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RFP issued for Amfleet I replacement

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Andrew

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Until catenary is extended south of Washington to at least some destinations in Virginia, there is no real application for a dual-mode locomotive beyond what is already available (P32's in Empire Service). Now if a decision is taken to replace NER trains with MU's to complement the new Acelas, dual-modes make perfect sense and there are off-the-shelf models from several manufacturers that can switch power sources seamlessly. If locomotive-hauled coaches remain the choice, dual-mode engines were aptly described as "expensive toys".
Amtrak wants dual-powered equipment because they want to reduce station dwell times in busy terminals--such as Washington D.C--and so that passengers will always have access to lighting, etc.

Are you saying that Amtrak should consider EMUs that travel with diesel locomotives?
 

frequentflyer

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Amtrak wants dual-powered equipment because they want to reduce station dwell times in busy terminals--such as Washington D.C--and so that passengers will always have access to lighting, etc.

Are you saying that Amtrak should consider EMUs that travel with diesel locomotives?
According to the past CEO and the terms of the RFP, they are considering it.
 

jis

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Amtrak wants dual-powered equipment because they want to reduce station dwell times in busy terminals--such as Washington D.C--and so that passengers will always have access to lighting, etc.
Even the Siemens cars are provided with enough battery power to keep lights on through a HEP disconnection for quite a while. Actually the Amfleets and Superliners are a special Amtrak innovation as far as losing basic lights goes at a time when such a feature was not found even in third world countries. It is quite a mystery why they did that. It does not require a dual model locomotive to fix that problem. The solution is well known and much much cheaper.

In a place like Washington DC with its pedestrian circulation issues, you want the dwell time to be of the order of 10-15 mins anyway. All that they have to do is staff the place properly to complete a loco change within that time. Even third world countries are able to achieve that even with HEP connectors and all to take care of. I find it hard to believe that Amtrak crafts people are less competent than those in the third world. Again a much cheaper solution than getting fancy toys.
Are you saying that Amtrak should consider EMUs that travel with diesel locomotives?
More like dual mode EDMUs which is different from a diesel locomotive pulling an EMU. Actually EDMUs are easier to build than dual mode locomotives because each individual power unit is much smaller and their components can be spread out across two or three articulated cars
 

Andrew

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Even the Siemens cars are provided with enough battery power to keep lights on through a HEP disconnection for quite a while. Actually the Amfleets and Superliners are a special Amtrak innovation as far as losing basic lights goes at a time when such a feature was not found even in third world countries. It is quite a mystery why they did that. It does not require a dual model locomotive to fix that problem. The solution is well known and much much cheaper.

In a place like Washington DC with its pedestrian circulation issues, you want the dwell time to be of the order of 10-15 mins anyway. All that they have to do is staff the place properly to complete a loco change within that time. Even third world countries are able to achieve that even with HEP connectors and all to take care of. I find it hard to believe that Amtrak crafts people are less competent than those in the third world. Again a much cheaper solution than getting fancy toys.

More like dual mode EDMUs which is different from a diesel locomotive pulling an EMU. Actually EDMUs are easier to build than dual mode locomotives because each individual power unit is much smaller and their components can be spread out across two or three articulated cars
Which specific EDMUs are you referring to? Also, in EDMUs, where would the diesel fuel be located?
 

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From what I understand, they were made in a tube shape to seem more like planes. Whatever is the new technology of any given decade usually influences what other transit modes look like. In the 1960s and 70s, that was planes. The narrow windows were down to people throwing rocks and them not have the technology to deal with rock impacts like we do today.

And if Siemens gets the contract, they will likely get Venture equipment or an adaptation of their Desiro multiple unit family.
I was there when they first turned up in the Northwest and people doing walk-throughs would invariably exclaim that "it's just like a plane!" In the Christmas season there was a different comment: a UP conductor on the Pioneer looked at the luggage stacked all over the high-capacity Amfleet I and muttered "it looks like a *** **** freight train!"
 

