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Acela II RFP information announcement


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#41 Paulus

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 06:31 PM

Not terribly thrilled at the idea that business class will be the base class for CAHSR like it is for Acela. Could be good advertising though I suppose. 15% minimum for first class. I think the HHP-8 scarred Amtrak somewhat: "Trainset availability shall, at a minimum, be 99.9999%”

Ooh, dedicated bicycle storage for CAHSRA, minimum of 8 bikes per trainset.

Edited by Paulus, 24 November 2013 - 06:33 PM.


#42 Paulus

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 06:54 PM

8.16.29 Onboard Media Content Delivery
The passenger information System shall integrate with the existing onboard Wi-Fi network for its Internet communication to send and receive real-time and stored messages and content to and from the Owner’s designated control center. Content may include, but is not limited to, the following:
a) Downloaded movies.
b) Streamed TV channels stored on local DVR for delayed local transmission onboard.
c) Train schedule information (train numbers and associated schedule including station
stops and arrival times).
d) Menus.
e) Advertising.
There shall be the ability to deliver Owner-controlled content that is stored locally on the train to display units in all cars over the passenger information System or to passengers’ personal Devices over the passenger Wi-Fi network.
There shall be the ability to update the stored media content with over-the-air updates from centralized command and control points without requiring physical touching of onboard computer servers.
It shall be possible to manage content and push updates remotely to:
a) Entire fleet.
b) Sub-groups of fleet.
c) An individual train.
Food service signage shall have the ability to display rich media (e.g., images and animations) from an onboard media server for the purpose of displaying and making real time changes to the menu.


I seriously hope they do an integration of the real time updated menu such that all classes, both Amtrak and HSR, can do at seat meal purchases. Also screens for each seat would be nice.

The Contractor shall supply three G scale (1:22.5) models of the as-built Trainsets to both Amtrak and the Authority.


Now that I just find personally amusing.

Edited by Paulus, 24 November 2013 - 07:05 PM.


#43 Peter KG6LSE

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:29 PM

I want those  scale  sets for my Xmas tree!



#44 Guest_Nathanael_*

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 11:44 PM

The Contractor shall supply three G scale (1:22.5) models of the as-built Trainsets to both Amtrak and the Authority.


For press conferences, perhaps? Can't imagine why else...

#45 afigg

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 12:33 AM

The Contractor shall supply three G scale (1:22.5) models of the as-built Trainsets to both Amtrak and the Authority.


For press conferences, perhaps? Can't imagine why else...

For press conferences, dog & pony shows, press interviews, show and tell at Congressional hearings, display models for the boardroom or public display at National Train days. Perhaps for orientation training?  A 1:22.5 scale for a trainset of longer than 672.6' (first to last axle length) is pretty big.

 

The complete text in the specification is :

 

"The Contractor shall supply three G scale (1:22.5) models of the as-built Trainsets to both Amtrak and the Authority. The model construction shall be configured so that the interior decor and layout may be viewed."

 

So these models can be used to show the interior configuration. 



#46 MattW

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 12:49 AM

Yea, it doesn't say they have to be running so they aren't just for putting around the Amtrak Christmas tree or something.


Forum's official broken record about expanded Georgia passenger service!

#47 afigg

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 06:57 PM

Lengthy Fresno Bee news article on the plans for the combined HSR order and Siemens prospects with comments from the chief program manager for CHSRA and the Siemens director of HSR development:  Government rules require California's high-speed trains to be built in U.S.
 
Some excerpts:
 

Together, the two agencies are preparing to ask for bids in coming weeks from manufacturers to build between 50 and 60 train sets capable of carrying passengers at speeds up to 220 mph.
 
From a 34-acre plant in southeast Sacramento, Siemens Industry is one of a handful of multinational companies with an eye on the prize a contract for "rolling stock" potentially worth $2 billion or more.

