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Talgos mothballed?


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#1 Steve4031

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:13 AM

http://fox6now.com/2...-is-mothballed/

This just ruined my day.

#2 MikefromCrete

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:26 AM

http://fox6now.com/2012/03/14/plan-to-replace-amtrak-trains-with-talgo-is-mothballed/

This just ruined my day.

Those cheesehead Republicans are amazing. If Walker had allowed the Madison extension to proceed, the cost of the maintenance base would have been covered by the federal grant. Now, the state will be sued by Talgo for millions of dollars. . The train sets will be sold to Washington and Oregon (like some so many people on railfan sites have advocated) and the Hiawathas will be stuck with Horizons forever since the forward looking states that are buying new bi-levels won't allow them to be used in Wisconsin. Brilliant job, guys.

#3 Donctor

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:53 AM

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

The Talgos may be nice, but they don't belong on the Hiawathas.

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
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#4 Steve4031

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:29 AM

And I'm stuck riding crappy horizons . . . Hooray (not).

#5 afigg

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:29 AM

Those cheesehead Republicans are amazing. If Walker had allowed the Madison extension to proceed, the cost of the maintenance base would have been covered by the federal grant. Now, the state will be sued by Talgo for millions of dollars. . The train sets will be sold to Washington and Oregon (like some so many people on railfan sites have advocated) and the Hiawathas will be stuck with Horizons forever since the forward looking states that are buying new bi-levels won't allow them to be used in Wisconsin. Brilliant job, guys.


This is not a total surprise. I have not been following the recent news in Wisconsin that closely, but this has been coming for a while. WI went ahead and brought the Talgos on their own initiative without any coordination with the other Midwest states or looking at the regional picture. The Talgos offered faster trip times between Milwaukee and Madison, so the state DOT with a lot of political involvement because the Talgos would be built in WI, settled on the Talgos. The original plan, IIRC, was for WI to buy at least 2 more Talgos with the federal funding (or was it 3 to 4 additional Talgos?), enough to support service on the Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison corridor.

When Gov. Walker killed the Madison service extension, WI ended up with only 2 Talgo trainsets that had been ordered with state funding and was planning to use them for the Hiawatha service. The problem is that the cost effectiveness of building and manning a unique maintenance facility for only 2 trainsets, and only 2 trainsets, is downright lousy. There are no spare trainsets, so Amtrak would have to provide Horizons on days when a trainset has to be taken out of service. This problem applies to anyone who might consider buying the Talgos who does not already have Talgos.

Oregon is buying the other 2 Talgo trainsets from this production run, but they can't put them to full use in the near term because of current limits on number of daily trains on the Cascades corridor. The 2 Oregon Talgos will provide spare capacity in the near term, so Amtrak won't have to substitute Superliners when a Talgo set is out for maintenance. The 2 Oregon Talgos may allow for a 3rd daily train to Vancouver and maybe another daily train south of Portland, but I am not clear on that.

The problem is that Washington state is not allowed by BNSF to add more daily trains between Seattle and Portland until 2017 when the scheduled track projects are done. So if Washington State were to buy the 2 WI Talgos, they could get mothballed for up to 5 years, which is not a good use of state money.

This is a phrase to describe the situation which starts with cluster with the last word not suitable for family viewing.

As for the Hiawatha corridor, I expect WI will eventually get included in the bi-level corridor car program. If WI could find a buyer for the 2 Talgos, they could put the sale money towards buying bi-level cars. Or apply for federal funding next year to buy additional bi-levels on the back end of the 130 car order. And when the Milwaukee to Madison extension project comes back to life, use bi-levels on that corridor even if they are a little slower than the Talgos.

Edited by afigg, 15 March 2012 - 11:06 AM.


#6 jis

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:50 AM

A random thought.... Washington State could try to negotiate with BNSF to run a TALGO service from Seattle to Spokane, perhaps over Stampede Pass in the meantime?

#7 Eric S

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:56 AM

I agree with afigg. This whole Talgo and MKE-MSN fiasco is the result of poor and horrible decisions by both former Gov. Doyle (ordering 2 trainsets rather than working with other Midwest states on a joint purchase) and Walker (hastilly cancelling the MKE-MSN extension). I doubt that this is the final word, though, on what ends up happening.

#8 saxman

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:20 AM

Does it make sense for the State of Illinois to lease them for the short term? Perhaps the Quincy line or the Carbonedale line? I'm not sure how many train sets those require, but I just hate to see perfectly good equipment be wasted, when they could be out collecting revenue. This, when Amtrak is still short equipment and seeing how the bi-levels are still a few years away for the Midwest.

If anything, these sets need to be used somewhere. I hope Talgo is able to sue the State of Wisconsin. Not that I wish Wisconsin taxpayers anymore burden from Gov. Walkers shenanigans of this whole train deal.
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#9 Bob Dylan

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:23 AM

Alice in Wonderland!!! :o "Things get Curiouser and Curiouser!" Sort of Reminds one of Rome where Emperor Nero Fiddled while Rome Burned!! Damn Politicians!!When Will the Voters in Wisonsin (and Other States too!) Catch on to these Charlatans!! :rolleyes:

Edited by jimhudson, 15 March 2012 - 11:23 AM.

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#10 Ryan

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:26 AM

When Will the Voters in Wisconsin (and Other States too!) Catch on to these Charlatans!! :rolleyes:

May 8 and/or June 5
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#11 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:32 AM

Alice in Wonderland!!! "Things get Curiouser and Curiouser!" Sort of Reminds one of Rome where Emperor Nero Fiddled while Rome Burned!! Damn Politicians!! When Will the Voters in Wisonsin (and Other States too!) Catch on to these Charlatans!!

