RFP issued for Amfleet I replacement

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NSC1109

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Not a huge surprise but glad it’s finally confirmed. Hoping they turn out well!
 

Andrew

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And the winner is Siemens !
Within its press release, Amtrak states that it will operate dual-power equipment. I still see this being a dual-mode Charger with a Sprinter; two locomotives operating in electric mode will provide a lot of horsepower!
 

Anthony V

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With all these orders, Siemens might have to build or buy another plant to fulfill the demand. The should buy the former Nippon Sharyo plant in Rochelle, IL and expand production to that location. The plant is less than a decade old, and was designed for the purpose of building new passenger railcars, making it the ideal choice for an expansion of their footprint.
 

rickycourtney

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With all these orders, Siemens might have to build or buy another plant to fulfill the demand. The should buy the former Nippon Sharyo plant in Rochelle, IL and expand production to that location. The plant is less than a decade old, and was designed for the purpose of building new passenger railcars, making it the ideal choice for an expansion of their footprint.
IMHO, the bigger problem is finding and hiring experienced labor. Considering the giant failure of Nippon Sharyo's plant on the original bi-level state cars... I don't think it's there. It's also at the heart of the CAF delays: they had a hard time hiring and training people to do the job.

If Siemens needs more room for assembly, they'd be better off looking for more land in the Sacramento area. It's not exactly jam-packed like the Bay Area or Los Angeles.
 

rickycourtney

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If Siemens needs more room for assembly, they'd be better off looking for more land in the Sacramento area. It's not exactly jam-packed like the Bay Area or Los Angeles.
Turns out that’s the plan... Siemens is wrapping up a big expansion of their facility in Sacramento. A big new building was constructed at the north end of the property.
 

adamj023

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Didn’t seem like a confirmed order as people are making it out to be. They just announced Siemens as a preferred bidder. Other companies can still win the contract. Reason for the preferred status is because they have had good results with them in the past I presume and have had a good relationship with them. They say contract will be awarded in the Summer so we will see if that occurs and who the winning bidder is. If someone comes out with a better deal that has a good reputation, contract could go to another vender of which there are many. Alstom, Bombardier, Hyundai, Siemens, Kawasaki, just to name those off the top of my head. There are numerous train suppliers and Amtrak definitely will hear what other bidders offer before choosing one. Aveila Liberty is being built by Alstom. Amtrak has a relationship with Siemens on the Sprinter locomotives. CAF is likely out of the running due to their past experience.

My own gut feeling is someone else will come out with a better deal than Siemens but I could be wrong. I don’t know the status of the built in america requirement is and which vendors could fulfill their requirements. I do know Alstom and Siemens have been able to fulfill their requirements and CAF seems unlikely due to car delays and other issues in the past.
 
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Trogdor

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Didn’t seem like a confirmed order as people are making it out to be. They just announced Siemens as a preferred bidder. Other companies can still win the contract. Reason for the preferred status is because they have had good results with them in the past I presume and have had a good relationship with them. They say contract will be awarded in the Summer so we will see if that occurs and who the winning bidder is. If someone comes out with a better deal that has a good reputation, contract could go to another vender of which there are many. Alstom, Bombardier, Hyundai, Siemens, Kawasaki, just to name those off the top of my head. There are numerous train suppliers and Amtrak definitely will hear what other bidders offer before choosing one. Aveila Liberty is being built by Alstom. Amtrak has a relationship with Siemens on the Sprinter locomotives. CAF is likely out of the running due to their past experience.

My own gut feeling is someone else will come out with a better deal than Siemens but I could be wrong. I don’t know the status of the built in america requirement is and which vendors could fulfill their requirements. I do know Alstom and Siemens have been able to fulfill their requirements and CAF seems unlikely due to car delays and other issues in the past.
That’s not what that means. Amtrak has, for all intents and purposes, stated that Siemens will get the award. They just haven’t negotiated the final details of the contract. Without some major unforeseen event causing negotiations to break down (or a perhaps lawsuit by another bidder alleging some kind of fraud to invalidate the process), there is virtually no chance that any other company will get the contract. They had their chance to put in their bids and offer their best deal, and their best offers were not as good as Siemens.

