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$Billion VIA Order to Siemens?

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12 hours ago, jis said:

Sorry for causing so much angst about such a simple subject. What I should have simply posted is one of these videos I guess. :unsure:

If there is a need to frequently couple and uncoule trains long snouts of noses are not an issue. It is just that one has to design it to meet the requirements. That is what I meant to say when I said sloped noses which cover couplers, are in general not a problem for coupling and uncoupling trains quickly.

In early model TGVs you had to remove the clamshells into their holster by hand. The newer units have the mechanism built in so that one does not have to go down to the track to do it. One has to just press a button.

Also notice the beauty of the consolidated couplers that couple together everything at a single shot. No additional hoses and Comm and Control cables to connect. That is what my comment about HEP was. Thos high voltage wires have to be connected separately if needed. But since each train is a self contained unit, there is no need for that, indeed it would be more or less unworkable without jumping through hoops for phase synch and what not.

Looks like the most difficult part is just getting the access door open....:P

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5 hours ago, cpotisch said:

Are there any disadvantages of that compared to the kind we use here? Or is it just another example of Europe having better and more efficient trains? :unsure: 

Well, when you consider that the Janney coupler, predecessor to the US standard AAR coupler, was patented in 1873 and that the current AAR coupler profile for general interchange service has been essentially unchanged since 1910(!)...and is still doing a pretty good job, all told...yeah, I think that there has been a bit of a window for continued improvement!

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12 hours ago, ehbowen said:

Well, when you consider that the Janney coupler, predecessor to the US standard AAR coupler, was patented in 1873 and that the current AAR coupler profile for general interchange service has been essentially unchanged since 1910(!)...and is still doing a pretty good job, all told...yeah, I think that there has been a bit of a window for continued improvement!

So true. I think one reason that alternatives were considered is because the AAR Coupler requires too much of a bang to couple, so it is hard to simultaneously connect up auxiliaries with it. The Scharfenberg coupler basically just requires a gentle touch to trigger the mechanism to complete the coupling of everything. For being able to do that it is of necessity a more complex device. But it does make it possible for trains to attach/detach and be on their way with a stop as short as a couple of minutes.

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12 minutes ago, jis said:

So true. I think one reason that alternatives were considered is because the AAR Coupler requires too much of a bang to couple, so it is hard to simultaneously connect up auxiliaries with it. The Scharfenberg coupler basically just requires a gentle touch to trigger the mechanism to complete the coupling of everything. For being able to do that it is of necessity a more complex device. But it does make it possible for trains to attach/detach and be on their way with a stop as short as a couple of minutes.

The problem in this country is that it is often necessary to mix passenger and freight equipment...not so much the cars, not these days (although I would be all in favor of bringing back the mixed locals to serve small towns on branch lines!), but the motive power...with Amtrak's increasingly unreliable and aging locomotive fleet scattered across the continent and only a handful of protect units available in seldom-convenient locations, rescue by host railroad freight engines becomes a "when" issue and not an "if" issue.

Edited by ehbowen

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I t seems to me that Scharfenberg Couplers are generally used by articulated train sets, and not so much in classic individual cars hooked together to form a train pulled by a locomotive, even in Europe. For those they use hook and chain couplers or sometimes some variation of AAR couplers, and go through the rigmarole of hooking everything up by hand. Still they can change an engine and be on their way in considerably less than 10 minutes.

Usually trains with Scharfenberg Couplers carry a adapter attachment that can be couple onto the Scharfenberg Coupler and used to then couple to whatever other standard couplers locomotives use.

Maybe the Mods ought to spin off a new Coupler thread and move all these coupler related posts to that one.

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On 12/18/2018 at 10:06 AM, jis said:

I t seems to me that Scharfenberg Couplers are generally used by articulated train sets, and not so much in classic individual cars hooked together to form a train pulled by a locomotive, even in Europe. For those they use hook and chain couplers or sometimes some variation of AAR couplers, and go through the rigmarole of hooking everything up by hand. Still they can change an engine and be on their way in considerably less than 10 minutes.

Usually trains with Scharfenberg Couplers carry a adapter attachment that can be couple onto the Scharfenberg Coupler and used to then couple to whatever other standard couplers locomotives use.

Maybe the Mods ought to spin off a new Coupler thread and move all these coupler related posts to that one.

Is there a reason why those couplers are typically only used by articulated train sets?

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8 minutes ago, cpotisch said:

Is there a reason why those couplers are typically only used by articulated train sets?

I suppose because it is common practice to run articulated sets in multiple and require rapid separation and joining, allowing the separated parts to proceed on different routes, sometimes at stations with no additional staff to do the separation/joining work at track level. Most of the newest sets are equipped to carry out the entire operation sitting in the cab of the train, or worst case standing on the platform without ever needing to go down to track level to make or disconnect the connections of the auxiliary stuff.

