Airo - Amfleet I replacement Siemens Inter City Trainsets (ICT)

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jis

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But does the Airo come equipped with this technology? I might have missed it, but I do not see any indicators in the photos.
Those photos may be artists renditions rather than actual photos of the interior. I have heard from Jim Matthews who has seen various mockups that there are electronic indicators.

Just for reference Brightline Coach seats are 19" wide , Business are 21", and seat pitch is 39". Of course Amtrak could have selected some other mix. I don't know. I will ask around and see if someone who has seen the mockups and given feedback know.
 
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rickycourtney

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Those photos may be artists renditions rather than actual photos of the interior. I have heard from Jim Matthews who has seen various mockups that there are electronic indicators.

Just for reference Brightline Coach seats are 19" wide , Business are 21", and seat pitch is 39". Of course Amtrak could have selected some other mix. I don;t know. I will ask around and see if someone who has seen the mockups and given feedback know.
And for futher reference -- on a typical 737 -- economy seats are 17" wide with 30-32" of pitch, while first class seats are 21" wide with 41" of pitch.

So in other words, if the seats are similar to Brightline, Business Class will be an equal experience to domestic first class, which is a pretty good comparison.
 

PerRock

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Acelas also came equipped with those but it has been seldom used, if ever. They could not even get assigned seat reservation working until very recently. There was pushback from executives, passengers, train crew and possibly even the IT department. Is it going to be different this time around? We'll see......

Seeing as the Venture cars have overhead displays & Amtrak is pretty much already given up using them, I wouldn't hold out hope for the seat reservation indicators being used.

peter
 

jis

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I don't know if the Cascades version has been posted yet, so here it is:



Seeing as the Venture cars have overhead displays & Amtrak is pretty much already given up using them, I wouldn't hold out hope for the seat reservation indicators being used.

peter
What Amtrak is doing in the Midwest bears little connection with what they currently do or will do on the NEC and vice versa. But of course one should always wait until the proverbial fat lady sings :D
 

rs9

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In regard to the appearance of the Airo seats versus the current Amfleet I seats, and the inevitable comments about comfort:

- I've been fortunate enough to ride the rails in other countries with modern train systems, namely RENFE in Spain and TGV in France. Modern passenger railroads don't use seats like the Amfleets; their seats are just like what Siemens is offering here.

This should come as no surprise - the US is such a minor player in terms of passenger rail travel. We aren't going to be setting the market.

- The coach seats I've experienced on RENFE and TGV were perfectly fine. Frankly they were so normal and unremarkable that I can't even recall much to try to describe them.

- I agree the new seats might get uncomfortable for the full WAS-BOS run on the NEC. But I'm sure I'm not alone in noting that the Amfleet seats became uncomfortable for folks like me after 2-3 hours of sitting. Modern recline functions, in which the seat base itself moves along with the seat back, are so much better ergonomically designed. I have a hard time finding a comfortable position in the Amfleet seats when I have any level of recline; I have to use something I brought with me for lumbar support.

- It will be interesting to see what Amtrak can source for long distance seats. Who else in the world runs coach long distance trains the length that Amtrak does?
 

Willbridge

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It is puzzling as to why a concept - seat reservations - that has been around for decades and is universal on many airlines and many European railways is considered so controversial for Amtrak.
There are some pros and cons, which I've experienced. The biggest problem is that on trains or individual cars with a lot of turnover, passengers spot a couple of empty seats and so they move into them. Then the train stops in McCook in the middle of the night and two people board and find some body in their seats. Everyone in the vicinity is awakened while the crew straightens things out.

Of course, many of the difficulties in the past were a result of manual systems. I recall a triple-booked seat on the SP Cascade, which resulted in a screaming match. But the seat-switching behavior will not change with computers.
 

jis

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MODERATOR'S NOTE: A number of posts on new Sleeper ideas have been moved out of this thread on Amfleet I replacement to a new thread on the subject in the Amtrak Futures forum:


Please post Sleeper related ideas in that thread and leave this thread focused on ICTs to replace Amfleet Is

Thank you for your understanding, cooperation and participation.
 