The competition is over.
 

jis

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That’s not what that means. Amtrak has, for all intents and purposes, stated that Siemens will get the award. They just haven’t negotiated the final details of the contract. Without some major unforeseen event causing negotiations to break down (or a perhaps lawsuit by another bidder alleging some kind of fraud to invalidate the process), there is virtually no chance that any other company will get the contract. They had their chance to put in their bids and offer their best deal, and their best offers were not as good as Siemens.

The competition is over.
Indeed, that is what the last best offer deadline last month was all about. The vendor selection is done and closed at this point.
 
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Mailliw

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Just a random idea; if the Virginia routes were treated like other state corridors instead of Norteast Regional extensions Amtrak could just merge the Northeast Regional and Acela into a single product using EMUs to run express and Regional services. Then they could run locomotive hauled trainsets on the National Network. Only the Empire Service & Pennsylvanian would need dual modes and only the long distance trains & Carolinian would need engine changes.
 

rickycourtney

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Right. What will happen between now and this Summer is that Amtrak and Siemens should be hammering out things like design features, various requirements, and negotiate terms and conditions that are fair and assign risks to the party in the best position to control them.

This was one of the big learnings from the original Acela order... unless both parties have a very clearly defined vision of how the final train will look and operate... you end up with a bunch of change orders that add time and cost to the project.

The Amtrak inspector general has a good nerdy read comparing the problematic Acela order with the much smoother Surfliner car order.

 

Palmetto

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Maybe I'm being over simplistic, but what--besides more space between seat rows--could Siemens do to improve over their new midwest coaches? Time will tell, obviously, how these perform in service, and to answer my own question: there may need to be mods in design. Time will tell.
 

adamj023

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Siemens may be furthest ahead now with Amtrak but lets see if Amtrak can get a final order out the door by Summer. Siemens Venture seems to have lots of contracts now with Amtrak state run lines and Brightline. It also had been tested on the NEC. I am not against Siemens which should have good maintenance support and a decent product but I still await results by other bidders who could surely offer more to sell their product to Amtrak.
 

Trogdor

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Siemens may be furthest ahead now with Amtrak but lets see if Amtrak can get a final order out the door by Summer. Siemens Venture seems to have lots of contracts now with Amtrak state run lines and Brightline. It also had been tested on the NEC. I am not against Siemens which should have good maintenance support and a decent product but I still await results by other bidders who could surely offer more to sell their product to Amtrak.
Again, the timeline for those other bidders to offer more expired a while back. It’s over. All that is left is for Amtrak and Siemens to hammer out the final details.

It’s like saying Siemens might be ahead at the end of the 9th inning, but I’m still holding out hope that the other team can pull it off in the 10th.
 

adamj023

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I disagree. Amtrak did not sign a contract and has not invested much if anything into the project. If they are a “bidder”, Amtrak can walk away at any time and accept a bid from a competing firm. Only once bids are accepted does a contract exist. I understand that Siemens is the ”preferred” bidder at the moment and it makes sense considering the progress Siemens has shown. Another company can work with Amtrak, show a quality project and have a lower bid and win the bidding. Transit companies have dealt with a lot of different suppliers over the years and the established players are pretty much well known by now. I will see later on who gets the contract but I will say that Amtrak does need new trains to replace the Amfleet trains.
 
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nferr

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Siemens may be furthest ahead now with Amtrak but lets see if Amtrak can get a final order out the door by Summer. Siemens Venture seems to have lots of contracts now with Amtrak state run lines and Brightline. It also had been tested on the NEC. I am not against Siemens which should have good maintenance support and a decent product but I still await results by other bidders who could surely offer more to sell their product to Amtrak.
I don't think you get it. The bidding is over. What good is giving a deadline for bids if you keep accepting more bids? They've received all the bids by the deadline and made their choice. It's Siemens.
 

adamj023

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I don't think you get it. The bidding is over. What good is giving a deadline for bids if you keep accepting more bids? They've received all the bids by the deadline and made their choice. It's Siemens.
No I don’t think you get it. If bidding was over then Siemens would not still be a bidder. They would have been declared the winning bidder. Instead they are using the “preferred” designation. That was Amtrak’s own wording, not mine. A preferred bidder still means the bidding process is ongoing and no bids were accepted yet.