Siemens has a well-established supply chain of U.S.-made parts for the light-rail trains and heavier passenger locomotives it builds in Sacramento, Kick said. Steel comes from plants in California and the western U.S. A Siemens plant in Georgia provides propulsion equipment, and electric motors come from another Siemens factory in Ohio. Those Siemens facilities would be adapted to add high-speed rail components to their production.
 
But Buy America provisions for some parts could become a significant factor in driving prices up for high-speed trains built in the U.S.
"If there are certain items on that (Buy America) list that are not available in the U.S., and suppliers aren't convinced to set up shop in the U.S., that's going to be a really, really big headache," Kick said. "Say there's some widget and we have a global supplier for that, but that supplier is unwilling or unable to build this component here to comply with Buy America, then what do you do? It becomes very costly."

 

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's 2012 business plan anticipated spending about $871 million for train sets to launch service on its initial operating segment, a 300-mile line from Merced into the San Fernando Valley. If that is spread across 20 train sets California's anticipated initial order it works out to a price of about $43.5 million per train. Each 656-foot train would have between 450 and 500 seats.

If the winning bid comes in at $50 million a trainset, Amtrak should be able to get a RRIF loan to pay for the lion's share of the cost for the entire order even if Congress does not provide direct funding.

#48 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:48 PM

Lengthy Fresno Bee news article on the plans for the combined HSR order and Siemens prospects with comments from the chief program manager for CHSRA and the Siemens director of HSR development:  Government rules require California's high-speed trains to be built in U.S.
 
Some excerpts:
 

Together, the two agencies are preparing to ask for bids in coming weeks from manufacturers to build between 50 and 60 train sets capable of carrying passengers at speeds up to 220 mph.
 
From a 34-acre plant in southeast Sacramento, Siemens Industry is one of a handful of multinational companies with an eye on the prize a contract for "rolling stock" potentially worth $2 billion or more.

Siemens has a well-established supply chain of U.S.-made parts for the light-rail trains and heavier passenger locomotives it builds in Sacramento, Kick said. Steel comes from plants in California and the western U.S. A Siemens plant in Georgia provides propulsion equipment, and electric motors come from another Siemens factory in Ohio. Those Siemens facilities would be adapted to add high-speed rail components to their production.
 
But Buy America provisions for some parts could become a significant factor in driving prices up for high-speed trains built in the U.S.
"If there are certain items on that (Buy America) list that are not available in the U.S., and suppliers aren't convinced to set up shop in the U.S., that's going to be a really, really big headache," Kick said. "Say there's some widget and we have a global supplier for that, but that supplier is unwilling or unable to build this component here to comply with Buy America, then what do you do? It becomes very costly."

 

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's 2012 business plan anticipated spending about $871 million for train sets to launch service on its initial operating segment, a 300-mile line from Merced into the San Fernando Valley. If that is spread across 20 train sets California's anticipated initial order it works out to a price of about $43.5 million per train. Each 656-foot train would have between 450 and 500 seats.

If the winning bid comes in at $50 million a trainset, Amtrak should be able to get a RRIF loan to pay for the lion's share of the cost for the entire order even if Congress does not provide direct funding.

 

 

So that comes to what, $500 million? 



#49 afigg

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 11:41 PM

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's 2012 business plan anticipated spending about $871 million for train sets to launch service on its initial operating segment, a 300-mile line from Merced into the San Fernando Valley. If that is spread across 20 train sets California's anticipated initial order it works out to a price of about $43.5 million per train. Each 656-foot train would have between 450 and 500 seats.

If the winning bid comes in at $50 million a trainset, Amtrak should be able to get a RRIF loan to pay for the lion's share of the cost for the entire order even if Congress does not provide direct funding.

 
So that comes to what, $500 million?

According to the HSR order plans stated earlier this year, Amtrak is seeking to order 12 trainsets in the first round. Then Amtrak would order 20 trainsets to replace the Acela Is in the early 2020s. If the winning bid came to $50 million a trainset plus spares and maintenance support upgrades, Amtrak might be looking at a $700 or $800 million cost for the first order batch.

