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#1 Brian Luenser

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 08:04 PM

Looking out my windows downtown I see a lot of train activity. I love trains. (Would not mind reserving their horns for rural areas in thick fog, true.)
I enjoy watching the Amtrak rolling in and out of Fort Worth. I started paying a bit more attention this evening to something I think is strange. Follow these pictures if you will...

Amtrak Heartland Flyer loads passengers and heads North out of the ITC Center.


Heading North


Picking up speed (Stay with me now)


Crossing Sixth Street, here we go...


Passengers sense slowing down. (Mom, are we there already?)


Train comes to a complete stop, guy gets out, runs behind the train and unlocks a huge switch


Guy flips the huge steel bar (Switch)


Hey... Wait for me!


Now is it just me or did you think the days of mechanical switches were gone? Is this guy a union switch thrower or does he have other duties? The queries continue...

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#2 AndyN

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 09:57 AM

Electric switches are expensive. Not only is there a electrical device, but there must also be a power source and a signal system to connect the switch to the dispatcher and a safety system so that a switch thrown from a computer dispatch system at the BNSF headquarters in North Fort Worth or the UP Dispatch Center in Omaha Nebraska doesn't close on the leg of some trespassing teenager. I've got some good views of them near my office. Perhaps I can get some photos at lunch.
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#3 Keller Pirate

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 06:28 PM

I was also surprised, when I rode the special train to Quanah, that there was a hand throw switch at the station. We had a train load of experts that knew why it wasn't a power switch, but I have forgotten what they said.

Andy is right about the expense of a power switch and signal, I would guess the cost would at least be 100K or more. Since this switch is only used twice a day I'm not sure what the payback period would be on upgrading it. I guess we should be happy that either Ft Worth or Amtrak is a good steward of our taxpayer money and getting by with the hand throw.

As a former dispatcher, I can say that there isn't a safety system to keep the dispatcher from throwing a dual control switch when someone has a body part between the points. Even though the movies used to show people getting their feet stuck in switches as a train bore down on them, I doubt that has ever really happened.

In 32 years at the railroad, the only switch incident I personally knew of was a signal maintainer did get his fingers pinched when a tower operator threw a switch he was working on. He lost parts of a couple fingers. To clear a signal at a dual control switch the switch points have to "lock up" they are pretty sensitive and I doubt they would lock up with some fingers, or larger body parts, in the points. So, if you did catch somebody in your switch they would just be stuck until a train came along, stopped for the signal and called the dispatcher to ask for a catch and release.

I can also say after 32 years at the railroad, nothing is out of the question and anything can happen. smile.gif





#4 AndyN

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 11:37 AM

Hmmm... Not sure what the blue warning lights and loudspeaker next to the switches are for then. Still need to get a picture.
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#5 AndyN

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 02:29 PM

Every electric switch that I am aware of on UP's Toyah Sub has a configuration similar to this one at the Chubb Siding in Midland. Within 20 feet of the points there is a box with two loudspeakers and a blue beacon on top. There is another box near the frog (which you can see in the background):



The shed next to the switch also has a smaller blue light. It could have something to do with a Train Approach Warning System, but I don't know enough about the equipment to know for sure. There is also a microwave or radio antenna pole next to the shed.



Here's a closeup of the box near the points. Perhaps Keller Pirate has some railroad friends who might be familiar with it.




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#6 Keller Pirate

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 02:46 PM

I am going to have to make inquiries about those photos. The blue light is a railroad signal for "men working" but I have never seen them used like the photos. Technology must be leaving me in the dust.

Back in my time we had a white light on the signal houses a dispatcher could turn on to summon a nearby train or maintainer to come to the telephone at the signal house.


#7 AndyN

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 02:54 PM

I have done some google searching on the automatic Train Approach Warning System. It looks like UP tried to implement it some years ago to allow for workers (and lone workers) to work without a lookout. I wonder if these were installed at the time they were trying to implement it (AFL-CIO fought it, not sure if UP was allowed to implement it). Apparently, these would be only used while workmen were present and not every time the switch is thrown.

