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RFP issued for Amfleet I replacement

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Mailliw

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Politics; they need to build a long term relationship with Amtrak, especially if they want to go after Superliner replacements too.
 

jis

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Politics; they need to build a long term relationship with Amtrak, especially if they want to go after Superliner replacements too.
They don't need to do anything in Red States to build relationship with Amtrak. Any one that knows anything about Amtrak management ought to know at least that :D
 
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sttom

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Even if Amtrak announces they have selected Siemens for the Amfleet replacement sometime in the next 6 months, there is still going to be a final design phase to determine where exactly the seats and everything else is going to be. Which would mean a final design for the Amfleet replacement probably won't be released until this time next year, the Via sets will still be being built then. So best case scenario is that first Amtrak sets being delivered by the end of 2022 or early 2023 for crew training. So there will be no need for another manufacturing facility anywhere in the country. Siemens already has the space to expand their existing facility in Sacramento and have another secondary facility in nearby Roseville if they need it. As for the Superliners, even if an RFP goes out this year for them, a final order is at least 2 years off. Siemens may not want to even bid on them depending on who tags on orders for the assumed Amfleet replacements. Washington and North Carolina are very likely to order Venture equipment whether or not Amtrak picks them, New York and Vermont have signaled in the recent past that they might want their own cars, of which the Venture cars would be a likely contender. Then there is Massachusetts, Maine and Pennsylvania which are also wild cards in all of this. Another wild card will be if California wants to replace our bilevels and will the JPAs want a modified Viaggio Twin to replace the older California Cars, a 4th Generation Bilevel or will they buy new Venture Cars. All of these are still ifs at this point. All of these can keep Siemens busy enough that taking on a 500 ish car order for new Superliners might not even happen.

A second point is whom would even want to take on a Superliner replacement RFP. Alstom, depending on how they absorb Bombardier would be a good contender considering Bombardier built the Superliner 2s and Alstom built the Second Generation of California Cars. Stadler has built a good product for the Rocky Mountaineer, CalTrain picked them for their EMUs and the diesel FLIRTs in Fort Worth are doing well. So Stadler despite its small US footprint is holding its own. And then there is CAF which could still conceivably bid on the Superliners, assuming Amtrak doesn't blacklist them the second the last Viewliners roll off the factory floor.
 

PVD

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Something to ponder, unless Amtrak precluded it, a joint venture, or a subcontract to assemble part or all of a car is not unheard of or off the table. A company with spare capacity and a trained workforce could always take on a share of the work from a company that lacked space or capacity.
 

jiml

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One thing I hope any new Amfleet replacement doesn't employ, would be 50/50 half facing forward fixed seating...I hate to ride a train facing backwards...or to be facing a stranger, or to have my backrest against another, restricting my recline ability, etc....
You won't like VIA's latest corridor seating then.
 

Mailliw

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They make seats that rotate; it does add a little time & labor (not nearlyas much as turning an entiretrain), but normally it only needs to be done at each terminus. Certainly premium seating will be turned to face the direction of travel outside seats facing around a table. Does VIA rotate Business Class seats; I've only traveled economy?
 

Andrew

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Politics; they need to build a long term relationship with Amtrak, especially if they want to go after Superliner replacements too.
What products does Stadler manufacture that could potentially be a good fit for future Amfleet coaches?
 

jiml

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They make seats that rotate; it does add a little time & labor (not nearlyas much as turning an entiretrain), but normally it only needs to be done at each terminus. Certainly premium seating will be turned to face the direction of travel outside seats facing around a table. Does VIA rotate Business Class seats; I've only traveled economy?
While all previous versions featured rotating seats, the latest VIA refurb follows the Euro model of permanently-fixed seats - half facing each way.
 