NES28

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All seats being reserved, reinforced with real-time displays, should end the nonsense of trainloads of passengers standing in line for an hour before train time, like Southwest Airlines, before A, B, C boarding groups. This will be a huge improvement.
 

rs9

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All seats being reserved, reinforced with real-time displays, should end the nonsense of trainloads of passengers standing in line for an hour before train time, like Southwest Airlines, before A, B, C boarding groups. This will be a huge improvement.
Slightly off topic, but this would make life loads better for solo coach travelers on long distance trains.
 

west point

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Now we find that management has a royal screw up for the AIRO purchase that will delay delivery possibly 5- 1/2 months. As well maintenance facilities revisions for the equipment were not verified by each facility personnel Appears central design teams screwed up. Also there is no changes for Chicago maintenance which absolutely no sense.

 
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Septa9739

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I didn’t realize that only $3.4 of the $7.3 billion were spent on train sets. That makes me want to question whether this is going to end up being any cheaper than buying conventional equipment. You could have in theory replaced everything for about that amount. Maybe they think the Horizons plus the Ventures will cover corridors out of Chicago. It also seems like Siemens should open another production line. They are already filled out to 2031. That would seem to make them unattractive for future orders from anyone.
 

jis

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Now we find that management has a royal screw up for the AIRO purchase that will delay delivery possibly 5- 1/2 months. As well maintenance facilities revisions for the equipment were not verified by each facility personnel Appears central design teams screwed up. Also there is no changes for Chicago maintenance which absolutely no sense.

Actually it makes perfect sense that there is no changes in Chicago. Why would Chicago need anything to handle Airos? The Airos are not going to run anywhere out of Chicago. They are a Northeast, Atlantic Coast and Cascades thing.
I didn’t realize that only $3.4 of the $7.3 billion were spent on train sets. That makes me want to question whether this is going to end up being any cheaper than buying conventional equipment. You could have in theory replaced everything for about that amount. Maybe they think the Horizons plus the Ventures will cover corridors out of Chicago. It also seems like Siemens should open another production line. They are already filled out to 2031. That would seem to make them unattractive for future orders from anyone.
Regional service out of Chicago uses State owned equipment going forward. Not Amtrak owned equipment. Airos in this order are Amtrak owned for use on routes where either Amtrak operates them or the States funding the routes lease equipment from Amtrak. Nothing in the Midwest Regional service fits that description going forward.
 
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Now we find that management has a royal screw up for the AIRO purchase that will delay delivery possibly 5- 1/2 months. As well maintenance facilities revisions for the equipment were not verified by each facility personnel Appears central design teams screwed up. Also there is no changes for Chicago maintenance which absolutely no sense.

I wouldn't call this a royal screw-up; I would call it a management oversight. If a project of this size comes in 5½ months late, IMO that's pretty good these days.
 

west point

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Isn't it possible that Airos will go to CHI on LSL and possible Capitol to free up Superliners ? By the way maybe Cardinal ?
BTW the 5-1/2 month delay is not the biggie. Even with that delay maintenance facilities may not be completely revised when Airo is in service. No reasn they would not be ready for original date of Airo deliverys.
 
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jis

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Isn't it possible that Airos will go to CHI on LSL and possible Capitol to free up Superliners ? By the way maybe Cardinal ?
BTW the 5-1/2 month delay is not the biggie. Even with that delay maintenance facilities may not be completely revised when Airo is in service. No reasn they would not be ready for original date of Airo deliverys.
No. They do not have any Sleepers or Diners, and they are articulated sets with accommodations suitable only for daytime Regional service. They will not be running on LSL, Capitol or Cardinal ever.

It is possible though quite unlikely that Amtrak will choose Airo-like articulated sets with Sleeping Cars for LD service, but really I do not see that will happen and in any case that is not part of the current Airo/ICT order that we are talking about here or in the IG report
 

rickycourtney

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Now we find that management has a royal screw up for the AIRO purchase that will delay delivery possibly 5- 1/2 months. As well maintenance facilities revisions for the equipment were not verified by each facility personnel Appears central design teams screwed up. Also there is no changes for Chicago maintenance which absolutely no sense.

Not involving the food service teams in the design of the Cafe leading to a 5 1/2 month delay and a $42.5 million charge... that's typical Amtrak mismanagement.

But the fact that Amtrak has taken concrete steps to prevent future mistakes like that -- that's won the praise of the OIG -- is huge progress for Amtrak.

While a $42.5 million mistake with a 5 1/2 month delay is not insignificant, calling it a "royal screw up" is a bit overstated in the context of a $7.3 billion/10-year project.
 