Sorry for the sidetrack, as it were. But even without a TAWS, I have seen quotes for electric switches around $50,000.
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#8 Electricron

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:20 PM

There's a small chance the Heartland Flyer may be extended up through Wichita to Kansas City and down through Austin to San Antonio soon. In the north direction, much relies on whether Kansas will financially support the extension. In the south direction, much relies on the outcome of ASA (Austin-San Antonio) commuter rail study being performed by Amtrak.

I don't believe Amtrak will run a short 100 mile train just between San Antonio and Austin, when they could run a 250 mile train all the way into Fort Worth, where Amtrak has access to maintenance facilities. Whether Amtrak will combine the two different local routes into one is up in the air. But it is possible.

If Amtrak determines to start a local train from Fort Worth to San Antonio, then the possibility to start a local train from Dallas to Houston arises. I don't think the UP would allow more trains on its lines, but Amtrak may not have to use the UP tracks to Dallas. If the TRE will accept Amtrak, there's no reason why Amtrak couldn't refocus on the Texas market.

If that were to occur, then the prospects for Texas to invest some money to increase the speeds of Amtrak trains becomes more likely. It's politically difficult to ask the State to invest in tracks for just a few trains. It becomes easier when there are more trains at stake.

#9 AndyN

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:02 PM

Upgrade ahead for Fort Worth passenger rail line
Posted Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010
By MARIA RECIO

mrecio@mcclatchydc.com

WASHINGTON – President Obama and Vice President Biden will announce $8 billion in grants today to develop high-speed intercity passenger rail service, including $4 million for Fort Worth for signal improvements to increase the speed of Amtrak’s Texas Eagle.

The White House released an outline of the grants in advance of today’s announcement which noted that the Texas Eagle, the daily Chicago to San Antonio line which serves Fort Worth, "will increase operating speed" and "improve on-time performance" between Fort Worth and Austin....


Full Story at The Star-Telegram.com
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#10 RD Milhollin

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 08:23 PM

http://www.star-tele...adlines-default

Extension of Heartland Flyer route likely stalled by costs

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Officials looking into extending Amtrak passenger rail service from Oklahoma City to Kansas say money is the biggest obstacle.
State Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, said extending the rail service would make the existing Heartland Flyer service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth a more effective transportation option for the public.


Read more: http://www.star-tele...t#ixzz12U6ggQ90

#11 John T Roberts

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:19 AM

Today's Star-Telegram is reporting that Amtrak is facing more cuts in Federal funding. Ridership in Texas is up. Also, I rode Amtrak this spring and the train was crowded. It also was a very pleasant experience and I would ride it again. Gordon Dickson wrote the article and below is the link.

http://www.star-tele...adlines-default

#12 johnfwd

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:53 PM

Today's Star-Telegram is reporting that Amtrak is facing more cuts in Federal funding. Ridership in Texas is up. Also, I rode Amtrak this spring and the train was crowded. It also was a very pleasant experience and I would ride it again. Gordon Dickson wrote the article and below is the link.

http://www.star-tele...adlines-default

Alas, poor Amtrak! As an “alternative history” sci-fi buff, I’ve often thought what the United States would have looked like without the invention of the automobile. With continued development of the inter-continental passenger railroads, I think cities would have developed with greater density, less suburban sprawl. Why? Because railroads end in terminals at each stop. Because trains carry lots of people. And because the economics of financing railroad expansion demands a tighter system of weblike inter-connections. But all we’ve got amidst a sea of motor vehicles is Amtrak, which the penny-pinching Congress is reluctant to fund.

#13 ramjet

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 06:10 PM

I spent 3 years commuting between New York City and Albany on Amtrak. Loved it! It was so civilized and the scenery was spectacular. Especially this time of year.

