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Article from retired NH engineer

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Posted by 243129 on Monday, November 5, 2018 12:33 PM

zugmann

 

 
243129
Rail service in the 500 mile and under market is needed especially in the crowded NEC. Midtown to midtown without the hassle and expense (if you are not riding on the Acela) of airline travel. Over all i.e. NYP-WAS 'the train beats the plane'.

 

Not arguing with you (merely playing devil's advocate) - but are all the subsidies the taxpayers give to Amtrak worth it? Why not spend the money to improve highways (which many more people use)?

Attacking Amtrak because the Acela costs too much ignores a much larger issue.  Deck chairs and Titanic sort of thing.

 

Subsiding passenger service is a given. The object is to get cars off of the highway is it not? My observation is that this can be accomplished with conventional equipment with marginal differences in running time and a more judicious use of taxpayer dollars. If it is the journey that you are interested in take a long distance train which could be 'fluffed' up with silver service etc. and run only in the summer months for an added savings of tax dollars.

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 5, 2018 12:15 PM

Overmod
I think the discussion might benefit from this article, .......
Some points raised in the comments are important, particularly the percentage of the contract amount reserved for maintenance and the use of some of the funds for station improvements.
Thanks for the link. It is an interesting read.
In regard to the article, I find price comparisons between apples and oranges difficult, as are Avelia with 2 power cars and 381 seats built in USA vs. Eurostar as EMU and 900+ seats built in Europe. Besides the mentioned cost driving features there are additional reasons: FRA crashworthiness standards, Buy America.
An Amtrak Siemens ACS-64 cost $6.5 million. The equivalent German Siemens Vectron 6.4 MW, multisystem costs $4.6 million, a difference of approximately 40%.
The critique of 187 mph max speed and tilt system neglects a few Amtrak necessities. As long as Amtrak is only able only to run at 160 mph on some sections the tilt system is needed. If the infrastructure improvement gets designed appropriately the tilt system won't be needed at 187 mph.
I find his discussion of the 7° tilt angle moot. When you buy a tilt train from Alstom you get the standard Tiltronix system with angles up to 8°. Software controls the tilt angle through a pneumatic lateral active suspension.
Here are descriptions of tilting: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/bitstream/2134/6006/1/TILT_SOA_Roger.pdf
On page 12/13 you'll find information about Tiltronix.
I agree that Amtrak needs to push infrastructure improvements. But what does 187 mph track help if Amtrak doesn’t have appropriate rolling stock. Without the 187 mph Acela replacement there won’t be these track improvements I fear.
We see it currently in Poland which buys 160 mph trains with a current speed limit of 100mph. Track improvements are planned. Germany had the ICE-1 train before the first new-built route was ready.
Overmod
Perhaps the arguments in the article will let y'all start discussing the points in a less contentious way -- more directed on the engineering and less on peripheral issues.
Economical issues are not peripheral. I have provided some numbers in a previous post. The economics have to fit too.
Overmod
I note also Don's discussion of the refurbished HSTs in the Canterbury blerfblog post, which contains a note on their achievable speed relative to Acela.
I have nothing against refurbishing older trains if you are just trying to extend a service. I don’t see it as a good idea to rebuilt 35 years old Amfleet cars as Acela Express replacement. Now you call a Regional train Acela Express again. Reminds me of times when HHP-8 drawn trains were called Acela. Sounds like false labeling.
I don’t see travelers paying Acela Express fares for rebuilt Amfleet service. The loss of revenue could be up to $280 million per year. I provided some numbers in a previous post.
Oltmannd’s comparison of British and NEC speeds shows that British Rail did their job and improved their tracks already.
Regards, Volker
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 5, 2018 11:39 AM

Overmod
I think the discussion might benefit from this article, .......
Some points raised in the comments are important, particularly the percentage of the contract amount reserved for maintenance and the use of some of the funds for station improvements.