#50 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 02:32 PM

Is RRIF the only way to fund that? 



#51 afigg

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:01 PM

Is RRIF the only way to fund that? 

No, Amtrak should be able to get a commercial loan to pay for the Acela II trainsets. The Acelas have an advantage that they generate substantial revenue and an operating profit above the rails. But a commercial loan would be at higher interest rates.  Now, it would be better if Congress were to provide some funding for rolling stock purchases, that Amtrak could use for upfront costs and maybe the initial progress payments so they don't have to take on as much debt that has to paid off over the next 20 or how ever many years.



#52 jis

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:29 PM

Unfortunately it is a little more complicated than that. Amtrak cannot use the same surplus from Acela to both cross-subsidize LD and use as collateral for loans. So for them to be able to use that as the collateral for loans, they will have to find money from elsewhere to pay for LD operations. This may or may not be easy to do considering the political climate. Already they have some amount of the surplus from Regionals locked in for paying for the ACS64's I imagine.

#53 Guest_Nathanael_*

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 11:42 PM

Unfortunately it is a little more complicated than that. Amtrak cannot use the same surplus from Acela to both cross-subsidize LD and use as collateral for loans. So for them to be able to use that as the collateral for loans, they will have to find money from elsewhere to pay for LD operations. This may or may not be easy to do considering the political climate. Already they have some amount of the surplus from Regionals locked in for paying for the ACS64's I imagine.


Eh, just speed up the LDs until they're profitable. :-)

OK, OK, I kid, I kid. But I've been looking pretty deeply into these for a while. The Boardman presentation with direct costs was very illuminating. A lot of the "costs" we see are actually overhead which can only be covered by expanding operations. The more state-subsidized corridors there are to spread the overhead out across, the better that will get. Meanwhile, most of the eastern long-distance trains are within striking distance of profitability on a direct-costs basis; a few targeted speed improvements and better on-time performance would do the trick.

Only some of the trains require large operating subsidies (CZ, SL, SWC), and even there it's only parts of their routes (Denver-Chicago is pretty good financially, Denver-San Francisco is horrible). Amtrak rejected breaking up routes into connected corridors in the PIPs, but frankly I think it's not crazy to break the CZ at Denver -- except that it would reveal how bad the western half does and how well the eastern half does.

There's a very real sense in which the Amtrak federal operational subsidy, and many of the state operational subsidies (as opposed to the capital subsidies) are for a very specific list of line segments -- ones with particularly slow running. I mentioned the terrible speed of the Crescent south of Atlanta in another thread, and the terrible Indianapolis-Chicago speed is well known. The mountain crossing of the Coast Starlight and both mountain crossings of the California Zephyr have bad running times compared to alternatives, the SWC has awful running times over Raton, and the Sunset Limited has awful running times for most of its distance.

If I were master-planning for Amtrak, I would be tempted to sit down and find out what routes have geometric alignment suitable for continuous 80mph+ running between major cities, and then move heaven and earth to get those lines under passenger-operator control -- and focus all service on those lines. But I suppose in some sense they're doing exactly that in the attempt to get a "South of the Lake" route out of Chicago. Hasn't really succeeded yet.

Anyway, sparked a lot of interesting thoughts though.

#54 afigg

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 11:54 PM

Unfortunately it is a little more complicated than that. Amtrak cannot use the same surplus from Acela to both cross-subsidize LD and use as collateral for loans. So for them to be able to use that as the collateral for loans, they will have to find money from elsewhere to pay for LD operations. This may or may not be easy to do considering the political climate. Already they have some amount of the surplus from Regionals locked in for paying for the ACS64's I imagine.