#14 FoUTASportscaster

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 02:31 PM

I travel on the Heartland Flyer quite often when we go see my wife's relatives in Norman. I enjoy that trip much more than the one in my in-law's SUV.

#15 Doohickie

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 12:22 PM

I spent 3 years commuting between New York City and Albany on Amtrak. Loved it! It was so civilized and the scenery was spectacular. Especially this time of year.

I went to college in the Albany area and interviewed in NYC. Had I taken that job, I might have done the same thing. As it was, I took the train to the interview in the morning, came home in the afternoon.
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#16 RD Milhollin

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:43 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed a trip on Amtrak a couple of years ago from NYC up to Burlington VT and back. I decided that I would always look to see i a train trip would work for me when planning a trip. Next week I need to be in Austin and will be taken to where I need to be by colleagues, so I checked the schedule, which is often unusable because only one train goes and comes on that route each day. The schedule actually worked for this trip; but the trains were sold out! I checked for departure both Sunday and Monday, but no tickets were available. Is it time to consider a second train on this route? Does anyone know where to find sales records for this route? It would be great to have more of a choice in scheduling trips along this corridor, and I would guess that more choice would result in more ridership overall.

#17 RD Milhollin

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

Amazing that this sort of thing can hold up transportation development and improvement in a huge metropolitan area. If this dispute could get resolved there would be the benefits of double-tracked passenger rail between downtowns and even an Amtrak station at DFW/Centerport. No, it isn't high-speed rail but you have to start somewhere. Personally, and from an outsider's POV I don't see why the existing liability agreements shouldn't be the basis for future arrangements. Does Amtrak feel the TRE traffic control or track maintenance is not up to par with the freight carriers? There needs to be some serious pressure from the regional governments for the parties involved to get this thing settled.

http://www.star-tele...il-tarrant.html

#18 downtowndweller

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 10:36 PM

Why is transportation infrastructure on this side of the Metroplex such a clusterf?

#19 Electricron

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 01:08 AM

Amazing that this sort of thing can hold up transportation development and improvement in a huge metropolitan area. If this dispute could get resolved there would be the benefits of double-tracked passenger rail between downtowns and even an Amtrak station at DFW/Centerport. No, it isn't high-speed rail but you have to start somewhere. Personally, and from an outsider's POV I don't see why the existing liability agreements shouldn't be the basis for future arrangements. Does Amtrak feel the TRE traffic control or track maintenance is not up to par with the freight carriers? There needs to be some serious pressure from the regional governments for the parties involved to get this thing settled.

http://www.star-tele...il-tarrant.html

I believe the Star Telegram was confused, and got the story wrong. TRE shares their tracks with freight railroad companies as is, and the TRE wants Amtrak to insure themselves and be fully responsible for any accidents that they may cause just like everyone else. It's Amtrak that's not willing to fully insure themselves wanting special treatment. When Amtrak was initially formed, its legislation set up a form of "no fault" liability with the freight railroads, where Amtrak insures its trains and riders and the freights insured their tracks and corridors in case of an Amtrak accident. The freights didn't like those clauses any more than the TRE, but the legislation became the law. The TRE didn't exist back then, so they aren't required to follow that law. All Amtrak is trying to do is get the same clauses to reduce their liability. All the TRE is trying to do is avoid liability they don't have to do.
It's a stalemate. Why should the TRE accept liability that could exceed the value of the funding the FRA plans to grant the TRE to double track rails in Tarrant County? Train accident liability is limited by law to $200 Million for each accident. That was LA's commuter rail agency max liability at its latest accident near Chatsworth. The FRA is only providing $7 Million of funding for double tracking the TRE line. Of course the TRE insurance bill isn't going to rise that much each year, but over many years the insurance bill increase will easily more than surpass the $7 Million the FRA is granting. Then add that Amtrak wants scheduling priority, having Amtrak on your corridor is more a nightmare than a dream.
NCTCOG and Amtrak want to use the TRE corridor, I'm not so sure TRE wants Amtrak to use them, especially if Amtrak isn't willing to accept full responsibility and liability for their trains actions. If the Amtrak train takes out 1000 feet of track, the TRE wants Amtrak financially responsible to pay for the repairs. Amtrak doesn't want to reimburse the TRE if that were to occur. Likewise, the TRE doesn't want to be liable for repairing Amtrak's trains either if they could prove the track conditions caused the accident.
It's easy for NCTCOG to come up with plans in their make believe world, it's not so easy implementing them in the real world once all the legal ramifications are addressed,. The only solution I can see to solve the legal difficulties is for a third party (NCTCOG?) to fund TRE's or Amtrak's higher insurance rates, because it's apparent that neither Amtrak nor the TRE want to. And I'm not so sure there is a third party wanting to.

