Long Distance (LD) fleet replacement discussion (2022-23)

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jis

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According to what we heard from Amtrak at the RPA Council Meeting the RFP will be out by the end of this year. The actual design will be known after the vendor is selected, since the design work is part of the vendor proposal and those will remain under the wraps until a selection is made.
 

nti1094

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Did some image search and can say for certain that it was not an Amfleet - it was newer I believe. It was also headed north, fwiw.ble

It looked a bit like a more modern interpretation of one of these, without the observation bump and with double doors on the rear more like a subway car. It had Amtrak blue which is why I say Amtrak.

It's possible it could have been going to one of the many rail museums around the state, but I don't see anything indicating that.
The double end doors are a dead giveaway, it's a new BART car. For some reason they ship them by truck.
 
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Getting back to the subject of fleet replacement; vendor selection has yet to be made but consider that the Superliner fleet has become way smaller in recent years. I believe that the fleet has very few replacement cars available that Amtrak can use but I don't have the actual numbers.
The point is that Amtrak (and VIA) need to obtain some rolling stock soon. This leads me to believe that Amtrak may be forced to go with a modified existing design that is already in production. If design and production need to start from scratch we could up with another CAF USA where it took 10 years to finish the order. That move could end LD service as we know it. What say you?
 

railiner

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Getting back to the subject of fleet replacement; vendor selection has yet to be made but consider that the Superliner fleet has become way smaller in recent years. I believe that the fleet has very few replacement cars available that Amtrak can use but I don't have the actual numbers.
The point is that Amtrak (and VIA) need to obtain some rolling stock soon. This leads me to believe that Amtrak may be forced to go with a modified existing design that is already in production. If design and production need to start from scratch we could up with another CAF USA where it took 10 years to finish the order. That move could end LD service as we know it. What say you?
What I don't understand is why foreign owned manufacturers can set up plants here in the US to build rail and transit vehicles of all types, but the few large domestic owned manufacturer's can't do likewise? Why couldn't GM or Ford get into railcar construction? Or even some of the aerospace manufacturer's?
If the foreign owned ones can come over here and make a profit, why can't our own?
 
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Companies do what they think is best for themselves. When they no longer think they make enough money on something they shut or sell that business. GE is a great example. It is easier for companies with established expertise in manufacturing a product to set up shop here than it is to establish it from scratch. I don't see the passenger car business as being so great for those that have tried. The way we buy rolling stock in this country discourages getting into the business.
 

Cal

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What I don't understand is why foreign owned manufacturers can set up plants here in the US to build rail and transit vehicles of all types, but the few large domestic owned manufacturer's can't do likewise? Why couldn't GM or Ford get into railcar construction? Or even some of the aerospace manufacturer's?
Would it be worth it for a company to start a whole new line of production in which they are unfamiliar with? We all see how all of Amtraks orders are plagued by delays with established manufactures. If you try to get new rolling stock by someone whose less familiar, I feel like that would just cause more delays. s
 

Trogdor

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What I don't understand is why foreign owned manufacturers can set up plants here in the US to build rail and transit vehicles of all types, but the few large domestic owned manufacturer's can't do likewise? Why couldn't GM or Ford get into railcar construction? Or even some of the aerospace manufacturer's?
If the foreign owned ones can come over here and make a profit, why can't our own?

Not that I’m necessarily a fan of the attitude “we tried it 50 years ago and it didn’t work, so we’ll never do it again,” but it should be noted that Boeing did get into the railcar manufacturing business in the 1970s and failed quite miserably.

I’d rather have a company experienced in railcar design set up shop in the US rather than a company with shops in the US suddenly try their hand at railcar design, when they’d literally be learning everything from scratch.
 
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Not that I’m necessarily a fan of the attitude “we tried it 50 years ago and it didn’t work, so we’ll never do it again,” but it should be noted that Boeing did get into the railcar manufacturing business in the 1970s and failed quite miserably.

