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pdxstreetcar

2 Acela trains laid up under Providence Place

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I was walking through Waterplace Park a few days ago and watched an Acela running under the mall. It's such a cool little trainspotting area. Heard on the news this morning it could be months before the entire fleet is back in regular service.

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I took these train pics last month. They happened to be coming through as I was walking by.

2005-0319-Trains001.jpg

2005-0319-Trains002.jpg

2005-0319-Trains003.jpg

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Nice photos, thanks for posting them. I had heard these trains were broken. Its really another sign that our current train system is broken as this kind of downtime would never be allowed in other countries with high speed trains.

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I am concerned that if they are left there unattended they will be vandalized.

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Yeah, let's hope RISD kids don't find out about this :)

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Yes, it will. To have all Acelas out of service is more than bad enough. But for Amtrak's regular electric engines to also be dying, especially on a fair-weather day like this past Friday, that will add even more fuel to the fire. Amtrak #177 normally gets to New Rochelle at 9:27 PM. I didn't get there until 12:15 AM. It probably arrived in Washington around 4:30 AM. You can bet there will be plenty of people steamed over this. And with the President and his administration already making unhappy noises about Amtrak? This could not have come at a worse time.

But look at it this way. Maybe this will shine a light on what the problems with Amtrak really are and open up a debate for what we can do to solve them.

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Personally I think Amtrak needs to go the way of British Rail and Japan National Railways. i.e break it, semi-privatize, and introduce fair competition. Or turn over the portions to the states and fund the states 50% in matching funds.

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Yeah, let's hope RISD kids don't find out about this  :)

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Just heard on the news that someone stole $22,000 worth of waterfire equipment that was in the water. Nice, huh.

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Really?

Just heard on the news that someone stole $22,000 worth of waterfire equipment that was in the water. Nice, huh.

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Good article - thanks for posting it Cotuit. The fourth paragraph is really where the article hits the nail on the head about why the Acelas are out of service - because of government bureacrtic interference on the FRA's part. They inisisted the trains be built in the USA and then insisted that they be stronger than similar European and Asian high-speed trains. The whole insistance on a custom-made train is really what brought on all these problems, plus the fact that Bombardier had no experience building high-speed trains. Their previous venture into the HSR world was the VIA Rail LRC trains that run from Quebec City to Windsor ON, Canada. Those trains had a ton of technical problems as well. The tilting mechanisms failed and as for the little locomotives - well, let's just say they were the Little Engines that Couldn't - and were replaced by standard F40s and now GE P42 diesels.

I'm not saying the trains couldn't be built in the States. They could have built TGV (or ICE or X2000) trains on this side of the Atlantic and even have made the parts by following the original blueprints. But that would have been too easy for the FRA's pencil pushers, wouldn't it?

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Amtrak also has its new "standard" electric locomotives, the HHP-8's, the replacements for the E60's and also built by Bombardier. These have also been problematic. I have read that they freeze up in cold weather all the time (strange for a product built by a Canadian company in Vermont and northern NY State, don't you think?) When I rode Train #177 from Boston to New York two weeks ago, and its locomotive died, it was an HHP-8. Only 15 of these were built for Amtrak and I believe six for MARC (the commuter rail service in the Baltimore/DC area). I'm guessing these were also a custom design brought on by FRA meddling.

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Amtrak needs to be broken up and made public.. Gov subsidized programs are always complete failures.. This is just another example.. There's no need to be efficient when Rich Uncle Sam Pennybags will just bail you out..

With a need, the market finds a way..

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Amtrak needs to be broken up and made public.. Gov subsidized programs are always complete failures.. This is just another example.. There's no need to be efficient when Rich Uncle Sam Pennybags will just bail you out..

With a need, the market finds a way..

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

They want a federal funding match for intercity passenger rail service, and then become themselves one of several competitive operators, with states developing service plans, infrastructure plans, etc. Right now they're trying to break up into five different "business lines", though with security and debt service to remain separate from them.

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Saw two things yesterday that involves these trains. The first one pissed me off at no end and the second was a bit of a pick-me-up.

1) Driving north on I-95 yesterday I noticed that our fears had been realized regarding vandals and the Acela trains. There was one train by the Lonsdale Ave. exit with a some very large "tags" on them and very colorful too. Probably three or four of them all together. :angry:

2) Driving back some four hours later it appeared there were some workers either cleaning up the spray paint or (and I hope not) just painting over the grafitti with Acela colors.

I guess I'm not surprised but I cannot tell you how infuriating it is to see this stuff happen. What I'd give to catch that F*%ker who has been putting "JM!" and "Resto" everywhere. If I had a paitball gun I'd stake him out and blast him six ways from sunday...

Well I guess I'd really rather see him have to clean it all up and pay a slew of fines but it certainly feels good to picture the whole paintball thing.

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Saw two things yesterday that involves these trains. The first one pissed me off at no end and the second was a bit of a pick-me-up.

1) Driving north on I-95 yesterday I noticed that our fears had been realized regarding vandals and the Acela trains. There was one train by the Lonsdale Ave. exit with a some very large "tags" on them and very colorful too. Probably three or four of them all together.  :angry:

2) Driving back some four hours later it appeared there were some workers either cleaning up the spray paint or (and I hope not) just painting over the grafitti with Acela colors.

I guess I'm not surprised but I cannot tell you how infuriating it is to see this stuff happen. What I'd give to catch that F*%ker who has been putting "JM!" and "Resto" everywhere. If I had a paitball gun I'd stake him out and blast him six ways from sunday...

Well I guess I'd really rather see him have to clean it all up and pay a slew of fines but it certainly feels good to picture the whole paintball thing.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Personally, I love to see graffiti. Graffiti everywhere would be a bit overwhelming, but at it's current rate, I actually enjoy it. I used to love passing thru Providence on the way to New York, and seeing all the colors on the side of the track that people had painted. Seeing cold and sterile concrete can get boring. When I see graffiti, I don't think of gangs and violence, but more that someone cared enough to try and make some art. It's an indication of life, and stark concrete that is all the same color reminds me of Communist Europe where everything is uniform and oppresive. Just my opinion, thats all.

And maybe if our president wasn't from the South, where train travel is almost non existant, he would have more love for Amtrak. Also, he has such strong ties to the oil industry that any legislation that increases the consumption of gasoline make political sense to him. Anyone who hasn't grown up or spent substaintial time living on the Northeast seaboard probably can't grasp the crucial role that Amtrak plays. Maybe in my dreams, Amtrak will prosper.

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