Long Distance (LD) fleet replacement discussion (2022-24)

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Don't worry. Amtrak will fix that pronto :D

That makes me wonder more seriously about an example of an Amtrak supplier who has not screwed up in this century. How does their performance when supplying to other customers compare? Customer in the US? Customer in the rest of the world? What's the difference if any? I don't know. Just wondering aloud.
Didn't the last Genesis locomotives ordered by Amtrak in the early 2000s have fewer issues compared to the units built in the 1990s? I don't know if that counts, but that order did happen in the beginning of this century.
 
This will be a recurring point of contention here, and everywhere else for the foreseeable future.

I'll give my two cents again: Amtrak will not stray from the status quo. Single level equipment will alter the structure of trains too much. They'd have to lengthen countless platforms, change train layouts, and likely deal with longer, heavier trains. Personally, I think raising platforms for level boarding should be in the cards, but that'll be easier with lower boarding bi-levels. Plenty of stations around me (Green River, Helper) are already having their platforms raised slightly and what appear to be wheelchair ramps are being installed.

If not for age-related deterioration, the Superliners would stay in service indefinitely. Superliners are a tried and proven platform that works, Amtrak is hardly in a position to gamble the next 50 years on a new idea when what they have works just fine.

I'd bet my left leg Amtrak sticks to bilevel cars, the trade-offs are too risky.
I have said it before, but there is a big regulatory reason to maintain equipment with 12” TOR boarding in the west, STRACNET. On STRACNET lines they would need to set a 4’ platform back a few inches, which would either require mechanical gap fillers built into the rail cars, or gauntlet tracks at every station. Neither of those options are really feasible.

CA PUC regulations are actually a bit more strict than even Department of Defense guidelines, which is why the San Joaquins are having to build those mini-high platforms at each station for the venture cars.

Didn't the last Genesis locomotives ordered by Amtrak in the early 2000s have fewer issues compared to the units built in the 1990s? I don't know if that counts, but that order did happen in the beginning of this century.
The third generation superliners (Surfliner order) were built by Alstom with no real problems… in fact in addition to the new cars, Alstom fixed a major flaw in the 88 Morrison Knudsen built original California Cars from the early 90’s.

For those questioning if elevators will work reliability long term, California Cars all have one in the Cafe for freight. I have no idea if they are passenger rated or what their uptime is like but those cars are now 30 years old.
They were originally meant for passengers with mobility issues, but it was determined they were not reliable enough or they could not verify safety for that use and they were never used gor that. It was also decided that with the narrow gangways connecting cars, many wheelchair users would not be able to move around the train anyways negating the need in the end.
 
I have said it before, but there is a big regulatory reason to maintain equipment with 12” TOR boarding in the west, STRACNET. On STRACNET lines they would need to set a 4’ platform back a few inches, which would either require mechanical gap fillers built into the rail cars, or gauntlet tracks at every station. Neither of those options are really feasible.
its not a few inches, its 2.75ft (33in) back from the side of a 10.5ft wide car. Meanwhile most clearance profiles allow switch stands and signaling below 3ft to be within 6ft of track centers. If we could get platforms allowed universally below 30in within 6 feet of track centers that would mean a actually possible 8in gap filler is needed. Conveniently other than some very rare depressed center flatcars every other flatcar with wide load is well clear of below 30in platform.

CA PUC regulations are actually a bit more strict than even Department of Defense guidelines, which is why the San Joaquins are having to build those mini-high platforms at each station for the venture cars.
Ironically I'm trying to figure out how to bug them to get them over update GO 26-D to allow low floor platforms everywhere
 
What would be the pros and cons of Amtrak choosing CRRC for the new long-distance fleet?
There is zero chance of that happening since I am almost certain that CRRC will not qualify in the current trade situation, specifically for federal funded projects. Coming to think of it I believe currently there is a ban in place for using federal funds to acquire anything from CRRC.
 
I could say something about CRRC, both bad and good but this thread is not the place for it. However, I can say without question they won't be building Amtrak's new long distance fleet, period. Even the most unlikely bidders out there has a better shot at it then CRRC.
 
It depends on the bid proposal, but there is an argument in favor of ordering different fleets from different manufacturers (ie Alstom for Acela, Stadler for long-distance, Siemens for everything else).
 
What would be the argument for Amtrak picking Stadler over Alstom and Siemens for the new coaches?
Stadler's exposure in the North American market is very limited compared to the other two you've named. Alstom and their subsidiaries have been making commuter equipment here for years and Siemens seems to be the preferred vendor for everything else.

It depends on the bid proposal, but there is an argument in favor of ordering different fleets from different manufacturers (ie Alstom for Acela, Stadler for long-distance, Siemens for everything else).
There is also a corresponding argument for fleet commonality.
 
Stadler's exposure in the North American market is very limited compared to the other two you've named. Alstom and their subsidiaries have been making commuter equipment here for years and Siemens seems to be the preferred vendor for everything else.


There is also a corresponding argument for fleet commonality.

What about Amtrak picking Hitachi for the new coaches?
 
What about Amtrak picking Hitachi for the new coaches?
If Hitachi submits an attractive package satisfying the requirements set forth by Amtrak and does so at an acceptable price, it would be perfectly OK for Amtrak to pick them.
 
Stadler's exposure in the North American market is very limited compared to the other two you've named. Alstom and their subsidiaries have been making commuter equipment here for years and Siemens seems to be the preferred vendor for everything else.
While stadler is fairly new to NA they've made a wide range of cars worldwide.
What about Amtrak picking Hitachi for the new coaches?
They could, but they haven't made mainline stock for NA, their normal space is metros here.
 
