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RFP issued for Amfleet I replacement

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west point

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Can you imagine passengers for an Amtrak train trying to board or discharge when a VRE train is loading or discharging on the same platform ? Until the station is rebuilt as proposed the ability to clear the lower platform will not happen. All passengers going down the escalator automatically prevent exiting passengers on the platform to ride up. Also the opposite also happens. The rebuilt will have three ways for passengers to get to / from the station level.
 

nullptr

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So far, we don't know. From what I can tell, there hasn't been hard reporting in about a year on this.
Maybe not necessarily reporting, but as recently as January the Section 305 Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee (NGEC) had a quote in their meeting minutes that said
They continue to be in the bid review phase by the Amtrak technical and finance committees and it is hoped that a decision will be made by March 2020.

Of course, there have been some disruptions since then, but I'm still a little surprised we haven't heard anything. The NGEC hasn't posted their minutes since February.
 

CraigDK

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Of course, there have been some disruptions since then, but I'm still a little surprised we haven't heard anything. The NGEC hasn't posted their minutes since February.
I believe the minutes are posted by the board secretary, which if remember correctly changed sometime around the new year. The biweekly board meetings have also not been posted since April. Earlier in the year they were often posted a week or two after the fact. In past years they generally went up in a day or two.
 

Acela150

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I believe the minutes are posted by the board secretary, which if remember correctly changed sometime around the new year. The biweekly board meetings have also not been posted since April. Earlier in the year they were often posted a week or two after the fact. In past years they generally went up in a day or two.
They actually may not be meeting due to Covid-19.
 

Mailliw

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I really don't think that a typical American long distance passenger will be willing to have a bed but no real privacy (and not just a curtain). There is reason Amtrak never ran open sections...
Well, none of the Eastern LDs are longer than a single night and people ride them in economy coach. The Canadian is 4 nights and it has open sections. This would just be an upgrade to coach. They could be used on the overnight Boston-DC.
 
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rickycourtney

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I found that Amtrak published a new FY20-FY25 Asset Line Plan document with a section called "Amfleet I Replacement / Intercity Trainset Procurement; Acquisition of Dual-Power Equipment" which has some interesting information...

