Jump to content
jis

Equipment Order in the works this year (2018)?

Recommended Posts

Yeah similar concept, different construction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The May NGEC minutes are out. Note that toward the end of the minutes they say that a Request for Information is being prepared by Amtrak for passenger cars. This is in addition to the RFP for locomotives. http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/305%20activities%20report%20-%20monthly%205-31-18.docx

 

Will be interesting to see what comes out. Good to see operations involved in these procurements.

  • Amtrak Equipment Procurement Update:

As of 5-31-18, Charlie King reported that Amtrak expects to release it RFP for Locomotives early next month (June). The Amtrak mechanical side has completed its portion, but there are additional departments that also need to sign off their portions. There is a meeting later this afternoon (5-31-18), and Charlie hopes that the RFP can be out on the street by next week at the latest. Charlie will keep the Technical subcommittee approsed.

An RFI for cars will also be going out – no date provided for that as of yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a side note, I guess 3 Charges can pull an Autotrain consist.

I would think that two Chargers could pull Auto Train - two Genesises do the job now. In fact, engine power is marginally increased, and I believe performance on startup is improved as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On a side note, I guess 3 Charges can pull an Autotrain consist.

I would think that two Chargers could pull Auto Train - two Genesises do the job now. In fact, engine power is marginally increased, and I believe performance on startup is improved as well.

 

Indeed, the Charger is a more powerful locomotive with higher performance parameters than the P42 in every way, and has significantly higher tractive effort, specially continuous tractive effort, with marginally higher continuous HP. So I see no logic at all in believing that it take more units of SC-44 than P-42.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

So, I've heard that Anderson is looking to more-or-less standardize the fleet on single-level equipment. Apparently there are enough issues with the Superliners that Anderson wants to replace them instead of refurbishing them (I can't blame him), and that it is likely to be more cost-effective to do so on a single-level carbody model than trying to do a split order. This also speaks to Anderson's desire (which I've heard passed through a few places) to have more flexibility in fleet deployment (e.g. "right-sizing" trains to be longer at peak times as well as shorter if cars would be running empty). Obviously this won't happen overnight (delivery will almost assuredly be a multi-year process given the sheer number of cars you'd need for this), but it seems to be where things are going.

 

I actively support standardizing on single-level equipment, but I don't think Mr. Anderson has thought through the ADA expenses of raising damn near everything to high level platforms, which is legally required if stations are served only by high-floor cars. Milwaukee Station will have to be redone again, for example.

 

This is yet another indication that Mr. Anderson doesn't actually know what he's dealing with. I'd be a better CEO of Amtrak because I have more understanding of the problems they're dealing with than Mr. Anderson does.

 

 

Just acting the devill's advocate here, but

 

Changes to platforms are infrastructure investments. This is the type of thing you can TIGER money for, that you can get cities (who want to keep their Amtral service) to chip in some money.

 

So if you go out and say, we're going to buy some new cars, people just say, good for you.

 

If you say, if you don't raise your platforms, you're going to lose your service, people will mobilize and write letters, cash will flow, and it's somebody other than Amtrak who is paying the bulk of the costs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New equipment can’t come soon enough. HEP on today’s No. 50 has cut out twice in the 20 minutes since departure from CHI.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

New equipment can’t come soon enough. HEP on today’s No. 50 has cut out twice in the 20 minutes since departure from CHI.

That may have little to do with the equipment.

Pardon my ignorance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New equipment can’t come soon enough. HEP on today’s No. 50 has cut out twice in the 20 minutes since departure from CHI.

A few months ago, I was on a train where HEP cut out several times due to problems with the locomotive. That engine should probably be retired.

 

 

Of course, the locomotive in question was a Siemens Charger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

So, I've heard that Anderson is looking to more-or-less standardize the fleet on single-level equipment. Apparently there are enough issues with the Superliners that Anderson wants to replace them instead of refurbishing them (I can't blame him), and that it is likely to be more cost-effective to do so on a single-level carbody model than trying to do a split order. This also speaks to Anderson's desire (which I've heard passed through a few places) to have more flexibility in fleet deployment (e.g. "right-sizing" trains to be longer at peak times as well as shorter if cars would be running empty). Obviously this won't happen overnight (delivery will almost assuredly be a multi-year process given the sheer number of cars you'd need for this), but it seems to be where things are going.

 

I actively support standardizing on single-level equipment, but I don't think Mr. Anderson has thought through the ADA expenses of raising damn near everything to high level platforms, which is legally required if stations are served only by high-floor cars. Milwaukee Station will have to be redone again, for example.

