• Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Mackensen
 
I suppose it depends on how one defines "custom." Examples of successful procurements in the Amtrak era would include the Superliner I and II, the Viewliner I, the Surfliner, the F40PH, the AEM-7, and the Genesis. Some of these are adapted from other designs (but then so was the SDP40F), but the S-I and V-I have to count as custom designs.
  by Tadman
 
gokeefe wrote:
Its possible the customer caused issues. But right now there simply isn't any indication of that at all. They never even got to the stage of having a mockup that could have generated change orders and the inevitable production delays.
This is an insightful comment, which leads me to ask: Given that this procurement was with public money for a quasi-public agency, why on earth were we kept in the dark? It seems to be about as secret as the Manhattan Project. I think the riding public and the politicians who wrote the check deserve a better answer than "you might see some siemens cars show up in a few years".

Further, I don't mean to channel our polarizing US President, but shouldn't someone on the railroad or agency side get the toss for this? There's someone in charge of procurement, and their job is to successfully obtain rolling stock that can then be used for the core of the business - moving passengers - because the old rolling stock is at the end of design life. If you can't manage that process, you get the ax. I spend a lot of time going between engineers and purchasing agents. They don't just wait for the load test (similar to the crush test in our biz) to find out the equipment doesn't work as designed. They have checks at every stage of the process and they also don't order wild-ass custom* garbage because it leads to delays. The purchasing agents and project managers on the customer side know that if they can't manage a project to completion and on-time, they're not worth employing.

*That is, unless it's government work. Then they buy the most wild-ass custom stuff you can imagine. I'm about to no-bid a project for the DOE because it's got "lose money" written all over it. But some sucker will take it and they'll fight all year long.
  by electricron
 
I just wanted to include this refresher on what was ordered, and what is!
The original 130 car order was broken down as follows:
42 for California
3 Cab-Baggage cars
5 Cafe-Business cars
34 Coaches
88 for the Midwest
21 Cab-Baggage cars
21 Cafe-Business cars
46 Coaches

The new 137 car orders is broken down as follows:
49 for California
88 for for the Midwest

Let’s assume the 88 single level cars will be the same as before, except with far less seats.
It’ll be interesting to see how the California order changes, considering these single level cars will not mix well with the existing BiLevel cars in service.

Will the additional 7 cars be more cab-baggage cars and cafe-business cars than coach cars?
Will the Midwest order mix change to account for fewer seats?
I guess only time will answer these questions.
  by gokeefe
 
I'm guessing the additional California cars will all be coaches. This should get them very close to covering any lost capacity.
  by east point
 
There is also the possibility that California and maybe even the Midwest will continue to lease one or more Amtrak train sets with spares. That has everything to do with possible additional passengers or more trains depending on BNSF and UP. As well if Amtrak would even consider extending leases ? The big question is how quickly will Siemens deliver the new cars ? Could be that the 2022 last delivery is just having a very conservative delivery schedule ? The Chargers certainly are coming off the assembly line quickly .
  by jstolberg
 
There was also an option for up to 300 additional cars in the original order. Now that an equivalency has been established, if the option is exercised, would the they now be more single-level cars, could they be multi-level cars, or could they be some of each?
  by electricron
 
Whiatever the original order was, since both the manufacturer and car design changed, I’ll be surprised if any of the options remain on the table.
  by electricron
 
Additionally, Wisconsin is missing from both the original order and the followup change. Presently, the Hiawatha uses two train sets of mostly Horizon cars with P-42 locomotives and Cabbage units. Will they be leasing Amtrak owned rolling stock or Illinois owned rolling stock in the future?
  by gokeefe
 
I disagree. The original contract is still in force. If the options were with Sumitomo they are still legally binding. The design approval was merely subject to buyer review and the manufacturer was a sub contractor (which is looking like an even better move every single day).

We've never really discussed why that happened. It's certainly a unique arrangement for a rolling stock procurement contract.

I will also say that if these cars are successful ... As it seems highly likely they will be you can bet a lot of money that California is going to find a way to finance the full option order now that they are being built in Sacramento.

