Amtrak Announces Siemens as Preferred Bidder for New Equipment

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SubwayNut

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Except for Acela, any Northeast Regional train needs to still be able to stop at low-level platforms. Westerly & Mystic are still low-level and New London has enough space to platform only one to two cars high-level.

I think Cornwells Heights, Newark, DE and Aberdeen are also still low-level too.

This doesn't include off-corridor stops into Virginia some of which would probably require gauntlet track for freight trains so these wider trains won't clip the sides of the high-level platforms. Since Virigina Railway Express is all galley cars that require low-level platforms it would also require separate Amtrak platforms at all of these stops.
 

rickycourtney

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A few more pictures to share...

Here are the Venture cars used by Brightline. They use automatic gap fillers/bridge plates to meet platforms that are built to the STRACNET clearance of 75” from track centerline. Not sure the exact specs on the NEC.

And here are the new cars for the San Joaquins... you can see the high-platform door on the right and the low-platform door on the left (you can also see the yellow trap door stored inside).

The wrinkle for the cars for the San Joaquin is that the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) requires a clearance of 90” from track centerline, so those cars will need a much larger bridge plate that may need to be manually operated (flipped up and down).
 

Mailliw

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So boarding from a low platform station appears to present as much difficulty as boarding an intercity bus. And unlike most intercity busses a wheelchair lift is always available.
 

Chris I

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A few more pictures to share...

Here are the Venture cars used by Brightline. They use automatic gap fillers/bridge plates to meet platforms that are built to the STRACNET clearance of 75” from track centerline. Not sure the exact specs on the NEC.

And here are the new cars for the San Joaquins... you can see the high-platform door on the right and the low-platform door on the left (you can also see the yellow trap door stored inside).

The wrinkle for the cars for the San Joaquin is that the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) requires a clearance of 90” from track centerline, so those cars will need a much larger bridge plate that may need to be manually operated (flipped up and down).
I think these will be a good option for services like Cascades, because of the door flexibility. We really should have high platforms at the major stations (EUG, PDX, TAC, SEA) to reduce dwell times. But it doesn't really make sense to upgrade some of the smaller stops.
 

sitzplatz17

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I think these will be a good option for services like Cascades, because of the door flexibility. We really should have high platforms at the major stations (EUG, PDX, TAC, SEA) to reduce dwell times. But it doesn't really make sense to upgrade some of the smaller stops.
I would love to see high platforms here. But the problem then is what do you do with the Sounder, Coast Starlight, and Talgo VIII? Those are all low platform trains. Maybe in the very long term there could be a shift to high platforms. But as long as there’s significant low platform equipment running here it seems hard to imagine there would be any investment in high platforms.
 
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neroden

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The solution of having a low-platform door and a high-platform door is pretty smart. I do question what the Siemens wheelchair-access solution at the low-platform stations is, since I haven't seen it in action. I'm sure they have one.

I do think the low-platform motorized stairs there are not going to work well in the frozen north during winter, unless there's a secret ice-melter heater which isn't visible in the pictures: this affects Michigan, Vermont, and upstate NY among others. Those are all areas where it would be good to go to high platforms everywhere But someone recently renovated the Schenectady station with low-level platforms and it's gonna cause problems...
 

rickycourtney

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The solution of having a low-platform door and a high-platform door is pretty smart. I do question what the Siemens wheelchair-access solution at the low-platform stations is, since I haven't seen it in action. I'm sure they have one.

I do think the low-platform motorized stairs there are not going to work well in the frozen north during winter, unless there's a secret ice-melter heater which isn't visible in the pictures: this affects Michigan, Vermont, and upstate NY among others. Those are all areas where it would be good to go to high platforms everywhere But someone recently renovated the Schenectady station with low-level platforms and it's gonna cause problems...
The wheelchair-access solution is (could be) a car-borne lift, similar to what they have on the California Car and Talgo fleets. The other option is to build mini-high platforms at the low-platform stations... or continue to use the awful hand-cranked lifts.
VIA Rail is buying the same trains for their Corridor trains... so I'm sure there will be a solution to keeping the stairs from freezing.
 

neroden

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The wheelchair-access solution is (could be) a car-borne lift, similar to what they have on the California Car and Talgo fleets. The other option is to build mini-high platforms at the low-platform stations... or continue to use the awful hand-cranked lifts.
VIA Rail is buying the same trains for their Corridor trains... so I'm sure there will be a solution to keeping the stairs from freezing.
Ah, but is the car-borne lift on the "high-platform" door or on the "low-platform stairs" door and how does it deploy? Inquiring minds want to know.

It will be interesting to see VIA's solution for preventing the stairs from freezing. I'm sort of glad they're the guinea pig and not NY, but I'm also a bit worried.
 

railiner

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A few more pictures to share...

Here are the Venture cars used by Brightline. They use automatic gap fillers/bridge plates to meet platforms that are built to the STRACNET clearance of 75” from track centerline. Not sure the exact specs on the NEC.

And here are the new cars for the San Joaquins... you can see the high-platform door on the right and the low-platform door on the left (you can also see the yellow trap door stored inside).

The wrinkle for the cars for the San Joaquin is that the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) requires a clearance of 90” from track centerline, so those cars will need a much larger bridge plate that may need to be manually operated (flipped up and down).
I wonder if Amtrak will order long distance versions of these, with only a single vestibule, like the Amfleet II's?
 

rickycourtney

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Ah, but is the car-borne lift on the "high-platform" door or on the "low-platform stairs" door and how does it deploy? Inquiring minds want to know.
On the cars California ordered, the lift is on the high-platform doors.

