Sumitomo/Siemens Contract for 137 Cars (former bi-levels)

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jis

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So based on the most recent report it looks like about a year and a half until these are in service? And that's the soonest?
Isn't that pretty much what the original contract said? Why would anyone expect anything sooner?
 

milest303

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Isn't that pretty much what the original contract said? Why would anyone expect anything sooner?
I think you misunderstood me. I'm not mad by that, I just wanted to have it clarified. Siemens seems to be much better at delivering on time than Nippon sharyo
 

Ziv

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So any updates on the new cars?

(I have to admit to mystified chuckling at the thread about building new cars on a 20+ year old design)
How much better have rail cars in Europe gotten over the past 20 years? I haven't a clue. I have to imagine that the Bright Siemens cars are a few years behind the best of Europe but I have no idea how good Amtraks latest railcars are. Better than 50 year old cars I imagine, though.
 

PerRock

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Well seeing as Siemens is making the same cars for Europe, not that much different.
 

jis

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The Viaggio Comfort design which the Brightline and States orders are based on is a current product being actively built and delivered in Europe today. They are about as current as you can get.
 

Steve4031

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I just rode the Brightline yesterday. These cars are on par with what is in Europe. The ride was smooth, but FEC has upgraded the tracks with concert ties and welded rail. So cannot do apples to apples comparison with Amtrak cars.

The seats are more comfortable than Amtrak’s coach seating. Better lower back support imho. The windows are large and clean.

The bathrooms on these cars are light years ahead of anything on Amtrak. Every thing is automatic except for lifting and lowering the toilet seat. You push a button to open the door and once inside you push a button to close and lock it. A red light around the button tells you that it is locked. If it is unlocked then the light is green. Once one has completed their business they wave their hand next to a sensor by a green light and the toilet flushes. Works well for both 1and 2. I tried both. At the sink you place your hand under the faucet and the water runs. Then the hand dryer is attached to the faucet so minimal dripped n the floor. The soap also operates hands free too. I wonder how much maintenance this technology needs.
 

jis

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Interestingly, the sinks in the restroom facilities in the stations operate almost exactly the same way too.
 

Ziv

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PerRock, Jis, thanks for the info. I thought that the Bright railcars were iterations of an older design. Good to hear that they are state of the art.
Are the CAF VL-II's relatively modern iterations of a Spanish design or are they more similar to the older VL-I's? Sorry for the newby questions, I usually ride the Cap Limited and the Builder so I don't know much about the Viewliners.
 

PerRock

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the Viewliners IIs are reinventions of the older Viewliner Is. CAF does make more modern sleeping cars, but they're more in line with BR rolling stock.

Siemens does also make sleeping cars in both bilevel (multi, maybe) & single level layouts for European markets.

peter
 

jis

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PerRock, Jis, thanks for the info. I thought that the Bright railcars were iterations of an older design. Good to hear that they are state of the art.
Are the CAF VL-II's relatively modern iterations of a Spanish design or are they more similar to the older VL-I's? Sorry for the newby questions, I usually ride the Cap Limited and the Builder so I don't know much about the Viewliners.
VL-IIs have nothing to do with any European, Spanish or CAF design. They are the same as the VL-I design (1980s vintage) with some tweaks here and there. CAF is just a builder of them, and have very low involvement with the basic architecture and design.
 

DSS&A

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So any updates on the new cars?

(I have to admit to mystified chuckling at the thread about building new cars on a 20+ year old design)
AASHTO just posted new updated project status meeting minutes dated April 30th on its website. 14 carshells are currently in production and the first completed coach is expected to be delivered in January 2020 for testing.
 
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Lake Country

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I suspect that Indiana gop may have put the future of Beach Grove in jeopardy.
Consider this: The Siemens Chargers are in service and the passenger cars are in production and due to to begin delivery in 2020. These train-sets are owned by the states (not Amtrak), specifically the Midwest coalition, and Indiana is not a member of this coalition. Will Michigan, Missouri and Illinois be content with maintenance services and jobs being performed in Indiana. Each of those states would be capable of supplying a workforce skilled in heavy machine/eqpt repair. The new equipment is not Amtrak eqpt. An updated modern facility tooled to work on the Siemens/Sumitomo train sets may be more efficient and certainly would be a development prize. Why would the Midwest coalition states continue current maintenance arraignments and send funds to another state that is not an active participant in the Midwest rail planing? Its only a matter of time and sooner rather than later...
 

Ziv

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A Siemens maintenance plant in Chicago makes perfect sense.
Would the potential employer be able to convince skilled workers to move to Chicago? It has a pretty poor reputation as a place to live. It is one thing to live in the rust belt, it has been seeing a lot of improvements of late. But Chicago is a big negative, not as big as Detroit, but still big. It seems like a mid-sized rust belt city that is on the rise like Pittsburg, Cleveland or Milwaukee would be better.
 

