Amtrak Siemens Charger locomotive (SC44, ALC42, ALC42E)

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I personaly think the Chargers are a bad fit in colder weather/climates.

VIA's seem to be doing just fine and confident enough in them to post the growing list of specfic trains they run on, as of 1/22: New fleet | VIA Rail

On the days that almost all Chicago service collapsed, with similar temperatures, all VIA Corridor trains were coded Green or Yellow on the location map.

This is totally on Amtrak.
 
Then Amtrak's maintenance procedures and shops needs investigating.
Amtrak OIG issues a lot of reports, but I don't see anything specific. I did notice report on a "REDACTED" facility with 26 employees who regularly get attacked by trespassers, once with a hammer, from May 9, 2023. OIG would seem to be the place to ask about Chicago maintenance. Searching on Chicago at OIG gives one result, about an employee stealing ID cards from lost and found. OIG has also started an investigation of the Frederick Douglass Tunnel project in Baltimore (October 2023) and the Portal North Bridge project in New Jersey (April 2023).

Amtrak FOIA would seem to be the place to go to find out which locomotive failures are GE and which are Siemens. Or, contact a US Senator or Rep.

Problems at Chicago maintenance were supposed to be fixed after they were uncovered in 1985.
 
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I got a nice picture of #6 with 352 and 353 just east of Thompson Springs a few minutes ago.
 
This is totally on Amtrak.

Please provide some supporting evidence for this frequently made, but never backed up, assertion made by a number of people. And just looking at transit docs seeing where trains are running on time is not evidence. The VIA units benefit from not being the first out of the factory and incorporating a number of lessons learned from Brightline and the Midwest and west coast Charger experiences as well as a number of field modifications. Just about all the talk that goes around about the Chargers is rumors, assumptions, and speculation light on backing evidence.
 
Please provide some supporting evidence for this frequently made, but never backed up, assertion made by a number of people. And just looking at transit docs seeing where trains are running on time is not evidence. The VIA units benefit from not being the first out of the factory and incorporating a number of lessons learned from Brightline and the Midwest and west coast Charger experiences as well as a number of field modifications. Just about all the talk that goes around about the Chargers is rumors, assumptions, and speculation light on backing evidence.

Why don't you go back and re-read my post - the part you chose not to quote.

Weekly breakdowns and cancellation on the Hiawathas with GE subs and the Empire Builder with BNSF rescues are a fact.
 
Why don't you go back and re-read my post - the part you chose not to quote.

Weekly breakdowns and cancellation on the Hiawathas with GE subs and the Empire Builder with BNSF rescues are a fact.

Sure but your accusation that it is Amtrak maintenance that is primarily at fault and not the units themselves because VIA is supposedly not having any problems is not backed up by really any thing other than the fact that there have been issues on Amtrak trains and on the same day via trains are running on time. Everyone knows that there have been problems with the units. But making such conclusions and blaming it completely on incompetence and malpractice within Amtrak’s workforce and not the equipment lacks backing evidence. You’re cherry picking facts to support a narrative that Amtrak is in a dumpster fire meltdown across the board and that everyone should be fired down to the rank and file worker. Amtrak certainly isn’t perfect and has things I am concerned about and those couple weeks raised some questions that SHOULD be asked. But I really don’t like it when people attack a workforce without first hand knowledge as to what’s going on in the trenches or direct knowledge of the specifics of the failure modes.
 
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The corridor and long distance ones are not identical, the latter allegedly improved upon for snowy weather. Yet they all drop like flies. Their commonality is Chicago. The East Coast assigned ones on the Capitol Ltd and eastern seaboard do much better.
 
