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ACS-64 and VL II's... Status?

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Acela150

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Our latest report was that shell's for the ACS-64 were arriving in November. With Delivery starting in the summer. Any hints on what the status is on the II's and the ACS-64's? One can guess an ACS will head to Pueblo for testing, and the same with the II's and then head to the NEC for speed testing?
 

afigg

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Trains Magazine had a brief news update on the Siemens ACS-64 order as part of a story on Siemens delivering Vectron electric locomotives to Poland for freight service several weeks go, but the article is behind a subscriber wall. To summarize, the first unit is largely assembled at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, the body shells for the first 10 units were completed in Munich, Germany and have been shipped along with truck frames to the US. The first ACS-64 is scheduled for completion in mid-2013. That suggests it would go off for testing in Colorado by end of summer or in the fall? Maybe followed by testing on the NEC later in 2013?
 

Swadian Hardcore

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I'm really hoping the Viewliner IIs get here quick. They may not enter service before the summer season but they would help at Thanksgiving.
 

AlanB

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I'm really hoping the Viewliner IIs get here quick. They may not enter service before the summer season but they would help at Thanksgiving.
Even if CAF starts to deliver Viewliner II's within the next 3 months at best there might be 5 or 6 cars actually in service by Thanksgiving. I'd say we'd be very lucky to have even one sleeper delivered and in service for Thanksgiving. And if they deliver all baggage cars, that will be of no help at all for Thanksgiving.

And I don't think that they will be delivering the first car within the next 3 months. I'm guessing, but based upon the original time line, coupled with the delays, I'd say we'll be lucky if the first car is delivered and in testing by the end of the summer. That would mean at best there might be 1 or 2 cars in service by Thanksgiving.

Plus all of the above assumes that no problems are found during testing.
 
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Nathanael

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I'm really hoping the Viewliner IIs get here quick. They may not enter service before the summer season but they would help at Thanksgiving.
Even if CAF starts to deliver Viewliner II's within the next 3 months at best there might be 5 or 6 cars actually in service by Thanksgiving. I'd say we'd be very lucky to have even one sleeper delivered and in service for Thanksgiving. And if they deliver all baggage cars, that will be of no help at all for Thanksgiving.
The one thing which has been confirmed about the Viewliner IIs is that the first car delivered will be a diner.

And I don't think that they will be delivering the first car within the next 3 months. I'm guessing, but based upon the original time line, coupled with the delays, I'd say we'll be lucky if the first car is delivered and in testing by the end of the summer.
Original timeline was for February delivery IIRC, so with the known delay of roughly 6 months, August delivery would be likely?

That would mean at best there might be 1 or 2 cars in service by Thanksgiving.
I'm not sure about that. The first cars will undergo a lot of testing, but the later ones will undergo less testing. Thanks to the nature of an assembly line, they'll start coming off the line quite fast -- there could be as many as 10. I'm going to guess there will be nothing but diners by Thanksgiving, though. That *would* help Amtrak deal with the ever-increasing unreliability of the Heritage Diners, but it wouldn't add revenue seating.

Plus all of the above assumes that no problems are found during testing.
Indeed. :-(
 

AlanB

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That would mean at best there might be 1 or 2 cars in service by Thanksgiving.
I'm not sure about that. The first cars will undergo a lot of testing, but the later ones will undergo less testing. Thanks to the nature of an assembly line, they'll start coming off the line quite fast -- there could be as many as 10. I'm going to guess there will be nothing but diners by Thanksgiving, though. That *would* help Amtrak deal with the ever-increasing unreliability of the Heritage Diners, but it wouldn't add revenue seating.
If I recall the original contract, CAF was supposed to deliver 1 to 2 car per month in the beginning. Assume one comes off in August, 2 in Sept, 2 in Oct, and 2 in early November and that would only get us to 7. And I think that schedule isn't realistic at all. It's unlikely that both cars would be delivered and in service by Thanksgiving. And I'm not sure that they will manage to turn out that many in September & October.
 
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afigg

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If I recall the original contract, CAF was supposed to deliver 1 to 2 car per month in the beginning. Assume one comes off in August, 2 in Sept, 2 in Oct, and 2 in early November and that would only get us to 7. And I think that schedule isn't realistic at all. It's unlikely that both cars would be delivered and in service by Thanksgiving. And I'm not sure that they will manage to turn out that many in September & October.
The 5 year financial plan, dated January 2012, Rolling Stock Counts and Availability table showed 25 new Viewliners (called LDSL for Long Distance Single Distance) projected to be in service by the end of FY2013, the remaining 105 in service by the end of FY2014. So that was the original delivery and deployment schedule.

The proposed FY2013 budget, released in February 2012, shows the same projection of 25 new cars in service by the end of FY2013. Amtrak has not posted a revised FY2013 budget which might show the revised in service projection by the end of FY13, although they must have an internal budget to work against. With the continuing resolution providing funding through end of March and the uncertainty over the threat of sequestratiion, there might not be a final Amtrak FY13 budget until 7-8 months into the FY. :blink:
 

PRR 60

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Financially, I believe Amtrak wants to push the delivery of as many production cars as possible into FY14. Cash flow is a major issue with this order. Amtrak had hoped to get a special appropriation for the purchase. They did not. The cars are being funded from the capital budget and competing with other projects for funds, with some of those projects mandatory.