I’d rather have a company experienced in railcar design set up shop in the US rather than a company with shops in the US suddenly try their hand at railcar design, when they’d literally be learning everything from scratch.
A number of companies tried the railcar manufacturing business and failed like United Aircraft, GM, and Boeing as you mention. The Budd Company is still in business but they closed their Philadelphia Car Building facility about 20 years back because they couldn't make any money. Now its a golf course!
Based upon new proposals, I don't believe that anyone has any idea what will result in a contract for new long distance cars. I tend to lean towards the single level approach that can standardize the Amtrak fleet. If that is the plan I believe Siemens has the edge in proposing a modified NightJet car but who who knows?.
 

railiner

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Companies do what they think is best for themselves. When they no longer think they make enough money on something they shut or sell that business. GE is a great example. It is easier for companies with established expertise in manufacturing a product to set up shop here than it is to establish it from scratch. I don't see the passenger car business as being so great for those that have tried. The way we buy rolling stock in this country discourages getting into the business.

Would it be worth it for a company to start a whole new line of production in which they are unfamiliar with? We all see how all of Amtraks orders are plagued by delays with established manufactures. If you try to get new rolling stock by someone whose less familiar, I feel like that would just cause more delays. s

Not that I’m necessarily a fan of the attitude “we tried it 50 years ago and it didn’t work, so we’ll never do it again,” but it should be noted that Boeing did get into the railcar manufacturing business in the 1970s and failed quite miserably.

I’d rather have a company experienced in railcar design set up shop in the US rather than a company with shops in the US suddenly try their hand at railcar design, when they’d literally be learning everything from scratch.
GE also made railcars a long time ago…

But the large manufacturers have a lot of knowledge and assets that would let them use their administrative, procurement, human resources, legal, logistics, and other capabilities to quickly obtain the necessary ability. And they might already have surplus real estate to use.
As for passenger car expertise, a lot of the car’s components are bought from subcontractors that already have the knowledge or off the shelf availability…
 

JamesWhitcombRiley

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Companies do what they think is best for themselves. When they no longer think they make enough money on something they shut or sell that business. GE is a great example. It is easier for companies with established expertise in manufacturing a product to set up shop here than it is to establish it from scratch. I don't see the passenger car business as being so great for those that have tried. The way we buy rolling stock in this country discourages getting into the business.
GE is not a great example of anything. Under Welch it became 50% or more a finance company. I don't know when it dropped rail, perhaps in favor of finance, or after 2008. In my industry its former spot at the largest show, the largest and in front, was called the GE graveyard when it went empty. (Siemens became the largest, but not enough for that spot.) I finally found GE's unit, branded under a Chinese company. It had the smallest and most remote booth you could get.
 

JamesWhitcombRiley

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I don't know when GE left the market, but if the goal was to instead build a finance operation that would sink the company, they did that. There's a lot of need for finance, for example many or most vehicle dealerships can't afford their inventory without credit. My boring story is about a Vespa dealership that still had a market in 2008, prosperous area, but lost all its inventory, owned by GE.

Finance is the tough major in business school, lots of risk/reward, skill and luck. They didn't calculate the standard deviation, a.k.a. systemic risk, when making models based on historic data and getting the tiny edge that made billions, a.k.a., the vig (in betting terms).

I'm also ignorant about this manufacturing thing, I see locomotives shipping out to Africa at the Norfolk VA seaport, but I guess we're talking passenger equipment? Or it may be from a rehab operation, up in Central NY or PA or somewhere.
 

jis

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MODERATOR'S NOTE: Time to get back to discussing the LD replacement equipment and order and away from discussing corporate philosophy of equipment manufacturers and why there are no American companies in the manufacturing business. That is not the subject of this thread.

Thank you for your understanding cooperation and participation.
 

jis

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I think the closes we will get to a dome is the mostly wrap around windows found on sightseer cars and outdoor segments are likely a risk amtrak doesn't want to take
Amtrak does not allow anyone to be outside on the platform even on PVs attached to Amtrak trains. So no they will not get cars with outside platforms.
 
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