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TurboTrain is Finally Back!

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  • TurboTrain is Finally Back!

    Super Steel Schenectady delivered the first of seven rebuilt Turbotrains to Amtrak Thursday. Amtrak will test the train, designed to travel at 125 mph, over the next few weeks before it accepts it for regular service, according to a spokeswoman for the New York DOT.

    The Turbotrain, a five-car unit with engines at both ends, is being stored at Amtrak’s Rensselaer maintenance facility.

    State transportation officials had hoped to put the rebuilt trains into service more than two years ago, but hazardous asbestos and lead paint had to be removed from the trains during the rebuilding, delaying deliveries and adding to the price tag, then Amtrak requested extensive changes, further delaying delivery. Automatic doors on restrooms were replaced with manual doors, and the engineer’s console was extensively redesigned, reports the Schenectady Gazette.

    While state officials had hoped to rebuild the fleet for $65 million, the additional work added to the cost. The first two trains will cost a total of $34.5 million, with the remaining five to cost an additional $61 million, for a total of $95.5 million, said NYDOT spokeswoman Melissa Carlson.

    Work on the trains is being done at Super Steel’s plant at the Scotia-Glenville Industrial Park.

    The trains were built in the mid-1970s by California-based Rohr Industries from a French design, and went into service in the Empire Corridor between New York City and Buffalo. They were also used for a while on the Adirondack route to Montreal.

    By the mid-1990s, breakdowns made them less reliable, and Amtrak discontinued using all but one trainset, which was updated with new turbine engines and given a fresh coat of paint. That train will be the last of the seven to be rebuilt.

    Super Steel President Scott Mintier said a second trainset will be completed within two to three months, with remaining trainsets rolling out of the Glenville shops at three-month intervals. He expects all seven trains to be completed by the end of 2003.

    The trains have new electrical systems, new interiors with updated food service cars, more powerful turbines, and power outlets for laptop computers and other electronic devices at each seat.

    Mintier expects Amtrak’s tests, which will be conducted between Rensselaer and New York City with a potential run west to Buffalo, to take about 30 days. If tests are successful, the trains would then enter regular scheduled service.

    Most of Super Steel’s 140 employees are working on the Turbotrains, Mintier said.

    “This [delivery] is sooner than we thought, which is good news,” said Bruce Becker, president of the Empire State Passengers Association.

    New York State plans track upgrades along the Empire Corridor to permit higher speeds for the Turbotrain. The current top speed limit is 110 mph, and along much of the route, trains are limited to 90 mph.


  • #2
    Got any pics of the train?

    Just my two cents



    • #3
      No pics available yet. They still have to undergo testing but I am sure that just as soon as they get running we should be bombarded by them :-) In the meantime, if you long for some older pics of them in action, try George Elwood's Fallen Flag site for some: