Airo - Amfleet I replacement Siemens Inter City Trainsets (ICT) (2-3Q 2024)

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jis

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Amtrak Equipment Procurement Update as of 4-25-24:

On the Airo trainset: This procurement is moving full speed ahead. They are closing out design efforts.
Working on FAIsd and wrapping up work on various systems. 40 vehicles are in production – 4 Locomotives
and the rest (36) are coaches.
The first will go on the Pacific Northwest for testing – and 12 months later into service.
They are building out a commissioning facility for Airo and others.
Overall, this procurement is progressing “pretty well”.
On the ALC 42: Work on this equipment is progressing steadily with 50+ units in service. The total to be
purchased is 125. Performance has steadily improved -working Amtrak with the OEM has been successful.
On the Long-Distance Fleet: This is an active procurement. Amtrak continues to respond to questions from
the car builders within the RFP process. from NEGC.com
 
Amtrak Equipment Procurement Update as of 4-25-24:

On the Airo trainset: This procurement is moving full speed ahead. They are closing out design efforts.
Working on FAIsd and wrapping up work on various systems. 40 vehicles are in production – 4 Locomotives
and the rest (36) are coaches.
The first will go on the Pacific Northwest for testing – and 12 months later into service.
They are building out a commissioning facility for Airo and others.
Overall, this procurement is progressing “pretty well”.
On the ALC 42: Work on this equipment is progressing steadily with 50+ units in service. The total to be
purchased is 125. Performance has steadily improved -working Amtrak with the OEM has been successful.
On the Long-Distance Fleet: This is an active procurement. Amtrak continues to respond to questions from
the car builders within the RFP process. from NEGC.com
Thanks for the update. That was fast, the last update was only a few weeks ago at a meeting posted on YouTube, which showed 33 coaches and 2 locomotives in production for Airo.
 
Here is a question that is just though. Are all the Siemens passenger cars and future LD cars going to be able to work any train? Mainly thinking about the various inter car connections. Loco control, car control & now the firewire cable connections. It would short sighted to not apply all those to all cars. Look at the problems of rewiring Amfleet-1s and Superliner - 1s for at least loco control. Do not know if that project is complete?

It would be very poor if Airos could not supplement LD trains if they are not interchangeable.
 
IMHO Amtrak should resurrect the Chicago to Philadelphia Pennsyvanian. An Empire Service train could be extended to Cleveland and hopefully connect with the Pennsylvanian.
Cleveland station will need major track building to make it possible to merge/split trains there. Toledo is a better location to do such.

Here is a question that is just though. Are all the Siemens passenger cars and future LD cars going to be able to work any train? Mainly thinking about the various inter car connections. Loco control, car control & now the firewire cable connections. It would short sighted to not apply all those to all cars. Look at the problems of rewiring Amfleet-1s and Superliner - 1s for at least loco control. Do not know if that project is complete?

It would be very poor if Airos could not supplement LD trains if they are not interchangeable.
Airos are integrated and articulated sets with special electronics supporting unit based service. They are not meant to be split and cars reused elsewhere. So it is safe to say that that will not happen. Airos will be corridor trains. The single level LD will be entirely different. And as is true today, bi-level LD equipment will not be cross usable with single level anything except for using an awkward connection through a Trans-Dorm car.

So the bottom line is - you will be disappointed by design ;)
 
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The path for the single level LD has also not been set. Amtrak is considering two paths for the single level fleet - one of which is a full scope RFP similar to what they're doing for the bilevels that would cover the whole program and essentially replace everything (Viewliner 2s would continue to be used with the new equipment to the extent possible.) The other path would continue on with the Viewliner family and just replace the Amfleet 2 coaches and lounge/cafe cars - most likely with Airo based options that they have with Siemens (modified for the purposes of long distance of course). The primary decision point on the path is a decision about whether to life extend or replace and retire the Viewliner 1 sleepers as part of the program. The bilevel fleet had only one path under consideration - full replacement and is more complex and urgent so that's why it moved ahead first.
 
Cleveland station will need major track building to make it possible to merge/split trains there. Toledo is a better location to do such.