I was not following the bidding process nor the requirements but I do know no bid was accepted as of today.
 

nferr

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No I don’t think you get it. If bidding was over then Siemens would not still be a bidder. They would have been declared the winning bidder. Instead they are using the “preferred” designation. That was Amtrak’s own wording, not mine. A preferred bidder still means the bidding process is ongoing and no bids were accepted yet.

I was not following the bidding process nor the requirements but I do know no bid was accepted as of today.

Wrong. But it's impossible to argue with you because you don't listen to anybody else. You're all hung up on the word "preferred". The bidding is over. You've never of an RFP (request for proposals) with deadlines? Yes things can break down with the winner, but the bidding is over.
 

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RFI, discussions, RFP, Q&A/discussions Responses, , Best and Final Offers.... someone is chosen for negotiation of contract Can something go wrong, yes, is it likely, no. I worked on a major one, and we had it in the bag, but the client would not accept our refusal to agree to a liquidated damages clause. They screwed themselves because no one else would either, and when they rebid, everyone's prices were higher due to new prevailing labor rates and an increase in the core equipment from the manufacturer whose equipment we were all proposing. (they had guaranteed no increase until a certain date)
 

Ryan

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I was not following the bidding process
That part is obvious. You should pay attention to the small army of people that *have* been paying attention to the bidding process since it began two years ago and internalize the fact that Amtrak has evaluated bids from everyone interested, selected Siemens, and will now negotiate a finalized contract with them and them alone.
 

Trogdor

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No I don’t think you get it. If bidding was over then Siemens would not still be a bidder. They would have been declared the winning bidder. Instead they are using the “preferred” designation. That was Amtrak’s own wording, not mine. A preferred bidder still means the bidding process is ongoing and no bids were accepted yet.

I was not following the bidding process nor the requirements but I do know no bid was accepted as of today.
The issue is you’re getting hung up on your interpretation of plain English usage of certain words. That is not relevant when it comes to a contractual negotiation that is the result of an RFP/bid process, in which these terms have specific business/legal meanings that may not be obvious to the average person that isn’t familiar with these processes. “Preferred bidder” isn’t some subjective wish that Amtrak has. It’s not the same as you saying you “prefer“ Coca Cola, but if Pepsi is on sale, you’ll buy that instead.

Government contracts have very specific legal standards they must adhere to in order to ensure a fair process by which vendors can submit proposals. These RFPs have very specific timelines that must be adhered to. There is a bidding process, and a bid deadline. That deadline is advertised publicly and all interested vendors *must* submit their proposals, including product/service and financial package by that date.

If a deadline is extended, it is announced publicly and all bidders are subject to the revised deadline. These extensions can happen for a number of reasons, including bidder request (if the timeline to put the proposals together is too tight; it is up to the customer, i.e. Amtrak, to decide to honor that request), changes to the RFP specifics requiring bidders to adjust their bids, or even issues internal to Amtrak. In any of these cases, the extension would have to be announced in advance. The only major exception is if they receive no qualified bids by the deadline (which obviously was not the case here). Once the deadline is reached, that’s it. Door’s closed, and the proverbial train has left the station. Legally, Amtrak cannot accept any bids after that deadline without reopening the entire RFP process. At this point, it would be equivalent to cancelling the entire RFP and starting over from scratch.

RFPs are scored on a number of different attributes, of which price is one (but not the only, or necessarily even the largest) factor. After the RFP deadline, Amtrak then opens all of the bids (generally, nobody at Amtrak could even look at the bids until the deadline has passed in order to avoid a potential leak of information from one bidder to the other). All of these rules are in place to ensure the bidding process is fair to all potential vendors.

At the end of this process, Siemens came out on top, all things considered, and has now attained preferred bidder status. This means they are the company that Amtrak will negotiate with to turn their bid into a contract.

Notwithstanding your lack of understanding of the technical definition of these terms and your complete ignoring of the very real and important processes that govern this whole project, there will be no more bids on this project. The next few months are going to be dedicated to turning Siemens’s bid into an actual contract. That is how this works. I’ve been involved in this process from both sides in the past, and in the last year have probably personally worked on at least a dozen bids my company has submitted for various RFPs. This is the process that is followed by basically every one of them. If a company came in with a bid after the RFP deadline and won the contract, there would be lawsuits all around.
 
