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Sumitomo/Siemens Contract for 137 Cars (former bi-levels)

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Coby's response about selling or scrapping was in response to what would happen once the cars actually on order were delivered. That isn't going to happen, as Bill and I have stated.

 

Once these new cars are delivered, what is to become of the existing Amfleet/Horizon rolling stock?

 

Once they don't need them anymore, they'll be sold or scrapped.

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I took that to be in the context of the post immediately prior to that. If that that is not the case, and the reply was in reference to the cars no longer needed for the corridors of course, nothing is going away until large scale replacement takes place. When that happens, I think what was said is valid.

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Once they don't need them anymore, they'll be sold or scrapped.

 

Agreed, there is a reason the AM1s are being replaced, they are old, and worn out. Why keep them around? Amtrak must be keeping their fabricating department busy making out of production parts for the AMI s and IIs.

 

 

So you think the AM-2s still have some life ? You need to get your facts straight. Just because the AM-1s have an older calendar date does not mean they are more worn than the AM-2s. Amtrak has published many times that AM-2s have about 40% more mileage than the AM-1s and were scheduled to be replaced first. Now maybe Anderson has this thinking about the AM-1s ?

EDIT. Another reason that AM-1s may have more life left besides less mileage is that the AM-1s have been closer to maintenance facilities on average than -2s 1200 to 1400 miles between maintenance facilities for -2s vs 249 - 500 for -1s ?

Edited by west point

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I took that to be in the context of the post immediately prior to that. If that that is not the case, and the reply was in reference to the cars no longer needed for the corridors of course, nothing is going away until large scale replacement takes place. When that happens, I think what was said is valid.

Right. I was talking about what would happen once they don't need the cars anymore. Based on past precedent, once there's enough new equipment they'll probably be sold or scrapped. Of course that's going to take a while, but once all the new cars are here and there's no point running the AmCans and Horizons anymore, selling or scrapping them would make the most sense.

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To clarify further, that is in reference to an Amtrak fleet replacement and not simply the displacement of a limited batch due to arrival of the state ordered cars. Do I have that right?

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I think that we're in violent agreement here. When this order of cars shows up, the cars currently used on the state supported routes will just fold back into the standard Amtrak pool.

 

At some unspecified point in the future when Amtrak orders single level coaches, the Amfleets and Horizons will eventually be scrapped when the cost to keep them running exceeds the revenue they can bring in.

 

once all the new cars are here and there's no point running the AmCans and Horizons anymore

The point is that there are new cars coming to replace the single level coaches anytime soon. Amtrak has nothing on order.

 

Edit: The statement "Once they don't need them anymore, they'll be sold or scrapped" reminds me of a sea story.

 

Once upon a time, I was a lowly Lieutenant working in the Office of Naval Intelligence. We got hauled over to the Pentagon one morning because a topic pertaining to Iranian small boats (my area of expertise at the time) was a topic for the CNO's morning brief. We completed the briefing, and the CNO asked me how long these boats could be expected to run for while in an engagement with our forces. Without thinking, I glibly answered "Unless we shoot them, there's no reason to think that they can't keep running with us until they run out of gas, sir". There was a brief pause in the room while the CNO looked me in the eye and said "I understand that, LT, I was hoping you could tell me how long it would be before that happened". I had to sheepishly explain to him that was something that I didn't know at the moment and would have to go back and take an action to see if we had that data anywhere.

 

Both "They'll go until they run out of gas", and "Once they don't need them anymore, they'll be sold or scrapped.", are absolutely true on an infinite timescale, but bring little predictive value to the situation. :D :D :D

Edited by Ryan

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They'll run as long as they can run :P

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I thought what I said yesterday was reasonable-Although the process to acquire rolling stock has started, we are months if not a year away from "the real deal" And of course that is still subject to external forces at work....

 

Posted Yesterday, 10:20 AM

If a large order of s/l replacement cars were ordered sometime next year, how many years out would we be when that order was completed? The newest single level cars (not counting VL or trainsets) are the Horizons, they are vintage 88-90. It might make way more sense to order or option new cars for possible expansion of s/l use rather than rebuild, considering the age of the cars by the time it would happen. Quite a number of other factors come into play, as things like potential DMU use in some spots, NY possibly buying its own cars, changes in numbers of cars needed as the state purchased cars come on line in the Midwest and CA, possible conversion of a Superliner train to single level.....anything we lay out now is pure conjecture... (which can be fun at times)

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I thought the options presented in this video were pretty straightforward. And the video shows how the inexpensive Amfleet makeover buys them a half-dozen years.

Edited by jrud

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.

Edit: The statement "Once they don't need them anymore, they'll be sold or scrapped" reminds me of a sea story.

