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Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc.
Jeff, Editor  Volume 7, Number 9, September 1999 
National Directors Report - 
By Bill Jeske 

I have been contacted by Joe Williams of the Western Connecticut Chapter about the upcoming convention being held next year.  He has asked me to provide a list of names of individuals to be car hosts on the circle trip that will be here on Saturday July 15th next year.  He is looking for 4 or 5 people to assist in staffing this train.  If we do get more volunteers it is OK because they can always use more help. 

As a car host you will assist in loading and unloading at various points as well as assisting the West Conn Staff with any problems that may occur.  You will be put up overnight Friday the 14th at convention headquarters Weston Hotel in Stamford free of charge.  The trip is a circle trip from Stamford to Springfield to Palmer to Willimantic to New London and back to Stamford. 

This is a wonderful opportunity for our chapter to show off all we have done and the friendliness of our members.  I will be passing around a sign up sheet at the general membership meeting this month.   I need to have the completed list by the end of September.  If you can not attend the September General Membership Meeting please contact me at 742-9425 as soon as possible. 

September Entertainment... 

Bob LaMay will present a slide show to members at the September meeting.  Bob's show will consist of Conrail's Final Days, MBTA's new maintenance facility, New England Central action, Amtrak's F40 "Cabbage Cars", Transpo99 at Bellows Falls Vermont and Scenes of the MT Washington Cog Railroad. 


Just a reminder to all of those members that have been donating time, materials and labor to the
museum - It is very important that you complete the volunteer worksheets.  These sheets are used to show how much volunteer time we have invested in specific projects and work activities.  A fresh supply of worksheets will be delivered to the Chaplin Station very soon.  You are encouraged to pick some up and fill them out.  Those members that are doing behind the scenes work should also be filling out the sheets for time spent making phone calls or working on projects at home.  Any time spent on museum activities should be logged, including attending monthly meetings. 

Members that have completed worksheets should deliver the sheets to Dick Sobielo at the meetings or drop them off at the Chaplin Station. 

Specifically, in the next few months we will need to summarize and report on the time spent on
projects relating to the state grant.  So please take a few moments and fill out the worksheets.  If you have any questions about this reminder, please contact one of the officers.

Please welcome Lawrence Diamond of Coventry and Niel Davis of Hebron to the chapter.  Niel was voted in at the July Meeting and Lawrence was voted in at the August meeting. 

Annual Banquet Notice 

Please note that the annual banquet is being scheduled for November 6th or 20th at this time.  Next month;s newsletter will contain the invitation and dinner selections.  There will be little time to return  your RSVP, so please consider if you will be able to attend and be ready to mail in your request.  The banquet will be held again at Eastern CT University in Willimantic.  Hope you will be able to enjoy a very pleasant evening with us. 


Amtrak's High-Speed Acela Train Service Delayed 
From Associated Press 8/31/99 via Bob LaMay: 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Equipment problems will force Amtrak to delay the introduction of its
high-speed Acela train service from late this year to sometime next year, a government source said

The national railroad, which is banking much of its future on the success of high-speed trains between Boston, New York and Washington, hopes to blunt the letdown by announcing other improvements that will allow existing trains to run slightly faster in the interim, the source told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. 

The cause for the delay is unclear. The 150-mph Acela bullet train was hampered in testing earlier this year by ``wheel hunting'' problems. At speeds of 130 mph to 145 mph, the wheels began shaking from side to  side, analysts said. 

The wheels, a French design, were then reshaped to fit more closely with the American-made track.   Another problem is that the trains were built about 4 inches too wide to take complete advantage of their tilt system, which is designed to keep passengers in their seat as the trains race through curves.  That means the trains will be limited to a tilt of 4.2 degrees instead of 6.8 degrees. 

The tilt mechanism is also complicated, presenting a maintenance challenge. 

One test train has been running since March for up to 16 hours a day on a 13-mile track at the
transportation Technology Center, located outside Pueblo, Colo. The other has been tested more recently outside Philadelphia. 

The delay is a setback for Amtrak. It held a lavish unveiling ceremony in New York in March, when it promised that the trains would start running by the end of the year. Then in June it put an Acela train on  view at a new maintenance building in Washington. Another celebration is planned for the first trip. 

Acela is part of a $2 billion plan to revive Amtrak and promote high-speed rail as a solution to the
nation's highway and air traffic congestion problems. 

The railroad is spending $710 million to buy 20 eight-car train sets from Bombardier-Alstom, a
consortium with roots in the French TGV bullet train. The trains were set to be fully operational by the fall of 2000, allowing Amtrak to arrange its schedule so they could run at full speed. 

A trip between Boston and New York would be cut from four hours, 30 minutes to just over three
hours. The New York-to-Washington leg has been projected at 2 1/2 hours, a savings of up to 30 minutes over the current schedule. 

With those travel times from city center to city center, Amtrak hoped to compete with airline shuttle services. Amtrak President George Warrington said in March that he also hoped Acela would lay the groundwork for similar service in the South, Midwest, California and the Pacific Northwest.  ``For years our critics have sat on the sidelines waiting for the high-speed rail program to fade.  We will continue to disappoint them,'' Warrington said. ``In fact, we are using the lessons learned on high-speed rail to improve all our services across this country.  Acela will be a catalyst for America's 21st century rail renaissance.'' 

Amtrak said it hoped Acela would generate $180 million in new profit, necessary if the railroad is to
keep its promise and wean itself from a government subsidy by 2002. 

Treasurer's Summary Report for August 1999 

Income was $1525.24, with most of the income from sales.  Expenses totaled $2119.96, with the
majority being spent on track acquisition. 

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Copyright ©1999 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society September 1999.