Expect prototype cars to be delivered for testing sometime this year. Then everything stops while testing takes place. Once testing is complete and any modifications are identified and delivered to CAF for adoption (with the requisite price negotiations), actual production can resume. You don't want to have multiple cars virtually compete only to find out that you have to tear them apart to make some change. Amtrak may use that process to help the cash flow issue.
 

PRR 60

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Related to this, does anyone else find it interesting that the Amtrak Monthly Performance Reports does not have some tracking for the production of either the electric motors or the new cars? Given the dollars involved, wouldn't progress reports for these orders be something that should be in these documents?
 
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Nathanael

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The funding for the Viewliners was actually being funded from *operating* surpluses -- which have continued; Amtrak got more operating funding than needed in FY 2011 and FY 2012 and was set to have that happen again in FY 2013 even *with* the "sequester".

However, Hurricane Sandy may have hurt the operating surplus for FY 2013. A proper Hurricane Sandy relief bill should be Amtrak's top priority. And no, Congress hasn't passed a Hurricane Sandy relief bill yet. All they passed this week was funding to pay out *already-owed flood insurance claims*. Which IMHO should not even have been necessary; there should be unlimited appropriations to pay out guaranteed insurance claims. Seriously.
 

afigg

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Well, we now have an official update as to when the new cars are expected to show up from CAF. The schedule has slipped - by a lot. Amtrak put out a news release previewing the 2013 major projects and had this to say on the CAF order:

130 NEW SINGLE-LEVEL LONG-DISTANCE CARS The design and build out for the $298.1 million order for 130 new single-level long-distance cars, including sleepers (25), diners (25), baggage cars (55) and baggage/dormitory cars (25) continues to progress. The delivery of the first four of the eight test pilot cars are due late in 2013 with the first units expected to be placed into service late spring 2014. They will replace and supplement the existing fleet, improve financial and on-time performance, and allow Amtrak to retire the oldest cars still in service that date back to the 1940s. They are being built by CAF USA at a facility in Elmira, N.Y.
The first ACS-64 unit will be delivered during 2013.
 

shinkansen

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Quite looking forward to seeing the new motive power. Maybe a few folks down in operations and mnt will stop yammering on about pulling knuckles. (Looking right at the HHP's)
 

Acela150

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They better put something on the side of them shells.. If not I'll being calling it a "ghost train" then I'll be wondering where it's at the whole time.
 

afigg

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They better put something on the side of them shells.. If not I'll being calling it a "ghost train" then I'll be wondering where it's at the whole time.
Well, there will be locomotive numbers added. With so much flat side space to work with, they could put www.amtrak.com on the side as well to plug the website. Then add a large LCD display for a little advertising revenue and loops of those security safety videos they show at the stations. :D

If the first ACS-64 unit is delivered in mid 2013, it is possible the that ACS-64s will beat the first of the CAF Viewliners to entry into revenue service.
 

cirdan

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Well, there will be locomotive numbers added. With so much flat side space to work with, they could put www.amtrak.com on the side as well to plug the website. Then add a large LCD display for a little advertising revenue and loops of those security safety videos they show at the stations. :D
They could do like NS and paint one in Tuscan Red.
 

OBS

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They better put something on the side of them shells.. If not I'll being calling it a "ghost train" then I'll be wondering where it's at the whole time.
Well, there will be locomotive numbers added. With so much flat side space to work with, they could put www.amtrak.com on the side as well to plug the website. Then add a large LCD display for a little advertising revenue and loops of those security safety videos they show at the stations. :D

If the first ACS-64 unit is delivered in mid 2013, it is possible the that ACS-64s will beat the first of the CAF Viewliners to entry into revenue service.
That would be great if the engines beat the new viewliners into service! The reliability of the electrics has been suffering greatly as of late.
 

sitzplatz17

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Honestly, it wouldn't be too surprising to see the ACS-64s enter service before the VLIIs.

Considering the VLs are a very Amtrak specific order it seem more can go wrong and hence why the schedule is slipping.

THe ACS-64s on the other hand are based on a very sucessful european platform that's been around for a good bit if I'm not mistaken...?
 

shinkansen

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AMTRAK TO RECEIVE FIRST FOUR TEST PILOT SINGLE-LEVEL PASSENGER CARS THIS YEAR: This year, Amtrak will receive the first four test pilot cars of its $298.1-million order for 130 new, American-made single-level long-distance cars. That includes 25 sleepers, 25 diners, 55 baggage cars, and 25 baggage/dormitory cars. The railcars will go into service late spring 2014, replacing and supplementing the existing fleet, allowing Amtrak to retire cars that have been in service since the 1940s. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-11-13]
 

Swadian Hardcore

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I personally don't care much for the ACS-64 since I am far from the NEC, but I'm really hoping to see more Viewliners around. Looks like I'm waiting till 2014.
 

afigg

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Can we have a link please?
The information on the status of the CAF cars is lifted right from the Amtrak 2013 preview news release issued last week.It will be spring of 2014 before the first batch of CAF Viewliners IIs (if that is what they will be called) go into revenue service, and that is if no additional problems are found that cause the in revenue service schedule to slip again.
Edit: fixed year
 
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