Midwest Venture introduction

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MikefromCrete

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I think Mirailfan was just being facetious. He intended to mean the "Ventura" cars delivered by Seamans 🤣

The original plans for the Midwest/California cars were supposed to be similar to the California/Surfliner cars used on the West Coast. Nippon/Shayron which was supposed to build these cars, but could not produce a car that would meet stress tests. So, the contract went to Siemans for single level cars. So far, there have been a number of problems with these cars, which are similar to the cars used by Brighline. The Brightline cars seem to be free of the Venture car problems.
 

Brian_tampa

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The original plans for the Midwest/California cars were supposed to be similar to the California/Surfliner cars used on the West Coast. Nippon/Shayron which was supposed to build these cars, but could not produce a car that would meet stress tests. So, the contract went to Siemans for single level cars. So far, there have been a number of problems with these cars, which are similar to the cars used by Brighline. The Brightline cars seem to be free of the Venture car problems.
Brightline actually worked with Siemens to come up with a design for their Venture cars over a period of several years. I have been told that prior to the initial delivery of the first several trainsets, Brightline actually went through a QA/QC process with Siemens. This was instrumental in catching any production related issues before they were released from the factory. I have also heard that IDOT and CalTrans did not go through this process, perhaps due to lack of personnel or budget?

Case in point is the issue of lead in the potable water on the Venture trains for the Midwest and California. I was told that this involved the substitution of brass fittings for the stainless steel fittings that Brightline specified. This was done at the behest of Amtrak engineering in order to standardize the new equipment with their existing fleet. Most likely the other issues can be traced back to deviations from the Brightline design specifications as well to meet Amtrak standards.

I also suspect that VIA Rail has also been more proactive as well following Brightline's lead. There have been very few if any reports of issues with their first trainsets so far during testing over the past 9 months.

So in other words, although the Brightline and Amtrak Venture cars may share the same name and overall look, they are not at all similar when it comes to their detailed design spec's.
 
Joined
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The original plans for the Midwest/California cars were supposed to be similar to the California/Surfliner cars used on the West Coast. Nippon/Shayron which was supposed to build these cars, but could not produce a car that would meet stress tests. So, the contract went to Siemans for single level cars. So far, there have been a number of problems with these cars, which are similar to the cars used by Brighline. The Brightline cars seem to be free of the Venture car problems.
Yes, I was aware of the Nippon Sharyo stress-test results, and that likely was the pivotal set of events that ultimately led to sniffing out Siemens as vendor. And I was just being facetious with the intentional mispellings "Ventura" as in the one near Oxnard; and "Seamans"

After the successful bid by Nippon Sharyo to produce both single-level EMUs and trailers and Highliner II EMUs for NICTD and Highliner IIs for METRA, I was hoping to see a mix of new intercity equipment contracted separately by both Nippon Sharyo and by Siemens, since Siemens already had an domestic established service record on-hand with Brightline. It is true however, that consistency in vendor design and engineering, along with large car orders, theoretically can be a more cost-effective best practice in procurement, although that's not necessarily the desired result, when major punch-list issues surface and require sometimes extended periods of being removed from service. Smaller orders from two or more vendors often minimizes the chances of new equipment's removal from service for the same defects.

Bidding and contract awarding also can be quite constraining, when the client is a government agency, or an agency utilizing government-provided funding for the purpose of procurement. That often results in one but not both (or more), competitive bidders being awarded as the lowest, "responsive", and "responsible bidder" for a given RFP target. But I still would have liked to see some Nippon Sharyo single-level or bi-level intercities.
 
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Brightline actually worked with Siemens to come up with a design for their Venture cars over a period of several years. I have been told that prior to the initial delivery of the first several trainsets, Brightline actually went through a QA/QC process with Siemens. This was instrumental in catching any production related issues before they were released from the factory. I have also heard that IDOT and CalTrans did not go through this process, perhaps due to lack of personnel or budget?

Case in point is the issue of lead in the potable water on the Venture trains for the Midwest and California. I was told that this involved the substitution of brass fittings for the stainless steel fittings that Brightline specified. This was done at the behest of Amtrak engineering in order to standardize the new equipment with their existing fleet. Most likely the other issues can be traced back to deviations from the Brightline design specifications as well to meet Amtrak standards.

I also suspect that VIA Rail has also been more proactive as well following Brightline's lead. There have been very few if any reports of issues with their first trainsets so far during testing over the past 9 months.

So in other words, although the Brightline and Amtrak Venture cars may share the same name and overall look, they are not at all similar when it comes to their detailed design spec's.
We can only hope that the lessons learned from the Midwest experience will grease the skids for Amtrak's future orders. Of course, we all had higher expectations for Midwest given the experience with Brightline.
 

Amtrak25

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Brightline actually worked with Siemens to come up with a design for their Venture cars over a period of several years. I have been told that prior to the initial delivery of the first several trainsets, Brightline actually went through a QA/QC process with Siemens. This was instrumental in catching any production related issues before they were released from the factory. I have also heard that IDOT and CalTrans did not go through this process, perhaps due to lack of personnel or budget?