Airos are integrated and articulated sets with special electronics supporting unit based service. They are not meant to be split and cars reused elsewhere. So it is safe to say that that will not happen. Airos will be corridor trains. The single level LD will be entirely different. And as is true today, bi-level LD equipment will not be cross usable with single level anything except for using an awkward connection through a Trans-Dorm car.

So the bottom line is - you will be disappointed by design ;)

What is Amtrak's definition of a "corridor train", as it relates to something like say the Carolinian? It would be disappointing to see a cancellation because one of the cars crapped out, shortly departing Charlotte. And needed to be towed up to the NEC to be repaired. Or wait on a laptop so it can be rebooted. 😆
 
The trains Amtrak says will get Airo's: NER (NEC, Virginia and New Haven/Springfield), Empire (NY), Keystone, Downeaster, Cascades, Maple Leaf, Palmetto, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter, Ethan Allen and Adirondack.

Amtrak divides itself into four parts: Acela, Autotrain, long distance, and state supported sub-750-mile service.

Well you probably knew all that. But the new, mandated planning above Amtrak's level at DOT seems to be all about LD? Before that were, and are, the HSR initiatives like SEHSR. Both the new plannning level and HSR are murky about state financing, as far as I can tell. Initial planning can be done with federal grants. States also vary in how large a staff they have for planning and running pax rail, even if they support sub-750 routes. NC's department is big, NY's is reportedly small. For the Piedmont, NC owns non-Amtrak-y locomotives and non-Amfleet cars.

Pet peeve: states don't update their state rail plans every five years. NC's is nine years old. The plans are key to seeing how much state money and federal grants go into freight rail. Not because that's bad, it just gives context. Every state but Hawaii makes one, or has made one.

https://www.ncdot.gov/divisions/rail/Pages/rail-plan.aspx
Developed every five years in compliance with the U.S. Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, the N.C. Department of Transportation's Comprehensive State Rail Plan... were last approved and adopted in 2015. NCDOT is updating the plan...

This is par for the course.
 
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Amtrak divides itself into four parts: Acela, Autotrain, long distance, and state supported sub-750-mile service.

Since when was Autotrain its own division of Amtrak?

A few years ago, the four divisions (or service lines, or business lines, or whatever the name of the day was) were NEC (not Acela specifically), LD, state-supported, and commuter contract operations.
 
It will be interesting to see how they run the New Haven - Springfield and Valley Flyer operations with the Airos. Will they continue to operate with the inefficient 2 car + loco combination? (An operation that any other rail system in the world would be running with DMU's but that's a subject for another time. ) Perhaps with the availability of dual modes they could extend more trips Springfield - New York/Washington. Or "Inland Route" to Boston.
 
It will be interesting to see how they run the New Haven - Springfield and Valley Flyer operations with the Airos. Will they continue to operate with the inefficient 2 car + loco combination? (An operation that any other rail system in the world would be running with DMU's but that's a subject for another time. ) Perhaps with the availability of dual modes they could extend more trips Springfield - New York/Washington. Or "Inland Route" to Boston.
Springfield service will be run using some configuration of Airos.
 
It will be interesting to see how they run the New Haven - Springfield and Valley Flyer operations with the Airos. Will they continue to operate with the inefficient 2 car + loco combination? (An operation that any other rail system in the world would be running with DMU's but that's a subject for another time. ) Perhaps with the availability of dual modes they could extend more trips Springfield - New York/Washington. Or "Inland Route" to Boston.
I was thinking the same thing! The proposed sets only come in five coaches and a coach cab car and seven coaches and a coach cab car. Maybe since the Valley Flyer is a shuttle it’ll have its own shorter sets. Who knows.
 
Since when was Autotrain its own division of Amtrak?