I don't think there is a legal reason Amtrak can't use part of the surplus from the Acela to pay for a loan for an Acela II purchase. Doing so would mean a smaller surplus amount to draw on to cover the LD operational losses. A lot depends on what the annual operating subsidy amount provided by Congress stabilizes at. That is, of course, assuming that Congress does not pass a re-authorization bill that forces Amtrak to cut some LD trains. Reducing the losses for the LD trains with a higher cost recovery is the other way to lessen the dependence on the Acela surplus but that is a long slog process.

I'm pretty sure Boardman and Amtrak management have crunched the numbers extensively to determine how much of the current Acela surplus and how much extra projected revenue from the new trainsets they would have to draw on to pay for the first Acela II order. The wild card is the annual funding amounts provided by Congress. With the news that a budget deal has been reached by the House & Senate budget conference, we may find out soon what Amtrak will get for FY14. But the budget deal has to be passed by the House which may prove difficult.

#55 afigg

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 05:57 PM

Well, Friday afternoon is an interesting time to issue a press release on the release of the RFP. Maybe CHSRA is trying to go for a lower profile to have the likely attacks from the political opposition end up in the Saturday newspaper (the least read newspaper of the week). Here is the news release that was posted to the Amtrak website:

 

AMTRAK AND CALIFORNIA REQUEST BIDS FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAINSETS.

 

WASHINGTON – Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today issued a request for proposals to build modern, state-of-the-art high-speed trainsets. The trainsets are essential to meeting Amtrak’s critical short-term need to expand the capacity of its current Northeast Corridor (NEC) high-speed service and meeting the long-term operational needs of both Amtrak and the Authority.

 

Amtrak is seeking up to 28 high-speed trainsets, each with between 400 and 450 seats, which can meet or exceed current Acela Express trip-times on the existing NEC infrastructure between Washington, New York and Boston. The Authority is seeking an initial order of 15 trainsets which will have a minimum of 450 seats that can meet its planned trip-time requirements for service from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles on what will be largely brand new infrastructure.

 
A goal of the procurement is to identify whether established high-speed rail equipment manufacturers have service-proven designs that can meet both the short-term needs of Amtrak and the long-term operational needs of the Authority and Amtrak with little or no modification. It is also hoped that the joint procurement of equipment with a large degree of commonality will result in lower unit acquisition and life cycle costs for both Amtrak and the Authority, while helping expand the U.S. role in high-speed rail equipment manufacturing.

 

“With packed trains and increasing demand, the need to expand the capacity of Amtrak’s high-speed service cannot be overstated,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “It is absolutely critical that we get more high-speed trains as soon as possible to provide more service and meet the growing mobility and economic needs of the Northeast region.”

 

The Authority requires operation at speeds of a minimum of 200 mph which is similar to what Amtrak expects it will need to realize its Vision for High-Speed Rail on the NEC. Initially, Amtrak intends to operate at peak speeds of 160 mph because that is the expected maximum allowable speed permitted by the NEC infrastructure at the time these trainsets are delivered.

 

“This is a major milestone for California’s high-speed rail project,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales. “Combining California’s and Amtrak’s orders will help make it worthwhile for manufacturers to locate in the United States, create jobs and deliver 21st Century, state-of-the art trainsets.”

 

“Today’s announcement is one more step in our efforts to standardize domestic rail equipment and reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “Combining orders between Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority will generate economies of scale and make it more attractive for high-speed rail manufacturers to build factories here in the USA, bringing new high-quality jobs and creating ripple effects throughout our domestic supply chain. The end result means the riding public will have lighter, faster, more energy efficient passenger rail service.”

 

Only current manufacturers of high-speed rail equipment, which the partners define as manufacturers with equipment in commercial operation at speeds of at least 160 mph (257 kph) for at least two years, will be eligible to submit a bid. Proposals are due May 17 and it is expected that a builder will be selected by the end of 2014.

The bold face emphasis is mine.