#20 Russ Graham

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:42 AM

When Amtrak was initially formed, its legislation set up a form of "no fault" liability with the freight railroads, where Amtrak insures its trains and riders and the freights insured their tracks and corridors in case of an Amtrak accident. The freights didn't like those clauses any more than the TRE, but the legislation became the law.


The way I read the article, Amtrak will cover damages to its trains and riders even if it can be proved the track was at fault, and this is the clause Amtrak wants to get rid of in any new agreement - Am I reading that right?


All Amtrak is trying to do is get the same clauses to reduce their liability.


The impression I get from the article is that they are trying to get a different agreement with TRE than it had with U-P - one in which Amtrak would not be liable for damages to its trains and riders in the case of a fault on the track.

The interesting part comes in where U-P is blocking the FWTA from moving forward on the TEX line until we get Amtrak off the Arlington line. High stakes wheelin' and dealin'. Aren't we building U-P a new underpass at Tower 55?

#21 RD Milhollin

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 10:11 AM

S-T offers some clarification

http://blogs.star-te...ay-express.html

#22 renamerusk

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 05:14 PM

Why is transportation infrastructure on this side of the Metroplex such a clusterf?


Dallas is Blue as are Houston and Austin; Fort Worth is Red!

#23 Russ Graham

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:23 AM

Officials On Track to Settle Amtrak Dispute [S-T link]

It seems to me the headline doesn't match the story. The story says TXDOT is offering to hold the money until Amtrak & TRE settle their differences - but the headline says progress is being made in the actual dispute. Maybe they were so proud of the "On Track" joke they went ahead with it anyway.

#24 360texas

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:03 PM

Quote from ST

" That agreement, Glavin said, would be signed only by officials from the state Transportation Department and Federal Railroad Administration.

That move would obligate the money before a federal deadline of Aug. 31, preventing the money from being sent back and reallocated to other projects, he said. It would also buy time for Amtrak and TRE to resolve their differences over who should shoulder legal liability on the TRE line."
Read more here: http://www.star-tele...l#storylink=cpy

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#25 RD Milhollin

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:19 PM

OK, not about travel in and out of Fort Worth, but certainly news for Amtrak in general. Conventional tracks are being upgraded out of Chicago to allow passenger trains to travel up to 111 mph. This of course isn't "high-speed" in the European, Japanese, or Chinese sense, but as the article points out raising the speed of existing trains can help them to compete with short-hop plane service (like DFW to Houston).

http://www.nbcnews.c...untry-1C6643651

#26 Electricron

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:44 PM

OK, not about travel in and out of Fort Worth, but certainly news for Amtrak in general. Conventional tracks are being upgraded out of Chicago to allow passenger trains to travel up to 111 mph. This of course isn't "high-speed" in the European, Japanese, or Chinese sense, but as the article points out raising the speed of existing trains can help them to compete with short-hop plane service (like DFW to Houston).

http://www.nbcnews.c...untry-1C6643651


Which is great for Illinois and Missouri subsidized Amtrak trains, as they will be the trains going 110 mph. The Texas Eagle Superliner trains will max out at 90 mph over those same tracks, so they'll see a 10 mph speed increase saving a few minutes.