Decided to intermittently compare CHI departures with WAS southbound departures the past 2 months.
1. CHI 3, 5, 7, 21, 50, 59, 305, 319, 393, HIAs, & Michigan, The WAS regionals, 20, 51, 89, 91, 97, all in the early evening when the rush is on for both stations. Tried to discount any late arrivals at WAS or very late turn in CHI.
2. To my surprise found WAS was delaying more departures southbound than CHI originations.
3. There are several items in CHI that were not determined when next station had a long delay that did not take time to determine if it was a departure then stop shortly afterward.
4. At WAS most arrivals southbound into WAS usually were 5 -12 minutes early. As well many 3 - 5 minute departure delays. But there were more longer times (10+ minutes) than CHI.
5. It would seem that Amtrak could get its act together and eliminate many of these delays at WAS. Do suspect that VRE may make this more complicated?
 
5. It would seem that Amtrak could get its act together and eliminate many of these delays at WAS. Do suspect that VRE may make this more complicated?
I was on a southbound Amtrak during afternoon rush departing WAS recently. It was delayed maybe 20 minutes arriving at WAS. The announcement onboard was that we would be behind a VRE all the way to Fred. (Favorite nickname for a city!) The stats on such delays would be driven by the fact that VRE is almost entirely a peak only service. Now whether there is really no opportunity to pass might come down to dispatching, which I guess is still by CSX. But in any case I could see VRE having priority leaving WAS.

The DC2RVA construction is ongoing. The biggest thing until the Long Bridge is a "bypass" bridge to cross over freight at Springfield. Questions, 1. does construction impede operations? 2. will DC2RVA allow Amtrak to pass VRE?
 
Decided to intermittently compare CHI departures with WAS southbound departures the past 2 months.
1. CHI 3, 5, 7, 21, 50, 59, 305, 319, 393, HIAs, & Michigan, The WAS regionals, 20, 51, 89, 91, 97, all in the early evening when the rush is on for both stations. Tried to discount any late arrivals at WAS or very late turn in CHI.
2. To my surprise found WAS was delaying more departures southbound than CHI originations.
3. There are several items in CHI that were not determined when next station had a long delay that did not take time to determine if it was a departure then stop shortly afterward.
4. At WAS most arrivals southbound into WAS usually were 5 -12 minutes early. As well many 3 - 5 minute departure delays. But there were more longer times (10+ minutes) than CHI.
5. It would seem that Amtrak could get its act together and eliminate many of these delays at WAS. Do suspect that VRE may make this more complicated?
The Regionals aren't using Chargers yet.
 
The corridor and long distance ones are not identical, the latter allegedly improved upon for snowy weather. Yet they all drop like flies. Their commonality is Chicago. The East Coast assigned ones on the Capitol Ltd and eastern seaboard do much better.
Yes the ALC-42s (and the VIA units) benefitted from lessons learned from the Brightline and Midwest/Washington/California Corridor units and included changes. But the ALCs have had their own problems. They are in some ways a "first time" application of Siemens's technology in their own right as they are the first Charger locomotive meant to operate continuously on long distance runs. The Capitol has had some breakdowns. The Eastern Seaboard is harder to tell. Unlike the Empire Builder (where they'll always replace an ailing engine to satisfy BNSF's engine rules) typically if there's engine issues on the Silver service they'll just shut down the one unit and continue on and onlookers may not even know there was a problem if they don't take a delay. CSX does not have as strict requirements on working engines.

I attended an equipment meeting last week where various stakeholders described their Charger experiences. I got absolutely zero impression that Chicago's maintenance work force and a lack of competent maintenance is singled out as a primary source of blame. It was stated that the ALC 42s have had 4x less problems this year in winter weather and the Mean Miles between service interruptions for the ALC units (which is how they measure locomotive reliability) have improved significantly this year and the overall MMBSIs for the ALC-42s actually exceeded the P-42s in the reporting period. The SC-44s remain well below the ALC-42s and P-42s but did have some improvement in the recent period. They mentioned numerous field modifications that have been made to address winter problems they experienced last year including a piping modification related to the HEP transformer, software changes, and others. There do remain some ongoing recent issues they have encountered and Siemens is apparently working on further FMIs to address those. All new units not yet out of the factory benefit from all the FMIs that have been done so far and the ALC42-E type being built for the Airo sets will benefit from them as well.
 