In January 2019, we issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for 75 new trainsets (or railcar equivalents) to replace our fleet of 458 Amfleet I railcars, 16 ex-Metroliner railcars, and five Talgo VI trainsets jointly owned by us and the Washington state partner. The RFP also called for up to 50 additional trainsets as options. Bids have been received and are being evaluated. An award is expected later in 2020.​
The new trainsets are slated to operate on Northeast Regional, the long-distance Palmetto and a series of state corridors, including Amtrak Cascades, Northeast Regional Virginia extensions, Keystone Service, Empire Service, Downeaster, Pennsylvanian, Carolinian, Adirondack, Vermonter, Ethan Allen Express, and New Haven-Springfield trains. As nearly half of our nationwide ridership occurs on these routes, we are enthusiastic about this once-in-a-generation opportunity to significantly improve both train performance and customer experience. Additionally, options to the base equipment order are intended to equip service growth on state corridors into the 2030s and can be used to replace the Horizon fleet.​
We seek equipment of a common trainset product family which can come in varying consist capacities and with varying propulsion types including diesel, catenary-electric and dual-power propulsion for both diesel-catenary and diesel-third rail environments. Dual power, catenary-electric consists will enable us to eliminate engine changes in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA and New Haven, CT. Eliminating engine changes will bring several benefits for our customers, including:​
  • Speeding up passenger trips through Washington through the removal of engine change time from train schedules between the NEC and stations on state corridors (and the Palmetto).
  • Eliminating delays in Washington Terminal through reduced platform dwell time utilization for existing frequencies, elimination of light engine movements in the First Street Tunnel, and a reduction in station-to-yard light engine movements before and after engine changes.
  • Continuous operation of on-board lighting, climate control and restrooms, all of which are disrupted during engine changes today.
On-board the trains, we seek improvements to reliability, performance and customer experience. Double-ended consists will reduce requirements for turnaround time on some Northeast Regional, Empire Service and other corridor trains which currently do not have engineer’s cabs on both ends of the train, providing redundancy in case of a failure in one cab through the use of a wye or loop track. Well-known problem areas for customer satisfaction and mechanical reliability such as restrooms, vestibules, HVAC systems and door systems will be addressed through new design and configuration. Semi-permanent couplings between trainset units are under consideration and would provide an additional layer of reliability for trainwide systems (such as public address systems) and climate control when passing through cars. The new equipment would be fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for new-build equipment rather than grandfathered equipment, providing a better experience for customers with disabilities. We also seek a TSSSA as part of this trainset procurement which, similar to the agreement in place for ALC-42 units, would provide for stiff penalties unless a material reduction in en route failures and ready availability of spare parts are achieved.​
Since the Amfleet railcar order was placed nearly fifty years ago, most nations with advanced rail passenger networks have migrated away from individual rail cars in favor of integrated, double-ended trainsets with hardened connections between cars. Maintenance is performed at the trainset level as opposed to the individual car level, and often in modern facilities as opposed to open rail yards. Trainset units are now constructed for modular replacement; a critical failure to any one component in a railcar can be addressed through removal and replacement of that component (e.g., crane replacement of overhead HVAC unit) during an overnight servicing, instead of having to “set out” an individual railcar for days. Tasks historically assigned to major multi-year overhauls are instead performed one-at-a-time as add-ons to shorter, scheduled maintenance tasks at outlying maintenance facilities. This “continuous maintenance” program yielded positive results when we applied it to our Acela trainsets; continuous maintenance decreased downtime, allowing us to extend Acela service later on weeknights in January 2013, expand weekend Acela service in April 2017, and introduce Acela Nonstop on top of a full hourly pattern of weekday service in September 2019. As a result of this generational evolution in trainset maintenance, mechanical facilities and servicing schedules are being reviewed as part of the operational and technical evaluations of vendor bids underway.​
Funding for the trainsets will come from a variety of sources, including cash reserves, NEC operating surpluses (which can be reinvested for NEC capital uses, such as Northeast Regional fleet replacement), and state partner funding under the PRIIA 209 Equipment Capital Use Charge. We also collaborate with our state partners on applications for federal discretionary grants (such as Federal-State Partnership grants) for portions of the procurement.​
We anticipate the new base order of equipment to start entering service in the mid-2020s, with any options trainsets coming online in the late 2020s.​
 

west point

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I worry that the union set up in the USA will make the operating and maintenance problem get worse. Just look at the Chicago mess with maintenance. As far as semi permanent connections. Might work for 8 - 10 years but then ? ? Power, communications and etc are not that different either way. As long as the semi permanent can be converted to individual later if needed .......
We have to wonder if the Amtrak has the passenger density to allow for fixed consists. If it does not the operating costs per not needed cars will wreck the push for many routes to become profitable. Example if only 4 revenue cars needed on an 8 car train then the extra crew has to be paid ?
 

cocojacoby

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How does the newer Tier III regulations effect this? I believe "trainsets" would be allowed higher speeds. Would this be a factor at all?
 

Acela150

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Sounds like EMU/DMUs to me.
If that's the route they go, I'm sorry to say this but it would be just dumb. Amtrak just spent millions on the Sprinters for the Corridor and they're not even 10 years old yet. Granted their are a decent amount of issues with a few of them that shouldn't be happening at their age, but that's the problem with the way Amtrak utilizes their Motors. They run the living daylights out of them and then they have some kind of issue. That is the problem with anything that's "new". Their are so many computers in these things that it causes issues. AEM-7's, F40's, etc. Didn't have much in the way of computers. They would just go until they had some kind of issue arise. Which wasn't as much as it is with the Sprinters, at least with the AEM-7's to my knowledge.

Now, what I would be ok with is something along the lines of the ALP-45DP. Which would eliminate the need for a power swap in DC and NHV. Possibly PHL.

I'm against the concept of a trainset compared to individual cars. But they don't ask folks who have experience with the equipment what they would want, what they'd like to see, or what makes sense operationally.
 

Chris I

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On the northeast corridor, where the bulk of this fleet would operate, the answer is yes.
And in the NW, and in California. We've been using fixed trainsets for Cascades since the late 90s. It's time to catch up with the rest of the world.
 

rickycourtney

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We have to wonder if the Amtrak has the passenger density to allow for fixed consists.
Also, semi-permanently coupled doesn't mean permanently fixed.

Siemens says the semi-permanently coupled train cars take two people about 35 minutes to couple/uncouple.