IndyLions

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A second point is whom would even want to take on a Superliner replacement RFP. Alstom, depending on how they absorb Bombardier would be a good contender considering Bombardier built the Superliner 2s and Alstom built the Second Generation of California Cars. Stadler has built a good product for the Rocky Mountaineer, CalTrain picked them for their EMUs and the diesel FLIRTs in Fort Worth are doing well. So Stadler despite its small US footprint is holding its own. And then there is CAF which could still conceivably bid on the Superliners, assuming Amtrak doesn't blacklist them the second the last Viewliners roll off the factory floor.
It’s nothing more than a feeling, but I have a feeling that there will be no Superliner replacement, not directly.

I see them replacing about half the Superliner routes with single level equipment to match what they order in the east. For the other half of the Superliner routes, I see them pooling the existing Superliner equipment and completely rehabbing them. With a bigger equipment pool, they’ll be able ultimately to run a more premium train than what they run on the single levels. It’ll be that “Experiential” thing that Anderson talked about.
 

Mailliw

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That's certainly possible. If Amtrak goes that route though either it will mean either eliminating a few LDs, or including an option for sleepers in the Amleet replacement.
 

sttom

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It’s nothing more than a feeling, but I have a feeling that there will be no Superliner replacement, not directly.

I see them replacing about half the Superliner routes with single level equipment to match what they order in the east. For the other half of the Superliner routes, I see them pooling the existing Superliner equipment and completely rehabbing them. With a bigger equipment pool, they’ll be able ultimately to run a more premium train than what they run on the single levels. It’ll be that “Experiential” thing that Anderson talked about.
I doubt Congress would allow Amtrak do do that considering their stance towards Amtrak has been stasis + a gimmick. I would expect a 1 to 1 replacement plus some amount of cars for slack capacity. Amtrak’s leadership might have an unfriendly opinion towards the long distance trains, but Congress understands well enough that they are a vital service. And the Superliners can and do carry more people than the Viewliners do.

“Experiential” can mean any number of things. It could mean adding something similar to Prestige class, system wide Pacific Parlor cars or even retaining the Superliner 2s to offer connecting services to national parks or other such tourist destinations. But something like that will always come at a price and I’d bet Congress’s price would be leaving the established “national” services mostly as is with the tourist trap tacked on or run separately.

On top of this there is a budding consensus that more train services are needed. Even the laughable 2035 plan and proposed funding is more than we’ve gotten in a long time, if ever. I personally expect the Anderson Experience push to go the way of Express Freight soon since it’s not something Congress will seem to go for considering the old model was a few years from paying off.
 

Steve4031

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There has been a lot of mileage put in the superliner cars. If they could replace the old hvac system with an entirely new set up and gutted the interior and replaced it with the seats and beds used in the viewliner 2 sleepers than you could get another 20 years or so out of the superliners. I don’t know if the car bodies could last that long. I assume they could build replacement trucks to keep those up to maintenance standards.
 

jiml

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There has been a lot of mileage put in the superliner cars. If they could replace the old hvac system with an entirely new set up and gutted the interior and replaced it with the seats and beds used in the viewliner 2 sleepers than you could get another 20 years or so out of the superliners. I don’t know if the car bodies could last that long. I assume they could build replacement trucks to keep those up to maintenance standards.
They are essentially the next generation of Budd stainless steel railcars, and examples of those soldier on for VIA Rail, tourist railroads and in private service. Our last 2 trips on VIA have involved travel on refurbished Budd cars. Once on-board, their HEP-2's in corridor service can really only be separated from newer models by height and door design. New seats, new lighting and proper HVAC make a world of difference. Our last trip in a Budd sleeper featured a car one year out-of-the-shop with the new-look interior. (Room layout, of course, remained the same.) I just wonder if new funding would be available for Amtrak if they were doing rehabs on existing rolling stock.
 

Steve4031

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They used tiger grants to rebuild some cars that were damaged in derailments. Imho if Beach Grove could do this work it’s a no brainer to spend the money rebuilding the superliner cars. This creates jobs. And probably is less expensive to do then build and design new cars. They are great to ride on too.

