There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches. There are definitely maintenance and operational benefits to having a unified fleet, and you can negotiate lower unit prices when making large orders. However, it can be risky to put all your eggs in one basket. If this new unified fleet has defect or longevity issues, it could be hugely expensive and disruptive. Lastly, with a country this large, does it make sense to apply the same equipment on every route? Some routes have different needs and customers who demand different things.Would it make sense for Amtrak to use one only company to replace the entire Amfleet or go with a mixed fleet built by different companies, such as Alstom, Siemens and Stadler?
In the Defense procurement world, the "loser" of the bidding process often gets to build some of the product, I think mainly so that our military might isn't dependent on a monopoly source. I once visited the Bath Iron Works in Maine, where they were building guided missile destroyers, and the tour guide mentioned that they were actually a subcontractor for their competitor, a shipyard in Mississippi, that actually won the contract.Time to manufacture and deliver is often a consideration in major acquisition programs. They don't have to be winner take all. In NYC when buying transit buses a split award between NovaBus and New Flyer is not uncommon, allowing them to get into service more quickly. ex: we want to buy 500 buses.. if Nova or NF gets the whole deal maybe 2 1/2 years, split, maybe 2 years (6 month's sooner) considering companies can only build at a certain pace without incurring considerable added costs
Would it make sense for Amtrak to use one only company to replace the entire Amfleet or go with a mixed fleet built by different companies, such as Alstom, Siemens and Stadler?
According to the admittedly odd FRA definitions, Heavy Rail is what normal people call Subway. Light Rail is - well - Light Rail. What runs on main line railroad is Commuter Rail and Regional and Long Distance Service. Admittedly there is some confusion of categories in the way they define things.Right, I knew some commuter lines had them, but I wasn't sure if they were considered heavy or light rail.
There are lines that are basically Subway lines that for weird historical reasons fall under FRA jurisdiction - like PATH in NY-NJ.
According to the admittedly odd FRA definitions, Heavy Rail is what normal people call Subway. Light Rail is - well - Light Rail. What runs on main line railroad is Commuter Rail and Regional and Long Distance Service. Admittedly there is some confusion of categories in the way they define things.
What is important though, irrespective of what it is called, is whether they fall under the jurisdiction of FRA and if they do whether they meet the FRA Buff Strength regulations or not. Even if the don't they can be operation under an exemption based on Temporal Separation, like the RiverLINE in NJ. There are lines that are basically Subway lines that for weird historical reasons fall under FRA jurisdiction - like PATH in NY-NJ.
They are also building the EMU trainsets for Caltrain. Those are built to heavy/commuter/intercity/whatever rail standards. Although the point remains, they’ve only tackled relatively small orders up until nowStadler hasn’t built anything for Amtrak or for heavy rail in the US (that I know of, please correct me if I am wrong). They do have experience in DMU/EMU and therefore could be an attractive candidate. But the inexperience with the US heavy rail regulations (again, correct me if I’m wrong) may result in another N-S conundrum, which wouldn’t be good.
They have. Siemens has built MU trainsets for the European market as well.Additionally, Alstom (I believe) also does DEMU production for Europe, so that gives them a technical advantage as well.
You won't need temporal separation with the current Stadlers that are the evolution from what is used on the RiverLINE because they are compliant with the new FRA standards. So it is a non-issue.The issue is that I’m not sure you’re going to get temporal separation on basically any Amtrak corridor service out of Chicago. My understanding is that freight and passenger can’t be anywhere near each other in such an environment. I would presume that includes adjacent tracks as well as the one the Stadler is on.
I think it could potentially work on the NEC provided that the freight railroads play ball, but anywhere else I think it’s very unlikely, resulting in a split order.
What Alstom passenger cars did you have in mind? Currently, other than the LHB cars, which are entirely manufactured in India at present, Alstom really does not have a single self standing passenger car product, other than what they have manufactured in the US based on old designs essentially handed to them. They do however have some excellent DMU/DEMU/EMU products, but all will require some tweaking for the American market.Maybe Amtrak can choose the Venture Coaches for the Cascades Service but Alstom for all of the NEC trains?
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