Amtrak's Five Year Fleet Plan

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by PaTrainFan, Mar 23, 2019.

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  1. Mar 23, 2019 #1

    PaTrainFan

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    I have yet to peruse the 118 page Amtrak Five Year Fleet Plan, but reading the summary from PRA leads one to ask, could it be Mr. Anderson is not as evil as often portrayed? Before anyone spits on me, I am not his apologist. He's made some head scratching decisions that make us all skeptical about his commitment to a national network, not to mention a quality rail experience. But I feel slightly more optimistic that the demise of Amtrak as we know it may not happen as soon as feared. Obviously a lot needs yet to happen, such as adequate funding, but with a seemingly more receptive Democratic House majority and a Senate that has traditionally not been as destructive even under Republican rule, maybe...just maybe...the sky isn't falling quite yet. Then again, how do we square this with the recent revelations of a radical change in rail passenger service with more corridors and less long distance service?
     
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  2. Mar 23, 2019 #2
  3. Mar 23, 2019 #3

    frequentflyer

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    Amtrak states LD equipment should be single level. But then states this-

    Some of Amtrak multilevel equipment will be designed for long-distance service and may not correspond with existing off-the-shelf designs in the global marketplace. Additionally, the California state partners have expressed a preference for Superliner-compatible equipment. While Amtrak will seek vendor input on existing equipment platforms through an RFI for multilevel equipment, this order may require a new equipment platform.

    Interesting Amtrak states multlilevel not bilevel. BBD cars are multilevel, Superliners are Bilevel.
     
  4. Mar 23, 2019 #4

    lordsigma

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    All the other five year plans are also posted.(service line, infrastructure line, etc.) Service line contains some interesting information also.
     
  5. Mar 23, 2019 #5

    dgvrengineer

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    Interesting article in March Trains Magazine about new bi-level cars for the Rocky Mountaineer. They are built by Stadler Rail and meet all FRA and Canadian crash requirements. The cars are Sightseer lounge type cars, but it shouldn't be too hard to adapt to coach, sleeper, etc. with the basic design established. The biggest problem is they are made in Germany so wouldn't meet buy America requirements. At least there is a car out there that would be available for Amtrak long distance service.
     
  6. Mar 23, 2019 #6

    PVD

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    I thought that Stadler had opened some US manufacturing capacity in Utah for the FLIRT. Not sure if it could be scaled up to handle a sizable car order, or if they would even want to pursue it.
     
  7. Mar 24, 2019 #7

    neroden

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    I never thought he was evil -- I met him. I like the guy. I thought he was ignorant and being manipulated by someone evil deeper in the Amtrak bureaucracy. His moves showed signs of what I call "dumbassery" -- mistakes you only make if you haven't done your homework. Mistakes which someone else may get you to make so that they can use you as a scapegoat while keeping themself out of the line of fire...

    I may have been wrong about Gardner, though; Gardner may not have been the one pushing the lies at Anderson for Anderson to thoughtlessly repeat. Could have been someone else! Definitely someone who's avoiding the spotlight though.


    I've looked at the Fleet Plan and the 2020 budget plan. They're both good. The Fleet Plan is super vague and explains why it's vague. The budget plan is actually solid, with a list of "These are things we would like to do if we got earmarked money" added at the end -- including Chicago to Porter!

    The other plans are another matter, and I'll comment elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  8. Mar 24, 2019 #8

    PaTrainFan

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    I don't want to start another stream of screeds such as have been posted previously ad nauseam, but what is Coscia's role in all the drama? I don't know much about him though he is certainly visible enough and quoted fairly frequently. Typically, of course, a board's role is to set policy and hire people to implement that policy, so they must be tuned in what Anderson and his minions are doing.
     
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  9. Mar 24, 2019 #9

    jis

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    The Board hired Anderson. Coscia was appointed by Obama. He comes from PANYNJ where he was the Chairman. The rest of the current Board minus the ex-officio members was also appointed by Obama. AFAIR none of the nominees of the current admin have managed to get through Senate confirmation. Well maybe one has, but I’m not sure.
     