Case in point is the issue of lead in the potable water on the Venture trains for the Midwest and California. I was told that this involved the substitution of brass fittings for the stainless steel fittings that Brightline specified. This was done at the behest of Amtrak engineering in order to standardize the new equipment with their existing fleet. Most likely the other issues can be traced back to deviations from the Brightline design specifications as well to meet Amtrak standards.

I also suspect that VIA Rail has also been more proactive as well following Brightline's lead. There have been very few if any reports of issues with their first trainsets so far during testing over the past 9 months.

So in other words, although the Brightline and Amtrak Venture cars may share the same name and overall look, they are not at all similar when it comes to their detailed design spec's.
Sounds like Amtrak no longer has the competency to spec out equipment orders.

We also have Acela Avelia pushed out at least another year for whatever reasons.
 

Brian_tampa

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We can only hope that the lessons learned from the Midwest experience will grease the skids for Amtrak's future orders. Of course, we all had higher expectations for Midwest given the experience with Brightline.
I think the Brightline experience is due a lot to their company culture and what they want to be. They don't look at themselves as just an operator of trains from Miami to WPB. It is the presentation and how their customers experience their product that matters.

Many of their upper management over the years have come from the hospitality field instead of transportation industries. They also hired some pretty darn good key people with railroad experience in mechanical and operations as well. Plus they had the good sense to have the manufacturer maintain the trainsets. This allows them to predict with certainty how much maintenance will cost each year and sets performance standards. As it is a fixed contract over 30 years (with inflation indexed in to the annual price) there is no pressure to cut back on it. The agreement details were described in a PAB (bond) offering memorandum a few years back.

As far as Amtrak and their engineering decisions, they probably went with what they know and designed it to fit with the rest of their fleet they have to maintain. I can understand why Amtrak didn't want to just copy everything Brightline used. The lack of a similar maintenance agreement is probably the biggest mistake the states made.

Does anyone know what VIA Rail has as far as a maintenance and support agreement with Siemens?
 
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350 is running with Horizon cars this morning, so I guess they aren’t running the Ventures on 350/355 anymore. Not sure if they’re on another train set or withdrawn entirely - saw 351 pass us, but it was too fast to tell for certain what it was using (though I believe it was Horizon).

Had figured they were withdrawn entirely as they were unable to board through those cars due to defects (they were putting older cars on both consist and having people board at one of those and walk through the train, which hardly seems ideal with busy trains). However, comments on Twitter suggests that problem has been resolved, and they‘ve been boarding through Venture cars on other Midwest services.
 
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DSS&A

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Amtrak had to reduce the number of trains on the Chicago to St. Loius route today due to equipment problems....
 

Scuba_Steve

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Anyone have an update on the Venture cars in California? The first set was delivered over 2 years ago and to my knowledge they still haven't been put in service. Also, it seems like the news cars will be staying in Northern California and the old California cars will by coming south to the Surfline (or so I've heard). Any talk on refurbishing those? It's unfortunate the busiest Amtrak route, outside of the NE corridor, will be getting old recycled cars, instead of the brand new ones they were supposed to get. Thanks a lot Nippon Sharyo.
 
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TransitTyrant

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Anyone have an update on the Venture cars in California? The first set was delivered over 2 years ago and to my knowledge they still haven't been put in service. Also, it seems like the news cars will be staying in Northern California and the old California cars will by coming south to the Surfline (or so I've heard). Any talk on refurbishing those? It sucks the busiest Amtrak route, outside of the NE corridor, will be getting old recycled cars, instead of the brand new ones they were supposed to get. Thanks a lot Nippon Sharyo.
Why would the Surfline be getting used equipment? Are they short of trainsets? As far as I know the Venture cars for the San Joaquin aren’t displacing any equipment, just supplementing.
 

Trogdor

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Why would the Surfline be getting used equipment? Are they short of trainsets? As far as I know the Venture cars for the San Joaquin aren’t displacing any equipment, just supplementing.

The Surfliner needs extra capacity, and there’s no other way to grow the fleet in the short term (new bilevels aren’t on order).
 

daybeers

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Good for an hour or so on Brightline. Can't imagine sitting for a few hours in them on longer distance routes.
Did you ride Brightline before or after they refurbished the seats while they were out of service for COVID and PTC work?
 

Cal

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Anyone have an update on the Venture cars in California? The first set was delivered over 2 years ago and to my knowledge they still haven't been put in service. Also, it seems like the news cars will be staying in Northern California and the old California cars will by coming south to the Surfline (or so I've heard). Any talk on refurbishing those? It's unfortunate the busiest Amtrak route, outside of the NE corridor, will be getting old recycled cars, instead of the brand new ones they were supposed to get. Thanks a lot Nippon Sharyo.
I thought they were gonna go to the Capitol Corridor. Hhmmm, I mean the Surfline could probably use them.
 
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