This order is large enough that anyone with a potential for capacity and ability to design what Amtrak wants has a good shot.

Stadler has:

1. A facility with ample room to grow, not completely overflowing with existing orders.
2. Proven ability to design what a customer needs.
3. Stable enough business that they will likely be around for the long haul to support and expand fleets as needed.
4. The shiny European wow factor.

Stadler may not be the most likely, but they have a fair shot, and they will definitely try to wow Amtrak with whatever they propose. This order could cement their position in the North American market. This order would likely impact them as a company more than it would any of the other likely bidders.

I also have a bias because I want to see them being produced in Salt Lake City. I'll be attending their open house this Saturday and I intend to pry about this given the opportunity.
 
Ok so of the following five companies: Alstom, Hitachi, Hyundai Rotem, Siemens and Stadler, in what order, (of 1 being the most likely and 5 the least likely), are the companies possibly going to win the new rolling stock contract?
 
Ok so of the following five companies: Alstom, Hitachi, Hyundai Rotem, Siemens and Stadler, in what order, (of 1 being the most likely and 5 the least likely), are the companies possibly going to win the new rolling stock contract?
It depends on what they offer as solutions addressing Amtrak's requirements. Absent access to that it is just idle speculation.
 
Siemens has the advantage of already having a product in service that they can make sleeping and dining car versions of. They have the disadvantage of already having large fleet orders tying up their production line. Alstom has an advantage in a joint Amtrak/VIA bid, but whether they'd seriously consider a joint order is uncertain (and even if they did VIA would basically just be piggybacking on Amtrak's order).
 
There is zero chance of that happening since I am almost certain that CRRC will not qualify in the current trade situation, specifically for federal funded projects. Coming to think of it I believe currently there is a ban in place for using federal funds to acquire anything from CRRC.
I don’t care if they produce the best cars in the world for the cheapest price, considering how precarious Amtrak’s yearly funding battles have been at times , and how political the process is, I would stay far clear of CCP owned or influenced companies. It’s like pissing on the third rail. We don’t need to add more fuel to opponents.

On a more practical note, the North American rail market through its infrastructure and operating concepts is very unforgiving with the margins on equipment limits. More than one foreign company has been broken and had to tuck their tail and run. The only experience to date with CRRC is (not intercity rail) with Boston. There are always teething issues with new equipment, but the MBTA seems to be buried with much greater than just teething issues. Not entirely shocking considering the chinese track record.
 
Ok so of the following five companies: Alstom, Hitachi, Hyundai Rotem, Siemens and Stadler, in what order, (of 1 being the most likely and 5 the least likely), are the companies possibly going to win the new rolling stock contract?
From an operational standpoint moving away from bi-level cars is certain to be a huge disaster, further harming the long distance network and making it more likely we lose them. If anyone at Amtrak takes this seriously, the advantage goes to Alstom and Stadler. Of those Alstom has the advantage of producing that last variant of the Superliner built in this country in the joint Amtrak/Caltrans order for the surfliner and california car supplements in the north. They also corrected major flaws in the flooring of the 88 CA cars built by MK in the early 90’s.
 
This will be a recurring point of contention here, and everywhere else for the foreseeable future.

I'll give my two cents again: Amtrak will not stray from the status quo. Single level equipment will alter the structure of trains too much. They'd have to lengthen countless platforms, change train layouts, and likely deal with longer, heavier trains. Personally, I think raising platforms for level boarding should be in the cards, but that'll be easier with lower boarding bi-levels. Plenty of stations around me (Green River, Helper) are already having their platforms raised slightly and what appear to be wheelchair ramps are being installed.

If not for age-related deterioration, the Superliners would stay in service indefinitely. Superliners are a tried and proven platform that works, Amtrak is hardly in a position to gamble the next 50 years on a new idea when what they have works just fine.

I'd bet my left leg Amtrak sticks to bilevel cars, the trade-offs are too risky.
You are right there is a huge risk that a railroad might say “no platforms without gauntlet tracks.” Just imagine the feeding fest of contractors milking that one. Interlocking, track circuits, every CTC board. They will run away from that and come back with a half-assed solution that they will spin as a customer focused move that will no doubt add dwell time and slash capacity.
 
Stadler's exposure in the North American market is very limited compared to the other two you've named. Alstom and their subsidiaries have been making commuter equipment here for years and Siemens seems to be the preferred vendor for everything else.


There is also a corresponding argument for fleet commonality.
Not as much as you would think. the biggest problem is that the tightest restrictions have nothing to do with catenary and are far greater than anything else along the eastern portio of the country, the north river and east river tunnels of NY . In all it’s just about 3 miles of track that are too restrictive for even a single level dome car. Of course 48” TOR platforms pose a far wider restriction. There really os no need to customize the vast majority of the country (which is essentially what that would be) just for a market that for lost trains means nothing.
 
its not a few inches, its 2.75ft (33in) back from the side of a 10.5ft wide car. Meanwhile most clearance profiles allow switch stands and signaling below 3ft to be within 6ft of track centers. If we could get platforms allowed universally below 30in within 6 feet of track centers that would mean a actually possible 8in gap filler is needed. Conveniently other than some very rare depressed center flatcars every other flatcar with wide load is well clear of below 30in platform.


Ironically I'm trying to figure out how to bug them to get them over update GO 26-D to allow low floor platforms everywhere
It would be the first time since February 1st 1948 that anyone has seriously delt with 26-D! I never thought about going right to the PUC, I wish you luck.
 
From an operational standpoint moving away from bi-level cars is certain to be a huge disaster, further harming the long distance network and making it more likely we lose them.
Can you explain this? I don't see how ordering long distance, single-level sleeper cars in a mass order would harm the future of the long distance network.
 
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