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@RyanCohick @razmetaz1

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your thoughts. 

Since I wrote my initial comments I had a great exchange with Gary Fairbanks at DOT regarding this subject. He assured me of the same issue you raise and I'm on-board with it—at least conceptually. He also provided me with a link to information regarding the crash energy management system and the safety cage around the occupied crew area in a report published by the Federal Railroad Administration on the “Regulations.Gov” public docket at: 

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FRA-2012-0036

As I told Gary, I likely wouldn't understand the report; but it's clear that engineering work has been done on the matter. It's also been driven home in the outcome of the CT railroad crash recently and the advantages of the high design standards required by the DOT (re the ability of the cars to withstand 800,000 psi crash forces). 

Nonetheless, I still have some trepidations about the 'blunt-cut oblong cigar' shape design. Those same trepidations would ever prevent me from buying a 'Smart Car', no matter it's claims of crash worthiness, unless I planned to use it ONLY on city streets at speeds up to 40mph. I tend to remain skeptical of engineering claims that come out of cost cutting efforts and pure human arrogance that 'everything is under control' when I consider the sinking of the Titanic; the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil debacle; and the Japanese nuclear reactor meltdown. I love the following quote in all those (and other engineering) regards:

{structural engineering is}...
“the art of molding materials we do not really understand
into shapes we cannot really analyze,
so as to withstand forces we cannot really assess,
in such a way that the public does not really suspect.”
-- Eric H. Brown

Besides  the 'blunt-cut oblong cigar' shape design being downright ugly (no one will ever convince me otherwise) I really don't understand why we wouldn't 'create' a design that incorporated crash cage and crumple zone technology with additional front-end structure that would both provide for added protection and allow for improved styling. Regardless of whether or not I believe or accept the engineering claims, given the use of the locomotive on one of the most important rail corridors in the country and the reality that they'll be in service for an expected 40 years (or perhaps more), I still have to give AMTRAK an F for their overall design. 

1 year, 2 months ago on New Amtrak Locomotives: The Facts

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I just checked my information and posted the following to a previous post I had made on FB about this locomotive. 

"The PRR used the front-forward box cab design in their Class O locomotive design in the early 30's. The design was carried forward initially to the P5 Class (an experimental design) and ultimately to the P5a (the production model design). However, as Wikipedia states, "A fatal grade crossing accident on the New York Division confirmed traincrews' concerns about safety when the crew were killed after colliding with a truckload of apples. A redesign was undertaken, giving the locomotives a central "steeple cab", raised higher, with narrower-topped, streamlined "noses" to the locomotive to enable the crew to see forward. This design was carried forward to the GG1, R1, and DD2 designs." The design of Amtrak's new locomotive then goes back to a failed design concept. Is that a surprise?"

Here's a link to a Wikipedia article:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRR_P5

I then dug a little deeper and it would seem that Amtrak tried to replace the GG1 in 1975 with a pre-existing freight locomotive, the E60. That was a failure. Based on the Wikipedia article about the GG1 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRR_GG1 ), "Amtrak attempted to replace the GG1s in 1975 when it introduced the General Electric E60; however they were not a success, a 102-mile-per-hour (164 km/h) derailment during testing had to be investigated (the E60 used the same trucks as the P30CH diesel then in service with Amtrak), which delayed acceptance, and the hoped-for 120 miles per hour (193 km/h) service speed was never achieved – as the E60s never received clearance for speeds over 90 miles per hour (140 km/h).

Then look at the design of the E60 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GE_E60. Look vaguely familiar?

I think a redesign of Amtrak's 'new' design locomotive is definitely in order, especially considering it's planned to be around for 40 odd years!! 

1 year, 2 months ago on New Amtrak Locomotives: The Facts

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I have to also say that besides being ugly the design itself is flawed. The GG1 was a benefiting decendent of another electric locomotive (I believe it was the P-5 unit) that had a major design problem that was discovered in a crash that killed the crew. It had the same 'cab-forward' design that the new Amtrak unit has. Experience showed that putting the cab at the front end put the crew at risk in a crash. Don't we look to past experience in creating current day designs?

1 year, 2 months ago on New Amtrak Locomotives: The Facts

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One last thought about the ugliness of this new modern powerful locomotive, and my confusion about why we can't design something that's also attractive. It just occurred to me that the PRR built a powerful locomotive that was technologically advanced for its time AS WELL AS sleek and attractive and created a following for that unit that lasts to this day. The locomotive? the GG1. Why could that be done about 80 years ago but not today?

1 year, 2 months ago on New Amtrak Locomotives: The Facts

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The locomotives may be super-sophisticated and powerful; but they are incredibly UGLY. Couldn't you do a better job. The boxy shape with a blunt nose and a face-on view that a friend described as looking 'angry' leaves a lot to be desired.

1 year, 2 months ago on New Amtrak Locomotives: The Facts

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