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

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Hi,

The AASHTO updates dated November 30th are now uploaded to the website.  Progress in the car shells continues and construction work on car shells 9 through 12 has started.  Here's the link to the website.

http://www.highspeed-rail.org/pages/section305committee.aspx

 

Edited by DSS&A
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Thank you for the updates.  It looks like they are making steady progress on the cars.  I’m looking forward to riding them.  

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They will know as soon as they bring real seriousness to the table in the form of a real RFP or RFQ. Absent that why would anyone agree to discuss production plans?

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Wow... so sad because I fear the end of the bi-level era is at hand. I can fondly remember as a child using the Amfleet equipped San Joaquins and being in awe at the sight of superliners at 16th and Wood. To me those were the “real” trains. Nothing beats the smoothness and the visibility from up there. To me the worst ride on any train is found on Talgo trains. Aside from not riding comfortably, especially on American track, sitting that low just feels wrong.

we should fully take advantage of the asset we have in American railroad infrastructure, what with its near-universal H, F, or even K loading guages.

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That said, I would add that actually the brightline trainsets are uniquely comfortable compared to any single level stock in American railroad history. And they even seem spacious and uncluttered inside. It helps however to not have to lug stuff up and down a trap.

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7 hours ago, nti1094 said:

Wow... so sad because I fear the end of the bi-level era is at hand. I can fondly remember as a child using the Amfleet equipped San Joaquins and being in awe at the sight of superliners at 16th and Wood. To me those were the “real” trains. Nothing beats the smoothness and the visibility from up there. To me the worst ride on any train is found on Talgo trains. Aside from not riding comfortably, especially on American track, sitting that low just feels wrong.

we should fully take advantage of the asset we have in American railroad infrastructure, what with its near-universal H, F, or even K loading guages.

I wouldn’t say that the “end of the bi-level era is at hand”, just because Amtrak is ordering a bunch of replacements for the single-level fleet. Considering the fact that bi-levels have the advantage of extra capacity without increasing train length, which makes a big difference on the super long-distance routes, and that there has been talk of a real Superliner refresh, I think that we have a while before we should really be concerned about the future of bi-level trains in America. JMO.

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There will be plenty of bi-levels used by various passenger rail outfits irrespective of what Amtrak does.

I agree that it is a bit premature to write off bi-levels even for Amtrak.

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For Superliners being best for LD trains a reduction of 1 -3 cars allows the many stations with short  platforms to avoid 2 - 3 stops at same station or the very big cost to expand platforms with the requirement to meet  ADA !   Not economically feasible for 1 train  a day stations.  The first route that would be a good idea to lengthen platforms would be the Palmetto route.  You  have the many regionals to Richmond and include VRE from its route to Washington.  South of  Richmond you have the Carolinian until Selma  + Silvers to Savannah. .

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The NJT Bombardier Multilevel III order and the Caltrain Stadler KISS order (including the recently exercised option) indicate that the desire for increased people/comfort/amenities can result in multiple level cars when there are length restrictions. Two level TGVs are becoming the norm in France. So, even high speed trains are not limited to single-level when passenger demand is high. The length restrictions do vary. NJT said they are limited to 14 cars. A lot of passenger railroads wished their limit was that long.

 

 

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The AASHTO December 31st report is online.  Some progress has been made on the previously reported carshells, but the Sacramento plant expansion is taking longer than originally projected due to permitting problems. There was no report of starting work  on additional car shells. 

Edited by DSS&A
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Hi,

The January 2019 news has been posted online.  Here is a small portion of the updated status on the pasenger cars:

Final assembly of carshell #1 is underway and progress is being made on the other initial 11 carshells.  The expansion of the Sacramento production facility is structurally complete and cranes are being installed.

Here is a link to the webpage with the monthly reports:

http://www.highspeed-rail.org/pages/section305committee.aspx

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On 12/14/2018 at 12:44 AM, nti1094 said:

Wow... so sad because I fear the end of the bi-level era is at hand. I can fondly remember as a child using the Amfleet equipped San Joaquins and being in awe at the sight of superliners at 16th and Wood. To me those were the “real” trains. Nothing beats the smoothness and the visibility from up there. To me the worst ride on any train is found on Talgo trains. Aside from not riding comfortably, especially on American track, sitting that low just feels wrong.

we should fully take advantage of the asset we have in American railroad infrastructure, what with its near-universal H, F, or even K loading guages.

