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Acela -- another delay in launching the new Avelia Liberty trainsets

Acela -- another delay in launching the new Avelia Liberty trainsets

Old May 29, 23, 7:32 am
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Acela -- another delay in launching the new Avelia Liberty trainsets

Alas, another year before Amtrak can officially launch the new Avelia Liberty trainsets on the Acela routes:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/trans...rains-delayed/
And, the top speed will be about 160 mph, less than 10% increase over the current top speed of 150 mph.
The real problem, of course, are the sharp curves in downtown Baltimore; North Philadelphia / Frankford; and the Hudson River bottleneck (not to mention all the curves on the scenic but slow route from New Haven to Westerly, but I am strictly a WAS-NYP traveller).
Despite all that, I look forward to riding on the Avelia Liberty trainsets when they are fully operational.
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Old May 30, 23, 5:38 am
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I am perplexed:

1. Amtrak has been operating high-speed trains on the Northeast Corridor for over 20 years.
2. The new Acelas are based on a model that has been in use elsewhere in the world for years.

So there is plenty of experience with these trains, and plenty of experience with high-speed trains on these tracks.

Yet they still cant get it right?
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Old May 30, 23, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler
I am perplexed:

1. Amtrak has been operating high-speed trains on the Northeast Corridor for over 20 years.
2. The new Acelas are based on a model that has been in use elsewhere in the world for years.

So there is plenty of experience with these trains, and plenty of experience with high-speed trains on these tracks.

Yet they still cant get it right?
Did you read the WaPo article? This has absolutely nothing to do with "can't get it right", and everything to do with the issues operating modern high-speed trains on decrepit centuries-old track, signal, power infrastructure. (If you need a free link, I'll post one here when my "gift article" count resets on June 1.)
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Old May 31, 23, 5:02 am
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Here is a non pay wall article about the testing delays:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...s/70270998007/
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Old May 31, 23, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by physioprof
Did you read the WaPo article? This has absolutely nothing to do with "can't get it right", and everything to do with the issues operating modern high-speed trains on decrepit centuries-old track, signal, power infrastructure. (If you need a free link, I'll post one here when my "gift article" count resets on June 1.)
Yes. I read the article. Amtrak cant get it right.

Amtrak has owned and maintained most of the Northeast Corridor tracks and other infrastructure since the 1970s. Amtrak should be very familiar with every inch of those tracks.

If Delta bought an A380 and tried to land it at, say, a small, old airport with an outdated and short runway, Id blame Delta. Particularly if Delta owned the airport and had been using it for 50 years. Just as I blame Amtrak.

Last edited by WeekendTraveler; May 31, 23 at 2:34 pm
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Old Jun 1, 23, 3:22 am
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Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler
Yes. I read the article. Amtrak cant get it right.

Amtrak has owned and maintained most of the Northeast Corridor tracks and other infrastructure since the 1970s. Amtrak should be very familiar with every inch of those tracks.

If Delta bought an A380 and tried to land it at, say, a small, old airport with an outdated and short runway, Id blame Delta. Particularly if Delta owned the airport and had been using it for 50 years. Just as I blame Amtrak.
None of this is even remotely as simple & predictable as described here.
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Old Jun 1, 23, 4:30 am
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Amtrak alone does not have unfettered discretion to decide when and how to renovate/replace the tracks. It is at the whim of Congressional funding, which can be unpredictable and delayed. I do give Amtrak credit for moving forward with the new train sets, even though the NEC tracks won't be fully upgraded for another decade. I blame Congress, not Amtrak, here.
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Old Jun 1, 23, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by AndyPatterson
Amtrak alone does not have unfettered discretion to decide when and how to renovate/replace the tracks. It is at the whim of Congressional funding, which can be unpredictable and delayed. I do give Amtrak credit for moving forward with the new train sets, even though the NEC tracks won't be fully upgraded for another decade. I blame Congress, not Amtrak, here.
In addition to this, tons of NEC track is owned by and/or used by commuter railways, who have their own legal rights to participate in decisions of what, how, and when track upgrades/modifications can be performed.
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Old Jun 1, 23, 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by AndyPatterson
Amtrak alone does not have unfettered discretion to decide when and how to renovate/replace the tracks. It is at the whim of Congressional funding, which can be unpredictable and delayed. I do give Amtrak credit for moving forward with the new train sets, even though the NEC tracks won't be fully upgraded for another decade. I blame Congress, not Amtrak, here.
I disagree. This is not an issue of its shameful that the Northeast Corridor is in disrepair. Of course its disgraceful that a First World country has such a derelict rail system. Nor does it really have much to do with commuter railroads, as the only part of the NEC that Amtrak doesnt own is the Metro-North portion.