#27 RD Milhollin

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 05:50 AM

Which is great for Illinois and Missouri subsidized Amtrak trains, as they will be the trains going 110 mph. The Texas Eagle Superliner trains will max out at 90 mph over those same tracks, so they'll see a 10 mph speed increase saving a few minutes.


That's interesting. What is the difference between the two trains that require one to have a lower speed than the other over the same tracks?

#28 Electricron

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 06:41 AM


Which is great for Illinois and Missouri subsidized Amtrak trains, as they will be the trains going 110 mph. The Texas Eagle Superliner trains will max out at 90 mph over those same tracks, so they'll see a 10 mph speed increase saving a few minutes.


That's interesting. What is the difference between the two trains that require one to have a lower speed than the other over the same tracks?


Weight, wheels, springs, and shocks. Just like the differences between two different cars or trucks.

For more information, read .........
http://en.wikipedia....liner_(railcar)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amfleet
http://en.wikipedia....rizon_(railcar)

Here's their max speeds ......
Superliner 100 mph
Amfleet 125 mph
Horizon 120 mph

Apparently, I shorted the Superliners 10 mph. Still, 100 mph is not 110 mph.

#29 BlueMound

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:48 PM

http://www.theatlant...nterprise/4830/

How Amtrak Could Become a Robust, Profitable Enterprise

 

study by the Brookings Institute



#30 RD Milhollin

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 06:34 AM

Fort Worth/Dallas is one of Amtrak's strongest markets. Trains to Kansas? State subsidies? Rural routes threatened?

 

S-T article here.



#31 RD Milhollin

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 06:50 PM

An agreement has been reached to reroute Amtrak trains onto TRE rails between Dallas and Fort Worth:

 

http://www.star-tele...cle4480770.html

 

This could save regional rail travelers a lot of time in saved delays between the cities caused by freight trains on UP line; some talk about a stop at Centerport (NO!) and more double-tracking (YES!). Fort Worth Transit Agency had to pick up Amtrak insurance costs because they needed an agreement with UP to set up TEXRail agreement. Too bad no no one asked Amtrak for concessions, like scratching off a couple of stops on the Texas Eagle route that no one uses... 

 

Maybe some improved efficiency and more competitive travel times between cities could help ridership to improve, and eventually more trains could be scheduled. No mention of express TRE trains between DT Dallas - Centerport/DFW - DT Fort Worth, but then again then article was about Amtrak. 



#32 Not Sure

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 09:03 PM

Not looking forward to the construction on the TRE, but definitely looking forward to the double track in those places where it's currently single track.



#33 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 09:39 PM

Sounds like a raw deal for The T, but very good news for passengers on the TRE and Amtrak.

 

Frequency on Austin's Red Line will increase to every 15 minutes (currently 34 minutes) during peak hours after they add more sidings.

 

Hopefully frequency on the TRE will increase as well. I would like to see 15 min peak and 30 min off-peak frequencies.


- Dylan


#34 Volare

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 09:02 AM

Another bizarre one-sided deal (concession) by the T, an entity with less funding capability than either DART or Amtrak.



#35 Not Sure

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 05:50 PM

Not a bizarre concession at all. How else would the T get to Tower 60 from the ITC? The only route - and there's no room to construct a parallel route - is the UP Duncan Subdivision. UP held all the cards. It's that simple.



#36 RD Milhollin

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Posted 12 September 2015 - 08:46 AM

Six Years later and no agreement on the plan for Amtrak to use the TRE rail line between Dallas and Fort Worth. Using the crowded UP mainline through Arlington and Grand Prairie means frequent delays waiting for freight trains to clear.

 

http://www.star-tele...le34941207.html

 

This sort of laxity is unacceptable to rail passengers. a bright-shiny HSR route sounds appealing to many but Amtrak is what we have now, and it it woefully neglected. Multiple stops, slow travel speed, meandering tracks, and long delays compromises the ability for trains to provide a realistic alternative to car travel between cities, even given jammed urban highway traffic, endless construction, poor road surfaces, rotting bridges and expensive toll options.