Thanks for the link. It is an interesting read.
In regard to the article, I find price comparisons between apples and oranges difficult, as are Avelia with 2 power cars and 381 seats built in USA vs. Eurostar as EMU and 900+ seats built in Europe. Besides the mentioned cost driving features there are additional reasons: FRA crashworthiness standards, Buy America.
An Amtrak Siemens ACS-64 cost $6.5 million. The equivalent German Siemens Vectron 6.4 MW, multisystem costs $4.6 million, a difference of approximately 40%.
The critique of 187 mph max speed and tilt system neglects a few Amtrak necessities. As long as Amtrak is only able only to run at 160 mph on some sections the tilt system is needed. If the infrastructure improvement gets designed appropriately the tilt system won't be needed at 187 mph.
I find his discussion of the 7° tilt angle moot. When you buy a tilt train from Alstom you get the standard Tiltronix system with angles up to 8°. Software controls the tilt angle through a pneumatic lateral active suspension.
On page 12/13 is information about Tiltronix.
I agree that Amtrak needs to push infrastructure improvements. But what does 187 mph track help if Amtrak doesn’t have appropriate rolling stock. Without the 187 mph Acela replacement there won’t be these track improvements I fear.
We see it currently in Poland which buys 160 mph trains with a current speed limit of 100mph. Track improvements are planned. Germany had the ICE-1 train before the first new-built route was ready.
Overmod
Perhaps the arguments in the article will let y'all start discussing the points in a less contentious way -- more directed on the engineering and less on peripheral issues.
Economical issues are not peripheral. I have provided some numbers in a previous post. The economics have to fit too.
Overmod
I note also Don's discussion of the refurbished HSTs in the Canterbury blerfblog post, which contains a note on their achievable speed relative to Acela.
I have nothing against refurbishing older trains if you are just trying to extend a service. I don’t see it as a good idea to rebuilt 35 years old Amfleet cars as Acela Express replacement. Now you call a Regional train Acela Express again. Reminds me of times when HHP-8 drawn trains were called Acela. Sounds like false labeling.
I don’t see travelers paying Acela Express fares for rebuilt Amfleet service. The loss of revenue could be up to $280 million per year. I provided some numbers in a previous post.
Oltmannd’s comparison of British and NEC speeds shows that British Rail did their job and improved their tracks already.
Regards, Volker
 

 

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, November 5, 2018 11:18 AM

243129
Rail service in the 500 mile and under market is needed especially in the crowded NEC. Midtown to midtown without the hassle and expense (if you are not riding on the Acela) of airline travel. Over all i.e. NYP-WAS 'the train beats the plane'.

Not arguing with you (merely playing devil's advocate) - but are all the subsidies the taxpayers give to Amtrak worth it? Why not spend the money to improve highways (which many more people use)?

Attacking Amtrak because the Acela costs too much ignores a much larger issue.  Deck chairs and Titanic sort of thing.

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by 243129 on Monday, November 5, 2018 10:48 AM

zugmann

 

 
243129
If you want waste your personal money go right ahead. I don't want the government wasting my tax dollars on something that is not economically feasible.

 

Many would make that argument for Amtrak as a whole.  

 

Rail service in the 500 mile and under market is needed especially in the crowded NEC. Midtown to midtown without the hassle and expense (if you are not riding on the Acela) of airline travel. Over all i.e. NYP-WAS 'the train beats the plane'.

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, November 5, 2018 10:35 AM

243129
If you want waste your personal money go right ahead. I don't want the government wasting my tax dollars on something that is not economically feasible.

Many would make that argument for Amtrak as a whole.  

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by 243129 on Monday, November 5, 2018 10:27 AM

The Acela Express is an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars. Billions of dollars wasted for a 20 to 30 minute savings in time? A convential train making the same stops that Acela would makes would cut into the savings even further.

If you want waste your personal money go right ahead. I don't want the government wasting my tax dollars on something that is not economically feasible.

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Posted by 243129 on Monday, November 5, 2018 10:10 AM

BaltACD

 

 
Euclid
 
243129

Let me ask you all a question.