I doubt that the bi level era is over. The only reason why we aren't getting bi levels are not getting delivered are down to engineering screw ups and incompetence of public and Amtrak officials. the most glaring issue is why aren't the plans for the California cars available for any contractor to use? These cars were designed for the State of California and it doesn't have rights to the designs are beyond me. Or why Amtrak or California didn't buy the designs back from Alstom is also beyond me. So many things went wrong with this order that is either down to political sabotage or utter incompetence. 

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I doubt that the bi level era is over. The only reason why we aren't getting bi levels are not getting delivered are down to engineering screw ups and incompetence of public and Amtrak officials. the most glaring issue is why aren't the plans for the California cars available for any contractor to use? These cars were designed for the State of California and it doesn't have rights to the designs are beyond me. Or why Amtrak or California didn't buy the designs back from Alstom is also beyond me. So many things went wrong with this order that is either down to political sabotage or utter incompetence. 


I guess that’s what you get with the design by committee (PRIIA)

I just hope the high boarding and trap doors don’t slow the boarding process to the point of hurting running times. There is no way in hell BNSF or UP will allow high platforms without gauntlet tracks, and I don’t see the state spending that kind of capital. Not to mention incompatibility with everything west of Chicago.

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4 minutes ago, nti1094 said:

 


I guess that’s what you get with the design by committee (PRIIA)

I just hope the high boarding and trap doors don’t slow the boarding process to the point of hurting running times. There is no way in hell BNSF or UP will allow high platforms without gauntlet tracks, and I don’t see the state spending that kind of capital. Not to mention incompatibility with everything west of Chicago.

 

I really don't see why they needed to redesign the car when the plans already existed. I can't see how Illinois et all wanted something radically different than the existing California fleet to justify a whole new design. No offense, but the cars are basically empty boxes with seats and stairs in them. And some even have the luxury of a toilet on the upper level. I still don't see why one of the existing designs did get bought back by the state and used for this order. I remember seeing on some forum as to why they didn't happen. They said Siemens specifically couldn't use them due to the pending merger with Alstom and the EU taking awhile to approve it. And for some reason EU laws would hold up the transfer of intellectual property in the US...for a US project...when the designs were commissioned by a public body...for public use...

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IP laws cross borders. One of the major sore points in US China trade relationships has been China's failure to enforce US IP claims. Bottom line is a company that built hundreds of railcars in the US signed a contract to build something, and failed. The standards haven't changed in any way that should have caught anyone by surprise or unprepared. They're far more complex than empty boxes, because of the structural and CEM elements that are required in the finished product. If it was easy, they would have passed.

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Meanwhile EU has blocked the merger between Siemens and Alstom in its present form due to monopoly concerns.

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13 hours ago, PVD said:

IP laws cross borders. One of the major sore points in US China trade relationships has been China's failure to enforce US IP claims. Bottom line is a company that built hundreds of railcars in the US signed a contract to build something, and failed. The standards haven't changed in any way that should have caught anyone by surprise or unprepared. They're far more complex than empty boxes, because of the structural and CEM elements that are required in the finished product. If it was easy, they would have passed.

Amtrak or the State of California should have scrounged up a few million to buy the designs back from Alstom or the original Superliner designs from Bombardier. Even if they can't be used for this order, it can at least save a decade on the next order or Superliner 3 when they get RFP'd 

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4 hours ago, jis said:

Meanwhile EU has blocked the merger between Siemens and Alstom in its present form due to monopoly concerns.

Isn't that a good thing? I don't know much about the situation, just that I don't like monopolies.

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Isn't that a good thing? I don't know much about the situation, just that I don't like monopolies.

Yeah. They have apparently said that if the two companies agree on certain divestitures the proposal would then be acceptable.

Last time the EU did something similar, it essentially created a new viable company in Stadler. So all in all it is probably not a bad thing.

 

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