The specific issue here is that Amtrak bought equipment that doesnt easily work on Amtraks tracks.

For that to happen is almost as inane as the original Acelas not being able to use their tilt mechanism because there wasnt enough spacing between tracks, or SNCFs trains being too wide for its platforms. Its a sloppy and avoidable mistake.
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Old Jun 1, 23, 8:53 am
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This is likely one of those situations where everyone's view is right.
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Old Jun 4, 23, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by schriste
This is likely one of those situations where everyone's view is right.
Agreed, and I am not the sole arbiter of whats correct.

Railway Age reports that the current issues are similar to issues that the original Acela had during testing and initially during revenue service. Amtrak knows of those issues and should have known that they could happen yet again.
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Old Jun 5, 23, 10:00 am
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I first heard about the likely service date entrance being pushed to 2024 back in March. I have said elsewhere that the money allotted for passenger in the BIF that is not allocated for expanding passenger service outside of the NEC should go to the NEC, specifically between DC and New Rochelle, instead of adding service in other places, given the importance of Amtrak getting the most amount of revenue on the NEC and the state of infrastructure between the two is in sorry shape for the most part. Metro-North between New Rochelle and New Haven is in even worse shape as it still does not operate as a four-track corridor, which it should. The old Acela fleet is on its last legs. Amtrak recently cancelled several roundtrips between WAS and NYP due to this. Real question is how many trainsets will be available once the new fleet is ready for service. It will likely be a few more years until the January 2020 Acela schedule is back and maybe even longer before added Acela service of peak half-hourly WAS-NYP in the mornings and evenings. I figure hourly NYP-BOS will be added before
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Old Jun 5, 23, 9:45 pm
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Interestingly, the national newspaper coverage of the recent train crash in India has emphasized that India's emphasis on flashy, new high speed trains without also upgrading the tracks and signalling infrastructure likely was a major factor in the serious casualties.

So too, here. One has to wonder if Amtrak's emphasis on yet higher speed trains, while ignoring the ancient tracks, will cause problems for Amtrak (signalling, at least, does not yet seem to be a problem for Amtrak, unlike for India).
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Old Jun 17, 23, 11:35 pm
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Kind of weird on the one hand to be complaining that the train is only 10 mph faster and then also worry about how a supposedly higher speed train (higher by only 10 mph, natch) will suddenly lead to more accidents.

PTC is what prevents accidents and has been implemented on the entire corridor for years. The entire catenary support structure between Trenton and Jersey Ave is in the process of being replaced. New Portal Bridge is actively being built.

If there's anyone to blame here, I would argue it's Alstom, who were also in the consortium that built the Acela. How is the state of the track and catenary news to them? It hasn't gotten worse in the two decades since they delivered those train sets. Will they end up paying for some more ACS-64s this time around, or will they deliver HHPv2 with equivalently awful reliability?
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Old Jun 20, 23, 8:59 am
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I just received confirmation from someone in the know that 4 of the 20 original Acela trainsets are permanently out of service and being used for parts to extend the service life of the existing fleet. There are six of the new Acela trainsets in the yard next to 30th street station and it is my understanding that will remain that way until they enter service, with possibly the prototype being delivered before it enters service. I don't know how many are in production, but a majority of the new fleet has either been delivered or is under construction. For those hoping of a return to the pre-January 2020 Acela schedule, it likely will not happen for a couple of years. Good news is that the one for one replacement of the existing fleet adds capacity of almost 80 seats. However, I can imagine a nightmare of a schedule of an equipment swap. My guess is the current fleet completes retirement in 2025 and the pre-January 2020 schedule comes back the same year and it will not be until 2026 when additional service of hourly BOS-NYP and peak half hour WAS-NYP is introduced. I suspect the work around Baltimore Penn station of the passing track for limited stop trains, i.e. the return of WAS-NYP nonstop and WAS-NYP, only stopping in PHL, will be complete by that time as well.
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Last edited by Longboater; Jun 20, 23 at 1:20 pm
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