You want to travel from NYP to WAS on a week day and you are not on an expense account. The fare in the same time frame is as low as $49.00 for a Regional train and as low as $130.00 for the Acela Express. The Regional train takes 3 hours and 22 minutes to complete the journey, the Acela Express takes 2 hours and 53 minutes to complete the same journey a difference of 30 minutes in trip time. Presented to the traveling public in this manner which do you think they would choose? 

Eight out of ten would pick the $49 ride.  One would pay an extra $81 for sizzle, and one would be undecided. 

 

When you market to the eschelon of customers that would not be caught dead with the 'dirty, unwashed, bargin transportation shoppers' the Acela has a viable market for its higher priced marginally faster trips.  Acela keeps out the 'rif raf' and there is a serious market where this is important.

Airlines still have 1st Class where the price is many times in excess of the bargin fares that the carrier offers for other seats on the same plane.

 

Coach travelers are riff-raff?

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Posted by 243129 on Monday, November 5, 2018 10:07 AM

charlie hebdo
I presented accurate data regarding the population in the NEC, aka the BOWASH Megalopolis, as well as the increases in ridership post-Acela and the revenue generated.

To quote Sir Winston Churchill; "Statistics are like a drunk with a lampost: used more for support than illumination".

charlie hebdo
I am not going to debate with people who make imperious statements without any data or other factual information to back them up.

"Factual information"? Have you driven on Interstate 95 between Boston and Washington lately?

Does the enormous expense of purchasing and maintaining trainsets which have never and will never accomplish what they were advertised("sizzle") to do justify spending our tax dollars in this manner? The taxpayer is being bamboozled.

True high speed, meaning more than a 20-30 minute difference, this due to Acela making less stops, will not be achieved without a dedicated ROW.

 

 

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, November 5, 2018 8:06 AM

Balt is right. Last year, I rode from Washington to Boston and back on Acela trains, jsut to see how it was. I did not pay close attention to the other passengers in first class, but I do not recall seeing anyone who was not dressed in business attire. I cannot write of the business class passengers, for I did not leave the car I was in. Traveling business on the other trains, I have seen many people in less formal dress. 

I was not favorably impressed by the meals--breakfast, lunch, or the evening meal; the Canadian VIA 1 service my wife and I used had much better meals (iour last trip on VIA 1 was nine years ago). The Tourist service on the Jasper-Prince Rupert train, four years ago, had meal service comparable to that of the VIA 1 we had.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 5, 2018 7:48 AM

Euclid
 
243129

Let me ask you all a question.

You want to travel from NYP to WAS on a week day and you are not on an expense account. The fare in the same time frame is as low as $49.00 for a Regional train and as low as $130.00 for the Acela Express. The Regional train takes 3 hours and 22 minutes to complete the journey, the Acela Express takes 2 hours and 53 minutes to complete the same journey a difference of 30 minutes in trip time. Presented to the traveling public in this manner which do you think they would choose? 

Eight out of ten would pick the $49 ride.  One would pay an extra $81 for sizzle, and one would be undecided. 

When you market to the eschelon of customers that would not be caught dead with the 'dirty, unwashed, bargin transportation shoppers' the Acela has a viable market for its higher priced marginally faster trips.  Acela keeps out the 'rif raf' and there is a serious market where this is important.

Airlines still have 1st Class where the price is many times in excess of the bargin fares that the carrier offers for other seats on the same plane.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, November 5, 2018 7:42 AM

zugmann

 

 
243129
Presented to the traveling public in this manner which do you think they would choose?

 

Yet the Acelas don't run empty.

So somebody chooses them.     My boss drives an Audi A8.  A ford taurus would have been cheaper, yet some people choose to pay more for things that are a bit nicer.  So goes the Acela.  Trying to fit the "travelling public" in one bucket isn't the most accurate way to go about this.

 

I mean it would probably make more sense to debate whether Amtrak should be in the business of offering first class amenities to begin with, but that argument can reflect back on the whole private varnish debate.