Um, I think Wisconsinites wanted these charlatans in power all along. Otherwise why would they have voted for them in the first place? Can't blame the politicians without blaming the voters who put them there. :excl:

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#12 Ryan

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

It would be fairer to say that "the subset of Wisconsonities that voted wanted these charlatans in power all along".
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#13 Trogdor

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:28 PM

Does it make sense for the State of Illinois to lease them for the short term?


No it wouldn't. They need a dedicated maintenance facility wherever they run. Illinois has no intention on building one for Talgo.

Operationally, they could probably work on the Quincy Line.

CN frequently puts minimum axle restrictions on their routes (due to a handful of grade crossing collisions in the past), so the trains probably couldn't run to Carbondale without approaching grade crossings prepared to stop. That would take a lot longer than running the current sets, since the Talgos don't have all that many axles.
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#14 AlanB

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:35 PM

and Walker (hastilly cancelling the MKE-MSN extension).


Just to be clear, Governor Walker never cancelled the MKE-MSN extension.

Yes, he ran on that platform that he would cancel it and no doubt given the chance he probably would have cancelled it. But the reality is that he actually failed to deliver on his campaign promise to cancel the extension. He never got the chance to cancel things. The Fed withdrew the offer before Mr. Walker was ever sworn in to office; so again, he actually never cancelled the extension, the Fed did.
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#15 afigg

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:35 PM

Does it make sense for the State of Illinois to lease them for the short term? Perhaps the Quincy line or the Carbonedale line? I'm not sure how many train sets those require, but I just hate to see perfectly good equipment be wasted, when they could be out collecting revenue. This, when Amtrak is still short equipment and seeing how the bi-levels are still a few years away for the Midwest.

If anything, these sets need to be used somewhere. I hope Talgo is able to sue the State of Wisconsin. Not that I wish Wisconsin taxpayers anymore burden from Gov. Walkers shenanigans of this whole train deal.

The projected cost of the Talgo maintenance facility is $55 to $63 million! Which is a LOT for a maintenance facility for TWO trainsets. Since this a fixed length consist, I guess it must have a lift for the entire consist. If Illinois or anyone else other than WA or OR were to purchase the Talgos, they would have make a hefty investment in a maintenance facility.

Now could Amtrak provide maintenance space at their facilities in Chicago at a lower cost? Possibly, although there could be a maze of agreements and union rules to get through. There could be a move where Amtrak comes along and saves the day, so to speak. But given the near-toxic political situation in WI with Gov. Walker and others facing a recall election, keeping a low profile on the issue of the Talgos for the Hiawatha service would be the prudent move.

WI spent $72 million on the 2 Talgo sets. If that money had instead been put into a secure place so Walker & the new legislature would be forced to leave it alone. While an agreement with IL was signed to use the funding to buy new cars once IL had settled on what car types to buy with the CHI-STL corridor award, the $72 million could have been applied to buy 16 bi-level corridor cars at the placeholder price of $4.5 million each (which includes spare parts and acquisition costs). The 16 bi-levels could have been split into 2 consists of 6 cars each for the Hiawatha service with 4 cars for the general fleet pool. Would have made for a total order of 104 bi-level cars for the Midwest along the 42 for California. Cluster[bleep] indeed.

Meanwhile as the world turns: 1) Talgo is likely to sue over breech of contract; 2) Walker and some Republican state legislatures will have a recall election. Break out the popcorn, there could be more twists and turns in this story yet to come.

#16 afigg

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:07 PM

A random thought.... Washington State could try to negotiate with BNSF to run a TALGO service from Seattle to Spokane, perhaps over Stampede Pass in the meantime?

Interesting idea. I did a google search and came across articles on proposals for a Seattle-Portland-Boise ID corridor service. Of course, crossing 3 states makes it more difficult to pull off.

Seattle to Spokane over either BNSF route has the advantage of connecting 2 large metro areas in the same state. Spokane is not that small in population. I did not realize it was that big, with a city population of 209K, county of 471K. There have to be politicians and people in Spokane who would like a daytime corridor train service. But I get the impression that this has not been pushed for or extensively studied, quite likely because of the capacity issues on the BNSF lines. The focus has been on the Cascades corridor.

If a leading state politician were to propose acquiring the WI Talgos to provide service from Seattle to Spokane or Boise, there would have to be feasibility studies, then engineering and design studies, multiple cycles of political & public debate, then agreements reached with BNSF if they would be willing to go along, then implementation and start-up efforts before Seattle to Spokane service might begin. How many years would that take?

#17 jis

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:13 PM

If a leading state politician were to propose acquiring the WI Talgos to provide service from Seattle to Spokane or Boise, there would have to be feasibility studies, then engineering and design studies, multiple cycles of political & public debate, then agreements reached with BNSF if they would be willing to go along, then implementation and start-up efforts before Seattle to Spokane service might begin. How many years would that take?

Oh I dunno. If it does not involve any federal money things could move quite quickly. A year or two max.

#18 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:24 PM

I think that the Talgos should be used on any one of these routes:

SEA-SPK
SEA-YVR (Vancouver)
CHI-MSP
CHI-OMA
CHI-KCY
CHI-STL
CHI-MEM
CHI-CIN
CHI-CLE
CHI-PGH
JAX-MIA
SFO-LAX
DEN-SLC
CHI-YYZ (Toronto)

Very large amount of ideas, but at least a few of them are feasible.


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#19 Guest_ctroldn toouches_*

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:34 PM

While either of the Seattle ideas would be a great place for these consists to end up on, the Chicago and California runs all would make a lot more sense to run with bilevels like the ones being ordered.

#20 Guest_R30A_*

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:44 PM

Also, an aside, VAC and TWO are the amtrak codes for Vancouver and Toronto respectively.




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