Eric S

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Chicago is a big negative but Cleveland is a city on the rise??? My guess is that's based more on one's perception than on any objective measures.
 

jis

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Would the potential employer be able to convince skilled workers to move to Chicago? It has a pretty poor reputation as a place to live. It is one thing to live in the rust belt, it has been seeing a lot of improvements of late. But Chicago is a big negative, not as big as Detroit, but still big. It seems like a mid-sized rust belt city that is on the rise like Pittsburg, Cleveland or Milwaukee would be better.
Realistically, neither Piittsburgh, nor Cleveland makes any sense for a maintenance shop for the Midwest owned equipment. It does not make any operational or political sense.

And as for Amtrak's own LD equipment, there is no reason to move that function out of Beech Grove anyway.
 

milest303

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Would the potential employer be able to convince skilled workers to move to Chicago? It has a pretty poor reputation as a place to live. It is one thing to live in the rust belt, it has been seeing a lot of improvements of late. But Chicago is a big negative, not as big as Detroit, but still big. It seems like a mid-sized rust belt city that is on the rise like Pittsburg, Cleveland or Milwaukee would be better.
As a Chicago resident myself, you've got my attention. Personally I love this city and only see companies moving to the downtown loop, not away. Unsure of what your point is?

As far as I can tell, Chicago has more activities to offer than any of the cities you suggested.
 

Steve4031

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I live in Chicago and it has more minuses than pluses. Traffic is abysmal and winter is abysmal. Years and years of machine politics have stagnated the growth of the city. The population is decreasing.

I do believe that since Chicago is the hub of the MidWest corridor system that it would make since for the maintenance facilities for swim end be built there.
 

milest303

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I live in Chicago and it has more minuses than pluses. Traffic is abysmal and winter is abysmal. Years and years of machine politics have stagnated the growth of the city. The population is decreasing.

I do believe that since Chicago is the hub of the MidWest corridor system that it would make since for the maintenance facilities for swim end be built there.
I disagree, to me the pluses outweigh the minuses. But I also don't own a car and I love winter.

But to get back to topic I think having facilities here make more sense. Back in the 70s when Amtrak bought the Turboliners they built a facility in the Brighton Park neighborhood in Chicago. There's not much information about the current operations of the facility online, but last I heard it was used to maintain Horizon cars and the like. As the Siemens trainsets come in would it be possible they might transition the operations of that shop to work on the new cars?
 

NSC1109

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I disagree, to me the pluses outweigh the minuses. But I also don't own a car and I love winter.

But to get back to topic I think having facilities here make more sense. Back in the 70s when Amtrak bought the Turboliners they built a facility in the Brighton Park neighborhood in Chicago. There's not much information about the current operations of the facility online, but last I heard it was used to maintain Horizon cars and the like. As the Siemens trainsets come in would it be possible they might transition the operations of that shop to work on the new cars?
The last I heard, the Brighton Park facility is still active, frequently servicing Horizon and occasionally Superliner consists. The most recent Apple Maps 3D image shows a single piece of MoW equipment on site. No vehicles and no passenger equipment of any kind.
 

milest303

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If all that's there is some MOW equipment then I think those shops are a prime location for a maintenance facility, albeit with some upgrading.
 

Steve4031

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Brighton park is far from CUS. IIRC equipment that is serviced there would have to cross two railroad junctions at grade to get to CUS. It’s not that big either.

I don’t know how many turboliners were serviced there but think there would be in more Siemens train sets to be serviced than there were turboliners.
 

milest303

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Brighton park is far from CUS. IIRC equipment that is serviced there would have to cross two railroad junctions at grade to get to CUS. It’s not that big either.

I don’t know how many turboliners were serviced there but think there would be in more Siemens train sets to be serviced than there were turboliners.
It's a little far, but there's not much room to expand. You could also say that Metra's Western Ave shops are far from Union Station, but those shops are also much larger than what Brighton Park is.
 

NES28

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It's a little far, but there's not much room to expand. You could also say that Metra's Western Ave shops are far from Union Station, but those shops are also much larger than what Brighton Park is.
The most logical place for a new Midwest central facility would be next to O'Hare Airport, on the site of the ex-CN, ex-Wisconsin Central, ex-Soo Schiller Park Yard. All Midwest Corridor trains from the east and south should terminate at O'Hare not only to serve the busiest airport in the country, but to serve the 2 million people and huge number of workers in the northwest suburbs (more than in almost all Midwestern cities). Last I knew CN had vacated the yard. Running time to CUS is now 27 minutes on Metra express trains and, with some investment, can be reduced less than 20.
 
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