 

I presented accurate data regarding the population in the NEC, aka the BOWASH Megalopolis, as well as the increases in ridership post-Acela and the revenue generated.  This should have settled the matter.  I am not going to debate with people who make imperious statements without any data or other factual information to back them up.  I think the time has long since past to recognize the need to ignore his pronouncements and move on. Acela is simply one of the rare success stories in Amtrak's otherwise dismal history.

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 5, 2018 5:12 AM

As the decision was made by Amtrak long ago there won’t be proof for neither opinion. What we do here is like crying over spilt milk.
243129
As I stated in another post the train beats the plane midtown to midtown. No competition there.
What is correct today can change tomorrow. It is not a given, Amtrak has to work for it. Losing the fast Acela service could turn the trend back to car, bus, and air travel especially if check-in gets faster.
Deutsche Bahn has learned the hard way that long-distance bus service is a serious competition, not regarding travel times but fares.
243129
No, the 20 minutes are not worth the money. The Acela did not create the market, the market was there due to an aging Interstate and population surge in the northeast.
Perhaps a few numbers make Amtrak’s decision for an Acela Express replacement better understandable.
I’ll use the Amtrak Monthly Performance Report September 2017 that contains separate numbers for Acela Express and Regional trains for fiscal year 2017. 2018 is not out yet.
Acela Express: Ticket Revenue $597.2 million; Ridership 3.442 million;Passenger miles 651.1 million; average Miles/person 190, average Fare/person $174.6
Regional: Ticket Revenue $638.7 million; Ridership 8.570 million; Passenger miles 1,330.3 million; average Miles/person 156, average Fare/person $74.6
If one eliminates the Acela Express service completely one loses $597.2 million in revenue. If all passengers switch to Regionals you regain 3.442 x 74.6 = $256.8 million. Adjusted for the longer Acela rides you get 256.8 x 190/156 = $312.8 million.
That results in a worst case revenue loss of $284.4 million per year.
How large the loss of revenue really would get depends on the replacement. Rebuilt Amfleet cars lead to the worst case, new locomotive drawn trains to less. In both cases Amtrak can't ask for Acela fares.
All 28 Avelia Liberty trainsets cost $2.0 billion according to an Alstom press release, $71,53 million per set. https://www.alstom.com/press-releases-news/2016/8/alstom-to-provide-amtrak-with-its-new-generation-of-high-speed-train
Alstom will provide long-term technical support and supply spare components and parts for the maintenance of the new trainsets for this price.
What does a comparable 125 mph locomotive drawn train with locomotive and 6 cars cost?
Septa paid $8.7 million for ACS-64, Amtrak paid 2.3 million per car from CAF and Caltrans $2.7 million per PRIIA car from Siemens. So this train will cost about $25 million.
The difference between the two trainsets is $46.53 million.
In case of locomotive drawn trains Amtrak has to pay about $700 million with substantially less revenue. The Avelia Liberty cost $2 billion but in this case without loss of revenue.
Unscientifically expressed, the Avelia Libertys are paid by the avoided revenue losses within the useful life of the trainsets.
The above numbers help me to understand why Amtrak might have chosen a Acela Express replacement and not a conventional train.
I think the 20 minutes less are worth the cost of the Avelia Liberty as it not just the shorter travel time that draws passengers to the Acela Express, it is the different travel experience too. Do you remember the discussions here about LD trains and food service? A lot was about the worse travel experience without traditional dining cars.
Additionally I can’t imagine your Congress giving money for any NEC track improvements when there is no high-speed train on the property.
Regards, Volker

 

 

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 5, 2018 3:55 AM

Euclid

 

 
243129

Let me ask you all a question.

You want to travel from NYP to WAS on a week day and you are not on an expense account. The fare in the same time frame is as low as $49.00 for a Regional train and as low as $130.00 for the Acela Express. The Regional train takes 3 hours and 22 minutes to complete the journey, the Acela Express takes 2 hours and 53 minutes to complete the same journey a difference of 30 minutes in trip time. Presented to the traveling public in this manner which do you think they would choose?

 

 

 

Eight out of ten would pick the $49 ride.  One would pay an extra $81 for sizzle, and one would be undecided. 