 

This is yet another indication that Mr. Anderson doesn't actually know what he's dealing with. I'd be a better CEO of Amtrak because I have more understanding of the problems they're dealing with than Mr. Anderson does.

 

 

Just acting the devill's advocate here, but

 

Changes to platforms are infrastructure investments. This is the type of thing you can TIGER money for, that you can get cities (who want to keep their Amtral service) to chip in some money.

 

So if you go out and say, we're going to buy some new cars, people just say, good for you.

 

If you say, if you don't raise your platforms, you're going to lose your service, people will mobilize and write letters, cash will flow, and it's somebody other than Amtrak who is paying the bulk of the costs.

 

Hope this works, but Amtrak is already under pressure due to its failure to meet the original ADA requirements back in 2008. At some point Congress will simply require that Amtrak spend its own money on the ADA compliance and will take it out of the rest of Amtrak's budget; this has already started to happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope this works, but Amtrak is already under pressure due to its failure to meet the original ADA requirements back in 2008. At some point Congress will simply require that Amtrak spend its own money on the ADA compliance and will take it out of the rest of Amtrak's budget; this has already started to happen.

On the SL/TE back in February, a very elderly woman disembarked at Tucson, and needed a proper ramp or vehicle to get down to the platform, but the only thing they had at the station was a short, very steep, cheese grater ramp. It took her many minutes to get down, and assistance from my dad. Since there was about a 60% chance that she'd fall down this death trap and effectively be flayed, the woman was suitably hesitant to do so. Meanwhile the conductor was pestering her: "Come on! Come on! We've got a schedule to keep!" They clearly did not have anywhere near enough equipment or training to safely get a disabled passenger onto a low platform, and that was on a Superliner. Amtrak gets plenty of disabled passengers, yet they are completely inept at safely handling them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meanwhile the conductor was pestering her: "Come on! Come on! We've got a schedule to keep!" They clearly did not have anywhere near enough equipment or training to safely get a disabled passenger onto a low platform, and that was on a Superliner. Amtrak gets plenty of disabled passengers, yet they are completely inept at safely handling them.

 

 

Thanks for throwing everyone under the train, including those who work very hard to safely and comfortably move those with special needs. Some conductors try and make them feel like they are the only person in the world who matters when boarding, riding and detraining. I'm sorry to hear anyone would ever stand there hollering about the schedule when a passenger needs extra time and assistance, but that's not how most of us work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Meanwhile the conductor was pestering her: "Come on! Come on! We've got a schedule to keep!" They clearly did not have anywhere near enough equipment or training to safely get a disabled passenger onto a low platform, and that was on a Superliner. Amtrak gets plenty of disabled passengers, yet they are completely inept at safely handling them.

 

 

Thanks for throwing everyone under the train, including those who work very hard to safely and comfortably move those with special needs. Some conductors try and make them feel like they are the only person in the world who matters when boarding, riding and detraining. I'm sorry to hear anyone would ever stand there hollering about the schedule when a passenger needs extra time and assistance, but that's not how most of us work.

 

I'm by no means saying that everyone who works for Amtrak is insensitive and inept at dealing with the disabled. However, I've seen this kind of stuff happen multiple times, so it seems to me that Amtrak has not been completely successful at making sure all employees give all passengers proper assistance and treatment. I do not mean to insult you or anyone else at Amtrak who help disabled and elderly passengers - I was just saying that some more training and/or equipment might be good for those employees who aren't great at that stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Meanwhile the conductor was pestering her: "Come on! Come on! We've got a schedule to keep!" They clearly did not have anywhere near enough equipment or training to safely get a disabled passenger onto a low platform, and that was on a Superliner. Amtrak gets plenty of disabled passengers, yet they are completely inept at safely handling them.

 

 

Thanks for throwing everyone under the train, including those who work very hard to safely and comfortably move those with special needs. Some conductors try and make them feel like they are the only person in the world who matters when boarding, riding and detraining. I'm sorry to hear anyone would ever stand there hollering about the schedule when a passenger needs extra time and assistance, but that's not how most of us work.

 

 

As with so many things Amtrak-related, YMMV. Traveling over several years with my elderly, mobility-impaired father, I encountered very kind Amtrak employees who worked proficiently to make his trip easier and more comfortable, but also met Amtrak employees who seemed to view him as an unwelcome burden. A good many more of the former than the latter, in my experience. Still, I learned not to count on help from Amtrak staff, but welcomed it when (usually) we got it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm by no means saying that everyone who works for Amtrak is insensitive and inept at dealing with the disabled.

That's pretty much exactly what you said.

 

Amtrak gets plenty of disabled passengers, yet they are completely inept at safely handling them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a lot of the problems being stated here come from a morale problem that's been systemic at Amtrak for years. The issues with the limited budget, and equipment that is maintained but routinely has issues due to being put down wet, and age related issues. So yes I can see where Amtrak employees morale problem comes and then couple that with corporates constant "cut our way to profit," often at the expense of the worker. I can definitely see where the problems come.

 

And let's face it you can have all the training in the world but give horrible service if you are disgruntled because of management, failing equipment, and then rude passengers on top of it. I think it's a two fold question the first being how can we improve training for ADA, and the second how can we improve employee morale so they give their best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to drive this too much off topic but just so you know, there may be more than morale problem. There is also a fear factor with certain people. While you would think helping passengers would result in kudos, it has led to discipline. How long is reasonable to you and to the employee may not be reasonable or acceptable to those who operate or dispatch the railroad.

 

How much customer service it too much often depends on the consequences. This is harrowing when you are a guest on the territory. I have literally heard a dispatcher say "I will get you...you will pay for this" when a crew refused his order to move a train...without a scheduled 40 person group and their baggage. It was last minute track change and the group was on their way to the new track. The train crew ran over to assist to expedite the move and defied the dispatcher...who followed through on his threat the next day. The crew was charged with delay of train by the hosts and failing to secure the train and they tried to press insubordination for failing to follow the order of the dispatcher (even though that was b/s charge.) They beat back the insubordination and failing to secure the train charge, however, Amtrak couldn't help them when the host banned them from their territory for three days..

 

I remember an elderly person that needed help and none was forthcoming. After waiting around, the crew took the woman and her luggage to street level, hailed and placed her in a cab and were charged with delay of train for their efforts. That is because it was in the station and it blocked other trains. I have tons of similar stories which have led people to basically give up. As wild and inconsistent as the treatment of passengers seem, it reflects wild and inconsistent enforcement and interpretation of rules, standards and application. This often leads to minimal (and sometimes it is condoned) effort.

 

I'm not saying that makes it right. I'm not saying that this is always the case. Some people just are lackluster. However, there are plenty of people that have seen these actions (if you're not ready NOW, you'll follow such and such for the next 100 miles) and taken it as a subliminal message.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to drive this too much off topic but just so you know, there may be more than morale problem. There is also a fear factor with certain people. While you would think helping passengers would result in kudos, it has led to discipline. How long is reasonable to you and to the employee may not be reasonable or acceptable to those who operate or dispatch the railroad.

 

How much customer service it too much often depends on the consequences. This is harrowing when you are a guest on the territory. I have literally heard a dispatcher say "I will get you...you will pay for this" when a crew refused his order to move a train...without a scheduled 40 person group and their baggage. It was last minute track change and the group was on their way to the new track. The train crew ran over to assist to expedite the move and defied the dispatcher...who followed through on his threat the next day. The crew was charged with delay of train by the hosts and failing to secure the train and they tried to press insubordination for failing to follow the order of the dispatcher (even though that was b/s charge.) They beat back the insubordination and failing to secure the train charge, however, Amtrak couldn't help them when the host banned them from their territory for three days..

 

I remember an elderly person that needed help and none was forthcoming. After waiting around, the crew took the woman and her luggage to street level, hailed and placed her in a cab and were charged with delay of train for their efforts. That is because it was in the station and it blocked other trains. I have tons of similar stories which have led people to basically give up. As wild and inconsistent as the treatment of passengers seem, it reflects wild and inconsistent enforcement and interpretation of rules, standards and application. This often leads to minimal (and sometimes it is condoned) effort.

 

I'm not saying that makes it right. I'm not saying that this is always the case. Some people just are lackluster. However, there are plenty of people that have seen these actions (if you're not ready NOW, you'll follow such and such for the next 100 miles) and taken it as a subliminal message.

Wow...now that is what defines the expression: "being between a rock and a hard place".... :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This perhaps one core reason why the likes of Brightline have forsworn operating in a territory where they do not have any control over dispatching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to drive this too much off topic but just so you know, there may be more than morale problem. There is also a fear factor with certain people. While you would think helping passengers would result in kudos, it has led to discipline. How long is reasonable to you and to the employee may not be reasonable or acceptable to those who operate or dispatch the railroad.