I think the logic is, those high-platform doors couldn’t otherwise be used at low-platform stations… so this gives them use. Also, the low-platform doors have flip down traps, so they can be used at high-platform stations.

All that said, I get the impression that Siemens is pretty flexible and will build the cars how Amtrak or any other customer wants them built.
 

Mailliw

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I wonder if Amtrak will order long distance versions of these, with only a single vestibule, like the Amfleet II's?
That would be hard if each vestibule is designed for a different platform height. Instead of coming up with a long distance version per se Amtrak could put economy coaches with Corridor style seating on LDs for passengers traveling shorter distances and business class coaches with 2:1 extended recline seating for long distance passengers. We'd finally get an intermediate option between economy and sleeper. In any even all the couches, including on the NEC, should have a 2nd non-handicaped restroom.
 

railiner

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That would be hard if each vestibule is designed for a different platform height. Instead of coming up with a long distance version per se Amtrak could put economy coaches with Corridor style seating on LDs for passengers traveling shorter distances and business class coaches with 2:1 extended recline seating for long distance passengers. We'd finally get an intermediate option between economy and sleeper. In any even all the couches, including on the NEC, should have a 2nd non-handicaped restroom.
One vestibule, with steps and a trap, can serve both high and low platforms. Eliminating the second vestibule adds about five feet of carbody space for whatever is needed...another restroom or more seating....or even some storage space.
 

west point

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How about a mini high platform that has a retractable parform that extends to passenger car ?That is needed to give clearance to plate "H" cars on freight trains passing the platform. of corse if a station had a passenger only tack no problem.
 

PerRock

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How about a mini high platform that has a retractable parform that extends to passenger car ?That is needed to give clearance to plate "H" cars on freight trains passing the platform. of corse if a station had a passenger only tack no problem.
Ann Arbor has one of those... I don't think I've ever seen them actual use the retractable part after the press releases. In fact it may be broken, as they keep the old-school ramps up there these days. It's also a pain as they try to force everyone to board & disembark off from this little platform.

peter
 

jiml

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GO Transit experimented with one of those several years ago. Although predicted to fail in cold weather, that didn't turn out to be the problem. Rather rain got into the mechanism and caused it to bind and become unreliable. They went with short concrete raises on the main platforms system-wide, coupled with aluminum ramps carried onboard the trains.
3-4-1.jpg
Not all are as nicely covered as this one and the train must always spot at the exact location.
 
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Cal

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GO Transit experimented with one of those several years ago. Although predicted to fail in cold weather, that didn't turn out to be the problem. Rather rain got into the mechanism and caused it to bind and become unreliable. They went with short concrete raises on the main platforms system-wide, coupled with aluminum ramps carried onboard the trains.
View attachment 22145
Not all are as nicely covered as this one and the train must always spot at the exact location.
We have that in Metrolink. However usually ours are at one end of the platform, which can make for a long walk. And the lengh is much shorter!
 

joelkfla

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We have that in Metrolink. However usually ours are at one end of the platform, which can make for a long walk. And the lengh is much shorter!
Same on SunRail in Orlando, but I believe trains are usually just 2-3 cars plus loco.

I'd assumed they were becoming standard on new or renovated commuter rail systems.
 
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SubwayNut

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We have that in Metrolink. However usually ours are at one end of the platform, which can make for a long walk. And the lengh is much shorter!
I think the most amusing station for these is Oceanside where there one on each end of the platform, one for coaster, one for Metrolink. The stops shared by the 91 Line and Inland Empire-Orange County Line need two too because of the fact that the locomotive is on the front eastbound for 91 Line trains, but on the back for Inland Empire trains.
 
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Cal

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Same on SunRail in Orlando, but I believe trains are usually just 2-3 cars plus loco.

I'd assumed they were becoming standard on new or renovated commuter rail systems.
Yeah, many of our lines are 5-6 cars + engine. All of them are at least four cars + engine.
 

jiml

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We have that in Metrolink. However usually ours are at one end of the platform, which can make for a long walk. And the lengh is much shorter!
GO's is always 5 cars from the locomotive, regardless of route. Less-busy trains (and Covid consists) have 6 or 7 cars and normal trains are 10-12. With the disability coach always in the same position the only people with a long walk or run will be those anticipating a long train when a short one shows up. 😁
 

SubwayNut

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The big issue of wheelchair passengers only have one car/location for them avalible to them is that it removes the choice of where to go and who to be around while on public transit. I had a long conversation with a friend who had recently started needing to use a wheelchair that I still remember who commuted using RTD light rail in Denver. RTD light rail uses low-floor vehicles with mini-high platforms for one door at the very front of all trains, she was complaining about how it meant that she couldn't move away from people who she didn't want to be around, like going to the next car, that those of us who are able bodied and ride transit do by second nature, when we want to move away from a situation we don't want to be in.

I like like the fact that GO transit makes it the fifth car in the middle of train. On Metrolink in particular it's always the car at the away from Los Angeles end (if I'm remembering correctly) of the train. This means that short trains must always stop at the front end of the platform even if the station exit is only at the rear of the train, making everyone travel farther to get on and off the train.
 

MARC Rider

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Baltimore light rail has mini-high platforms, and when I was riding regularly, they functioned pretty well, except that the boarding process involved the motor man fussing around a bit, which delayed the trip. But that was 1980s technology. Surely they can make an automated door/boarding plate today that would work.
 
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