 

Once upon a time, I was a lowly Lieutenant working in the Office of Naval Intelligence. We got hauled over to the Pentagon one morning because a topic pertaining to Iranian small boats (my area of expertise at the time) was a topic for the CNO's morning brief. We completed the briefing, and the CNO asked me how long these boats could be expected to run for while in an engagement with our forces. Without thinking, I glibly answered "Unless we shoot them, there's no reason to think that they can't keep running with us until they run out of gas, sir". There was a brief pause in the room while the CNO looked me in the eye and said "I understand that, LT, I was hoping you could tell me how long it would be before that happened". I had to sheepishly explain to him that was something that I didn't know at the moment and would have to go back and take an action to see if we had that data anywhere.

 

Both "They'll go until they run out of gas", and "Once they don't need them anymore, they'll be sold or scrapped.", are absolutely true on an infinite timescale, but bring little predictive value to the situation. :D :D :D

 

Great story, thanks for sharing it. And thank you for your service.

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I thought the options presented in this video were pretty straightforward. And the video shows how the inexpensive Amfleet makeover buys them a half-dozen years.

I’m afraid that the point of the VP on the video was that after the Amfleet cars run out of gas they may decide to fill them back up. If a rebuild saves money, it is an option.

 

I rode an Amfleet car from Baltimore to Boston when they were very new. Even though I wasn’t much of a rail fan at the time, I still remember being impressed by how modern they were. Although the interior of a new design could certainly be better than current Amfleet, the outside of an Amfleet is still modern. And a rebuild could create a modern interior. Dramatic paint schemes (livery) could certainly catch the public’s eye on a new flat sided car, but that would require a change of philosophy at Amtrak.

 

Bigger windows (and the resulting open feeling) are one thing you will never get from an Amfleet rebuild. How much is that worth? Many Stadler FLIRTs have large windows, but not every modern car does.

 

Finally. Is there a separate topic on future passenger cars? This one is on the new state corridor cars and the other thread I know is about new locomotives in 2018. Both are close but not quite right.

Edited by jrud

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The larger windows are now required to meet new fire regulations. A new Amfleet I built today with its gun-slit windows would be illegal and would not be accepted by any railroad that cares about avoiding FRA's wrath. Amfleet Is are just grandfathered in, and they are harder to extricate passengers from after an accident than cars that meet the newer code.

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The larger windows are now required to meet new fire regulations. A new Amfleet I built today with its gun-slit windows would be illegal and would not be accepted by any railroad that cares about avoiding FRA's wrath. Amfleet Is are just grandfathered in, and they are harder to extricate passengers from after an accident than cars that meet the newer code.

Sorry. I didn’t mean to imply that anyone would build new cars with small windows for a variety of reasons. I just was wondering out loud how much Amtrak would pay extra for a new versus rebuilt cars. And wether it would make a lot of difference for passengers as long as the inside was nice.

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700 car potential and night Siemens Viaggio passenger cars. Even smaller European countries use a lot of passenger cars. This includes an interesting render of the inside of a sleeping car. http://railcolornews.com/2018/08/17/at-official-obb-and-siemens-sign-framework-agreement-for-passenger-coaches-for-austria/

 

I saw and heard this a couple places, but might have missed it here. The end of the bi-level saga. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-metra-railcar-plant-closing-20180818-story.html

Edited by jrud

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Interesting the new OOB couchettes have individual doors. A four pod type of setup.

Most European trains offer a mix of services; both compartment coach (little rooms with 4-6 seats in them) or open coach (like what we have in the states). The compartments are nice as if you're traveling in a small group (say a family, or a couple coworkers) you can reserve the entire compartment.

 

peter

Edited by PerRock

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Interesting the new OOB couchettes have individual doors. A four pod type of setup.

Most European trains offer a mix of services; both compartment coach (little rooms with 4-6 seats in them) or open coach (like what we have in the states). The compartments are nice as if you're traveling in a small group (say a family, or a couple coworkers) you can reserve the entire compartment.

 

peter

Old style have 4-6 compartment, that can be converted to seats for 6.

New style are 4 Pods with a central climb/locker zone. Each pod has a door. No place to sit other than the bed.

 

I like the design. Did not know it had doors on each pod into yesterday.

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I have to admit that in my lack of knowledge of the industry this looks more like a jobs program than an effort to choose new designs for rail cars and locomotives. Why not do an RFP for a single level car done to existing designs and be done with it? It would be a lot cheaper and there are so many existing designs out there that getting one railcar maker to build a couple hundred cars would seem to be fairly straightforward. Or has Amtrak poisoned the well with the Nippon Sharyo disaster and the CAF disappointments?

We already saw what happens when AMTRAK tries to call for a brand new design for a bi-level and made the deal with Nippon Sharyo. They made design requirements that were apparently impossible to deliver at the agreed price point and had to retreat to a single level design, but now it looks like they are calling for changes in Cab Car floor height transition and car length over coupler distance. Or so my reading of the doc would indicate. Like I said, this isn't my industry, but are they doing the same thing again, demanding nickle and dime changes and then wondering why the time line is moved back by a year?