 

Perhaps ideally a separate and parallel set of tracks for Amtrak/regional conventional rail could be built as part of a future HSR track project along I-30 ROW, but for now there needs to be some sort of administrative fix giving more priority to developing and improving standard passenger rail infrastructure.



#37 Electricron

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 06:07 PM

Amtrak and TRE patents finally sign contract to reroute the Texas Eagle to the TRE tracks.

http://www.amtrak.co...-ATK-15-070.pdf

So, expect to see real soon the Texas Eagle trains daily on the TRE corridor. 



#38 JBB

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 04:45 PM

Soon as in today. There's pics on Facebook of Amtrak rolling through the Richland Hills station today.

#39 johnfwd

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 04:51 AM

After years of chugging along at speeds far surpassed by HSR in China and Japan, AMTRAK finally seeks to be competitive in the 21st Century.  But it will take a few years longer before the first speedy trains come on line, as this MSN website article reports.

 

http://www.msn.com/e...ocid=spartandhp



#40 Electricron

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 09:59 AM

After years of chugging along at speeds far surpassed by HSR in China and Japan, AMTRAK finally seeks to be competitive in the 21st Century.  But it will take a few years longer before the first speedy trains come on line, as this MSN website article reports.
 
http://www.msn.com/e...ocid=spartandhp

It's a train modernization with a different vendor, Amtrak already provides HSR service on the NEC using trains from a different manufacturer. The NEC tracks will still keep the top speeds slower than what these trains can do. :(

#41 johnfwd

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 10:00 AM

 

After years of chugging along at speeds far surpassed by HSR in China and Japan, AMTRAK finally seeks to be competitive in the 21st Century.  But it will take a few years longer before the first speedy trains come on line, as this MSN website article reports.
 
http://www.msn.com/e...ocid=spartandhp


It's a train modernization with a different vendor, Amtrak already provides HSR service on the NEC using trains from a different manufacture. The tracks will still keep the top speeds slower than what the trains can do. :(

 

Thanks.  21st Century trains...19th Century tracks?



#42 Electricron

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 10:04 AM

Thanks.  21st Century trains...19th Century tracks?

Yes, with 20th Century electrification.
Although Amtrak is in the process of slowly re-wiring sections of the NEC.

#43 RD Milhollin

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 10:29 AM

New, straight trackage for Fast Trains through and between urban areas needs to be up on the priority list when the new president and congress address infrastructure needs. From what I have learned recently, some of that from this forum, there should probably be a "standard" adopted by all interested parties so different trains from different companies can physically and electrically share tracks. I would hope that some way to encourage private companies, perhaps subsidiaries of the freight lines that own the existing lines, to participate in this effort could be devised; perhaps a regional monopoly system with government participation to enable "legal" condemnation for new routes. Enabling a system where the people own the land and specialized companies operate the equipment on a bid-contract basis might help to improve efficiency and get politics out of operating decisions. Tunnels through urban centers seems a great way to bring HSR rail; building these by roofing over tracks constructed in depressed trenches would work fine, as the long, straight space above could be used for surface transportation, parks, underground utility corridors, etc. For the NEC: there seriously needs to be a new tunnel. or two, under the New York City rivers to eliminate the bottleneck there. The last effort to push this was vetoed by the New Jersey governor a few years ago... of course there could be a different governor in the not-too-distant future. For Fort Worth, a long-term plan to grade-separate the N-S and E-W tracks at Tower 55 is needed, as well as a southern bypass around the metromess, a new corridor carrying a toll road and several freight tracks all grade separated from existing roads.

 

In an effort to stay on topic: AMTRAK should try to tap into the huge market of people traveling up and down the I-35 corridor by offering express service and finding ways to straighten the route to better compete with cars.



