule of 2:30 for regular Metroliners may have been tried, but if it was it was abandoned as impractical.   

The original alignments of most Franch, German. British, Scanadavian, and where topography allowed, Swiss, Austrian, and Italian railroads were much better enginered with regard to curves and grades than, in general, in North America.

  • Member since
    October 2008
  • From: Calgary
  • 2,044 posts
Posted by cx500 on Sunday, December 2, 2018 11:55 PM

I don't need to post any further facts.  If you go back to Volker's post back in September, replying to your question "Were not areas that formerly had curvature rebuilt straight because bomb damage had 'removed' obstructions i.e. buildings, factories etc. ?", his reply was "the short answer is no", and explained further why not.  I believe he lives, or lived, in Germany and will be far more authoritative on the situation than any of us.  While he is only speaking of Germany, it is the Axis power that suffered the most extensive bombing.  The other countries in Europe and Japan were also in much the same chaotic state after the war.

If you can provide a link or reference to any source that describes a specific example of a realignment off the original R-O-W we might back off; so far you have failed to do so.  Much of their infrastructure is indeed relatively new, especially widespread electrification (where the Marshall Plan may have helped).  But that is more because Europe and Japan continued to invest heavily.  The alignments, except for the recent newly constructed and separate high speed lines, are essentially original.

 

 

 

 

243129
 
cx500
Some of us regard facts as important, and call out errors in the hope that they will not be propagated further.

 

Could you please post facts to support your assumptions?

"Comparison to the European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe and Japan 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."

Above is the paragraph in question. Nowhere do I single out Germany. The key word is 'practicable'. Do you really believe, as most of you contend, that the European and Japanese railways were replaced, with no deviations, to the original right of way? No curves were eliminated courtesy of Allied bombing? It seems that you (pl) contend that Europe and Japan were rebuilt exactly to their original design. Europe and Japan have an advantage over the United States in that their infrastructure is realtively new, dating from the late 1940's while ours dates from the 1800's. I would say that the newer infrastructure is more beneficial in establishing high speed rail.

Vast and expensive improvements have been made on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) yet the improvement in speeds and running times are virtually nil. The Metroliners of 1969 had a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes from New York City to Washington D.C. Fast forward to 2018 and the Acela Express' fastest running time between the same two points is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metroliner_(train)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express

 

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Sunday, December 2, 2018 11:18 AM

Overmod
Inconsistencies isn't in quote marks. "Inconsitencies" is.

Smile

Overmod
occasional railfans in the cab

I respect the hobby and I know how much it means to them. As I stated previously they are no more of a distraction than a fireman or trainee.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,347 posts
Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 2, 2018 11:11 AM

Inconsistencies isn't in quote marks.  "Inconsitencies" is.  And in my opinion it is disingenuous at best to claim that ad-hominem trolling isn't a clever way to get a thread locked.  It worked so well on poor Ride-with-me Henry with fracking a few years ago.

In my opinion, for what little it's worth, it is ridiculous to equate occasional railfans in the cab with conscious speeding; it's like making an aspirin tablet or nuts in a school backpack equal in consequence to having a gun or knife there.  Both are nominal violations with roughly equal consequences under applicable rules.*  But one is just... a... little... more... obviously significant. 

Unless you're allergic to nuts. 

Which I find, to my horror, I might be starting to become.

 

*Oh wait -- on reflection, wasn't part of the original discussions the idea that speeding that was ordered by a superior no longer a fully actionable, if at all actionable, breach of rules?  Or, indeed, that refusal might constitute a more "severe" (in management's eyes, at least) breach: insubordination.  So perhaps not even as important... ethically, if not 'morally'...

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,550 posts
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 2, 2018 10:54 AM

Yes, it is.  You constantly said you would never speed because it was against regulations.  Yet, you seem to have no problem with breaking regulations in other cases.  You only have moral fiber when it suits you.

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Sunday, December 2, 2018 10:43 AM

Backshop

I'm just pointing out "inconsitencies" in your stories and moral fiber.  How that's trying to get a thread locked is beyond me...

 

Allowing a railfan to ride with me has something to do with my moral fiber? Inconsistencies is in quotation marks. Why?

Now before this thread is locked I shall have no more to do with you. Your obvious intent is to annoy.

 

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,550 posts
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 2, 2018 10:27 AM

I'm just pointing out "inconsitencies" in your stories and moral fiber.  How that's trying to get a thread locked is beyond me...

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Sunday, December 2, 2018 9:14 AM

Backshop

 

 
243129

 

 
Backshop

 

 
243129

I allowed many railroad enthusiasts to ride the head end with me and they have rewarded me by sending pictures of trains I have operated.

 

 

 

Wouldn't that have been against the rules?

 

 

 

 

Yes it was.

 

 

 

 

Oh, so Mister "I never speed because it's against regulations" is selective about which regulations he'd break?  I would think that having an unauthorized person asking questions in the cab would be a distraction and at least as dangerous as going over the speed limit.

 

 

Not if you know where you are going. You seem intent on poking at me. Is this an effort to get the thread locked.