 

 

Why not take published numbers from Amtrak’s  Monthly Performance Report September 2017: https://www.alstom.com/press-releases-news/2016/8/alstom-to-provide-amtrak-with-its-new-generation-of-high-speed-train

Acela Express ridership was 3.442 million, Regional was 8.570 million.

According to Amtrak’s Five Year Plan 39% of all Acela Express riders are not on business travel or commuting. On Regional trains 68% account for for the same group. That means 1.3416 million Acela riders and 5.8276 million Regional riders are not business travelers or commuters.

The share of this group is 18.7% on the Acela Express if all commuters are travelling on an expense account. If not all do the percentage rises.

Of all NEC Amtrak travelers, 29% use the Acela Express. They produce 48% of NEC’s total operational revenue.

Amtrak needs the Acela Express and the travelers apparently too.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, November 4, 2018 11:37 PM

243129
Presented to the traveling public in this manner which do you think they would choose?

Yet the Acelas don't run empty.

So somebody chooses them.     My boss drives an Audi A8.  A ford taurus would have been cheaper, yet some people choose to pay more for things that are a bit nicer.  So goes the Acela.  Trying to fit the "travelling public" in one bucket isn't the most accurate way to go about this.

 

I mean it would probably make more sense to debate whether Amtrak should be in the business of offering first class amenities to begin with, but that argument can reflect back on the whole private varnish debate.

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, November 4, 2018 7:01 PM

243129

Let me ask you all a question.

You want to travel from NYP to WAS on a week day and you are not on an expense account. The fare in the same time frame is as low as $49.00 for a Regional train and as low as $130.00 for the Acela Express. The Regional train takes 3 hours and 22 minutes to complete the journey, the Acela Express takes 2 hours and 53 minutes to complete the same journey a difference of 30 minutes in trip time. Presented to the traveling public in this manner which do you think they would choose?

 

Eight out of ten would pick the $49 ride.  One would pay an extra $81 for sizzle, and one would be undecided. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, November 4, 2018 5:33 PM

blue streak 1
Overmod. Any chance you can give us a link to the other sections of your posted link ?

On the system I'm currently using (a HP laptop running Firefox on Windows 10 latest build) all the links in Aron Levy's blog map directly to the relevant content, some of which automatically downloads due to my default settings on how to handle PDF content (I don't like reading it directly in the browser).

Specifically what do you want to read that doesn't come up when you click?  I can post the URLs directly if you tell me (here or by PM) what they are.

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Posted by 243129 on Sunday, November 4, 2018 3:46 PM

Let me ask you all a question.

You want to travel from NYP to WAS on a week day and you are not on an expense account. The fare in the same time frame is as low as $49.00 for a Regional train and as low as $130.00 for the Acela Express. The Regional train takes 3 hours and 22 minutes to complete the journey, the Acela Express takes 2 hours and 53 minutes to complete the same journey a difference of 30 minutes in trip time. Presented to the traveling public in this manner which do you think they would choose?

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Posted by 243129 on Sunday, November 4, 2018 3:33 PM

charlie hebdo
found a accurate numbers for the Northeast (BOWASH) Megalopolis 49.6 million people (2000 ) 52.3 million in 2010 and projects to 58.4 mil. in 2025. So for 2018 a good estimate would be ~55.4 million. That works out to a growth of 5.8 million over the 18 years, a total growth of 11.1% or an average of 0.617% per year. This is hardly a "population surge" by any defintion.

Benjamin Disraeli, allegedly said there were “three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics

charlie hebdo
Additionally, beyond its contribution to a the surge in ridership, Acela accounted for 25% of Amtrak's total revenue in 2016 because the public is willing to pay more for marginally shorter times and greater comfort in riding vs that experienced in Amtubes. It's not just the amentities.

So is the outlay of an enormous amount of tax dollars for "marginally shorter" travel time a judicious use of taxpayers' funds?

"greater comfort in riding vs that experienced in Amtubes."