This is interesting information and essentially confirms things I've suspected... the response needs to be rather more combative than you might imagine.

 

How much customer service it too much often depends on the consequences. This is harrowing when you are a guest on the territory.

You're proving my repeated point that a passenger operator or government agency needs to own the tracks. And therefore control dispatching of it.

 

I have literally heard a dispatcher say "I will get you...you will pay for this" when a crew refused his order to move a train...without a scheduled 40 person group and their baggage. It was last minute track change and the group was on their way to the new track. The train crew ran over to assist to expedite the move and defied the dispatcher...who followed through on his threat the next day. The crew was charged with delay of train by the hosts and failing to secure the train and they tried to press insubordination for failing to follow the order of the dispatcher (even though that was b/s charge.) They beat back the insubordination and failing to secure the train charge, however, Amtrak couldn't help them when the host banned them from their territory for three days.

I guess Amtrak wasn't quite ready to head to the STB and seize the tracks, which it has only done once. I can see picking your battles... That provision is in the US Code for a reason, though.

 

I remember an elderly person that needed help and none was forthcoming. After waiting around, the crew took the woman and her luggage to street level, hailed and placed her in a cab and were charged with delay of train for their efforts.

If this was post-1993, they could have won by citing the ADA, which is controlling federal law, as overriding any other regulations (which it does), and countersuing on the grounds that management was attempting to induce ADA violations, which is illegal.

 

That is because it was in the station and it blocked other trains. I have tons of similar stories which have led people to basically give up. As wild and inconsistent as the treatment of passengers seem, it reflects wild and inconsistent enforcement and interpretation of rules, standards and application. This often leads to minimal (and sometimes it is condoned) effort.

 

I'm not saying that makes it right. I'm not saying that this is always the case. Some people just are lackluster. However, there are plenty of people that have seen these actions (if you're not ready NOW, you'll follow such and such for the next 100 miles) and taken it as a subliminal message.

In ADA cases, it might be best if the conductors gave the dispatcher a nice threat of being hit with a lawsuit for violating the ADA's reasonable accomodations requirement. Because the dispatcher could, personally, be sued for it, as could the railroad which employed him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, a near-retirement conductor with a "hot mike" recording such threats could make for some interesting legal action. I can't even guess how it would play out or unintended consequences, but seeing a freight railroad enjoined in an ADA suit over dispatching retaliation would be interesting to see play out...prefereably from a very long distance away.

Actually, it would also be interesting if (for example) an ADA suit were brought forward over host refusals to accommodate high-level platforms. Remember, Amtrak can want to upgrade the platforms all it wants...half of the time they don't own the platforms (if they even own the station) [1] and in many other cases, even if they do own them they're hamstrung in altering them because the local Class I owns the tracks. Amtrak trying to carry out ADA improvements on a station they do not own inherently brings other actors into the mix.

Speaking from Virginia, as far as I can tell, NPN, WBG, RVM, RVR, ASD, and PTB have never seen a bilevel/low-level train. NFK was built in 2012 without any foreseeable path towards seeing one come in. Yet all have exclusively low-level platforms (I am certain about all but NFK, and I'm 99.56% certain with NFK that there's no mini-high-level platform at the south end, but I know there's not at the north end). At least in the case of the stations north of Fredericksburg, there's VRE (and the Cardinal has been run as a Superliner train before), but I don't think "the Auto Train passes through" counts for this purpose.

 

[1] Let's take RVR (Staples Mill, to be clear): The station is owned by Amtrak. The tracks/platforms are owned by CSX. The parking lot, btw, is owned by some mix of the state and the county...which is why it took a few years to improve it while there was a "free parking" lot next door: The state and the county had to figure out how to sort parking income.

Edited by Anderson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radio transmissions are recorded, aren't they? If someone wanted to, they could have turned in said dispatcher if they wanted to. Intimidation in the workplace is pretty inadmissible.

 

Maybe we could return to the topic at hand? :)

Edited by Palmetto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This perhaps one core reason why the likes of Brightline have forsworn operating in a territory where they do not have any control over dispatching.

 

 

The same could be achieved by a managament who actually back up their staff when they get flak for performing their duties correctly rather than leavin them out in the rain.

 

That, and a rulebook that actually gives clear und unambiguous guidance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radio transmissions are recorded, aren't they? If someone wanted to, they could have turned in said dispatcher if they wanted to. Intimidation in the workplace is pretty inadmissible.

 

Maybe we could return to the topic at hand? :)

We probably just need to split the thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×