Willbridge

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I think the fact that the windows were smaller, reduced their chances of being hit, somewhat. Being smaller, also makes it relatively stronger in its ability to resist penetration. They could have used bullet proof Lexan polycarbonate, however that material is not as resistant to scratching as glass, and gets 'cloudy' over time...not so critical in a commuter train, but not very nice for a long distance train where sightseeing is a feature...
Transit users of Lexan ran into that cloudiness and customers thought that it meant that the windows were dirty. Actually, the drive through wash was part of the problem.

Even before the NEC rock throwing started there have been problems with gun shots and rocks. The same behavior on a highway results in news alerts and increased enforcement. On a railway or rail transit line, it's left up to the railway police to do something about it. And car designers have to consider the issue.

This mid-1960's scene in the Guilds Lake (Portland) yard shows a carman repairing a shot-damaged window. There was no news story and I never heard if anyone was hurt.

---_0247.jpg
 

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Stadler Flirt trains are currently 3 or 4 coaches with a Powerpack vehicle. But, does anyone know if Stadler Flirt trains could be 8 coaches long with a larger Powerpack car?
From the Stadler web site you can get FLIRTs of up to 12 cars but above 4 cars they dom't seem to have the seperate power module, but can still cove all electrical motive systems, not sure about desiel power. I supect that beyond 3/4 cars there is enough room to make the seperate power pack unnecessary.
 

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Changing engines in the USA takes longer than 10-15 minutes. Usually more like 30. So dual mode could save 30 minutes in Washington DC, Harrisburg and New Haven.
Unfortunately, this is true for the most part, but the engine change in New Haven used to be done in 7 minutes. Yup: 7. Watched it done several times.
 

John Santos

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Unfortunately, this is true for the most part, but the engine change in New Haven used to be done in 7 minutes. Yup: 7. Watched it done several times.
The single time I experienced it (in 1977), it took the scheduled 30 minutes. (On the way back to Boston, I took the Turbotrain from NYP, which didn't change engines. The next time I took the train to NYC, about 30 years later, it was an Acela and I appreciated not having to wait in New Haven.)
 

railiner

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Even before the NEC rock throwing started there have been problems with gun shots and rocks. The same behavior on a highway results in news alerts and increased enforcement. On a railway or rail transit line, it's left up to the railway police to do something about it. And car designers have to consider the issue.
At least they don't have to install "ghetto grilles" over locomotive windshields, to protect the engineer's from refrigerator's(!), dropped from bridges...

https://www.reddit.com/r/trains/comments/fp40re
 

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Unfortunately, this is true for the most part, but the engine change in New Haven used to be done in 7 minutes. Yup: 7. Watched it done several times.
The single time I experienced it (in 1977), it took the scheduled 30 minutes. (On the way back to Boston, I took the Turbotrain from NYP, which didn't change engines. The next time I took the train to NYC, about 30 years later, it was an Acela and I appreciated not having to wait in New Haven.)
Work expands to fill the available time.
 

Andrew

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From the Stadler web site you can get FLIRTs of up to 12 cars but above 4 cars they dom't seem to have the seperate power module, but can still cove all electrical motive systems, not sure about desiel power. I supect that beyond 3/4 cars there is enough room to make the seperate power pack unnecessary.
I'm sure that Amtrak is weighing the pros and cons of buying Venture coaches for some trains and FLIRT Trains for dual-powered service. If Amtrak does buy EMUS, would it make more sense for the trainsets to travel with diesel locomotives while in electric mode, or to just attach the diesel locomotive right before leaving the catenary zones?

(I bet that it would be faster for Amtrak to use EMUs and attach the diesel locomotive in terminals such as DC, instead of removing an electric SPRINTER Locomotive and then attaching a Charger).

Maybe Amtrak could split their coach order in half to 2 different companies-- one building for NEC, such as Siemens--and the other building the dual-powered trains, such as Alstom's Coradia?

Also, could Siemens likely make a dual-powered Charger locomotive that has as much HHP as a Sprinter locomotive?
 