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  10. Mar 24, 2019 #10

    Amtrak706

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    I don’t think any of these guys are “evil.” We may vehemently disagree with their agenda and we may want them removed from their positions, but at the end of the day it’s just trains. No people are being physically or mentally harmed. I think “evil” is reserved for the likes of terrorism, brutal totalitarian regimes, and the like. Unfortunately we have plenty of that stuff in this world.

    On a slightly different note, I am surprised to see that only 66 Sprinters are listed as active. 601 at Philly and 627 at Chester are pretty obvious, but what are the other two? I know one got damaged in one of the slow speed Penn Station derailments a year or two ago but I wouldn’t think that would put a locomotive out of commission. And the document says that the number 66 includes units temporarily out of service for maintenance, etc. so those 4 all have something major wrong with them.
     
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  11. Mar 24, 2019 #11

    Eric S

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    Chicago to Porter caught my attention as well! That project could really use some political and institutional backing to help push it forward. Hopefully this is a sign that at least someone at Amtrak recognizes just how important it is, that it's not just a "Michigan train" issue that should be left for MDOT to figure out. (Not to mention it's in IL and IN.)
     
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  12. Mar 24, 2019 #12

    cocojacoby

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    Going this Ultradome route would greatly increase the bottom line. Not only are these cars "bi-level" but they are true double-deckers which is like stacking a coach on top of a coach or a sleeper on top of a sleeper. They have maximum efficient use of space and could have pass-throughs on both levels. These would be a game changer for Amtrak.
     
  13. Mar 24, 2019 #13

    jis

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    And they won’t fit in Chicago Union Station. So dream on!
     
  14. Mar 25, 2019 #14

    frequentflyer

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    18ft high. Hope Superliners are clearing Roosevelt bridge by more than 2 ft.
     
  15. Mar 25, 2019 #15

    neroden

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    Frankly, people are being harmed. There are people who are dependent on trains for the ability to travel, and they are seriously harmed by underhanded sabotage to their train service. If it were open and honest, then I wouldn't describe it as evil, but it's underhanded and dishonest, which means whoever's doing it knows they're doing something wrong.
     
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  16. Mar 25, 2019 #16

    Amtrak706

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    Underhanded, absolutely. Dishonest? Possibly but they seem pretty clear about their agenda.
    Evil... I still have to disagree on that one. But regardless, I think what would be really nice here is if Congress could somehow require all of Amtrak’s executives to come and give testimony about their intentions. That way we know who in the organization supports this “Amtrak 2.0” agenda and who doesn’t. Congress can’t hire and fire people from the company but it’s at least something. And given the letter they sent Amtrak, I don’t think they would mind grilling Amtrak executives about this for a few hours at all.
     
  17. Mar 25, 2019 #17

    neroden

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    So here's a point for you: who is "they"?

    When you ask Coscia, or Anderson, or Gardner, they all claim to support the long-distance trains. Which one is lying? Or is the person preparing the bogus, fraudulent accounting misleading them? And who is that, anyway (I don't have a name)?

    That's why I say dishonest. Nobody's actually come out and defended the bogus accounting, people just keep using the bogus numbers without admitting that they're fake-ups.
     
  18. Mar 25, 2019 #18

    Amtrak706

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    If you mean my last post, “they” would be referring to the Congress members that signed the letter to Amtrak. In this hypothetical hearing (where hopefully more than just Anderson and Gardner are being questioned) I don’t think it would be very effective to simply ask them if they support a national network. I would hope there would be specific questions about the wacky accounting, about all the verbal and written statements conveying contempt to LD trains, and about the cost cutting, amenity slashing, consist downsizing, charter and PV restrictions, and the sudden completely unprompted fleet planning for a possibly very different Amtrak following the FY2020 reauthorization. And as for the dishonesty, yeah I definitely agree that the accounting stuff is an example.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  19. Mar 25, 2019 #19

    Ryan

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    What specific statements would you grill them on?