It is purely an efficiency of operation with minimal human intervention thing. In the US most LRTs use them. The NJT Arrows had an early version of them.

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On 12/16/2018 at 10:35 PM, Anderson said:

For the sake of discussion, I am presuming that each round-trip requires one pair of equipment and then removing "redundant" round-trips (e.g. Ottawa-Montreal/Montreal-Quebec with an Ottawa-Quebec round-trip).  I'm also ignoring weekends and "just" going with Monday-Friday trains and sticking with adding up eastbound trains.  Here's what I have:
Montreal-Quebec:
-5x daily trains (#20, #22, #24, #26, #28)
--2x daily (#22 and #24) originate Fallowfield/Ottawa
--2x daily (#26 and #28) originate Ottawa

Ottawa-Montreal:
-6x daily trains (#22, #24, #34, #26, #28, #38)
--2x daily (#22 and #24) originate Fallowfield/Ottawa, terminate Quebec
--2x daily (#26 and #28) originate Ottawa, terminate Quebec
--2x daily (#34 and #38) originate Ottawa, terminate Montreal

Toronto-Ottawa:
-10x daily trains (#50, #52, #40, #42, #644, #44, #46, #646, #54, #48)
--None appear to run through to Montreal

Toronto-Montreal:
-6x daily trains (#60, #62, #64, #66, #68, #668, #650)
--None appear to run through to Montreal

Up here we thus seem to have 23 sets required.  On the other parts of the Corridor, Toronto-Sarnia requires two sets (85 turns as 88 in London, while 84 turns as 87 in Toronto).  Toronto-Windsor requires five sets (one turns in London).

 

This is helpful.  I wasn't clear on whether any of the Windsor, London, or Sarnia trains ran through to Ottawa or Montreal.  It does look like nearly all the trainsets do an "out and back" run; you can't get four runs in one day anywhere, but there aren't many where you have to do only one run per day.  I think there's some run-throughs where London or Sarnia trains continue eastward.

 

Quote

So that's 30 sets (on what I suspect are unfavorable assumptions).  Two more sets would provide maintenance/bad order coverage...so this is probably a break-even proposition.  It might represent a small gain (I'm having to make certain assumptions) or a small loss (depending on seat capacity...I've seen a few trains with six or seven cars on occasion).

2 sets is a pretty minimal maintenance/bad order coverage.  Hopefully they'll execute some of the options.

It looks like there were about 26 LRC sets (some of which were left dismantled in a failed renovation effort) and 40 Rennaissance sets, some of which are used for the Ocean and many of which are stored dead.

There are some interesting details in other articles which I haven't seen before.  Apparently VIA wanted the option to operate on overhead catenary where available!

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-via-rail-replacing-core-fleet-with-trains-capable-of-using-electric/

It looks like the Siemens bid didn't actually include that. (Probably Siemens assured VIA that they could swap out the Chargers for Sprinters if anything got electrified, and told them that ordering dual-modes now would be expensive and delay things.)

VIA is renovating the HEP (Budd stainless steel) cars and seems to intend to use them on the Canadian forever.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the Corridor HEP cars reassigned there too.

I would expect the Rennaiassance to be retired first, but then I don't know what they'd do about the Ocean, and they seem to have survived their rebuild. 

So probably the LRC will be retired first.  Should be interesting.

I think they need to exercise the options.

 

Edited by neroden

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I believe that there were originally about 100 LRC cars and there were less than 50 Ren coaches (plus some lounges), so I think this would represent an addition of perhaps 10-20 cars vs the current situation.

I would be surprised to see the Budd cars put on the Canadian, if only because there is close to no coach demand left.  Out-of-season the single coach is, as I understand it, generally quite empty.  In-season, they occasionally do pop a second coach on but that's about it.  Ridership is also *ahem* a little light on the other rural service trains.  I think it is probably more plausible that they would reassign them to some sort of Atlantic service, but that's about all I could see for them outside of the extended Corridor.

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On 12/25/2018 at 7:38 PM, neroden said:

There are some interesting details in other articles which I haven't seen before.  Apparently VIA wanted the option to operate on overhead catenary where available!

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-via-rail-replacing-core-fleet-with-trains-capable-of-using-electric/

It looks like the Siemens bid didn't actually include that. (Probably Siemens assured VIA that they could swap out the Chargers for Sprinters if anything got electrified, and told them that ordering dual-modes now would be expensive and delay things.)

Just for the records: the RFQ document did not ask for the initial order of 32 trainsets to be bimodal from the moment of delivery. 