A few years ago, the four divisions (or service lines, or business lines, or whatever the name of the day was) were NEC (not Acela specifically), LD, state-supported, and commuter contract operations.
You're right, I was relying on my memory. https://www.amtrak.com/reports-documents
 
I was thinking the same thing! The proposed sets only come in five coaches and a coach cab car and seven coaches and a coach cab car. Maybe since the Valley Flyer is a shuttle it’ll have its own shorter sets. Who knows.
From my understanding, I think the HHP8s are slated to replace the metroliner cab cars for those routes, correct? I'm sure it will be those for a while before it gets Airo rolling stock.
 
From my understanding, I think the HHP8s are slated to replace the metroliner cab cars for those routes, correct? I'm sure it will be those for a while before it gets Airo rolling stock.
Maybe, though the HHP8s seem to be aimed at replacing the Metroliners on the Keystone. However, we’re talking about the Airo sets their selves, not the Metroliners or HHP8s. We’re wondering if the Valley Flyer will have the six/eight coach sets or if they will be shortened for shuttle service. There hasn’t been any shorter sets proposed.
 
I was thinking the same thing! The proposed sets only come in five coaches and a coach cab car and seven coaches and a coach cab car. Maybe since the Valley Flyer is a shuttle it’ll have its own shorter sets. Who knows.
Once Amtrak gets a traffic analysis maybe it will take 1 or 2 cars off a 5 car set and put them on a high traffic run? Oh wait!! does Amtrak have that kind of flexibility?
 
Since when was Autotrain its own division of Amtrak?

A few years ago, the four divisions (or service lines, or business lines, or whatever the name of the day was) were NEC (not Acela specifically), LD, state-supported, and commuter contract operations.
Amtrak has certainly changed their organizational structure numerous times over its history. When I worked at Denver, in the 70's and 80's, we were in the "Western Division". When I transferred to NYP, we were in the "New York Division". Later, they reorganized into "Strategic Business Unit's", and later back into traditional division's, although the structure was fairly convoluted, and not every department or location used the same organizational structure.
I don't know of any single source to see the timeline of how this has all evolved...
 
I was thinking if there was a DMU variant of the Venture cab car, they could use that on those trains.
That seems unlikely, Airo sets would be the better way to go so that the cars are interchangeable with other sets rather than having unique DMU sets. Additionally, Amtrak would have to go through more processes and orders with Siemens than they already are.
 
I find it absolutely fascinating that even after Amtrak has stated as clearly as possible that they will use Airos on Springfield service, the good tradition at AU of inventing solutions looking for problems carries on in full force :D

That seems unlikely, Airo sets would be the better way to go so that the cars are interchangeable with other sets rather than having unique DMU sets. Additionally, Amtrak would have to go through more processes and orders with Siemens than they already are.
You are quite correct. Amtrak has already ordered enough Airo units to account for their Springfield service.

Now there will of course be ConnDOT service and they might use DMUs, but they will also probably bee off the shelf FLIRTs or something like that, not necessarily Siemens even, eventually after the individual cars and locomotives setups run through their natural life.
 
I find it absolutely fascinating that even after Amtrak has stated as clearly as possible that they will use Airos on Springfield service, the good tradition at AU of inventing solutions looking for problems carries on in full force :D


You are quite correct. Amtrak has already ordered enough Airo units to account for their Springfield service.
The sets will likely be shortened for some of the Springfield services (hopefully to 3-4 instead of the current 2 cars), but I think the idea is to convert a decent number of them to Regionals, especially with PSA increasing capacity. Another Valley Flyer run to Greenfield starts 5/28, and I'd hope MassDOT plans on adding more when the Airos come. Who knows...maybe another Vermonter frequency? Maybe I'm daydreaming too much now...

Now there will of course be ConnDOT service and they might use DMUs, but they will also probably bee off the shelf FLIRTs or something like that, not necessarily Siemens even, eventually after the individual cars and locomotives setups run through their natural life.
Yes please 😍 though that will probably be a long time, since Alstom is currently in production of CTDOT's next railcars.
 
Does anyone know the traction motor arrangement on the Airo sets? I know the pantograph will be on the car directly behind the Charger locomotive. Will that pantograph supply power to traction motors just on that particular car only? Or will the pantograph supply power to the locomotive's traction motors? Or to both the car's and locomotive's traction motors?
 
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