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RFP issued for Amfleet I replacement

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sttom

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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.
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.

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.
 

Mailliw

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How about one elevator per train set ? That is a problem with reduntacy but can imagine elevator could have a standby mechanical operation. Place it in a lounge car!
I could see problems with emergency evacuation. Also that would rule out having the pass through between cars on an intermediate level.
 

joelkfla

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I could see problems with emergency evacuation. Also that would rule out having the pass through between cars on an intermediate level.
I don't know whether something like this would be acceptable under ADA, and whether it could handle the narrow 90° turns of a railcar stairway.
 

Andrew

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Does the fact that Siemens is building cars for Amtrak and has had contracts for Brightline and Via Rail Canada make them the frontrunner for the Amfleet replacement?
 

railiner

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The lifts in the double deck Alaska cars have a manual backup means to operate if power fails.....just like on a bus lift.
 

rickycourtney

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Interesting!

Would Siemens have to adjust any of their Venture Coach Specifications in order to meet the profile of the Northeast Corridor?
Doesn't seem like it, but based on the order for the states and VIA... Siemens seems happy to make changes to their product to suit customer needs.
 

NSC1109

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Interesting!

Would Siemens have to adjust any of their Venture Coach Specifications in order to meet the profile of the Northeast Corridor?
Those specifications likely wouldn’t be anything that we have access to as members of the public. However, as RickyCourtney said, Siemens wouldn’t have much of an issue making changes if needed.
 

Andrew

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Doesn't seem like it, but based on the order for the states and VIA... Siemens seems happy to make changes to their product to suit customer needs.
OK, because the door height of the Venture coaches appears lower than the door height of the current Amfleets.
 

jis

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Interesting!

Would Siemens have to adjust any of their Venture Coach Specifications in order to meet the profile of the Northeast Corridor?
They don't need any change in the profile as far as the loading gauge and platform heights are concerned. They have also been tested at 125mph on the NEC so that won't need any change either.

I am sure furnishings and details about whether everything will be single cars or some will be married pairs or triplets or such would still remain an issue. Also whether they are packaged as EMUs, DEMUs or what, is also still YTBD.
 
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PVD

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Thx, I guess I swapped the Caltrans with the IDOT ones, but it does answer the profile and speed questions...
 

west point

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Cannot find the spec but a read specified that the siemens cars were to meet Amtrak ( ---- ) clearance guage specification for single level cars. That IMHO is the NEC.
 

rickycourtney

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OK, because the door height of the Venture coaches appears lower than the door height of the current Amfleets.
Taking a wild guess here -- I think you're basing that on videos like this one.

The doors look lower... but it's because they have more features.

I drew a straight red line in Photoshop from the bottom of the door line of the Amfleet... straight across the Venture car. It's the same height. Below the low-platform door on the left (marked with green arrow) are the stairs down. Below the high-platform door on the right (marked with blue arrow) is the box that holds the gap filler.
Annotation-2020-08-20-184236.jpg

This is what the gap filler looks like deployed...
 

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railiner

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Wondering why they need a gap filler...are those cars narrower than standard Amtrak cars? Or is it because of the platform size in the above photo?
 

Andrew

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Taking a wild guess here -- I think you're basing that on videos like this one.

The doors look lower... but it's because they have more features.

I drew a straight red line in Photoshop from the bottom of the door line of the Amfleet... straight across the Venture car. It's the same height. Below the low-platform door on the left (marked with green arrow) are the stairs down. Below the high-platform door on the right (marked with blue arrow) is the box that holds the gap filler.
View attachment 18556

This is what the gap filler looks like deployed...
Venture coaches have low boarding at 11 inches, instead of the Amfleet's 17 inch level.
 

west point

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The Brightline gap fillers are so FEC freight trains can clear the platform by plate"H". That way no Gauntlet track is needed for the freights.
 
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rickycourtney

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Venture coaches have low boarding at 11 inches, instead of the Amfleet's 17 inch level.
The low platform boarding doors are much lower and also have automatic steps down to the platform. That means conductors don’t have to place step boxes. Much better for passengers and conductors.

The Brightline gap fillers are so FEC freight trains can clear the platform by plate"H". That way no Gauntlet track is needed for the freights.
Right. This car is for the San Joaquin which also plans to use gap fillers.
 

cocojacoby

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The Brightline gap fillers are so FEC freight trains can clear the platform by plate"H". That way no Gauntlet track is needed for the freights.
Yeah but Brightline still built freight bypass tracks around their new stations. I still don't get it. Those bypasses cost additional bucks to build and maintain.
 

Andrew

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Does anyone know if any companies are teaming up with other companies to build the new Amfleet coaches (such as Siemens with Stadler)?
 

rickycourtney

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Does anyone know if any companies are teaming up with other companies to build the new Amfleet coaches (such as Siemens with Stadler)?
Nope. Nobody knows anything about this process except for insiders with Amtrak and the manufacturers who are under the procurement “cone of silence.” Those insiders risk losing the order and their jobs for saying anything to you or the rest of us. The point of the “cone of silence” is to protect the integrity of the procurement process by shielding it from undue influences before the recommendation of contract award.

In their last update to the NGEC last month, Amtrak says they are continuing to work through the technical packages submitted by the bidders and hope to make an announcement by the end of this summer (end of September).
 

jis

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Yeah but Brightline still built freight bypass tracks around their new stations. I still don't get it. Those bypasses cost additional bucks to build and maintain.
The bypass tracks serve several purposes:

1. They allow high and wide loads to avoid crashing into the platforms and pass by safely. Admittedly those are few and far between. But they are not restricted from FEC, which they would be if there were no bypass tracks.

2. They allow freight trains to pass by a station which has both platform tracks occupied by passenger trains.

3. When they go to skip stop operations after additional stations are built, they allow a skipping passenger train to pass by a station that has both platform tracks occupied.

All in all they provide flexibility to maintain fluidity of operations. Brightine is building a system with the mindset of providing reliable and on time service as opposed to the BS that passenger trains face all over the country with single platform on double track railroad, insufficient crossovers, passing tracks shorter that train and a litany of other poor design choices for the sake of (often false) economy.
 
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