Acela II RFP information announcement

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afigg

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Amtrak may be facing a temporary cutoff in federal funding and uncertain FY2014 federal funding levels, but they are moving ahead on plans to issue an RFP for Acela IIs in November. They posted the follwoing announcement on the procurement portal website (Non-construction)..

The Board of Directors of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”) has authorized Amtrak to issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) for up to twenty-eight (28) new high speed Trainsets in concert with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA). Amtrak and CHSRA contemplate issuing the RFP in mid-November 2013. Prospective Offerors should plan to attend a Pre-Proposal Meeting, Northeast Corridor tour, and Buy America Act informational session conducted by the Federal Railroad Administration from December 4, 2013 through the December 6, 2013

Offerors that reach the competitive range/progress in the evaluation process should expect to make presentations during the week of April 28, 2014 at a venue to be determined in the United States.
 
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Are these really Acela II's ? Since California is involved, I would assume these are not for use in the NE corridor to compliment or replace the existing Acela's.
 

jis

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As deployed on the NEC they might be called Acela IIs, or they might be called something else. I don't think a commercial name for the news equipment that is yet to be ordered has been decided yet. For now they are euphemistically referred to as Acela IIs, since they come after the Acelas to augment or replace them at least on the NEC.
 
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For now they are euphemistically referred to as Acela IIs, since they come after the Acelas to augment or replace them at least on the NEC.
If they are for the NEC, why is California (CHSRA) involved?
 

battalion51

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Amtrak and CHSRA are looking to place a joint order with similar specs to reduce costs. The hope is that this will make it more appealing to manufacturers since there will be more possibilities for production. This will help both in the long term as well with the acquisition of parts and product expertise.
 

Blackwolf

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If they are for the NEC, why is California (CHSRA) involved?
Economies of scale. Its the same idea behind, say, a new airliner. A group of airlines come together and hash out a common list of needs and desires, drive up the number of units (planes) being produced, and therefore drive down the per-unit cost. A Boeing 747 is still a 747 no matter if is flown by British Airways or United Airlines or Japan Air Lines.

So, an RFP for a new high-speed trainset is just like an airliner. Amtrak will "brand" their share the Acela (II) and the CHSRA might "brand" theirs another name. The current Acela could very well operate along any electrified standard-guage rail line in the world, including the future California HSR line if a set were hauled out to it. There is no brick wall or law saying Acela's can ONLY operate on the NEC, after all. ^_^
 

WoodyinNYC

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Are these really Acela II's ? Since California is involved, I would assume these are not for use in the NE corridor to compliment or replace the existing Acela's.
California is involved because it's building a High Speed Rail line that will use high speed trains. Amtrak will also be using high speed trains on the NEC. By buying the same trains, they can expect to get a volume discount, and both will save money. And combining the orders so that one bidder builds all, it encourages more of the manufacturing to take place in the U.S., helping to build or rebuild a domestic railcar industry.

Of course, CAHSR will probably be using the trains at higher speeds sooner than Amtrak will on the NEC. But upgrades may be made to the NEC that would allow the new trains to go faster than the Acela does now. In fact, having trains on order that can go faster makes a case to Congress to fund the track upgrades to maximize the usefulness of the new trains. Meanwhile the trains will at the least add capacity (frequency) to the existing service.
 

battalion51

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Going back to the original quote, am I reading it right that Amtrak is looking for 28 sets in addition to whatever CAHSR needs?

Also, don't forget CAHSR is going to need someone to operate their service once it gets up and running. Given the relationship between CDOT/JPBA/SCAX and Amtrak I'd say there's decent odds Amtrak will get the contract to operate the service. Who knows, we could see co-branding of the two services. Acela Northeast and Acela California...?
 

Anderson

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IIRC, Amtrak was initially looking at 32 sets to replace the present 20 sets: 12 sets "soon-ish" and 20 sets down the line.

I'm wondering...assuming a split of the 28 sets at 12 Amtrak and 16 California, what would that (practically speaking) enable in CA?
 

Fan Railer

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IIRC, Amtrak was initially looking at 32 sets to replace the present 20 sets: 12 sets "soon-ish" and 20 sets down the line.

I'm wondering...assuming a split of the 28 sets at 12 Amtrak and 16 California, what would that (practically speaking) enable in CA?
You have to remember that CA's system is starting small, so they're not going to need as many trains initially. As the system is built to plan, then you will see further procurement of additional trains.
 

Anderson

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IIRC, Amtrak was initially looking at 32 sets to replace the present 20 sets: 12 sets "soon-ish" and 20 sets down the line.

I'm wondering...assuming a split of the 28 sets at 12 Amtrak and 16 California, what would that (practically speaking) enable in CA?
You have to remember that CA's system is starting small, so they're not going to need as many trains initially. As the system is built to plan, then you will see further procurement of additional trains.
Well, I was more looking at a perspective of "What would they have to electrify to be able to get anything meaningful out of 16 sets?" I also have to seriously wonder whether Xpress West might not get involved (since that could add another pile of sets).
 

afigg

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IIRC, Amtrak was initially looking at 32 sets to replace the present 20 sets: 12 sets "soon-ish" and 20 sets down the line.