RebelRider

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Back on the Airo track, the lack of planning for food storage and seat configuration has me wondering just how far the procurement people think these trainsets will travel. Boston to Roanoke or Newport News is a long trip to be in a thinly padded, non-reclining seat. Those are 14 hour trips. If the extension to Christiansburg, VA happens, add another hour or more.

Next question is how big are the retention tank and water supply? On busy days, trains originating in SPG or BOS heading to Virginia have retention tanks nearly full at WAS.

The inability to flex capacity by trainset is a huge oversight, too, running the same number of seats every day of the year, regardless of demand. (I guess this is good for charging high ticket prices?) Even the largest 8 car B-2 trainsets will have fewer seats than the 10 car Regional sets that run on peak days now.

Somewhere I read Amtrak stating extra frequencies would be operate to capture peak demand. On-corridor, maybe. The host railroads will not entertain extra frequencies, never mind layover and turnaround facility constraints. Even if the host railroads did play ball, Amtrak will never staff the off-corridor crew bases to reliably operate extra frequencies a few times a year.

If a grade crossing accident or any other incident (tires, shopping carts, etc) disables something, the train is annulled as the bad ordered car can't be set out.

I have lots of other mundane operational questions that I doubt the company will think about until it is too late. I don't mean to sound down about the new trains - I'm quite excited to have new equipment - but realistically they aren't going to arrive on schedule and lots of little details will be left hanging out there for crews to stumble over.
 

Septa9739

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I’m with you. Maybe this is just ignorance on my part, but I don’t see the value of semipermanently connected sets. I don’t see how they’re supposed to improve shop ratios. What realistically is the difference between servicing 7 coaches or one seven coach set? Badlisted equipment can no longer just be set out. Will the Airo’s be strong enough to drag a dead set many miles to a shop, or will an engine have to be dispatched?

I really don’t like the inability to right size consists as needs arise. These things are going to be to be giants on the Keystone from the outset. In theory they should’ve be able to MU the way train sets do in Europe, but even still running two trains coupled will prove more expensive than one monster and decline margins. The steps toward break even (and effective service), I think, are 1) run the longest trains necessary that infrastructure will permit (diluting fixed costs of crew, stations, and power), 2) run more frequencies on routes that show promise (diluting fixed costs of maintenance and dispatch), 3) run new routes (diluting fixed costs of administration). Each tier dilutes the fixed costs of the tier above but not vice versa. Success at one tier implies attempt at the next. Fixed consists mess up tier 1 and we all know achievping tiers 2 and 3 are difficult.

I’m also not thrilled that apparently BILLIONS are going into shop retrofits, but maybe they were in poor condition anyway and this was a way to fund necessary rehabilitation. But, despite it all, I am glad that the Amfleets are being replaced and that we will have rolling stock for the decades to come.
 

NTL1991

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I'm all for the added redundancy that a Diesel loco would provide to trains running under the wire here on the NEC. This time of year is especially bad when trees pull the wire down and your tin cans Amfleets are struggling to retain their heat. I remember #66 that was dead on the Hell Gate for 5+ hours with no overhead power in freezing temps. Lets say there's something fouling tracks ahead... At the very least you still have HVAC, lights, WiFi, working bathrooms while you wait for track. And if **** has really hit the fan ahead, you change ends and head back to the nearest station. I personally don't care how much dead weight the diesels are to tote around under wire, at least it's there when you need it. Redundancy is everything.

The Acela I's redundant power cars have proven to be a saving grace. I think passengers would be surprised to know how often that second power car prevents dead-in-the-water trains/train-to-train rescues. Not even knowing they've been running with a power car offline. And that's the point.

I also like the somewhat distributed-traction from the Charger and APV, which might possibly assist with seasonal wheelslip delays.

Also, it could cut down on terminal departure delays since looping the trainset can resolve ACSES failures fairly quickly. Another common occurrence on the Acelas.

Since the ordering of the new Viewliner II, I had been hopefully that Amtrak would expand checked-baggage service in the NEC, providing for checked baggage not only on 65/66/67, but also on LD connecting NERs such as 95, 171, 174, 178 for example. The company wants to improve entrain/detrain, onboard and in-station safety and reducing the amount of carry-on baggage would absolutely help that. So many passenger injuries happen when people are struggling with bags, steps, gaps, slick vestibules, escalators, etc. Providing realistic, convenient options for checked baggage (NOT check your bag the day before you travel...) would absolutely help that. It's clear that this will not be a reality with the new equipment, which is a shame.
 
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