Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

  by electricron
 
bdawe wrote:I don't really understand the plan. For one, why dual modes? Either VIA is going to operating only fairly short distances under commuter wires or they'll be building the whole electric trunk that they're planning. Straight diesels or straight electrics would be cheaper and easier to procure. I suppose that they just can't wait for HrSR to be done, or maybe there are some unresolved gaps?
Buying dual modes locomotives now will allow piecemeal construction of the electrification of the entire corridor. Let's face realities, the entire corridor will not be electrified overnight, within a year, or within one locomotive's useful life. It's going to be done a piece at a time; within 20 miles of Toronto and Montreal, within 20 miles of Quebec and Ottawa, within 20 miles of Windsor, Quebec, London, Hamilton, Kingston, etc., then at last filling in the gaps remaining. As each electrification section gets built, the dual mode trains can use it. Exclusive electric only trains could not run until all the electrification projects are finished, while exclusive diesel locomotives can't use the electrification upgrades at all. Why spend a small fortune on electrification and never use it? Dual mode trains can use it as each upgraded section of track is finished.
  by mdvle
 
electricron wrote:A; How many rail cars would they need to make up 32 trains?
B; How many cars do the existing corridor trains on average?
C; Then multiply by 32 would get us a good estimation of number of new cars needed.

Does anyone have the answer to question B ?
VIA's website states 9100 seats in those 32 trainsets.
  by mdvle
 
electricron wrote:Stadler makes trains that would fit VIA's requirements well - check out these trains for the East Anglia franchise in UK.
British Rail Class 755.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_755" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
As part of this an order was placed with Stadler Rail for 38 Bi-Mode Multiple Unit Stadler Flirts. They will operate as 14 three-car and 24 four-car sets

Stadler is to enter the UK mainline passenger rolling stock market for the first time with an planned order for 383 Flirt electro-diesel and electric multiple-unit cars.
http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/pass ... chise.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Note: The Stadler DMUs and EMUs serving intercity and suburban trains while the Bombardier EMUs serving just suburban trains.
That's a distinction with no meaning. In the case of East Anglia their longest "intercity" route is 90 minutes, and as such they are using commuter/suburban designs for everything which is not what VIA needs.
electricron wrote: The Bi-Mode DMU-EMU Stadler Flirts are limited to 4 car sets (much like Fort Worth's recent order), but since they are multiple units, and can be formed into one 8 car train using two sets. It could be possible for two sets joined into one train from Montreal to Toronto, where it splits into two different trains - one heading to Sardinia and the other to Windsor - and vice versa.
Stadler has successfully set up shop in Salt Lake City for final assembly, the excreted aluminum shells are made in Switzerland. While they haven't set up shop in Canada yet, they seem willing to do so if it's needed to win a contract.
There are other Bi-Mode EMU-DMU train manufactures in Europe - but only one to date meets US FRA alternate compliance regulations. I'm pretty sure VIA might like them - although I don't think CN would approve of them on shared tracks...But VIA's future vision is to run passenger trains on their own dedicated tracks, in their own corridors or in shared corridors. That might change CN's tune?
Nothing in Europe meets VIA's requirements (at least not without significant redesign).

VIA has 3 stations with high level platforms, and while it could change it is probably a safe assumption that their new dedicated route would have high level platforms as well.

Also, VIA has indicated they want coaches and locomotives.
  by mdvle
 
electricron wrote:
bdawe wrote:I don't really understand the plan. For one, why dual modes? Either VIA is going to operating only fairly short distances under commuter wires or they'll be building the whole electric trunk that they're planning. Straight diesels or straight electrics would be cheaper and easier to procure. I suppose that they just can't wait for HrSR to be done, or maybe there are some unresolved gaps?
Buying dual modes locomotives now will allow piecemeal construction of the electrification of the entire corridor. Let's face realities, the entire corridor will not be electrified overnight, within a year, or within one locomotive's useful life. It's going to be done a piece at a time; within 20 miles of Toronto and Montreal, within 20 miles of Quebec and Ottawa, within 20 miles of Windsor, Quebec, London, Hamilton, Kingston, etc., then at last filling in the gaps remaining. As each electrification section gets built, the dual mode trains can use it. Exclusive electric only trains could not run until all the electrification projects are finished, while exclusive diesel locomotives can't use the electrification upgrades at all. Why spend a small fortune on electrification and never use it? Dual mode trains can use it as each upgraded section of track is finished.
We will have to wait to see what VIA's request actually says, and then what actually gets proposed and accepted.