Railfans have a respectable hobby and  have asked permission on occasion if they might take a picture of the inside of the cab and or engine room which I granted and on occasion I have offered to let them ride the head end. Against the rules yes. However no more of a distraction than when I had firemen or trainees on board.

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Sunday, December 2, 2018 9:06 AM

cx500
Some of us regard facts as important, and call out errors in the hope that they will not be propagated further.

Could you please post facts to support your assumptions?

"Comparison to the European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe and Japan 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."

Above is the paragraph in question. Nowhere do I single out Germany. The key word is 'practicable'. Do you really believe, as most of you contend, that the European and Japanese railways were replaced, with no deviations, to the original right of way? No curves were eliminated courtesy of Allied bombing? It seems that you (pl) contend that Europe and Japan were rebuilt exactly to their original design. Europe and Japan have an advantage over the United States in that their infrastructure is realtively new, dating from the late 1940's while ours dates from the 1800's. I would say that the newer infrastructure is more beneficial in establishing high speed rail.

Vast and expensive improvements have been made on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) yet the improvement in speeds and running times are virtually nil. The Metroliners of 1969 had a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes from New York City to Washington D.C. Fast forward to 2018 and the Acela Express' fastest running time between the same two points is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metroliner_(train)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,550 posts
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 2, 2018 8:59 AM

243129

 

 
Backshop

 

 
243129

I allowed many railroad enthusiasts to ride the head end with me and they have rewarded me by sending pictures of trains I have operated.

 

 

 

Wouldn't that have been against the rules?

 

 

 

 

Yes it was.

 

 

Oh, so Mister "I never speed because it's against regulations" is selective about which regulations he'd break?  I would think that having an unauthorized person asking questions in the cab would be a distraction and at least as dangerous as going over the speed limit.

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,550 posts
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 2, 2018 8:55 AM

CX500--You do realize that the author of that newspaper editorial is 243129?

  • Member since
    September 2017
  • 5,547 posts
Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, December 2, 2018 7:27 AM

cx500

 

 
243129

This discussion segued from the nonfeasibility of high-speed trains on the Northeast Corridor to a pages long diatribe on the Marshall Plan.

Shall we discuss the original subject?

 

 

 
The reference to the Marshall Plan was in the New Haven Register article that started this discussion, back in September.  Most of the so-called "diatribe" was a result of more knowledgeable people pointing out that the author had made two  completely incorrect assumptions.  First was the assertion that in the aftermath of the war the tracks were rebuilt through the bombed out cities using a better alignment that allowed the high speed rail of today.  Second was the claim that the Marshall Plan had a role in this mythical realignment.  Both are incorrect, but for some reason you continued to refuse to accept that those two assumptions were in error.  There is nothing inherently wrong in making assumptions but all too often, as many of us (including me) have found to our chagrin, they end up needing to be corrected.
 
Some of us regard facts as important, and call out errors in the hope that they will not be propagated further.  The rest of the article was fine, if I recall. 
 
Perhaps the best solution is to get this thread locked.
 

All very true.  In this case, the problem was that in the case of the retired engineer, a rational discussion with factual information is not possible.

  • Member since
    October 2008
  • From: Calgary
  • 2,044 posts
Posted by cx500 on Sunday, December 2, 2018 12:17 AM

243129

This discussion segued from the nonfeasibility of high-speed trains on the Northeast Corridor to a pages long diatribe on the Marshall Plan.

Shall we discuss the original subject?

 

 
The reference to the Marshall Plan was in the New Haven Register article that started this discussion, back in September.  Most of the so-called "diatribe" was a result of more knowledgeable people pointing out that the author had made two  completely incorrect assumptions.  First was the assertion that in the aftermath of the war the tracks were rebuilt through the bombed out cities using a better alignment that allowed the high speed rail of today.  Second was the claim that the Marshall Plan had a role in this mythical realignment.  Both are incorrect, but for some reason you continued to refuse to accept that those two assumptions were in error.  There is nothing inherently wrong in making assumptions but all too often, as many of us (including me) have found to our chagrin, they end up needing to be corrected.
 
Some of us regard facts as important, and call out errors in the hope that they will not be propagated further.  The rest of the article was fine, if I recall. 
 
Perhaps the best solution is to get this thread locked.
  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Saturday, December 1, 2018 8:25 PM

Backshop
2. You are neither a moderator nor the OP so you have no say in what gets discussed.

Neither are you so I will pay no attention to you.

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,550 posts
Posted by Backshop on Saturday, December 1, 2018 7:58 PM

243129

This discussion segued from the nonfeasibility of high-speed trains on the Northeast Corridor to a pages long diatribe on the Marshall Plan.

Shall we discuss the original subject?

 

1. You're the one who originally mentioned the Marshall Plan in your op-ed piece. That makes it fair game for discussion.

2. You are neither a moderator nor the OP so you have no say in what gets discussed.

 

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,836 posts
Posted by 243129 on Saturday, December 1, 2018 7:38 PM

This discussion segued from the nonfeasibility of high-speed trains on the Northeast Corridor to a pages long diatribe on the Marshall Plan.

Shall we discuss the original subject?

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy