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Brightline Railcars Any Reason They Can't Be Used By Amtrak?

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So with the Brightline railcars up and running and the the bi-level order in a shamble, is there any technical reason's why California or another State could not purchase the same railcars for State Corridor service? The Brightline runs with the same Charger Engines and all but other than the info that the railcars are made by Siemens in California, I can't seem to find very much information on them.

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They have 2 types of seating, 2+1 with a 21 inch seat width and the 2+2 cars are 19 inch width. In the paired seats, they have center armrests. So the seats are somewhat narrower than Amtrak, but the aisles are obviously that much wider. I don't know what the restroom or food service setup (if any) looks like.

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This poster likes the idea but --

1. It was not invented here .

2. Haters will never say it but if we ( haters ) allow Brightline type cars Amtrak may succeed as soon as 50 cars are in service ?

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I thought Amtrak was only using stainless steel cars, from the beginning they eliminated a bunch of fine equipment because it wasn't stainless steel. I don't think the brightline cars are stainless steel so I doubt Amtrak would take them, though IDK what their policy on state supported services is.

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I thought Amtrak was only using stainless steel cars, from the beginning they eliminated a bunch of fine equipment because it wasn't stainless steel. I don't think the brightline cars are stainless steel so I doubt Amtrak would take them, though IDK what their policy on state supported services is.

I'm pretty sure there isn't any rules on stainless or not, as the turbo trains and talgos exemplify.

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Brightline orders rail cars and they are delivered and operating. . Amtrak orders rail cars and things sink into the abyss. Anyone know why?

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Bringhtline is testing, they sure as s*** are not operating yet.

Edited by Dutchrailnut

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Just a guess/thought, but it probably helps that AAF/Brightline didn't go to Siemens and say "we want you to build us X, will you?" like was essentially the case with the Viewliner/CAF and bilievel/N-S orders. Instead a version of an existing Siemens product was ordered.

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If you're talking about replacing the N-S bilevel order with Simens single level cars similar to the Brightline order, then Amtrak has nothing to do with such a decision. The bi-levels were ordered by the states of Illinois, California, Michigan and Missouri for their state-supported trains. If they wish to end the contract with N-S and reorder with Simens, I supposed they can do that, although a large amount of the funding for this order was Stimulus funding which is due to expire soon. So far, all has been quiet as to what the states are going to do. California is using some of its own money for its part of the order, so I suppose they could place an order whenever they want to. Of course the bi-levels are designed for low-level boarding, while the Brightliners will utilize high-level platforms, so some changes will be necessary, since high-level platforms are practically non-existant west of the Northeast Corridor. So, I guess it could be done, but not overnight.

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They have 2 types of seating, 2+1 with a 21 inch seat width and the 2+2 cars are 19 inch width. In the paired seats, they have center armrests. So the seats are somewhat narrower than Amtrak, but the aisles are obviously that much wider. I don't know what the restroom or food service setup (if any) looks like.

One ADA restroom per coach. Probably comparable to the Acela, though Brightline is a bit more techier. There is no food service car (that will be Phase II, but the final specification hasn't been made), but there is a microwave in each end car (two per trainset).

 

Most of the interior is customer specific. If Amtrak wanted these cars, it would probably look completely different, other than the same car shell. I don't think these cars would be good for low level boarding, otherwise we'd be looking at the same situation as the Amfleets/Viewliners with the trap doors. Maybe they would make decent replacements for the Amfleet I's.

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Well if anything, I can see California going for these as a temporary solution until the bi-levels get sorted out. The fact that they are also built in State probably would not hurt the cause as well. I'm thinking, they could probably be used on the HSR segment when phase 1 is complete since as I understand it, electrification will only happen once the full system is built out or something like that. Also, since the Talgo lease for the Surfliner has been stalled, the State could probably just straight out buy the new railcars and get more bang for the buck than turning to buying up old equipment and refurbishing them like what was done with the comet cars to increase capacity. I know the automated doors would be vast improvement over the manual doors on the Horizon cars. Nothing like a busy train trying to board and deboard from only 3 open doors.

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I thought Amtrak was only using stainless steel cars, from the beginning they eliminated a bunch of fine equipment because it wasn't stainless steel. I don't think the brightline cars are stainless steel so I doubt Amtrak would take them, though IDK what their policy on state supported services is.

Not correct, Pullman built cars with I think corten steel, and over time it didn't hold up as well as stainless. A lot of frame cracking issues started to arise, and once that happens, it's all over. Buff cars on the other hand were all stainless including the frames. Even those are starting to crack now, so not perfectly good.

Nick

Edited by Ngotwalt

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Yeah, how dare a 70 year old car crack it's frame.

 

Pullman used carbon steel, I think it was ACF that played with Corten and only for one order. Corten steel is steel that rusts a protective layer. It has applications, but a rail car constantly pelted with dust as it moves is not one of them- the dust wears off the protective rust, and therefore the car just rusts away.

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Part of the issue with replacing the NS order with Siemens is that the stimulus money requires the cars to be built to the next generation specs (hello problem #1) so the states can't just switch models. Supposedly there where only 2 bidders, NS and a drastically higher Siemens bid because they thought the design was going to be major problems.

 

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Part of the issue with replacing the NS order with Siemens is that the stimulus money requires the cars to be built to the next generation specs (hello problem #1) so the states can't just switch models. Supposedly there where only 2 bidders, NS and a drastically higher Siemens bid because they thought the design was going to be major problems.

 

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Don't know about other States but California has its own stash of cash from a bunch of vague taxes that we pay to pay for trains out here. Let the Federal Money follow whatever BS rules that it is required to follow, but the suggestion is only for California money. Right now the Surfliner is bursting at the seams and have to turn people away on many trains. During busy times same with the San Joaquin. The Surfliner alone is approaching 3 million riders a year with no new railcars available to add to the system.

 

I'd say with some shinny new Semen's railcars in the system, which from the Brightline website already come with bike racks, I can see the State having more flexibility. From what I'm reading, the Talgo lease scheme is pretty much dead and currently Santa Barbara and north of LA has been screaming for more Surfliner service that is better timed for commuters between Simi Valley and Goleta.

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Just a guess/thought, but it probably helps that AAF/Brightline didn't go to Siemens and say "we want you to build us X, will you?" like was essentially the case with the Viewliner/CAF and bilievel/N-S orders. Instead a version of an existing Siemens product was ordered.

Well, when you're ordering sleepers and dining cars, you have to order custom, there's really no choice. I actually don't think this has anything to do with it.

 

The mistake with CAF was trying to build cars in Elmira. Siemens could have built the Viewliner design no problem.

 

With N-S... bilevels are structurally tricky and they needed someone with experience building them, which they didn't get. They also specified too much of the design in advance and apparently it wasn't actually buildable; someone should have listened to the feedback from Siemens regarding why their bid was so high. (By contrast, we know the Viewliner design is buildable, because there have been 50 of them on the road for two decades.)

 

California can't order single-level cars unless they're prepared to raise their platforms (which sounds great to me but is unlikely). ADA rules on new orders are getting strict these days (as they should). They could probably find a buildable bilevel design (after all, they ordered the Surfliners, right?) and order some of those.

 

The thing is... the Siemens Desiro Double Deck would probably be fine, except our inane FRA rules probably make it illegal in the US. (Sigh.)

Edited by neroden

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I still don't understand why anyone would need to insist on a Viewliner shell if say Siemens could figure out a way to plug the modules into an adapted Railjet shell. I think that is the relevant point. It is the interior furnishing and dimensions that is specified, not which specific shell it needs to be put into and how it needs to be designed and manufactured.

 

Many a standard written by many experts who don't understand this simple thing, have then fallen by the wayside ignored by all that wanted something that actually worked for a reasonable price. Having spent half my professional career in the world of International Standards, including in several committees of the US National Bodies associated with ISO, we have seen this happen over and over. Nothing new really.

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I still don't understand why anyone would need to insist on a Viewliner shell if say Siemens could figure out a way to plug the modules into an adapted Railjet shell. I think that is the relevant point. It is the interior furnishing and dimensions that is specified, not which specific shell it needs to be put into and how it needs to be designed and manufactured.

 

Many a standard written by many experts who don't understand this simple thing, have then fallen by the wayside ignored by all that wanted something that actually worked for a reasonable price. Having spent half my professional career in the world of International Standards, including in several committees of the US National Bodies associated with ISO, we have seen this happen over and over. Nothing new really.

I agree that Amtrak doesn't need to keep insisting on having the Viewliner rail car design. It makes perfect sense to use an existing standard passenger car and develop modules for the interior. The Viewliner is a 1980's design. Technology has changed since then and perhaps there is a better more cost effective way to filling the eastern train consists.. Back when the private railroads ran passenger trains, the coaches and sleepers were of basic designs and many of these run as PV and tourist trains today. I believe that the later ones were painted steel cars and they had a very colorful look to them.

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California can't order single-level cars unless they're prepared to raise their platforms (which sounds great to me but is unlikely). ADA rules on new orders are getting strict these days (as they should). They could probably find a buildable bilevel design (after all, they ordered the Surfliners, right?) and order some of those.

 

There is a rumor (and just a rumor) the Midwest states are considering a single-level design in place of the previous bi-level order (assuming they still have funding.....). They don't have high platforms either.

 

I still don't understand why anyone would need to insist on a Viewliner shell if say Siemens could figure out a way to plug the modules into an adapted Railjet shell. I think that is the relevant point.

 

 

Aesthetics, for one. Hardly the most important aspect, but it does matter.

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If that mattered they should have stuck with the classic Budd shape (no not Amfleet. The original Budd shape like the Heritage Sleepers). They didn't. So it is safe to assume that it really does not matter.

Edited by jis

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This poster's observations and talk to passengers has been the Amfleet tube type construction is a put off. Viewliner and Heritage diners to a lesser extent have been more to the liking of passengers I've talk to.

Anyone know the various cubic volume in side Viewliners especially diners, Amfleet 1 & 2s and Heritage diners ? Also the Brightline cars as well ? Do Brightline cars have one vestibule or 2 ? It would seem the overhead baggage racks in V-2 coaches would be less intrusive at eye level in the aisles of coaches than Amfleets ?

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If that mattered they should have stuck with the classic Budd shape (no not Amfleet. The original Budd shape like the Heritage Sleepers). They didn't. So it is safe to assume that it really does not matter.

At what point? That may have made sense during the original construction of Amfleets or Viewliner Is, but the existing Viewliner Is are not going anywhere anytime soon. It is clear for this reason that aesthetics did not matter in the past, but different people are in charge now compared to back then. The only way to make all the cars match at this point is with Viewliner coaches and lounges. I agree with "A Voice" that this should not be the priority, but should not be completely ignored either. Even though it doesn't have much of an affect on passenger experience, it could affect passenger's opinions of a company.

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If that mattered they should have stuck with the classic Budd shape (no not Amfleet. The original Budd shape like the Heritage Sleepers). They didn't. So it is safe to assume that it really does not matter.

Come on, JIS. Asthetics always matter to the extent people choose to let them matter. Obviously, operationally it is almost irrelevant, and practicality and getting trains running trump it thoroughly, but to say they don't matter is a rather sweeping statement.

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If that mattered they should have stuck with the classic Budd shape (no not Amfleet. The original Budd shape like the Heritage Sleepers). They didn't. So it is safe to assume that it really does not matter.

 

The Amfleet body shape wasn't a deliberate design choice. It was retained mostly because Budd had a completed design and tooling to produce "Metroliner Trailer Cars". Can you honestly say that a train with a mix of Heritage, Amfleet, and Superliner cars (it's been done) looks just as sleek as an Acela trainset (or even a Surfliner)?

 

Regardless, Amtrak apparently thinks it matters. Note the publicity photos in the old National Timetable and Amtrak Vacations booklet; They never showed the Crescent with a mix of Viewliner, Amfleet, and Heritage cars. Rather, we see a matched Amfleet set (no sleepers or diner or baggage) on the Toccoa Viaduct or a solid train of Superliners (no baggage) out west. These were trains sent out solely for these publicity purposes.

 

I am certainly not suggesting appearance should trump basic design, function, utility or most anything else (including production cost). But I do contend that a sleek, modern trainset is sufficiently preferable to a circus train reject that attention should be paid to aesthetics in future passenger car design. There are undeniable advantages to Amtrak taking what is available, but for a vehicle which will be in service probably the next forty or fifty years it is more important to get the design right than rush an existing production design or pinch pennies in development.

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Factors that should matter more is cost of production and currency of design. that is my only point. Some seem to be making the argument that we should perpetuate a particular shape of an 80s design for the sake of "sleekness" irrespective of anything else. that is just nuts.

 

If one is starting greenfield of course it would be nice to have everything shaped the same. but we are (a) not starting from green field and (b) are in a very financially constrained situation. We should be looking for the best design that is available as quickly as possible with the least possible cost, and place niceties like aesthetic alignment with designs from the last cetury rather low on the list of priorities.

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