Assuming a price of about $4,000,000 a copy the the cost is $1,200,000,000. Even if the state only nets about 10% in incremental taxes from various resulting revenue streams that's still $120,000,000. It's money they can't ignore.

Wanna hear a really crazy idea? Caltrans sells their option cars to Amtrak for cost plus 0.1%. That would net them $1,200,000 just for buying and immediately selling the cars upon delivery to Amtrak. Amtrak gets a fixed price and can cut their procurement that goes out to bid in half.

You can imagine the rest ...
  by electricron
 
300 more double level cars will not replace all of Amtrak's single level or bi-level cars.
Presently Amtrak has:
Superliner I = 244
Superliner II = 183
Amfleet I = 455
Amfleet II = 144
Horizon = 92
  by Mackensen
 
There's an interesting parallel with the Long Island's C1 bilevel procurement from late 1980s/early 1990s. Comeng, who had been Budd's Australian licensee, did the initial design work. Mitsui won the bid (beating out a combination of Sumitomo and Nippon Sharyo, incidentally), and subcontracted the actual building of the cars to Tokyu. Tokyu, as carbuilder, implemented the design in consultation with Comeng and LIRR but had the final word. The parallel can be pressed further: the C1 almost failed the 800,000 lb compression test, but for a last-minute intervention by Comeng, and Tokyu's M4 railcars had failed the initial 800,000 lb compression test because of structural changes Tokyu made to the original Budd design. Now, granted, this was over twenty years ago, but the story sounds familiar.
  by eolesen
 
electricron wrote:Additionally, Wisconsin is missing from both the original order and the followup change. Presently, the Hiawatha uses two train sets of mostly Horizon cars with P-42 locomotives and Cabbage units. Will they be leasing Amtrak owned rolling stock or Illinois owned rolling stock in the future?
Wisconsin and Indiana aren't part of the coalition as I recall. It's Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, and Iowa.
  by Tadman
 
electricron wrote:Additionally, Wisconsin is missing from both the original order and the followup change. Presently, the Hiawatha uses two train sets of mostly Horizon cars with P-42 locomotives and Cabbage units. Will they be leasing Amtrak owned rolling stock or Illinois owned rolling stock in the future?
I ride the Hi about 10x/year. The pros are the frequency of service and the 90 minute schedule. Whether for business in MKE, air travel at MKA, or dinner with friends in MKE, it's a great resource. Here's what sucks: the cars. You have commuter train-like loads going through automatic doors. The crew seems to think its not worth their time to open more than a few doors of 12-14 possible doors. Ergo, dwell time is enormous, people with baggage clog the aisle (not safe), and boarding is erratic. This is my least favorite crew in the system as its clear if they opened more doors, the dwell time would go down and safety would go up.

Now, given that the Hi has a shorter run that the longest LIRR and Metra trains, it would make a lot of sense to lease 16 gallery cars configured for commuter density (or buy them new) and enjoy the benefits of 7 automated doors per train. If Amtrak doesn't want to maintain them or stock parts at 14th, I'm sure BNSF or UP would be happy to maintain them under contract along with the thousands of other gallery cars they maintain.
  by electricron
 
Tadman wrote: I ride the Hi about 10x/year. The pros are the frequency of service and the 90 minute schedule. Whether for business in MKE, air travel at MKA, or dinner with friends in MKE, it's a great resource. Here's what sucks: the cars. You have commuter train-like loads going through automatic doors. The crew seems to think its not worth their time to open more than a few doors of 12-14 possible doors. Ergo, dwell time is enormous, people with baggage clog the aisle (not safe), and boarding is erratic. This is my least favorite crew in the system as its clear if they opened more doors, the dwell time would go down and safety would go up.

Now, given that the Hi has a shorter run that the longest LIRR and Metra trains, it would make a lot of sense to lease 16 gallery cars configured for commuter density (or buy them new) and enjoy the benefits of 7 automated doors per train. If Amtrak doesn't want to maintain them or stock parts at 14th, I'm sure BNSF or UP would be happy to maintain them under contract along with the thousands of other gallery cars they maintain.
If Wisconsin wasn’t willing to have a separate maintenance contract with Talgo, why do you think they will with a freight railroad?
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