Edited by Ziv

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Amtrak did not make any deal with Nippon Sharyo. The corridor bi-levels order had nothing to do with Amtrak. It was a state(s) run project, and the resulting single level order is also a state run project. It helps to first get the facts right before trying to use them in an argument. ;)

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Like I said, this isn't my industry. But this is the thread following the Nippon Sharyo Bi-level debacle that ended up going to Sumitomo/Siemens w/single level cars. Whether it is Amtrak directly or not, was NGEC the lead group on the Nippon Sharyo design requirements? All I know is that Wikipedia said that they were the ones that helped design the Next Generation Bi-Level cars that were such a disaster. And that Amtrak was going to be the operator of those cars on most routes. I don't come here because I know everything about how these agencies work together, I come here because I don't understand it. And in this case, it seems to an outsider that NGEC is doing some of the same things that led to the Bi-Level disaster.

On edit: And I still don't understand what this means... " On 9-14-18 the modification to the Grant Agreement, including a 12 month no cost performance period extension (through 9-30-2010) and an approval of the revised SOW, was fully executed. "

Did that move the delivery date to the right by up to a year? What is a performance period extension and how will it impact deliver? Sorry for the newby questions but it is something that jumped out at me.

And to Jis's point about my getting Amtraks role wrong, was it the NGEC (or was it CalTrans?) that made the design requirements with the high buff test juxtaposed to a lower car weight requirement which worked at cross purposes to each other? Given the seemingly incredible complexity of the NGEC structure and the fact that the original PRIIA was Amtrak Specification #962, I assumed Amtrak was the lead dog. An incorrect assumption, obviously. My apologies for muddying the waters, so to speak. It is just that after seeing one acronym group/agency/watchdog/citizens group after another, I know less about this process now than I did a year ago. Or so it seems.

NGEC members linked to below.

http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/NGEC_%20educational%20outreach%20doc%20approved%2010-25-6.pdf

How do you get that many groups to agree on anything if Amtrak doesn't take a lead role? Or is CalTrans the one that kind of leads the pack?

Again, sorry for basic questions, but this doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

Edited by Ziv

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The Grant Agreement is between ASHTO and NGEC as far as I can tell. Apparently the FRA funding for NGEC's work flow through ASHTO as far as I can tell. NGEC was chartered to meet the PRIIA requirement to develop specifications for standard US engines, passenger cars etc. which could be viewed by some as a jobs project US style. But such standards have a role. In other countries typically the industry is allowed to lead such. In the US since there is no passenger car industry to speak of, something else had to be done.

 

The contract for delivering the cars is between CalDOT (acting on behalf of all the states involved) and Siemens via the prime contractor Sumitomo. AFAIK the existence or lack thereof of NGEC will have no impact on the ongoing purchase contracts, or for that matter, future ones.

 

After the bi-level fiasco, the NGEC has basically accepted all proposed changes to the single level specification that Siemens submitted in order to make the Siemens car compliant with the specification. Now they are in the process of essentially doing the same thing with the cab car specification. AFAICT Siemens is leading that and NGEC is basically taking the spec changes submitted by Siemens and more or less rubber stamping them, making sure that they meet the existing relevant CFRs. Again AFAICT the request for changing the length of the "locomotive" to 85’ is to allow power cars built into standard passenger car shells to be compliant with the locomotive specification. That is my guess.

 

Meanwhile MTA has developed a specification for dual mode (third rail) as has Amtrak based on the diesel specification, with modifications to the same. MTA is close to placing an order and Amtrak is working on reconciling differences between the MTA and Amtrak specs and submitting the common changes to the NGEC for incorporation in the NGEC specs. It looks like MTA, while making some effort to get NGEC compliance, is not particularly worried if their engine deviates some, since apparently they do not depend on federal funds for that particular purchase. This is similar to NJT not worrying about federal "Made in America" restrictions on their locomotive acquisitions funded entirely by NJDOT.

 

CalDOT, Amtrak, etc. just report current status of acquisition projects to NGEC, in addition to of course submitting change requests to the spec based on what they manufacturers are willing to deliver, after having learned that doing anything else leads to lack of acquisition, again as far as I can tell. Maybe someone has a more detailed clearer picture of the setup.

Edited by jis

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Thanks for the detailed response! I need to go do some reading about AASHTO. I just ran into a document about the SCORT part of AASHTO so I am working my way into the acronym soup...

 

Your third paragraph is the answer I was hoping to hear. I was afraid from my tyro reading of some of the document that NGEC might be doing more micro-managing, but it sounds like I was wrong about that too. Which in this case is a good thing.

Thanks!

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