As to the existing corridor, it's never getting electrified (barring a major change that forces CN to rethink). The freight railroads don't want wires and they own most of the tracks.

The electrification of south-western Ontario is now in significant doubt given the leadership change in the provincial PC party. While anything can still happen (it is easy to lead in the polls when you haven't yet committed to anything) given the broad indications of a balanced budget and significant tax cuts is a pretty good guess that if the Ontario government changes in June at the very least the high speed rail will be chopped, and perhaps even the GO electrification.

The Montreal commuter agency is backing away from electric operations (somewhat understandable given the're losing their main electrified line) which could mean unless VIA comes up with the money even that bit of electrified track could disappear.

If VIA gets the money to build their dedicated corridor, it will be all or nothing (you can't run a partial service on it) so it wold be electrified all at once assuming that they can get the extra money for electrification.

So the piecemeal possibility just doesn't seem all that realistic, and certainly not enough to justify the inherent complexities and additional costs of dual mode.

I can see making the idea having the ability to upgrade the trains to electric in the future being safeguarded - in particular given that the contract is a whole life contract having the possibility of change built into the contract - but for at least the next decade VIA will be a diesel only operation.
  by bdawe
 
I suppose part of the problem is that, unlike Amtrak, VIA does not really have a place to re-purpose lots of surplus diesel locomotives should they find themselves with an electrified Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Trunk. One acquaintance has suggested that they could acquire surplus GO-Transit diesels displaced by GO-RER as a stopgap until they figure out what their own corridor is going to look like
  by mdvle
 
bdawe wrote:I suppose part of the problem is that, unlike Amtrak, VIA does not really have a place to re-purpose lots of surplus diesel locomotives should they find themselves with an electrified Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Trunk. One acquaintance has suggested that they could acquire surplus GO-Transit diesels displaced by GO-RER as a stopgap until they figure out what their own corridor is going to look like
Certainly an interesting idea, but I doubt VIA would be interested.

First, many (most?) of those GO diesels are now 8 to 10 years old, and would be about 15 years old when they may possibly be available to VIA.

Then there is the question of whether they become available or not, which depends on everything going to schedule for GO in the next 5 or so years (which given that Metrolinx hasn't I believe tendered for any new equipment, or the installation of catenary yet, I doubt).

Finally, VIA wants a wrapped up package of purchase / maintenance so everything is covered, and they have the money now. If the GO thing falls through could VIA then get money out of a different government for new diesels in the future? Given VIA's history I would say that is a dangerous gamble.
  by bdawe
 
You raise some good points with regards to political and timeline risk.

I suppose what I really want is for Garneau & Co to figure out what they're actually willing to fund going forward so that VIA can coordinate the needs of it's fixed and moving investments.
  by electricron
 
mdvle wrote:VIA's website states 9100 seats in those 32 trainsets.
So, let's do the math the other way around!

9100 seats/32 trains = averaging 284-285 seats/train.
Using the two types of corridor trains in VIA service today:
LRC club = 44 seats (after refurbishment) (x26)
LRC coach = 68 seats (x72)
Renaissance club = 48 seats (x14)
Renaissance coach = 48 seats (x33)
Averaging seats for each type of car class:
Clubs = 44 x 26 + 48 x 14 / 26 + 14 = 1144 + 630 / 40 = 1774 / 40 = 44 seats
Coaches = 68 x 72 + 48 x 33 / 72 + 33 = 4896 + 1584 / 105 = 6480 / 105 = 62 seats
Percentage of each type of car class:
Club = 26 + 14/ 26 + 72 + 14 + 33 = 40 / 145 = 27.5%
Coach = 72 + 33 / 26 + 72 + 14 + 33 = 105 / 145 = 72.5%
Therefore:
9100 x 0.275 = 2502 seats club; 2502 seats / 44 seats / car = ~ 57cars
9100 x 0.725 = 6598 seats coach; 6598 seats / 62 seats / car = ~ 106 cars
57 + 106 = 163 cars
163 cars / 32 trains = ~ 5 cars/train.

So, after all the estimating math, we can conclude they will be buying slightly more than the number of cars they have in service now, increasing the total amount by 18 cars, or by 12%.

Note, this math exercise didn't include the 33 HEP2 cars. ;
If it did, there would be a decrease in the number of cars in corridor service.
98 LRCs + 47 Rs + 33 HEP2 = 178 retiring cars vs 163 new cars.....
Then adding to the difficullty of this math exercise is that not all Rs are in corridor service, some are used on the Ocean....
  by mdvle
 
bdawe wrote:You raise some good points with regards to political and timeline risk.

