Lead Service Attendant
- Jan 23, 2019
Bombardier is being bought by Altsom and if that transaction goes through, there is no guarantee that they would keep making Bombardier's bilevels since Altsom has pretty much but its eggs in the EMU basket. And since Bombardier is near the end of its time in the rail market, besides Siemens, the only other companies we have making rail equipment for heavy rail applications at the moment are Alstom and Stadler from the info that I could dig up. Hyundai from what I can tell shut down after the issues with the Silverliners and MBTA orders.You're totally ignoring the fact that there are several other companies that are established here in the US.
Building off what PVD said...
Bombardier has been providing a seemingly endless stream of its iconic and Buy America-compliant BiLevel coaches to American customers for nearly three decades. Alstom has a plant in Hornell that's making the next-gen Acela and previously built the Surfliner cars and more than 1,000 R160 cars for the NYC Subway. Those two companies are about to merge into one mega-company that will challenge Siemens and CRRC on the world (and US) stage. I'm sure they will survive the "dry spells in rail spending."
Beyond that, Hyundai Rotem, Kawasaki, and Stadler all have recently built equipment for the US market... and are major international players (especially Kawasaki).
The FRA just published a lengthy report that we were discussing that concluded, "the next generation of passenger rail vehicles can be designed to be more inclusive and universal, providing accessibility for passengers using WhMD (wheeled mobility devices)." Clearly the thinking on accessibility is shifting from that definition you shared.
Plus you're discussing sleeping cars... which Amtrak isn't even contemplating purchasing at this time. The leadership clearly wants more clarity on the future of the long-distance network before investing in new equipment.
As for lifts in bilevel cars, I am not and have not said that they aren't feasible from an engineering stand point. I am saying that they may not be the best thing for Amtrak financially and the report you link cites this as well on page 135 "Applying vertical access to revenue cars, i.e., coaches and sleepers, will have a direct effect in lost revenue capacity. The physical impact and corresponding fiscal impact would be reviewed prior to any rule-making activities." That is the issue that is the point I am making and why I'm trying to withhold a hard position until there are actual regulations being proposed. Saying we need to be mindful of externalities is not the same as saying something can't be done.
Amtrak is going to have to replace the Superliners at some point and given that the refresh on the Superliner 1s was a while ago, things on them will break from old age, like HVAC and water systems. With as little faith as I have in Congress, the record for the last 50 years has shown that they may tinker with Amtrak in stupid ways, but they never go through with fully axing it. So I doubt the long distance network will be completely gone anytime soon. As for the leadership "needing clarity", that's more likely code for them not having the ability to profit off of easy real estate deals on the long distance trains because Amtrak owns less valuable real estate as it goes west. If Congress truly wanted to end long distance train travel in this country, they would have done so in 1972.