Siemens Venture Coaches: What Purpose Will They Serve?

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Amtrak_Carolinian_2020

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Videos have surfaced recently on YouTube of new coach cars manufactured by Siemens operating on the Northeast Corridor? It appears that the doors on these cars are not quite level with the doors on the Amfleet. So, which routes will these cars serve: NEC/East Coast, Midwest, or West?
 

Eric S

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These cars have been ordered by California and a group of states in the Midwest, not by Amtrak, for use on intercity routes in those areas (San Joaquin, Lincoln, Wolverine, etc.).

More info here.
 

Amtrak_Carolinian_2020

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These cars have been ordered by California and a group of states in the Midwest, not by Amtrak, for use on intercity routes in those areas (San Joaquin, Lincoln, Wolverine, etc.).

More info here.
Just seems weird that they’re being tested on the NEC, when they won’t come any closer than hundreds of miles of the NEC once in service. Any idea (without having to sift through thousands of forum posts) what will eventually be used to replace the Amfleet in the East/NEC?
 

PerRock

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I believe the NEC testing is for speed & compatibility with Amtrak's systems.

As for doors, there are 2 types of doors being installed in these cars. One is a low-level door, with traps; which is the one you see closest to the Amfleet. The floor is still the same height (or very close to) as the Amfleets & Horizons. The door on the other end of the car is the high-level door & will be at the same height as the Amfleet doors... What the high-level door has is a small bridge that extends out to bridge the gap between the platform & the car.

peter
 

Amtrak_Carolinian_2020

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I believe the NEC testing is for speed & compatibility with Amtrak's systems.

As for doors, there are 2 types of doors being installed in these cars. One is a low-level door, with traps; which is the one you see closest to the Amfleet. The floor is still the same height (or very close to) as the Amfleets & Horizons. The door on the other end of the car is the high-level door & will be at the same height as the Amfleet doors... What the high-level door has is a small bridge that extends out to bridge the gap between the platform & the car.

peter
So, I take it Siemens cars very similar to these will eventually replace the Amfleets?
 

Eric S

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So, I take it Siemens cars very similar to these will eventually replace the Amfleets?
No order has been placed for Amfleet replacements. I'm guessing we have a thread here somewhere with all sorts of guesses, speculation, and rumors about what will eventually be ordered.
 

PerRock

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Purely speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised to see both Stadler & Alsom (as well as Siemens) put in bids for the Amfleet replacements. All three make coaches that are very similar (based initially off the Eurofima design) to the new Viaggio coaches for California, the Midwest & Brightline (seen in the video above). Siemens has an advantage as their Viaggio coaches will already be in service in the US & so very little testing will be needed. Alstom also has an advantage as their coaches can be similar to the new Avelia. I'm not sure there will be a bid from Bombardier, as they're selling off their rail division to Alstom.

peter
 

railiner

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I would like to see an American company enter the passenger railcar market...perhaps a freight car builder such as Trinity?
 

Anthony V

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Purely speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised to see both Stadler & Alsom (as well as Siemens) put in bids for the Amfleet replacements. All three make coaches that are very similar (based initially off the Eurofima design) to the new Viaggio coaches for California, the Midwest & Brightline (seen in the video above). Siemens has an advantage as their Viaggio coaches will already be in service in the US & so very little testing will be needed. Alstom also has an advantage as their coaches can be similar to the new Avelia. I'm not sure there will be a bid from Bombardier, as they're selling off their rail division to Alstom.

peter
As part of the sale, will Bombardier sell the designs for the Superliners to Alstom as well? If yes, then Alstom should be the preferred vendor for the Superliner replacements.
 

Steve4031

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I would think a standardized single level fleet would work best. Love the super liners and would miss them.
 

IndyLions

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As part of the sale, will Bombardier sell the designs for the Superliners to Alstom as well? If yes, then Alstom should be the preferred vendor for the Superliner replacements.
I would think a standardized single level fleet would work best. Love the super liners and would miss them.
I’m NOT saying they should, but IF they start designating some long distance trains as experiential – then I would be in favor of using the existing Superliner fleet for that purpose. They could buy new single level train sets for the standard long distance.

This would allow Amtrak to have a large pool of Superliners to pull from, and they could then significantly upgrade and renovate them for the experiential trains.

The new single level long distance train sets would presumably be of the same design as ones purchased for corridor service. That could allow that fleet to share a large common pool of Coach, Lounge & Baggage cars also. They’d still need more single level sleepers and (hopefully) diners.
 

sttom

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I would think a standardized single level fleet would work best. Love the super liners and would miss them.
The problem with replacing the Superliners with a single level variant is that you would need to replace 2 Superliners with 3 single level cars. That would also mean a much larger and much more expensive car order which may or may not get through Congress. The issue isn't necessarily that Amtrak doesn't have a standardized fleet, the fleets of the private railways wasn't necessarily standardized, but they could still get parts which is something Amtrak has had issues with. This could easily be solved by making sure rail gets dedicated government funds like highways do so there is always an assembly line running and Amtrak designing a standard open source design for a single level and a bi-level car. Another issue with parts that could be easily avoided is making sure all the parts that need to be replaced are standardized. Like the trucks, brake systems, electrical parts, plumbing and so on so anyone can make the parts. A standard single level design won't matter much if the company making the parts goes under or leaves the country because business dries up. And that has been a major problem with rail in this country, there isn't a steady customer buying equipment.
 
