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@ClarksonCote @FairmontrrmotorsThese are electric locomotives for use between Boston and Washington, and also from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. We don't have, in the US, locomotives that are capable of running off overhead wire, or diesel. They're one or the other, not both. In the NY area, Metro North does  have (although at this point, it may be "had") locomotives that run off third rail, but that's a different thing. Modern diesel locomotives are actually powered with AC traction motors; years ago, they were all DC motors, which made it comparatively simple to tap into the third rail. Today's machinery is more complex, electrically.

Regarding rail fares and ridership: Don't ever go to Europe. You'll find it too depressing. :)


And yes, freight trains are quite pullable with electric locomotives.Look at any of the electrified railroads in this country that existed from before the second world war. Hard to believe we gave it up.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

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In this country, ALL "Diesel" locomotives are in reality Diesel-electric.There are some Diesel-hydraulic designs out there, but they're not used for over the road. The final drive is electric because, among other issues there is no way to couple the output of a Diesel engine directly to the rails- that would be the mother of all clutch pedals! The Diesel generator is not even directly controlled by the operator- he simply makes the traction motors call for power, and the generator responds. When a locomotive is starting a train, you often hear the engine revving up disproportionately to the low train speed. That's because of the heavy electric demand of starting a dead load.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

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@razmetaz1In case this was missed (see above):I grew up with, and riding behind, the GG1- even rode INSIDE them a few times. Awesome, in every sense.They were the final evolution of the steam locomotive, in some ways. They may have been the best examples of machinery the US, and only the US, could build. But you'd never want to build one today, for so many reasons. Collision protection, you say: Amtrak has CLOSED the grade crossings on the corridor. The Europeans don't really have collision issues, and they go MUCH faster than we do. This is about a modern intelligent solution that is not driven by sentimentality. It IS, however, of value to examine history at the same time.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on New Amtrak Locomotives: The Facts

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@RyanCohick @razmetaz1 I grew up with, and riding behind, the GG1- even rode INSIDE them a few times. Awesome, in every sense.They were the final evolution of the steam locomotive, in some ways. They may have been the best examples of machinery the US, and only the US, could build. But you'd never want to build one today, for so many reasons. Collision protection, you say: Amtrak has CLOSED the grade crossings on the corridor. The Europeans don't really have collision issues, and they go MUCH faster than we do. This is about a modern intelligent solution that is not driven by sentimentality. It IS, however, of value to examine history at the same time.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on New Amtrak Locomotives: The Facts

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It's a bigger picture than simply "fixing" roadbeds.True high speed rail is a specifically different endeavor than relaying some rail and updating signal systems. The Northeast corridor today consists of a few different lines that have been made more consistent relative to each other than they were, but it's still a cobbled together bit of history, in some ways.

Amtrak is underfunded. They are not to be faulted- they have no choice in terms of what their solutions are, currently. The Acela, for example, was a half-step toward high speed rail, albeit on conventional trackage. Essentially, they have had to take the approach of  signing on to a "technological mortgage" . Which is to say, they are making small improvements at enormous cost over time, rather than simply starting over as the Europeans have done. But here in the US we have a different view of the role of passenger rail travel.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

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@ClarksonCote railroad electrification is expensive. As long as Amtrak is marginally funded, it's my guess that you can expect to see only marginal improvements  over a very long period of time. Ironically, we do have a history  of electric railroading in the US, but that was a long time ago. Look at the Great Northern, the Milwaukee Road and the Virginian Railway, if you're curious.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

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@The Beaglepokepromaster the locomotives don't give you a rough ride. That track does.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

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@patchagogo the top speed of a locomotive is rarely an issue in this country. More often it is a simple case of antiquated track geometry and roadbed condition that results in limited top speeds. This is usually more of a safety issue that anything else

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

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@ClarksonCote Here is a quick education: The vast majority of Amtrak's routes are NOT electrified. Amtrak, and the railroads with whom Amtrak contracts, use Diesel-electric locomotives to pull trains. Diesel electric means that these machines are in effect mobile generating stations. They generate their own electricity. The final drive is by electric motors. That's what diesel locomotives really are.


The Northeast Corridor is somewhat unique in the United States. Amtrak essentially inherited that trackage from other railroads. Of all the electric lines, the most notable were probably those built by the Pennsylvania and New Haven Railroads, respectively.  While there were other electric rr's in this country, today the only significant stretch of electric railroad is only from Boston to Washington- and even the stretch from Boston to New Haven is comparatively recent. Without that history, you would most likely not have anything even dimly approaching the high speed rail we claim to seek, in fits and starts.  Want to go fast? Go electric. Just look at Europe.

(And look at an amazing machine that at one time was the benchmark of what we could build in this country. It was called the GG1.) But that's unrelated to the problem at hand.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

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