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rickycourtney

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Right and I’ll add that many times with government contracts they will ask bidders to separate the proposal from the bid. The evaluators look at the proposals simply on their merits... and assign them a score. After that’s all over, they open the bids. That way the evaluators aren’t influenced by overly large or small bids.
 

PVD

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Some government agencies will analyze and score, and for various reasons finish with a split award and negotiated acquisition. NY MTA has done some bus contracts that way, where 2 bidders (NOVA and NFI) are very close, and splitting the award allows for acquiring the units much sooner, if the award went to one or the other, it would take much longer due to the fact that they can only be built so fast. Getting them sooner from a single vendor would mean higher unit costs due to OT, staffing, and possible facility expansion. But they still had deadlines for response, and cutoff dates that are enforced.
 

Ryan

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The issue is you’re getting hung up on your interpretation of plain English usage of certain words. That is not relevant when it comes to a contractual negotiation that is the result of an RFP/bid process, in which these terms have specific business/legal meanings that may not be obvious to the average person that isn’t familiar with these processes. “Preferred bidder” isn’t some subjective wish that Amtrak has. It’s not the same as you saying you “prefer“ Coca Cola, but if Pepsi is on sale, you’ll buy that instead.

Government contracts have very specific legal standards they must adhere to in order to ensure a fair process by which vendors can submit proposals. These RFPs have very specific timelines that must be adhered to. There is a bidding process, and a bid deadline. That deadline is advertised publicly and all interested vendors *must* submit their proposals, including product/service and financial package by that date.

If a deadline is extended, it is announced publicly and all bidders are subject to the revised deadline. These extensions can happen for a number of reasons, including bidder request (if the timeline to put the proposals together is too tight; it is up to the customer, i.e. Amtrak, to decide to honor that request), changes to the RFP specifics requiring bidders to adjust their bids, or even issues internal to Amtrak. In any of these cases, the extension would have to be announced in advance. The only major exception is if they receive no qualified bids by the deadline (which obviously was not the case here). Once the deadline is reached, that’s it. Door’s closed, and the proverbial train has left the station. Legally, Amtrak cannot accept any bids after that deadline without reopening the entire RFP process. At this point, it would be equivalent to cancelling the entire RFP and starting over from scratch.

RFPs are scored on a number of different attributes, of which price is one (but not the only, or necessarily even the largest) factor. After the RFP deadline, Amtrak then opens all of the bids (generally, nobody at Amtrak could even look at the bids until the deadline has passed in order to avoid a potential leak of information from one bidder to the other). All of these rules are in place to ensure the bidding process is fair to all potential vendors.

At the end of this process, Siemens came out on top, all things considered, and has not attained preferred bidder status. This means they are the company that Amtrak will negotiate with to turn their bid into a contract.

Notwithstanding your lack of understanding of the technical definition of these terms and your complete ignoring of the very real and important processes that govern this whole project, there will be no more bids on this project. The next few months are going to be dedicated to turning Siemens’s bid into an actual contract. That is how this works. I’ve been involved in this process from both sides in the past, and in the last year have probably personally worked on at least a dozen bids my company has submitted for various RFPs. This is the process that is followed by basically every one of them. If a company came in with a bid after the RFP deadline and won the contract, there would be lawsuits all around.
That's just like, your opinion, man.

It says "bidder". That means the bidding is still open.
 

joelkfla

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At the end of this process, Siemens came out on top, all things considered, and has not attained preferred bidder status. This means they are the company that Amtrak will negotiate with to turn their bid into a contract.
I think they meant "now achieved preferred bidder status," not "not achieved."

Funny how a single letter completely reverses the meaning of a sentence.
 

railiner

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Some government agencies will analyze and score, and for various reasons finish with a split award and negotiated acquisition. NY MTA has done some bus contracts that way, where 2 bidders (NOVA and NFI) are very close, and splitting the award allows for acquiring the units much sooner, if the award went to one or the other, it would take much longer due to the fact that they can only be built so fast. Getting them sooner from a single vendor would mean higher unit costs due to OT, staffing, and possible facility expansion. But they still had deadlines for response, and cutoff dates that are enforced.
I wonder if they also might 'split' the award, so as to ensure a future pool of bidders? If one company seems to always 'win', they just might put all the other companies out of the market. While that may be 'only fair', it might limit future choice...
 
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