That would not qualify as an amenity?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, November 4, 2018 10:51 AM

Overmod

I think the discussion might benefit from this article, which I found while looking up references to the Hitachi trains mentioned in Don Oltmann's Canterbury blog post (which has other observations I think are highly relevant to this thread).  

Overmod.  Any chance you can give  us a link to the other sections of your posted link ?  Found that very enlighting !

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, November 4, 2018 8:45 AM

I think the discussion might benefit from this article, which I found while looking up references to the Hitachi trains mentioned in Don Oltmann's Canterbury blog post (which has other observations I think are highly relevant to this thread).  Some points raised in the comments are important, particularly the percentage of the contract amount reserved for maintenance and the use of some of the funds for station improvements.  Perhaps the arguments in the article will let y'all start discussing the points in a less contentious way -- more directed on the engineering and less on peripheral issues.

I note also Don's discussion of the refurbished HSTs in the Canterbury blerfblog post, which contains a note on their achievable speed relative to Acela.  (I thought it was gently amusing that Don called the Deltic a truly ancient locomotive when it is less than 15 years older than the HSTs - 1961 vs. 1975)  Here is a firsthand illustration of what could be achieved with rebuilding older equipment; yes, there would need to be some 'sizzle' developed for them but that's been a bit overdue for "regional" services since the misguided Acela branding was removed from them a decade or so ago.

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Posted by 243129 on Friday, November 2, 2018 9:22 PM

BaltACD
Like it or not, advertising lubricates the economic engine and keeps things moving, including Amtrak.

The NEC sells itself.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 2, 2018 9:12 PM

243129
 
BaltACD
 
243129 
BaltACD

Marketers sell the sizzle, not just the steak.  NEC Regionals are steak, Acela is sizzle.  Acela II will be fresh sizzle to sell. 

The NEC does not need "sizzle" nor Acela. The market is there thanks to our outdated interstate system and population surge in the northeast. The train beats the plane NYP-WAS midtown to midtown and sells itself without the glitz and "sizzle" which could be added to the conventional fleet with the savings realized from not purchasing Gen 2 'white elephants'. 

Bring back the heavyweight Congressional with K-4's and Manhatten Transfer along with the Merchants Limited and NH's I-5 Hudsons! - they will have Firemen.[/sarcasm]

Any product on the market today needs to be sold - selling requires sizzle.  Fifteen+ year old products need more more sizzle, 40 year old products can't lead any marketing campaign.

Once again the imperious attitude returns.

For reasons previously stated NEC 'sells' itself.

Nothing sells itself, including you and your own imperious attitude.

If things 'sold themselves' there would not be 4 different advertisments on this very page (Loram, Cato Institute, Newchic, North Platte Rail Day), let alone 5 minute of TV ads for about every 8 minutes of TV show.  If you developed a new and improved Tide laundry detergent how would anyone know if you only advertised it a Tide - the same old same old.  Like it or not, advertising lubricates the economic engine and keeps things moving, including Amtrak.

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, November 2, 2018 9:07 PM

To add to the previous - why else would people spend the extra coin for Acela?  15 minute better run time?  I doubt it. 

  

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, November 2, 2018 9:03 PM

243129
The Acela did not create the market, the market was there due to an aging Interstate and population surge in the northeast.

Sounds like your opinion, unless you have sources to back it up. I'm sure many others would believe the opposite. 

  

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Posted by 243129 on Friday, November 2, 2018 8:10 PM

BaltACD

 

 
243129
 
BaltACD

Marketers sell the sizzle, not just the steak.  NEC Regionals are steak, Acela is sizzle.  Acela II will be fresh sizzle to sell. 

The NEC does not need "sizzle" nor Acela. The market is there thanks to our outdated interstate system and population surge in the northeast. The train beats the plane NYP-WAS midtown to midtown and sells itself without the glitz and "sizzle" which could be added to the conventional fleet with the savings realized from not purchasing Gen 2 'white elephants'.