It's not something you'd want to do every day... but it's a lot faster than the Talgos or the Alstom Acela trainsets which require a crane and several hours to couple/uncouple.
 

Acela150

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Siemens says the semi-permanently coupled train cars take two people about 35 minutes to couple/uncouple.
And pulling a Cut Bar to uncouple cars take 2 seconds.

This is the main reason I'm against the concept of "trainsets" for trains on the NEC. If one thing goes wrong enroute, then you have an issue. I've seen it with the current Acela fleet once or twice. But, I do have to say that I'm probably fighting a losing battle here. But I seriously wish that crews that have operational experience have their opinion heard as to what would make sense operationally, and have passengers opinions heard so they can have a say on what would go into a coach.
 

west point

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It takes more than 2 seconds to remove a car with the cut bar.
1. Set up blue flag protection.
2. go between cars to pull HEP cables and train control pyle connector. For most trains the loco control 27 point connector also stowed.
3. Turn brake line hose off for part of train that will be moved. Also the MR air line ( second air hose).
4. disconnect between cars curtains from vestibule. pull safety bar from storage position to safety bar location.
5. Repeat for other end of car if it is going to RIP track.
6.. Clear perspnnel between all cars.
7. Remove blue flags
8.. Now pull cut bar and signal engineer of loco to pull car(s).

Its not just going to be just 2 seconds
 

Chris I

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And pulling a Cut Bar to uncouple cars take 2 seconds.

This is the main reason I'm against the concept of "trainsets" for trains on the NEC. If one thing goes wrong enroute, then you have an issue. I've seen it with the current Acela fleet once or twice. But, I do have to say that I'm probably fighting a losing battle here. But I seriously wish that crews that have operational experience have their opinion heard as to what would make sense operationally, and have passengers opinions heard so they can have a say on what would go into a coach.
As a passenger, I want coupled trainsets, due to the many benefits for riders.
 

frequentflyer

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And pulling a Cut Bar to uncouple cars take 2 seconds.

This is the main reason I'm against the concept of "trainsets" for trains on the NEC. If one thing goes wrong enroute, then you have an issue. I've seen it with the current Acela fleet once or twice. But, I do have to say that I'm probably fighting a losing battle here. But I seriously wish that crews that have operational experience have their opinion heard as to what would make sense operationally, and have passengers opinions heard so they can have a say on what would go into a coach.
I get what you are saying about asking people who actually operate the equipment for their feedback. But this is not a new novel idea, and has been proven in Europe. European trainsets are good enough for Acela, why not Regioinal?
 

Acela150

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It takes more than 2 seconds to remove a car with the cut bar.
1. Set up blue flag protection.
2. go between cars to pull HEP cables and train control pyle connector. For most trains the loco control 27 point connector also stowed.
3. Turn brake line hose off for part of train that will be moved. Also the MR air line ( second air hose).
4. disconnect between cars curtains from vestibule. pull safety bar from storage position to safety bar location.
5. Repeat for other end of car if it is going to RIP track.
6.. Clear perspnnel between all cars.
7. Remove blue flags
8.. Now pull cut bar and signal engineer of loco to pull car(s).

Its not just going to be just 2 seconds
Fair point, keep in mind that I come from freight where it really does take 2 seconds.

I get what you are saying about asking people who actually operate the equipment for their feedback. But this is not a new novel idea, and has been proven in Europe. European trainsets are good enough for Acela, why not Regioinal?
Fair enough. Like I said, I know I'm fighting a losing battle. :)
 

jis

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How does the newer Tier III regulations effect this? I believe "trainsets" would be allowed higher speeds. Would this be a factor at all?
It doesn't because none of these new sets are supposed to operate over 125mph.

They are all essentially Tier I items.

Frankly, the actual end to end running time difference is so minimal that there is little sense in spending a lot of extra money for making everything Tier III capable, when most of them will be running in relatively frequent stop service and have little opportunity to take advantage of even the minimal amount of high speed trackage that can be somehow put together on the NEC given its various real estate related issue including frequent curves, cramped track center and on and on, pre-historic catenary.

There is a reason that the Nozomi sets ar a different animal from the Hikari and Kodama sets. Learn fro the Japanese experience.

Simlarly, the Brits have the Siemens Eurostars and the Hitachi Javelins on HS-1.
 
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