I'm wondering...assuming a split of the 28 sets at 12 Amtrak and 16 California, what would that (practically speaking) enable in CA?
From the January news release on the joint Request For Information that presumably generated responses that Amtrak and CHSRA have since reviewed:
"Due to the consistently strong and record setting NEC ridership over the past 10 years, Amtrak needs new and additional HSR equipment. The Amtrak plan envisions an initial acquisition of up to 12 new HSR train sets to supplement current Acela Express service and add seating capacity in the near term. Then, Amtrak would look to replace the 20 current Acela train sets in the early 2020s. California plans a first order of 27 HSR train sets."

The numbers have apparently changed. CA is some years away from having tracks to run HSR trainsets on. So the 28 trainsets could be a staggered Phase 1 (A and B) order? We will know a lot more when the public part of the RFP is released.

The big question is how will Amtrak pay for new HSR trainsets, if Congress does not give them even down payment and upfront cost funding? A RRIF loan for the whole thing will present a sizable debt load and drain available funding from a host of other capital needs.
 

Fan Railer

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IIRC, Amtrak was initially looking at 32 sets to replace the present 20 sets: 12 sets "soon-ish" and 20 sets down the line.

I'm wondering...assuming a split of the 28 sets at 12 Amtrak and 16 California, what would that (practically speaking) enable in CA?
You have to remember that CA's system is starting small, so they're not going to need as many trains initially. As the system is built to plan, then you will see further procurement of additional trains.
Well, I was more looking at a perspective of "What would they have to electrify to be able to get anything meaningful out of 16 sets?" I also have to seriously wonder whether Xpress West might not get involved (since that could add another pile of sets).
Well, the entire HSR system in Cali is being built electrified, but as I said, the initial section is a joke, and won't require more than 8 trains to run a moderate schedule (bakersfield to fresno). Xpress West is having trouble right now getting off its ass as it is. They are an independent privately owned organization, whereas CA and Amtrak are both connected to government.
 

Fan Railer

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Since Siemens won the contract for the ACS-64 whats the chance of seeing an Americanized version of the Velaro/ICE-3 as the replacement for the Acela?
Definitely a good chance. I mean, there are only so many other options being offered, including the Japanese N700i, the Bombardier Zefiro (but amtrak and bomb don't get along very well), and MAYBE something from Alstom, or CNR (China). Ansaldobreda has no chance, imo, nor do I think they will offer a proposal.
 

Crescent ATN & TCL

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Since Siemens won the contract for the ACS-64 whats the chance of seeing an Americanized version of the Velaro/ICE-3 as the replacement for the Acela?
Definitely a good chance. I mean, there are only so many other options being offered, including the Japanese N700i, the Bombardier Zefiro (but amtrak and bomb don't get along very well), and MAYBE something from Alstom, or CNR (China). Ansaldobreda has no chance, imo, nor do I think they will offer a proposal.
So its reasonable to think that we may see Velaro's on the corridor or will Siemens more than likely make an entirely new design for the American market?
 

jis

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So its reasonable to think that we may see Velaro's on the corridor or will Siemens more than likely make an entirely new design for the American market?
They would use Velaro I hope with minor mods. Doing a separate American thing would only mean that they will get bogged down debugging it over the next 20 years on the backs of American taxpayers? Why would we Americans want that?
 
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sitzplatz17

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Considering how smooth (so far!!) the ACS-64 process has gone, and that it's essentially an Americanized version of the EuroSprinter, it would make sense to use the same tactic for the new Acela-II.

Also, the Velaro has a pretty proven track record now across Europe and Asia in a multitude of very diverse markets. It'd be a pretty strong contender.

not to mention I'd LOVE to see a Velaro in Acela colors. (pay no attention to my avatar, I'm not biased!!) :giggle:
 
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rickycourtney

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They would use Valro I hope with minor mods. Doing a separate American thing would only mean that they will get bogged down debugging it over the next 20 years on the backs of American taxpayers? Why would we Americans want that?
I think there is a very good chance of that happening.

Remember that the ACS-64 is based on the design of Siemens EuroSprinter and Vectron locomotives. The major modifications were to satisfy AAR safety requirements... But the internals are very similar. Using the "off the shelf" systems makes it faster to build with less chance of something going wrong.

Siemens has previously stated that they would be very interested in building high speed train sets in America. They have a portion of their manufacturing campus in Sacramento set aside for a dedicated factory. I expect that they will aggressively bid on this contract.

With these trainsets being built in California and the testing of the ACS-64 (seemingly) going very well I'm sure both Amtrak and the CAHSRA would welcome Siemens as the builder.
 

afigg

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After the RFP is released.
No, the RFP is the Request For Proposals for the vendors to submit bids and proposals. Those bids will be evaluated with presentations from the vendors, [SIZE=12pt]tentatively[/SIZE] scheduled for the end of April, 2014 as stated in the procurement notice. With the FRA on furlough due to the shutdown, and since the FRA is a player in this process, would not be surprised if the release of the RFP was delayed pass the mid-November date.

If there is a contractor selected and an award announced, the earliest would likely be the summer of 2014.
 

Fan Railer

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After the RFP is released.
No, the RFP is the Request For Proposals for the vendors to submit bids and proposals. Those bids will be evaluated with presentations from the vendors, [SIZE=12pt]tentatively[/SIZE] scheduled for the end of April, 2014 as stated in the procurement notice. With the FRA on furlough due to the shutdown, and since the FRA is a player in this process, would not be surprised if the release of the RFP was delayed pass the mid-November date.

If there is a contractor selected and an award announced, the earliest would likely be the summer of 2014.
Considering the shutdown ended the day you after posted this comment, I don't expect the delay in any award to be anything substantial.
 
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