I suppose what I really want is for Garneau & Co to figure out what they're actually willing to fund going forward so that VIA can coordinate the needs of it's fixed and moving investments.
I would guess that the government knows what it needs in terms of funding - the Amtrak / State costs for the Siemen and Alstom products will give them a ballpark to be in.

But until the tendering process actually completes you don't want to influence the bids by publicly stating what you are expecting to pay.
  by mdvle
 
electricron wrote: Note, this math exercise didn't include the 33 HEP2 cars. ;
If it did, there would be a decrease in the number of cars in corridor service.
98 LRCs + 47 Rs + 33 HEP2 = 178 retiring cars vs 163 new cars.....
Then adding to the difficullty of this math exercise is that not all Rs are in corridor service, some are used on the Ocean....
I assume the HEP2 cars are going as well, I seem to recall reading some of them are in bad shape and it doesn't make sense to not standardize the corridor fleet.

Some of the difference can also be in the expected fleet utilization percentage - just because VIA currently has all those coaches doesn't mean they are all available to be used.

Be interesting to see if the tender process includes a requirement for future order options as simply replacing the existing stock won't help improve service frequencies. The bi-directional time savings, and less out for maintenance, will help but at some point to increase service levels or even to meet increased tickets sales from a better on board experience will need more equipment (if one ones to be optimistic).
  by dowlingm
 
VIA don't publish their fleet availability but presumably a large fleet of Viaggios will allow simplification of logistics and benefit from the supply chain for Brightline, Caltrans etc.
  by mdvle
 
dowlingm wrote:VIA don't publish their fleet availability but presumably a large fleet of Viaggios will allow simplification of logistics and benefit from the supply chain for Brightline, Caltrans etc.
My understanding is VIA wants a build and maintain contract, so it will be up to the supplier to worry about the supply chain.

What it does mean though is that Siemens and Alstom both have several advantages over any other prospective bidder (existing designs* and reasonable numbers that will be in service to reduce the cost of the long term supply chain (150+ coaches for Siemens so far, 252 coaches for Alstom)

Depending on how exactly VIA handles the power issue could give Siemens an edge (81 Chargers), though Alstom may be able to provide a surprise. If they continue to insist on dual mode then it is anybody's guess, but I would hope they would at least be open to considering a pure diesel option depending on any realistic time span for significant electrification to be available***.

It would not surprise me if VIA internally doesn't have a preferred solution, in part because it would make any new design difficult to be in service by 2022 after the winner is announced next year**. But to me it would be in VIA's best interest (or at least the Canadian's governments) to make sure that at the very least both Siemens and Alstom can bid and thus create some competition in the bidding.

[there will be no minimum content requirements per the stories after the announcement]

* Alstom is already well along the design path thus reducing the risk to the 2022 date.

** there will be a request for qualifications, followed by a request for proposals, entire process expected to take a year.

*** the existing example for dual mode would be the ALP-45DP, which comes in at 130.6T according to wikipedia. The Charger comes in at 120T. If you assume any significant electrification is at least 10 years away (not unreasonable given the process hasn't started, which means environmental hearings, legal challenges, bidding, and actually building for VIA owned track, and add on the time to buy, etc. the land for their proposed new corridor). That means, with say 30 trains running daily, you are paying in diesel costs to haul an additional 318T per day, and when you multiply that by the number of trains per year, by 10 years, that I assume will add up in costs.

The big poster boy for dual mode is the UK, but that really only applies to the UK because they already have an existing network of electrification yet are unwilling/unable to expand the electrification to what makes sense.

VIA is effectively starting from nothing, and I don't know that it makes sense to buy into dual mode now
  by NH2060
 
Surprised this hasn't been posted yet. Guess it must mean full speed ahead for Siemens ;-)
MONTREAL – Via Rail won’t establish minimum content requirements for the new trains it plans to order for Canada’s main railway corridor that transports millions of passengers annually.

“As Via Rail is a Crown corporation, the procurement process must be compliant with laws and international treaties,” spokeswoman Mylene Belanger wrote in an email.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4091340/via- ... ouncement/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by dowlingm
 
mtuandrew wrote:NH2060: funny, I was thinking it meant CRRC. It could even be Bombardier, but with most construction overseas.
I agree that it most likely means Siemens - VIA's public statements have been heavily skewed towards "ready to build" and "trainsets". CRRC don't have an FRA locomotive (or in-service coaches either?) and I'm not sure anything of Bombardier's from Horizon/LRC/Acela/M7 could be considered recent enough to cut metal for now.