 

Ok, time to speculate who will bid and who might win the contract. ^_^



#56 afigg

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 06:39 PM

Well, Amtrak posted the username and password to access the RFP document on their procurement portal website. Lots of interesting details for those inclined to access the documents while they are available. I just started to skim the documents. :)

 

Why Boardman is saying up to 28 trainsets? Because Amtrak is requesting the bidders submit proposals for 4 alternatives and offer how many trainsets they think are needed to meet the Amtrak service operating plans for current level of service and expanded half hourly service. Note that 3 of the 4 alternatives are for replacing the current Acela fleet. Excerpt from the instructions to the offerors:

 

It is contemplated that this RFP will result in the award of two (2) separate contracts for Amtrak.

The first Amtrak contract is for the procurement of an alternative number of Trainsets with an option for additional individual vehicles.

Amtrak is requesting a proposal based on the four alternatives, all of which relate to the Operating Plans attached to this Solicitation.

Alternative 1: Phase 1 of the Operating Plan calls for the addition of peak hour half hourly service that requires 6 additional Trainsets to operate alongside the existing Acela. Offeror should state the number of Trainsets needed for these additional 6 services.

Alternative 2: No change to the existing service but replacing the existing Acela fleet with the new Trainsets. Offeror should state the number of Trainsets needed for Amtrak’s current operating plan.

Alternative 3: Replacement of the existing Acela fleet and with the addition of the extra half hourly service set out in Phase 1 of the Operating Plans; the operational requirement is for 22 operating Trainsets each day. Offerors should state number of Trainsets to operate this service.

Alternative 4: Replacement of the existing Acela fleet and the addition of Trainsets to operate the 25 services needed each day outlined in Phase 2 of the Operating Plans. Offeror to state the number of Trainsets required to operate this service.

All the Trainset quantities quoted in the above Alternatives are for Trainsets in service and make no allowance for spare or maintenance cover.

 



#57 Anderson

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 07:04 PM

I'm pouring over the docs now, but I can't find a copy of the Operating Plan(s).  Any advice where I should look?


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#58 Fan Railer

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 09:52 PM

I'm pouring over the docs now, but I can't find a copy of the Operating Plan(s).  Any advice where I should look?

I do not believe the plans are included in the downloads. The closest thing I could find to that is in the "Acela HSR Mechanical fact sheet" document:

Trainset Schedule
Weekdays - Operate 16 trainsets on 32 frequencies
Saturday - Operate 7 trainsets on 9 frequencies
Sunday - Operate 13 trainsets on 19 frequencies



#59 afigg

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:57 PM

I'm pouring over the docs now, but I can't find a copy of the Operating Plan(s).  Any advice where I should look?

I don't see the document either on the site. There is an Amtrak Operating Plan along with route profile spreadsheet files, technical references listed as attachments in the performance specification. Some of those files may be considered confidential, which would only be provided to qualified bidders upon request. Even without all the reference documents, there is a lot of information and specs on the RFP in the available documents.



#60 Guest_Woody_*

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 12:35 AM

 

. . .  Amtrak cannot use the same surplus from Acela to both cross-subsidize LD

and use as collateral for loans. So for them to be able to use that as the collateral

for loans, they will have to find money from elsewhere to pay for LD operations. . . .

Already they have some amount of the surplus from Regionals locked in for

paying for the ACS64's I imagine.

 

If I parsed Boardman's interview in Railway Age correctly, he said

that the future operating supluses from the new Acleas would pay

for the new equipment, and help pay for future improvements to the NEC.

I took that as a promise to some in Congress that surpluses from the new

Acleas would not be used to subsidize the LD trains.

 

But since the new equipment won't arrive for 5 or 6 years if we're very

lucky, presumably the surpluses from the present Acela trains can

continue to be used to subsidize the LD trains for a few more years.

 

How much cross-subsidy is there anyway? Do we have a good guess?

Isn't this one of the areas where the famed Amtrak accounting may

obscure the view? LOL.






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