Notionally, the ALC Chargers belong to the LD BU so they are less likely to be used on Regionals.
It's conceivable a few could be sent out to some of the state supported services that use Amtrak owned equipment and are eventually slated for Airo trainsets (ALCs have made a couple appearances on the Carolinian), but it would probably be intermittent and mainly just as a way to get crews and mechanical departments familiarized before the Airo ICTs begin showing up. It probably depends on how many are available once all the LDTs are equipped. ACSES testing is happening this spring which would open up a few more routes they could lead on - most importantly the Lake Shore Limited which is the LD train ACSES is most critical on. The Lake Shore is one of the only routes that requires use of I-ETMS, ATC, and ACSES all along the same trip on an ALC-42 - standard I-ETMS with CTC/block signals from Chicago - Hoffmans, ACSES+ATC Hoffmans - Albany, I-ETMS+ATC Schodack - Worcester (Cab Signals without Waysides), ACSES+ATC Worcester - Boston.
 
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The corridor and long distance ones are not identical, the latter allegedly improved upon for snowy weather. Yet they all drop like flies. Their commonality is Chicago. The East Coast assigned ones on the Capitol Ltd and eastern seaboard do much better.

Isn't the Capitol Limited equipment serviced in Chicago, though? Just curious, really don't know.
 
Isn't the Capitol Limited equipment serviced in Chicago, though? Just curious, really don't know.
While the train consist, being Superliner is serviced out of Chicago, it is quite conceivable that the locomotives equipped with Eastern railroads compatible ATC/I-ETMS/ACSES/ what have you, is services out of Ivy City in the Eastern Pool in common with the Silver Service.
 
I got some shots of my own of #6(03) with AMTK 353 and 352 as the train stopped in Ottumwa, Iowa this afternoon. A bit different this time with the baggage car moved to the back of the train.
 

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While the train consist, being Superliner is serviced out of Chicago, it is quite conceivable that the locomotives equipped with Eastern railroads compatible ATC/I-ETMS/ACSES/ what have you, is services out of Ivy City in the Eastern Pool in common with the Silver Service.
Wouldn't the Capitol consist scheduled 25 + hour layover allow for some Superliner work?
 
Wouldn't the Capitol consist scheduled 25 + hour layover allow for some Superliner work?
The Superliner servicing expertise is in Chicago not at Ivy City. Of course some minor repairs to common stuff can happen, but any major work would happen in Chicago or Beech.
 
Sure but your accusation that it is Amtrak maintenance that is primarily at fault and not the units themselves because VIA is supposedly not having any problems is not backed up by really any thing other than the fact that there have been issues on Amtrak trains and on the same day via trains are running on time.

While the actual reality of Amtrak's Charger woes can't be defined with what we know, I do think you're erred in this quote.

Via does have higher reliability, in arguably often harsher conditions. We know this a few ways, not the least of which was Via's equipment reporting to Parliament last week when the number of cancelled (Venture) train runs since introducing more scheduled service in September was five trips, four of which were the cars and not locomotive. Now Via did protect the Venture trains for about the first six weeks of regular schedule, but there's been single days where more Amtrak units go down; even accounting for scale that's a sign something is up.

This "lessons learned" discussion also ignore that the Via units were, and continue to be built along side the Amtrak units.

Two common themes that partly differentiate the Via fleet have been:

- Positive Train Control, issues seem to haunt Amtrak here; and

- commanded shut downs where it there is one issue, everything goes down. Via vaguely suggested at the '23 AGM that the units in Canada had been compartmentalized more. I think they were talking about software but not sure.

Will be interesting to watch the Ontario Northland Chargers. Those will get absolutely pounded by winter.
 
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