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(SFGate)   Amtrak rolls out 70 new high speed, computer controlled locomotives with crumple zones. Yes, that's the joke   ( divider line
    More: Cool, crumple zones, Amtrak, rail transport  
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3042 clicks; posted to Business » on 13 May 2013 at 11:01 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2013-05-13 12:07:27 PM  
2 votes:
High speed rails need to be the norm, I would rather use the railroad rather than flying after our experience in Europe. Better service, free Wi-Fi, and a bar car!
2013-05-13 11:52:19 AM  
2 votes:
Actually, these new locomotives are, for once, current technology.  They're based on the successful Siemens Sprinter series, though the propulsion is the newer Vectron system, which means no cool startup noises.

They're going to be VERY quiet, like NJT's ALP-46s are

FWIW, the 64 in ACS 64 is the power, 6400kW, or 8600HP.  They'll be the most powerful 4 axle locomotives in North America.  Actually, they'll be the most powerful locomotives in North America, period, though their tractive effort's somewhat low, on account of their light weight (needed to go 125mph anyway).

Rumor has it they'll be limited to 5000kW on Amtrak's 25hz system, i.e. below NYC.

Why didn't Amtrak buy American?  The last US built electric locomotives, GE's E-60, ended up in a ditch not once, but twice during testing on Amtrak.  They nonetheless got stuck with the units, which were given an 80mph speed restriction (on a 125mph railroad)  They weren't reliable and they killed track.  IIRC, Metro-North slapped them with a blanket 35mph limit, which is why they never ran above New York after '83.  Amtrak pushed a few to NJ Transit where they were notoriously flaky units.
2013-05-13 11:12:51 AM  
2 votes:
What is the joke, exactly? People can actually die when trains hit each other, and crumple zones can prevent that.

You can read all about it if you want.
2013-05-13 08:25:50 PM  
1 vote:

meyerkev: Nah, it's because driving is an order of magnitude faster than walking at least and it's WAY, WAY easier to drive an hour and a half from Tulsa Burb to OKC Burb than it is to drive to downtown Tulsa to the station, pay for parking, wait for the train, ride the train to downtown OKC and then somehow get from OKC downtown to your destination (Bus, taxi, rental Car?.  Unless you're within a mile of the train station, I'm definitely not walking).   If you're going downtown to downtown it's great, and if you're going burb to burb it sucks, and since most of the traffic is burb to burb, they don't bother.

What about infrastructure for people who cannot or should not drive (underage, elderly, handicapped)?

This is why quality of life is better in most EU countries -- they provide for transportation for all walks of life, not just those who can afford it. In general it makes things safer for the rest of us who do drive not having to deal with grandpa in the fastlane.
2013-05-13 07:53:50 PM  
1 vote:

hp6sa: You could squeeze Germany and all of the UK into Texas, with plenty of room to spare.

That argument is a cop out. The Europeans are stringing together cities in different countries with high speed rail these days. The whole distance between cities argument is just a way of saying "I have absolutely no idea of the possible benefits of this technology and I'm not about to learn anything".
2013-05-13 05:30:04 PM  
1 vote:

GaperKiller: So one of you is going to know the answer to this, but how do they get the trains from California to the East seeing as there's no electric rail infrastructure between here and there? I've also wondered the same thing about the light rail trains they make there too.

Light rail cars otoh, even those on standard gauge and which have the couplers to be pulled on freight lines, aren't.  They're craned onto a flatbed.  They don't have the hookups for brake vacuum, signal lines, etc that even the simplest grain hopper car has.
2013-05-13 05:23:15 PM  
1 vote:
Took Amtrak for first time last month.  Took kids from San Diego to Santa Barbara;  they had a blast and it was reasonably priced and a lot easier than driving.
2013-05-13 05:21:15 PM  
1 vote:

HotIgneous Intruder: The joke?
It's e-lectrik.

That's a commie socialist train!

I don't get the joke.  Is there supposed to be a joke there?

First mainline AC electrification in the world:  New Haven RR in 1907.
First multisystem electric locomotive:  New Haven RR in 1905.
First rectifier locomotives:  PRR in the early 1950's.
First rectifier MUs:  New Haven RR in the mid 1950's.

The New Haven was running multisystem locomotives 50 years before the French were.  They were running multisystem MUs 60 years before the French were.  The autotransformer design that the New Haven ultimately adopted is *the* standard today for mainline electrification (albeit at commercial frequencies).  Pretty much every problem of electrification that existed was solved first on the New Haven RR.

Oh yeah, and electric?  I'd rather an 7000 - 8600HP electric pulling my train than a wimpy diesel.  Even a P-42 isn't getting much more than 3000hp to the rails, sometimes.  An ALP-46 will put 7100HP to the rails all day, even with a 1MVA head end power load.  The ACS-64 is rated 8600HP.  The current AEM-7s are 5300 (original) or 7000 (rebuilt).  That's continuous all day HP, even with HEP.
2013-05-13 01:29:05 PM  
1 vote:
The most amazing part of this story is that things are still manufactured in California.
2013-05-13 01:25:44 PM  
1 vote:

bopis: How'd they do it in europe then? just curious.

WWII is how they did it in Europe, most of the rail lines were destroyed, rebuilding started in the 1950s when high speed trains were starting to be possible.  The Northeast corridor was built starting in the late 1800s when 50 mph was high speed.
2013-05-13 12:46:24 PM  
1 vote:

xria: and a braking system capable of generating 100 percent of the energy it uses back to the electric grid

Hmm, it has been a while since I learned Physics doesn't that break one of the laws of thermodynamics?

/cue Homer with Lisa

I think the phrasing is awkward. 100% of the energy it captures goes back to the grid, not that it catches 100% of all energy
2013-05-13 12:13:29 PM  
1 vote:
Cue the Koch-suckers whose job it is to belittle mass transit, because it is communism,
2013-05-13 11:57:38 AM  
1 vote:

PsychoPhil: Why didn't Amtrak buy American?  The last US built electric locomotives, GE's E-60, ended up in a ditch not once, but twice during testing on Amtrak.

If the entire nation didn't have less catenary than many German states, we'd probably get better at it.  As it is, electric locos are such a niche market in the US it's better to let companies who build them year-in-and-year-out do the refinements.
2013-05-13 11:44:09 AM  
1 vote:
So our trains will look outdated for another 30 years, or is that our American style?
2013-05-13 11:28:30 AM  
1 vote:
Wish we had AMtrak here in OKlahoma. I think there is a train from OKC to  Fort Worth, but I live in Tulsa, A train connecting Tulsa and OKC with another going up to springfield, MO would be great.

I'm not asking for much.

Now, I'm asking for much below.

Highspeed rail between Tulsa and OKC should be a no-brainer given the fact there shouldn't be a single stop along the way.

/not gonna happen
2013-05-13 10:53:07 AM  
1 vote:
Heh. Siemens Rail Systems.
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