    Why would Congress grill them about this? They have Amtrak a mandate to be profitable, and they are attempting to achieve that mandate.

    What would you hope to gain by doing this? Their job is to plan, they are putting the plan together to tell the Congress “This is what it is going to take if you want us to keep operating.” Doing nothing is not an option, as eventually the wheels will fall off the current rolling stock. The plan is prompted by the fact that if they don’t start ordering equipment soon, they’ll be unable to continue “business as usual”.
     
  20. Mar 25, 2019 #20

    jis

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    Besides Congress does require them to provide a plan to justify both appropriation and reauthorization requests. Claiming that the plan is unprompted merely exhibits ignorance of the governance process.
     
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  21. Mar 25, 2019 #21

    JustOnce

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    BBD built bilevel coaches before building the multilevels. The multilevels were modified bilevels intended for NJT and Penn Station clearances. Once the production line started, however, other agencies (MARC) started ordering them to take advantage of the economies of scale.

    Certain aspects of the multilevel design make sense for corridor service: the end doors and quarter-point doors on the mezzanine level provide level boarding at high-level platforms and the end doors have low-level traps. With the desire for level boarding (ADA) but with a large part of the system still having low level platforms, I'd suggest the following: eliminate the quarter point doors and use them for seating and add doors on the lower level for wheelchair access and easier boarding at low-level stations.

    I don't think the design would work for long-distance travel since passengers would not want to go up and down several flights of stairs to get to the lounge car or dining car. An LD compromise car would need a high level pass through similar to Superliners, as well as maintaining a door on a mezzanine level.

    I do think the general shape of the multilevel design would also lend itself well to serving as an observation/lounge car on single level routes. Envision a glass enclosed observation deck similar to Sightseer Lounges on the top level and use the bottom level for a bar or storage. No I'm not suggesting cutting holes for more windows into an existing MLV, I'm sure the structure will be compromised.
     
  22. Mar 25, 2019 #22

    jis

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    Amtrak often uses the term multi-level in connection with current Superliners in that document. I think we may be over-parsing the terminology. They are not as precise in their terminology as we geeks here would like them to be perhaps.
     
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  23. Mar 25, 2019 #23

    NSC1109

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    I haven’t been able to get through all of the plan yet, but fleet planning really isn’t an issue...any major transport company worth their salt would have some form of fleet planning implemented and if Amtrak didn’t, that would seriously concern me.

    The long and short of it is that Amtrak is not going to be the same. Companies adapt or they die. I don’t want to see LD disappear any more than the next guy. I love the LD trains. But the Amtrak network largely looks the same as it did twenty years ago. New services have to be started. Changes need to be made to make them appealing to the newer generations while keeping the older generations on the hook. OTP is the biggest issue followed by equipment reliability.

    Things are going to have to change. All we can do is hope that the right people are making the right changes.
     
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  24. Mar 26, 2019 #24

    jiml

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    Bombardier (Hawker-Siddley at the time) did LD mockups of sleepers for both Amtrak and VIA based on the "lozenge"-shaped commuter cars introduced by Toronto GO Transit and used by dozens of US and Canadian commuter agencies ever since. As I recall, VIA rejected them due to cost and Amtrak wanted upper level walk-through to pair with ex-Santa Fe cars, whereas these had compatibility with standard-level coaches. The odd shape also significantly reduced the space available for rooms (and therefore revenue), so another limitation. A diner was proposed, but AFAIK never made if off the drawing board.
     
  25. Mar 26, 2019 #25

    JustOnce

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    Out of curiosity, what exactly is in the lower level space above the trucks on a Superliner? Is it all HVAC, batteries, and plumbing (potable + retention)? Is there any storage space?
     

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