Third-party LD operation RFPs

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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby John_Perkowski » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:19 pm

Based on what Mr Norman said,

Since the RFP is out, I presume the final rule is in place. If IPH's concerns weren't addressed, I'd expect them to "no-bid."

If IPH does not participate, it's down to the traditional Class One railroads. If what IPH said about their discussions is true, the end of the RFP cycle will come, and FRA will announce "there were no bids, the action is moot."

I'm not counting on this idea going anywhere at all.

From this, I'm assuming the bidders will try on some of the shorter routes, not on the routes of 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 11/14, or the Texas Eagle.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby sullysullinburg » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:33 pm

Does anyone know if you would be allowed to bid on a route that takes place in part on the NEC?
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby markhb » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:21 pm

The final rule takes effect in September, but it has been published. Are we sure that an actual RFP has been issued?

Also, while this thread has just talked about Class I's bidding, the actual rule (and the law behind it) allows a state or consortium of states, or a state or consortium of states in conjunction with 1 or more railroad operator(s), to bid as well. That seems far more likely than a RR bidding on its own.

Finally, Mr. Norman mentioned the ban in RPSA '70 against a signatory railroad resuming passenger service. Was that actually a global ban? The only thing I could find (and I couldn't find where the relevant portion of that Act had been folded into the US Code) was a ban against them running passenger service on a line that Amtrak was also running service on (i.e., head-to-head competition). If a route were to be awarded under this new process, Amtrak would no longer be running on it, so it doesn't seem that prohibition would apply. Or is there more I didn't find (I'm not an attorney so trying to suss all this out is not my specialty)?
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby electricron » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:55 pm

John_Perkowski wrote:Based on what Mr Norman said,

Since the RFP is out, I presume the final rule is in place. If IPH's concerns weren't addressed, I'd expect them to "no-bid."

If IPH does not participate, it's down to the traditional Class One railroads. If what IPH said about their discussions is true, the end of the RFP cycle will come, and FRA will announce "there were no bids, the action is moot."

I'm not counting on this idea going anywhere at all.

From this, I'm assuming the bidders will try on some of the shorter routes, not on the routes of 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 11/14, or the Texas Eagle.


IPH's concerns were mainly based upon getting fair access to Amtrak facilities around the country, mainly Amtrak owned train stations and the maintenance yards near them. IPH had to provide their own maintenance facilities instead of using Amtrak's.
Amtrak owns or controls these following facilities;
NEC:
South Hampton Street, Boston, MA
New Haven Parcel G, New Haven, CT
Sunnyside Yard, Long Island City, NY
Penn Coach Yard and Race Street Engine House, Philadelphia, PA
Washington, DC. all non-signal tracks accessed between New York Avenue and Virginia Avenue, exclusive of station tracks 7 through 30

New Orleans, LA, All station tracks and yard tracks including tracks serviced by Amtrak mechanical employees
San Antonio, TX, All three station tracks used to spot and operate passenger trains inbound/outbound from depot
St. Louis, MO, All four station tracks, two yard tracks, and the wye used to spot and operate passenger trains inbound/outbound from depot
Lorton, VA, Auto Train Facility and Station Tracks off of CSX Main Line
Sanford, FL, Auto Train Facility and Station Tracks off of CSX Main Line
Miami, FL, Amtrak station tracks 1-4, Hialea yard tracks 1-6, Rip tracks 1-3, and south coach leads, The Amtrak lead and loop track from a point south of the Amtrak
hold-out signal at MP SX1033.1
Los Angeles, CA, Roundhouse Lead from CP San Diego Jct. south including all tracks in the North Yard, 8th Street S&I and adjacent tracks, the 90’s Yard, Redondo Locomotive Shop and the PM Line/Wheel Pit tracks (not including the Back Way track within the limits of CP Olympic
Chicago, IL, Central Division limits of Brighton Park Mechanical Facility, Chicago Terminal from and including 21st Street Interlocking, to and including CP Canal, The Chicago Terminal also includes all station tracks in Chicago Union Station and all tracks in the Amtrak Chicago yard and mechanical facilities
Beech Grove, IN, Shop, All tracks off of CSX Shelbyville
Seattle, WA, Seattle King Street Station to Lander St for all tracks, excluding BNSF main line
Oakland, CA, Oakland Amtrak yard including all yard tracks and mechanical facilities within the limits to include the West Oakland

Without fair access to these facilities, i doubt anyone would submit bids to answer this RFP. Every LD train Amtrak runs starts or terminates at these facilities.....
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby Anthony » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:31 pm

