Its that time of the month for another rail roundup;
Amtrak is planning, yet again, to purchase new locomotives and passenger cars to replace the aging fleet. The NEC still will not be a true HSR route, even with the planned “Acela II” with a maximum speed of 180mph, now the low end standard of HSR.
Due for replacement are 412 Amfleet I, 122 Amfleet II, 122 Superliner I, 184 Superliner II, 50 Viewliner, 92 Horizon cars, as well as Heritage baggage and dining cars. Among the locomotives are 20 AEM7 d.c. electric locomotives (the remaining 29 have been rebuilt with a.c. propulsion), and the railroad’s F59PH, P42, P40, and P32DM fleets. Currently, an RFP is out for 125 single-level coaches/baggage-dorm cars/diners and 20 electric locomotives.
Plenty more after the jump!
Want to take Amtrak to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics? Better do it soon, tickets are going fast. There is only 31 days remaining until the Olympics start. Ridership on the trains are steadily increasing with the morning train seeing nearly 100 passengers, up from 40 to 60 passengers which leaves good hope to keeping the second train running after the Olympics.
With all the craziness at the airports, Amtrak has a clever ad…in an airport… to get you to ride the train.
WSDOT is listening to the voices on the Amtrak Cascades bistro car redesign. There was a loud outcry regarding the new design and was 90% disliked by commenter’s.. The DJC has an excellent article on what the State is doing now to address the concerns but in short, the bistro car will retain its seating and the water dispenser will be moved to a different, new user friendly location. (Subscription required)
Construction on Phase 2 of King Street Station starts in Q2 2010. This will seismically retrofit the building and bring the interior back to its majestic glory.
On Friday, January 8th, Amtrak had a groundbreaking ceremony for the upcoming expanded coach yard and maintenance facility. This project, some 10 years later, is finally becoming a reality, which will bring increased reliability to locomotives and better working conditions for employees.
A Sounder engineer has a near miss with an elderly gentleman in Edmonds and tells his story.
Sound Transit is in talks with BNSF for the next 4 round trip weekday Sounder South trains. ST will purchase time slots instead of doing track improvements to allow the trains to be put in service faster. (Can be found in the WSDOT 2010-2030 Freight Rail plan)
(Updated by Brian B: 1:55pm) Construction is expected to start on the new Edmonds Crossing multi-modal station in February. This project includes adding a second track between MP 17 and MP 18. A “Form B” was issued today for the mile long stretch of railroad to start civil work and grading. At milepost 27 and 28, near Mukilteo, construction will start for the civil work for a second track. A new crossover at Richmond Beach near milepost 14 will be installed to increase the railroads flexibility. Each of the new sections of double track will have new crossovers installed.
Mukilteo’s northbound platform and pedestrian walkway is also rumored to start this year.
Construction on the permanent Tukwila Station should also began this year tentatively.
The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad will be returning to its normal run out of Elbe, Washington this Spring. The Nisqually River bridge, which was washed out in October 2006 is finishing up construction and Tacoma Rail is doing repairs to the line for the return. Freight service to Morton is still suspended due to several washouts from the January 2009 washouts between Divide and Morton, WA.
The Northwest Railway Museum is moving forward with construction of the “Train Shed” which will house several of their steam locomotives and finally get them out of the weather. The museum also received a $180,000 grant to restore the 1898 Baptist Chapel car from Save America’s Treasures.
WSDOT has revamped the 2010-2030 freight rail plan. This plan outlines rail traffic between now and 2030. It also identifies several key bottlenecks and what they are planning on to fix the issues.
BNSF currently has no funding available in the 5 year outlook for Stampede Tunnel, which would have lowered the tunnel bed to allow double stack and autorack trains. It was originally assumed that after the sale of the Eastside Rail Corridor that BNSF would use this funding to lower the tunnel bed. It is unknown now where this funding will go.
The Eastside Freight Railroad started service yesterday between Snohomish and Woodinville, picking up a few cars and greeting the business owners along the line. This new railroad takes over the BNSF line and hopes to improve freight rail service that BNSF Railway ignored or shooed away to get out of the branch line. Byron Cole, owner of the railroad (along with Ballard Terminal Railroad and Meeker Southern Railroad) is hopeful that he’ll revive the line and gain access to Bellevue to serve Safeway.
The FRA issue rules on Positive Train Control Systems