They need enough sleepers to make the Capitol Limited single level. If they could do the same for the auto train all of those superliner cars could be added to the western fleet.

It seems to me this could be cost effective and be the quickest way for Amtrak to resolve a looming equipment shortage.

They do need a long distance version of a Siemens coach to supplement the amfleet 2 fleet. The amfleet 2 cars also could be overhauled like the superliners.

I think the main gripe with Amfleet 1 is the smaller windows. The bathrooms malfunction on both the 1s and 2s in the winter which is why I thing a total refurb would be best. The hvac is problematic on these cars too. Iirc it can only be controlled from the outside. Newer technology would work better and could be controlled on the inside.
 

Mailliw

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The Auto-Train isn't going to go single level; it already has deluxe Superliners (all bedroom upstairs) and it would certainly be first in line for any experiential upgrades.
 

sttom

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I doubt the Capitol Limited will go Viewliner anytime soon, the Capitol Limited sells its space well enough (pre COVID) that if anything, running a second section of the train would make sense rather than cutting capacity by converting to Viewliners.

Not to mention, the Amfleet 1 replacements are pretty much only going to be used on the NEC and some connecting services. Any change to the Long Distance trains isn't up for consideration at this point. My guess is that Amtrak would nudge the states of New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina to buy their own cars post replacement. I remember Amtrak announcing that they want to have 4 tiers of service on the NEC in the not too distant future and 500 cars doesn't leave much room for the state supported services to use. Which could mean sticking them with the Amfleets after they are replaced and hoping that the states balk and just buy their own equipment. North Carolina already owns some of its own equipment, so it will likely buy its own an some point anyways. And as previously mentioned, New York and Vermont want their own fleet anyways. Getting stuck with leftover Amfleet cars would probably push Cuomo into a tizzy which would likely end with them getting their own fleet and Vermont tagging on for the ride (Pun intended).
 

Mailliw

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4 service tiers? Economy, Business, First, and what else? Day compartments? Or Sub-economy with commuter seating?
 

jiml

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4 service tiers? Economy, Business, First, and what else? Day compartments? Or Sub-economy with commuter seating?
I'm going out on a limb to guess he means 4 tiers of trains, possibly Super-Express non-stop on Acela, limited stops on Acela, Northeast Regional with some stops and milk runs. This would mirror some prior service models and ones that many European corridors use.
 

jiml

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This is a semi-unrelated question, that may have been answered elsewhere, but what is happening to the current Acela fleet? They're still functional electric trains (or at least not relics) and were refurbished in recent memory. Could they not fill NER roles north of WAS or maybe Keystone Service? Is it an assumption that since locomotive-hauled trains fill those roles now it has to continue?
 

jis

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This is a semi-unrelated question, that may have been answered elsewhere, but what is happening to the current Acela fleet? They're still functional electric trains (or at least not relics) and were refurbished in recent memory. Could they not fill NER roles north of WAS or maybe Keystone Service? Is it an assumption that since locomotive-hauled trains fill those roles now it has to continue?
They are going to be scrapped. Most of them are leased and there is no plan to renew the lease. That is why this hurry in getting the Acela 21s deployed in time.
 

IndyLions

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The Auto-Train isn't going to go single level; it already has deluxe Superliners (all bedroom upstairs) and it would certainly be first in line for any experiential upgrades.
You may be right, but that depends on what they order as sleeper replacements for Superliners.

I could absolutely see them launching the brand new Superliner “replacement” equipment on the Auto Train first.

That frees up a pretty big pool of equipment to Beech Grove, where they can supplement the western fleet until it’s either fully replaced with new, or partially replaced with new if their math was bad or their funding was only partial.

Then “voila” - a requirement for complete Superliner refurbishment on the 2 or 3 most scenic routes out west.

Who needs a dome car for VA to FL, anyway?
 
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