If there ever is a bid from a private operator to operate a long distance route under this provision, that route would likely be the Auto Train. Why? This train is the one that is doing the best financially. In the event of such, and with the private operator providing the equipment, that would free up some much-needed Superliners for other trains out west. With these additional Superliners, Amtrak would have enough rolling stock to make the Sunset Limited daily, and perhaps bring back the Pioneer and/or Desert Wind, pending funding availability. The $750 million UP requested back in 2010 for a daily SL was nothing more than a ransom to exploit Amtrak's desire for making the SL daily, which would've unfairly forced Amtrak to pay for the double-tracking project on the Sunset corridor in exchange their daily SL, even though UP was planning to do these infrastructure improvements anyway, with or without a daily SL. Amtrak was smart and didn't fall for that ransom, so UP was forced to pay for the infrastructure upgrades themselves. While the schedule was improved somewhat in 2012, this came with a catch that Amtrak would not ask for daily service again until 2015. That window has long since passed, so now the only thing standing in the way of daily service is the lack of sufficient spare Superliners. This problem would be solved by privatizing the Auto Train to an operator who can provide their own equipment so the Superliners can be freed up to go towards a daily SL.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby MBTA3247 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:43 am

Anthony wrote:...with the private operator providing the equipment...

Which brings up one of the key questions with the idea of private companies running the LD trains: What equipment? Where is anyone going to find the dozens of coaches, sleepers, diners, lounges and baggage cars needed to take over any Amtrak route?
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby electricron » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:05 pm

Great question! They will probably have to lease rolling stock from Amtrak initially. If they were taking over just a one nighter long distance train, they would only need three train sets, let's suggest of two sleepers, three coaches, and one diner/cafe per set, totaling 6 Sleepers, 9 coaches, and 3 diner/cafes. There's plenty of old double deck HiLevels around that could be refurbished, and there's probably plenty of single level heritage cars around to refurbish as well. I'm certain Siemens could build new rolling stock as well to meet the needs for new rolling stock based on the coaches built for Brightline. So finding the rolling stock isn't going to be a problem if they are looking at using "used" or "brand new" equipment. The problem will be getting them built or refurbished quickly.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:40 pm

electricron wrote:So finding the rolling stock isn't going to be a problem if they are looking at using "used" or "brand new" equipment. The problem will be getting them built or refurbished quickly.


With what money?

The RFP limits the subsidy...

As I've said before, I will do everything in my power in the two big railroads I hold stock in to keep them from rebuilding a passenger traffic department from scratch. They paid off their joining dues to Amtrak long ago, it's Amtrak's problem now. I don't see profit from furnishing a passenger traffic department, soup to nuts.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:48 pm

electricron wrote:The problem will be getting them built or refurbished quickly.

IPH/High Iron could lease you a bunch, and I think Mid-America could too. I'm having trouble figuring out how many coaches they have, what types of sleepers they have (10-6?) or if their fleets are even partly ADA-accessible.

Colonel: I don't see a Class I even deigning to give this attention, though both UP and BNSF certainly have passenger departments still. They make plenty of money from commuter operations, but wouldn't make enough to consider LD bids. They might consider supplying T&E crews to a third party though, for a fixed price - that wouldn't dilute your stock value whatsoever.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:45 am

markhb wrote:.Finally, Mr. Norman mentioned the ban in RPSA '70 against a signatory railroad resuming passenger service. Was that actually a global ban? The only thing I could find (and I couldn't find where the relevant portion of that Act had been folded into the US Code) was a ban against them running passenger service on a line that Amtrak was also running service on (i.e., head-to-head competition)

OK, Mr. MarkHB, I'm back in the barn, even if my body time clock is still somewhere over the Atlantic.

I will research my copy of the May 1, 1971 Agreement, which was as good as verbatim from the Act, to determine the language that I believe restrained any signatory party from reentering the intercity passenger business (hey gang, what if it suddenly became profitable again?). Since there was this ostensible "for profit" charade, what company selling a line of business to someone else not want a non-compete clause within the Agreement.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby John_Perkowski » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:38 am

mtuandrew wrote:IPH/High Iron could lease you a bunch, and I think Mid-America could too. I'm having trouble figuring out how many coaches they have, what types of sleepers they have (10-6?) or if their fleets are even partly ADA-accessible.

They might consider supplying T&E crews to a third party though, for a fixed price - that wouldn't dilute your stock value whatsoever.


On the first, the bulk of Mid America's fleet will need PC-1 and PC-2 inspections and re-work. Most of what's in their yard has been out of service for years. That means capital costs to whoever goes after the RFP... (I may be thinking of Gateway Rail Services nee Kasten vice Mid-America)

On the second, UP and BNSF both do that for METRA already. As long as they can put a stock locomotive on it, or they are working someone's turnkey operation (again, think METRA), they might just go accept the opportunity.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby Alex M » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:14 pm

During a presentation by Gene Skoropowski, if Brightline is successful in Florida, he and the management feel that this model can be duplicated in other parts of the country. The basis is that Brightline would profit for transit oriented development directly, so they would require a good sized real estate portfolio and an area notorious for traffic congestion, like Miami Dade, as well as convention/tourism activities. Maybe add Brightline to the list of interested parties. They have a source for rolling stock.
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Re: Third-party LD operation RFPs

Postby CHTT1 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:52 am

The Brightline folks will be looking for underserved corridor routes with big real estate potential. They certainly aren't interested in long distance routes.
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