Quote

(3) VIA Rail is seeking a supplier to design, manufacture, test, supply, deliver and commission, for safety and regulatory purposes, a number of trainsets with a prescribed capacity of seats and two classes of services (business class and economy class). Trainsets will be required to have a service proven design and/or platform that meet the requirements of the Corridor Fleet Renewal Program. The supplier will also be required to provide ongoing technical support, spare parts, and other similar services as well as provide support to VIA Rail during its qualification and acceptance process with both Transport Canada (the responsible regulator) and host railways. The supplier will be obliged to provide both a base quantity and configuration of trainsets and optional additional trainset quantities based on prescribed capacity (all as set out in greater detail in the Scope of Supply Summary). VIA Rail’s current Corridor services are on non-electrified infrastructure. Since there is an urgency to replace the existing diesel powered fleet for services in the current Corridor which is provided on non-electrified infrastructure, the initial order of 32 trainsets will be diesel powered only, with a required provision for future diesel and electric operation, and will be required to be bi-directional (ability to operate in push-pull mode) to maximize efficiency. The goods and services to be provided by the supplier are referred to as the “Fleet and Services” in these RFQ Documents.

[...]

(6) Options to acquire additional trainsets will be principally predicated on the Government of Canada's decision regarding VIA Rail's long term plan to build its own dedicated infrastructure. In the event that VIA Rail is given the authority to build its own infrastructure in the Corridor but such infrastructure is not electrified, then additional diesel only trainsets will be required to enable increased service frequencies. If VIA Rail is given the authority to build its own infrastructure and electrification is required, then the additional trainsets must be capable of both diesel and electric operation (dual-mode) at up to 125 mph, with seamless transition, and bi-directional operation. If the decision on VIA Rail's long term plan and the timeframe to implement this decision is not yet established at the time of the order for the additional trainsets, then the delivery of the additional trainsets could be deferred until the decision and schedule is available.

 

Edited by Urban Sky
Expanded quote

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I hope Amtrak explicitly asks for bi-directional for corridor equipment. All that will mean is getting a bunch of cab cars, which as it turns out, are being developed for California anyway.

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The ocean is going back to a HEP train full time once the rens get phased out in a few years.

VIA owns the following HEP Cars
40-Manors
29-Chateau (unknown number converted to Prestige garbage)
16-Skyline
13-Diners
43- HP1 Coaches
23-HP2 Coaches
10-HP2 Business
14-Park Cars (unknown destroyed for prestige garbage)

The Canadian uses four sets year round I believe. I could be wrong however.
The standard summer Canadian has these requirements
12 of 16 skyline cars.
8 of 13 diners.
8 HP1 cars of 43
4 Prestige Parks
Sleepers are a much harder story
Eight manors that do the short turn to EDMN-VCVR
32 Manors work the full route. But that's full utilization so chances are my Canadian experiences are not routine.
8-Prestige Chateaus

The Churchill Train requires 3 sets?
6 HP1 coaches
3 Diners
3 Chateau Sleepers

Skeena requires 2 sets
4-6 HP1 coaches
2-Non Prestige Park Cars

Current Ocean 2 Sets
2-Non Prestige Park Cars

Montreal Rural Services
2-HP1 coaches

Which leaves the following cars available for additional service, or shops.
4-Skyline
2-Diners
21-HP1 Coaches
11-Chateaus
4-Parks

So in theory you could run a full Budd Ocean with
8-Chateaus
2-Diners
6-Coaches
2 Skylines
2-Parks

Which then would leave VIA with
3-Chateaus
0-Diners
0-Manors
15-HP1 coaches
2-Skylines
4-Park Cars

The problem being the entire fleet is stretched beyond a reasonable number in diners and manors because you always need a protect car, and shop counts. Which could have been fixed had VIA attempted to buy cars in the Amtrak auction. The rest of it isn't that bad utilization wise.

Now if VIA wanted to attempt a corridor type train in the west between Calgary and Edmonton which makes sense they could use some of the HP1s. Notice I haven't had a need to touch HP2 coaches yet. Ideally VIA could rebuild those cars into sleepers, or diners. But it costs money to do that.

Which sets are the Budd corridor sets. I need to get up there again.



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I do wonder if VIA would be interested if one of the larger car owners approached them with a few cars to fill in a few of those gaps?  There may just be some blind lack of awareness at play here as much as anything.

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Wouldn’t they rather just add on to the existing order rather than go into the museum pieces maintenance and parts business?

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On the Canadian I don't think would be included on this new order. I think it will be HP1 till those cars reach the end of their service life. And VIA does an amazing job keeping them going. It's part of the attraction. If they want parts I'm sure I could find some.

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