Amtrak Announces Siemens as Preferred Bidder for New Equipment

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Shortline

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We still have the two Talgo VIII ODOT-owned trainsets on the route. So you probably have a 50/50 chance of being on Talgo or Horizons.
Oh, ok, I thought they were all gone. Cool. I'm taking the 8 something AM train, #500. Would be nice to try the Talgo before it's gone. In either case, what is business class, is it 2-1 or regular 2-2 seating? Thanks,
 

Cal

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Oh, ok, I thought they were all gone. Cool. I'm taking the 8 something AM train, #500. Would be nice to try the Talgo before it's gone. In either case, what is business class, is it 2-1 or regular 2-2 seating? Thanks,
So even the Talgo 8s will be put out of service? :/
 

Shortline

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So even the Talgo 8s will be put out of service? :/
Got me. Sorry, I thought they were gone, I don't go out that way much, so haven't kept up with it. I thought they were all gone, but I guess there are still a couple sets left. No idea if they are going to go, or stay. Guess it's a good thing I asked!
 

Cal

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Got me. Sorry, I thought they were gone, I don't go out that way much, so haven't kept up with it. I thought they were all gone, but I guess there are still a couple sets left. No idea if they are going to go, or stay. Guess it's a good thing I asked!
I believe two Talgo 8 sets are in service right now.

I'm fuzzy on if they're being retired or not, and when. Since if they are, it will be many years without replacement. Not sure how they are supposed to return to normal service with two sets. Unless the horizons will be permanent.
 

Cal

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Thanks. Are they on certain trains normally, or just luck of the draw? I'm on 500 the AM departure from Portland, on a Saturday in June.
I have no idea. I would think they usually on certain trains as when the Surfliners use horizons they are usually always on certain trains. However, I don't know. By the time you go, they should be up to 3 round trips a day between PDX and SEA so that does lower your chances of getting one
 

jiml

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Oh, ok, I thought they were all gone. Cool. I'm taking the 8 something AM train, #500. Would be nice to try the Talgo before it's gone. In either case, what is business class, is it 2-1 or regular 2-2 seating? Thanks,
In 2017 the newest Talgos (Oregon sets) were the nicest trains in the Amtrak system. Seating is 2-1 in Business Class. Unfortunately I didn't venture any further than the bar on my short connection from the Empire Builder at Seattle, so can't confirm seating in coach.
 

Steve4031

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The train that originates in Eugene is probably the best bet to ride an Oregon state Talgo. I rode the early morning train from Eugene to Portland. First train of the day. I assumed it continued to Seattle.
 

Ferroequinologist

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Amtrak had better strike while the iron is hot and get an order in for new Superliners. It's not likely there will ever be a more 'Amtrak friendly' Administration and come midterms Democrats are likely to lose seats. As I see it, this is a now or never deal. Why the delay?
 

IndyLions

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Amtrak had better strike while the iron is hot and get an order in for new Superliners. It's not likely there will ever be a more 'Amtrak friendly' Administration and come midterms Democrats are likely to lose seats. As I see it, this is a now or never deal. Why the delay?
I agree with you - three things.

While it’s not a “conspiracy” - recent Amtrak management just hasn’t cared that much about long distance. So replacing Superliners wasn’t given appropriate urgency in their equipment replacement plan.

Second - this is obvious after examining their “Connect US” map - they don’t have any idea what “thinking big” means.

Third - they are a huge bureaucracy and can’t move fast, especially when it comes to highly regulated procurement procedures.

So I hope I’m completely wrong - but I’m not sure they could move any faster than their published equipment replacement plan if they wanted to.
 

Chris I

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In 2017 the newest Talgos (Oregon sets) were the nicest trains in the Amtrak system. Seating is 2-1 in Business Class. Unfortunately I didn't venture any further than the bar on my short connection from the Empire Builder at Seattle, so can't confirm seating in coach.
Agreed. I liked both the old and new Talgos, but the new ones were probably one of the nicest rides in North America. I'm not sure if they will retire the series VIII trains when the new Siemens cars arrive, but there's a good chance.

I think we're all a bit peeved that WSDOT didn't work with Amtrak to bring over the idle Wisconsin sets. 4 trainsets would be enough to cover the 2021 summer schedule, since we aren't running trains north of Seattle at this point.
 

Cal

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Agreed. I liked both the old and new Talgos, but the new ones were probably one of the nicest rides in North America. I'm not sure if they will retire the series VIII trains when the new Siemens cars arrive, but there's a good chance.

I think we're all a bit peeved that WSDOT didn't work with Amtrak to bring over the idle Wisconsin sets. 4 trainsets would be enough to cover the 2021 summer schedule, since we aren't running trains north of Seattle at this point.
What will happen when the full schedules resumes? Horizon cars being put in until the new Siemens?
 

rickycourtney

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Agreed. I liked both the old and new Talgos, but the new ones were probably one of the nicest rides in North America. I'm not sure if they will retire the series VIII trains when the new Siemens cars arrive, but there's a good chance.

I think we're all a bit peeved that WSDOT didn't work with Amtrak to bring over the idle Wisconsin sets. 4 trainsets would be enough to cover the 2021 summer schedule, since we aren't running trains north of Seattle at this point.
I actually think it's a 50/50 chance that the Series 8 trains will be retired. The Series 8 sets are owned by ODOT, not WSDOT.

I think the critical question is: With the five other Series VI trainsets gone, will Talgo sharply increase the maintenance contract cost to ODOT?

If Talgo keeps the costs the same or slightly higher, I can see ODOT keeping the equipment they've already paid for.
However, if Talgo raises the price, and Siemens offers a good price on new equipment, ODOT could choose to dump their sets.
 

Cal

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I actually think it's a 50/50 chance that the Series 8 trains will be retired. The Series 8 sets are owned by ODOT, not WSDOT.

I think the critical question is: With the five other Series VI trainsets gone, will Talgo sharply increase the maintenance contract cost to ODOT?

If Talgo keeps the costs the same or slightly higher, I can see ODOT keeping the equipment they've already paid for.
However, if Talgo raises the price, and Siemens offers a good price on new equipment, ODOT could choose to dump their sets.
Wouldn't it be easier for them to completely replace them with Siemens? If not, they will have to permanently use Horizon sets. I doubt they will order more Talgos, as the Wisconsin ones have been sitting there for ages and no moves.
 

neroden

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IMHO the best thing for Amtrak to do is to use the Siemens single level cars and put long distance legrest seats in them. The design from the old budd cars was the best. For sleepers, I am sure Siemens could come up with something that approximated roomettes and bedrooms that we currently have. You either run longer trains, or you run two trains per day on segments that need it. One way of increase sleeper capacity is to have all roomette cars and have all bedroom cars. Then the designs for both types could be easily standardized.
Siemens makes sleeping cars for Austria. They can do it.
 

rickycourtney

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Wouldn't it be easier for them to completely replace them with Siemens? If not, they will have to permanently use Horizon sets. I doubt they will order more Talgos, as the Wisconsin ones have been sitting there for ages and no moves.
Here's the easiest way to break it down: WSDOT owned three Talgo Series VI trainsets, Amtrak owned two Talgo Series VI trainsets, and ODOT owns two Talgo Series 8 trainsets.

One of the WSDOT owned Talgo Series VI trainsets was destroyed in the 2017 derailment.

WSDOT was awarded a $37.5 million federal grant to cover 50% of the cost of purchasing new passenger rail cars to replace the three Talgo Series VI trainsets.

WSDOT, long ago, committed to purchase the same equipment as the Amfleet I replacement... so that money will be used to purchase three trainsets from Siemens.

It's also my understanding that WSDOT also received insurance proceeds from Amtrak (compensation for wrecking equipment owned by WSDOT). A big chunk of that money was used to purchase Charger #1408, but there should also be money left over to further offset the cost of the new equipment.

Presumably, two Amtrak-owned Siemens trainsets would also be dedicated to the Cascades.

That just leaves the ODOT-owned Talgo 8 trainsets. They are only eight years old, and they are fully FRA-compliant... so I doubt that ODOT wants to get rid of them... but for as long as they have them... Talgo demands that they do the maintenance on them... which could be a lot more expensive with just two trainsets to service, instead of seven.

Oh, it's also worth mentioning that Amtrak committed to WSDOT that the very first Amfleet I replacement trainsets to come off the line would go to the Cascades.
 

rickycourtney

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I just wanted to share this... the new Siemens cars for the San Joaquins have three types of doors.
Low-platform doors: 3 steps inside the car and 2 sliding steps (so a step box is not needed)
High-platform doors: level boarding at high-platforms
Wheelchair lift doors: lift can be deployed at low-platform stops (so a hand-cranked lift is not needed) and door can presumably be used for level boarding at high-platforms

IMHO, having all three types of doors would be awesome, particularly for the NEC trainsets that travel into Virginia.

Video of low-platform doors with automatic steps:

Video of high-platform door:
 

Cal

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I just wanted to share this... the new Siemens cars for the San Joaquins have three types of doors.
Low-platform doors: 3 steps inside the car and 2 sliding steps (so a step box is not needed)
High-platform doors: level boarding at high-platforms
Wheelchair lift doors: lift can be deployed at low-platform stops (so a hand-cranked lift is not needed) and door can presumably be used for level boarding at high-platforms

IMHO, having all three types of doors would be awesome, particularly for the NEC trainsets that travel into Virginia.

Video of low-platform doors with automatic steps:

Video of high-platform door:
Well something similar should be the Amfleet I replacements so...
 

Steve4031

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The mini suites on those nightjet cars are a no go for me. No window. The standard and deluxe rooms with showers could work. Wish there were more pictures.
 
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Mailliw

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They have a small window in each pod, it's hard to see unless it's an inside photo. I do wonder what exactly the difference is between the standard and deluxe compartments is since apparently they both have ensuite facilities.
 
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MARC Rider

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IMHO, having all three types of doors would be awesome, particularly for the NEC trainsets that travel into Virginia.
Not to mention the NEC trainsets that end up at the lower level at Washington Union Station. (And quite a lot of DC-NY trains do board there, even if they originate in Washington.)
 

Ferroequinologist

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I agree with you - three things.

While it’s not a “conspiracy” - recent Amtrak management just hasn’t cared that much about long distance. So replacing Superliners wasn’t given appropriate urgency in their equipment replacement plan.

Second - this is obvious after examining their “Connect US” map - they don’t have any idea what “thinking big” means.

Third - they are a huge bureaucracy and can’t move fast, especially when it comes to highly regulated procurement procedures.

So I hope I’m completely wrong - but I’m not sure they could move any faster than their published equipment replacement plan if they wanted to.
Biden is moving at lightening speed. Maybe he needs to intervene with Amtrak. Maybe time to replace some key management people. Why should Amtrak be left behind when everything else is changing?
 
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