#44 Electricron

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 05:08 PM

New, straight trackage for Fast Trains through and between urban areas needs to be up on the priority list when the new president and congress address infrastructure needs. From what I have learned recently, some of that from this forum, there should probably be a "standard" adopted by all interested parties so different trains from different companies can physically and electrically share tracks. I would hope that some way to encourage private companies, perhaps subsidiaries of the freight lines that own the existing lines, to participate in this effort could be devised; perhaps a regional monopoly system with government participation to enable "legal" condemnation for new routes. Enabling a system where the people own the land and specialized companies operate the equipment on a bid-contract basis might help to improve efficiency and get politics out of operating decisions. Tunnels through urban centers seems a great way to bring HSR rail; building these by roofing over tracks constructed in depressed trenches would work fine, as the long, straight space above could be used for surface transportation, parks, underground utility corridors, etc. For the NEC: there seriously needs to be a new tunnel. or two, under the New York City rivers to eliminate the bottleneck there. The last effort to push this was vetoed by the New Jersey governor a few years ago... of course there could be a different governor in the not-too-distant future. For Fort Worth, a long-term plan to grade-separate the N-S and E-W tracks at Tower 55 is needed, as well as a southern bypass around the metromess, a new corridor carrying a toll road and several freight tracks all grade separated from existing roads.
 
In an effort to stay on topic: AMTRAK should try to tap into the huge market of people traveling up and down the I-35 corridor by offering express service and finding ways to straighten the route to better compete with cars.

It's not Amtrak's job to subsidize short distance regional trains, the expresses in your post. Amtrak expects the States to subsidize them. Texas and Oklahoma subsidize the Heartland Flyer around $4 to $5 Million each and every year, and both of them have debated over paying Amtrak's ever increasing subsidies. So I'm not too optimistic either would be willing to subside another train. Which makes it unlikely there will be government funding for grade separating the Tower 55 crossing.

I keep reading how States and Cities across the country are looking at moving freight trains away from the central cities, yet not one foot of track has been laid on a bypass rail corridor with government funds to date. So I'm starting to believe it's just an empty promise by politicians to get elected that never ever will get built. The freight railroad companies have too much money and infrastructure in inner cities to ever abandoned them.

#45 Austin55

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:33 PM

Amtrak may be in some trouble. 

 

http://www.masstrans...passengers-narp

 

With the proposed cuts, the only Texas route remaining would be the Heartland Flyer to OKC. Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, El Paso, and everywhere in between are looking at losing service. The OKC-FW route would be the only route in the US not in the Northeast, Pac Northwest, California or Chicago areas to survive. 



#46 JBB

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:09 PM

I saw an Amtrak before and after map on Facebook last week (can't find it to save my life) and it was startling.

#47 youngalum

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:25 PM

My understanding is the Texas Eagle is the top preforming line in Texas.  Outside the Eastern Seaboard routes, the Texas Eagle is the top of the 15 long distance trains in the national network.



#48 John T Roberts

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 07:02 PM

Well, I would highly recommend everyone make a trip on Amtrak to Austin or San Antonio before they make the cuts.  Some of my more fun trips have been through the state by train. 



#49 Austin55

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:16 PM

Despite the potentially rocky future of Amtrak, they seem to be planning an extension north of Oklahoma city to Newton Kansas, ending the OKC dead end.

 

DBXUxfqUMAAKstE.jpg

 

Newton is important as it is already an Amtrak stop, so from there you could easily connect to Kansas City or St. Louis, and on to Chicago which is one of the biggest rail hubs in the US. It also runs West towards Colorado and Albuquerque before going on towards LA. There also seems to be a Tulsa <-> OKC route proposed.

 

Here's a current system map for reference. 

893365_10151762020754014_1756508251_o.jp



#50 Keller Pirate

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:10 PM

In case anyone is interested, the equipment for this special train will be in Fort Worth tomorrow. 4 extra cars will arrive on the Eagle from San Antonio and go out on the Heartland Flyer to OKC.




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