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I have no problem or issue with bi-levels, but I question the wisdom of building from 50ish year old plans (the original concept is what, about 65-70 years old or so?). It'd be better to order something off the shelf to replace the superliners, or to dream, order enough equipment to run two trains rather than one.
 

west point

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Parts problem might be solvable if original purchase contract had certain provisions. One that builder will provide parts at a certain price. All parts prices will be listed at sometimes close to first delivery. Inflation increases will also be determined at that time. If builder does not want buy or manufacture any part then it will have to license any after market manufacturer at some set price.
 

sttom

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Its not like the Siemens cars are exactly based on a new design. The Viaggio Comfort is based on the Viaggio Classic which is based on car designs from the early 1970s. People are lazy, its not like we design everything from the ground up in any amount of regularity.
 

toddinde

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There are many designs around the world to consider. I love the Superliners, but it’s good to consider many options.
 

PerRock

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Siemens does make the Viaggio Twin, which is their bi-level varriant of the coaches we're getting for the midwest. They're a bit more like the Bombardier BiLevel cars, than Superliners.

Stadler apparently now has the rights to build the Colorado Railcar designs. One could go for that design.

peter
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Siemens does make the Viaggio Twin, which is their bi-level varriant of the coaches we're getting for the midwest. They're a bit more like the Bombardier BiLevel cars, than Superliners.

Stadler apparently now has the rights to build the Colorado Railcar designs. One could go for that design.

peter
The bi-level Colorado Railcar designs are too tall for use on the Midwest corridors.
 

rickycourtney

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I would like to see an American company enter the passenger railcar market...perhaps a freight car builder such as Trinity?
I mean... Siemens is a very active company in the US.

The Siemens plant here in California is probably the most active passenger rail vehicle manufacturing facilities in the US. They’re building these cars, LRVs, and Charger locomotives. They’re sourcing parts from other US Siemens factories and other suppliers in the US. On top of that, the cars are Buy America Act compliant.

The only thing different is that the company headquarters are in Germany (with plenty of other offices around the world). This is our global economy in action.

The benefit of a global company is that these aren’t a bespoke design like so many other rail vehicles before. These have been tested in Europe and on Brightline. That has allowed Siemens to do what Nippon Sharyo couldn’t... deliver a product that passes inspections and does it on schedule.
 
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NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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As part of the sale, will Bombardier sell the designs for the Superliners to Alstom as well? If yes, then Alstom should be the preferred vendor for the Superliner replacements.
Alstom manufactured the Surfliner cars after inheriting the California Car design (a derivative of the Superliner) from Morrison-Knudsen (note that their US plant was previously used by Morrison-Knudsen)

As for Bombardier selling their designs to Alstom, Alstom has designs that are redundant with Bombardier's (Metropolis for Movia; Prima for TRAXX; Xtrapolis and Coradia for Omneo, TWINDEXX and Talent; Avelia for Zefiro). The European Commission is going to mandate that Alstom sell Bombardier's designs that are redundant with Alstom's to another company that doesn't have redundant designs (most likely Hitachi). Hitachi would also likely inherit the Canadian bilevel car design.

As for an Amfleet replacement, I'm gonna go over replacing Amfleet II's since my idea is that the Amfleet I's would largely be replaced by electro-diesel (or electro-battery) multiple units. This replacement design would physically resemble the Viewliners (call them Viewliner III) for uniformity, and CAF would again be commission to make the cars.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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If CAF ever gets another Amtrak order, I'd be shocked. If Amtrak DOES place an order with CAF good luck on ever seeing them any time soon.
Heard the Viewliner IIs are still being built so it appears the backorder hasn't finished yet. Was CAF not a good choice or something?
 

Green Maned Lion

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CAF was a completely incompetent choice. They have demonstrated a full and complete lack of understanding of North American industry and the problems associated with the lack of it. They had a huge back order primarily because they were not aware there are not a great deal of trained shot-welders in this country, and greatly underestimated the cost of hiring same.

CAF has been slow-playing the order because they bid way under what it is going to cost them to complete it, and are sort of dragging their feet on it. There are intervening factors- such as the Bakkan oil fields- that contributed to this, but frankly, the company has demonstrated its incompetence thoroughly throughout this process.

Seimens, on the other hand, has demonstrated itself a reliable fulfiller of contracts, producing products of satisfactory quality. They are most likely the front-runner for the Amfleet replacements, which will likely be based on an off-the-shelf Siemens design, also with a high likelihood of it being a Viaggio Comfort derivative.

The Viewliner order combined with the Nippon-Sharyo bi-level debacle, has probably put paid to Amtrak and other inter-city operators using custom designs. It is also important to note that I prefer my Sharyos to be Kinki.
 
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