 

Bring back the heavyweight Congressional with K-4's and Manhatten Transfer along with the Merchants Limited and NH's I-5 Hudsons! - they will have Firemen.[/sarcasm]

Any product on the market today needs to be sold - selling requires sizzle.  Fifteen+ year old products need more more sizzle, 40 year old products can't lead any marketing campaign.

 

Once again the imperious attitude returns.

For reasons previously stated NEC 'sells' itself.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 2, 2018 7:22 PM

243129
 
BaltACD

Marketers sell the sizzle, not just the steak.  NEC Regionals are steak, Acela is sizzle.  Acela II will be fresh sizzle to sell. 

The NEC does not need "sizzle" nor Acela. The market is there thanks to our outdated interstate system and population surge in the northeast. The train beats the plane NYP-WAS midtown to midtown and sells itself without the glitz and "sizzle" which could be added to the conventional fleet with the savings realized from not purchasing Gen 2 'white elephants'.

Bring back the heavyweight Congressional with K-4's and Manhatten Transfer along with the Merchants Limited and NH's I-5 Hudsons! - they will have Firemen.[/sarcasm]

Any product on the market today needs to be sold - selling requires sizzle.  Fifteen+ year old products need more more sizzle, 40 year old products can't lead any marketing campaign.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, November 2, 2018 4:46 PM

243129
The Acela did not create the market, the market was there due to an aging Interstate and population surge in the northeast.

 

I found a accurate numbers for the Northeast (BOWASH) Megalopolis  49.6 million people (2000 ) 52.3 million in 2010 and projects to 58.4 mil. in 2025.  So for 2018 a good estimate would be ~55.4 million.  That works out to a growth of 5.8 million over the 18 years, a total growth of 11.1% or an average of 0.617% per year.  This is hardly a "population surge" by any defintion.

Additionally, beyond its contribution to a the surge in ridership, Acela accounted for 25% of Amtrak's total revenue in 2016 because the public is willing to pay more for marginally shorter times and greater comfort in riding vs that experienced in Amtubes.  It's not just the amentities.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, November 2, 2018 3:35 PM

243129

 

 
BaltACD

Marketers sell the sizzle, not just the steak.  NEC Regionals are steak, Acela is sizzle.  Acela II will be fresh sizzle to sell.

 

 

 

The NEC does not need "sizzle" nor Acela. The market is there thanks to our outdated interstate system and population surge in the northeast. The train beats the plane NYP-WAS midtown to midtown and sells itself without the glitz and "sizzle" which could be added to the conventional fleet with the savings realized from not purchasing Gen 2 'white elephants'.

 

FACTS:

By 2005, Amtrak's share of the common-carrier market between New York and Boston had reached 40%, from 18% pre-Acela. By 2016, Acela has captured a 54% share of the combined train and air market.

Over the NYC to DC section, Acela and the Northeast Regional service captured a 75% share of air/train commuters between New York and Washington in 2011, up from 37% in 2000. 

One does not need to be a marketing genius to conclude that the Acela service ws responsible for much of that ridership growth.  By contrast, the four CSAs that make up most of the NE megalopolis grew only 3.44% from 2010 census through 2016.

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Posted by 243129 on Friday, November 2, 2018 3:22 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
I think that is not that easy. I take the relation New York to Washington DC as reference. An Acela Express takes 2:58 hours, a Regional 3:25 hours. So the Regional, limited to 125 mph, takes 27 minutes more with just three more station stop.

What do you think the difference would be if the Regional made the same amount of stops as the Acela and vice versa?

VOLKER LANDWEHR
So Acela's higher top speed allows an about 20 min better running time. Are these 20 minutes worth the money? At least they brought the NEC a 71% share of the combined rail/air traffic on the New York to Washington DC route.

No, the 20 minutes are not worth the money. The Acela did not create the market, the market was there due to an aging Interstate and population surge in the northeast. As I stated in another post the train beats the plane midtown to midtown. No competition there. The amenities are nice and can be added to the conventionals but to spend the bulk of a $2.45 BILLION 'loan' on trainsets that cannot realize their potential is wasteful.

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