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Palmetto

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The single time I experienced it (in 1977), it took the scheduled 30 minutes. (On the way back to Boston, I took the Turbotrain from NYP, which didn't change engines. The next time I took the train to NYC, about 30 years later, it was an Acela and I appreciated not having to wait in New Haven.)
Yes, Amtrak got sloppy with the change alright. I should've stated that 7 minutes was common in New Haven RR days.
 

jis

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While an engine change shouldn’t have to take 30 minutes, a lot of safety regulations prevent things being done as quickly as the long-time-ago era.
A combination of additional safety regulations and reduction in the number of people to carry them out together has had this deleterious effect.

But then Albany is a case unto itself where they simply do nothing for the first half hour to 45 minutes after arrival! ;)
 
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Willbridge

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A combination of additional safety regulations and reduction in the number of people to carry them out together has had this deleterious effect.

But then Albany is a case unto itself where they simply do nothing for the first half hour to 45 minutes after arrival! ;)
And on my one trip CHI>BOS a couple of years ago I thought I had just come through on a bad day. The SLC crew used to split up Trains 5/25/35 in the dark faster than Albany took to get us moving in the afternoon.
 

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With more of the AC moving to the space between the ceiling and the roof, there will be added space available under the car for things like more batteries, as well as the fact that modern batteries have considerably higher energy density, that should allow them to provide the requisite power without a problem. Also, the lighting being LED means less power is needed.
 

Andrew

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I think it would be cool for Amtrak to choose Siemens for half of the new Amfleet contract and Alstom for multiple unit trainsets, such as for Keystone service. What do you folks think?

Also, I still believe that the most difficult decision for Amtrak will be to decide how to proceed with diesel catenary propulsion.
 

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I think it would be cool for Amtrak to choose Siemens for half of the new Amfleet contract and Alstom for multiple unit trainsets, such as for Keystone service. What do you folks think?
I certainly agree that an MU makes sense on the Keystones, since those consists almost never change. (I had thought it would be an ideal home for the old Acelas, until I learned they were leased.) That said, they draw from the same pool of rolling stock as other trains, such as the Pennsylvanian and Virginia services. An argument could be made along similar lines for the Empire corridor - heck, it was the home of the turbos back in the day and they were about as close to an MU as Amtrak has had outside the NEC. Still, unless a state specifies an MU of some flavor, Amtrak is likely to cite fleet commonality in any decision.
 

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I'm not sure PennDOT would be interested in owning and maintaining its own fleet or that Amtrak would want rolling stock that could only be used on Keystone Service. If NYSDOT was interested in owning their own fleet for the Empire Corridor then Alstom BMUs would be the obvious choice, but they're not so I'm still betting Siemens gets the whole order.
 

Andrew

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I'm not sure PennDOT would be interested in owning and maintaining its own fleet or that Amtrak would want rolling stock that could only be used on Keystone Service. If NYSDOT was interested in owning their own fleet for the Empire Corridor then Alstom BMUs would be the obvious choice, but they're not so I'm still betting Siemens gets the whole order.
If you think that Siemens gets the entire order, how do you predict Amtrak will decide what kind of bi-mode equipment to order?
 
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Considering that at this moment Amtrak has their friends in all the right places they should move swiftly and just place add on orders to products already in production in the US like the Siemens cars. Just place a large add on order to replace the Amfleet I's, then look at the Amfleet II's.
 

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Considering that at this moment Amtrak has their friends in all the right places they should move swiftly and just place add on orders to products already in production in the US like the Siemens cars. Just place a large add on order to replace the Amfleet I's, then look at the Amfleet II's.
Dont forget the Superliners!!!
 

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To replace the superliners they need to add to the viewliner 2 sleepers and diner order, order a whole bunch of Siemens cars configured with long distance seating, and some sort of lounge car.

I don’t think the European style sleepers will be well received compared to the superliners and viewliner we are used to.

Imho it would be better to start a massive refurbishment program on the superliners where the HVAC and toilets are replaced and the interiors updated. This should apply to all cars. Could get another 30 years out of the f them I bet.
 

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I'm sure Siemens can come with designs for North American sleeping cars. We can do better than just replicating the Viewliners again.
 
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