Author Topic: Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age  (Read 703 times)

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nkalanaga

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Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age
« on: January 15, 2023, 10:23:27 PM »
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Last month we had some discussion of Amtrak's western woes, especially on the Empire Builder.  Here's an article by Bruce Kelley on what has gone wrong.  It seems that many of the problems are due to their new locomotives not doing their job.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/whats-triggering-empire-builder-service-setbacks/
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peteski

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Re: Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2023, 12:03:14 AM »
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Just like contemporary automobiles, software updates are often implements as fixes.  F40PH had no stinkin' "software".   Yes, computers give us advanced features and flexibility, but it seems we pay for that with over-complication and reliability.  Just look at Boeing 737MAX.  By the same note, I hope self-driving cars are not the norm while I'm still around.
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nkalanaga

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Re: Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2023, 01:11:49 AM »
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I was just reading a report on Amtrak's 1974 Northwest operations.  They had three trains between Seattle and Spokane that summer:  The EB, North Coast Hiawatha, and the Expo '74, which only ran that summer.  In August, between the three, they averaged 97% of trips arriving at the final destination within 20 minutes of schedule.  At that time, Amtrak was using a mix of SDP40Fs and F3/5/7s.  I doubt that they've done better than that since!

I know that, in the 1974-1978 period, the westbound Empire Builder was almost always on time at Pasco, because I routinely saw it when getting off work. I was working nights, and by leaving work a little late, I could count on meeting the train along the west side of Pasco yard.

I think part of the problem is that their newer locomotives are basically Americanized European designs.  Yes, Europe has very nice passenger trains, but how many run 2,000 miles with the same locomotive, through multiple geographic and climate conditions?  In my opinion, they'd do better to start with a modern freight locomotive.  UP and BNSF both run stack trains at near-passenger-train speeds, so a "cosmetically enhanced" version should be able to handle a passenger train.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2023, 01:15:59 AM by nkalanaga »
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learmoia

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Re: Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2023, 11:11:27 PM »
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In my opinion, they'd do better to start with a modern freight locomotive. 


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nkalanaga

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Re: Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2023, 02:14:08 AM »
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Exactly.  And, if they want to "streamline" it, that wouldn't be any problem at all.

Anything that can pull a stack train at 80 mph can do the same for a passenger train, and higher speeds would be practical, just change the gears.
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kscessandriver

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Re: Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2023, 11:29:30 AM »
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In my opinion, they'd do better to start with a modern freight locomotive.  UP and BNSF both run stack trains at near-passenger-train speeds, so a "cosmetically enhanced" version should be able to handle a passenger train.

Who has a reliable T4 freight locomotive. There aren't many glowing reviews of anything EMD has put out in T4 varieties, which leaves you with a ET44. I don't think GE, now Wabtec, really wanted to play ball with selling Amtrak some ET44s.

DirtyD79

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Re: Empire Builder delays explained - Railway Age
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2023, 07:55:41 PM »
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Just like contemporary automobiles, software updates are often implements as fixes.  F40PH had no stinkin' "software".   Yes, computers give us advanced features and flexibility, but it seems we pay for that with over-complication and reliability.  Just look at Boeing 737MAX.  By the same note, I hope self-driving cars are not the norm while I'm still around.

Yep, the more high-tech gizmos and gadgets you put on a vehicle the more stuff that has potential to break down. When those gizmos and gadgets break down, they ain't cheap or easy to fix.
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