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

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brianpmcdonnell17

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Don’t forget that Metra will also be moving the Southwest Service to LaSalle Street in the near future. I haven’t heard if that move is designed to free up space for Metra in Chicago South then but that could also add capacity.

I’m still wary of what would essentially be having two bases of operation for Amtrak’s operations in Chicago. Crew facilities would have to be built in the station as well as some sort of ORD-CUS connector because some trains won’t be able to go to CUS if they’re based out of ORD. For example, the Hiawatha. If you move all Midwest corridor trains to ORD, they can’t stop at CUS because they’d have to backtrack to O’Hare. Kind of negates the whole purpose. The same can be said for the new services that are supposedly starting in Moline and Rockford: they’d have to pass the airport to serve CUS, then backtrack.
Rockford trains would require a backup move to even have an intermediate stop at ORD, as they will operate on the Milwaukee District West Line, which merges with the North Central Service south of the ORD stop. The Moline trains will use the same route into Chicago as the CZ, SWC, and Quincy trains, so could continue past CUS to ORD, although it would be circuitous.
 

jis

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Maybe a new thread is needed to discuss suburban railroads around Chicago, so that this thread can be returned to its original subject. :cool:
 

NSC1109

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Maybe a new thread is needed to discuss suburban railroads around Chicago, so that this thread can be returned to its original subject. :cool:

Here’s a tie-in for you: are there even enough new cars in order for the new services? Or are they gonna use legacy equipment?
 

jis

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That is a relevant question for both California and Midwest, but that is not what is being discussed, when one is talking about METRA service. So at best it is a weak attempt at a tie in. Sorry. :p Just IMHO of course.
 

NSC1109

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That is a relevant question for both California and Midwest, but that is not what is being discussed, when one is talking about METRA service. So at best it is a weak attempt at a tie in. Sorry. :p Just IMHO of course.
Ahhhhh I misunderstood what you were referring to. My bad!
 
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MisterUptempo

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jis

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This is the sort of rapid progress is what I had hoped to see from CAF on the Viewliner order too, but alas that was not to be.
 
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Random thought:
Should Amtrak design a viewliner ll coach and lounge car as a replacement for the amfleet ll vehicles for long distance routes in the east...In order to make a consist uniformed along with the V-ll diners and sleepers like superliner consists?
 

NSC1109

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Random thought:
Should Amtrak design a viewliner ll coach and lounge car as a replacement for the amfleet ll vehicles for long distance routes in the east...In order to make a consist uniformed along with the V-ll diners and sleepers like superliner consists?
I’ve thought about the same thing, and frankly I think a coach with double rows of windows would be popular: high ceilings, lots of natural light during the day, etc.

Problem would be the builder. CAF, current builder of the V-IIs, has endured many setbacks and delays during the project.

In addition to a “uniform look” in terms of shape, they should also be uniform in color. Nothing irritates me more than the fact that Amtrak has their dorms, bags, and bag-dorms running around in a separate scheme than the rest of the national fleet. Either transition to “Amtrak America” for LD or don’t.

Edit: Reading up on the Viewliners on Wikipedia, it appears that Amtrak’s goal back in the 90s was in fact solid consists of Viewliners, including coaches. That probably means Amtrak has a prototype design for a Viewliner Coach lying around somewhere.
 

jiml

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Random thought:
Should Amtrak design a viewliner ll coach and lounge car as a replacement for the amfleet ll vehicles for long distance routes in the east...In order to make a consist uniformed along with the V-ll diners and sleepers like superliner consists?
Lounges especially - would almost be an Eastern version of Sightseer Lounge. Even if they had to economize and have only a single row of windows in coaches, aren't Viewliner windows larger than the Amfleet they'd replace?
 

Steve4031

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I think a long distance version of the Siemens cars would be more realistic. Some of the Chinese Bullet trains have lie-flat seats like on airplanes. I’m sure these seats or something similar could be fitted into the seimans cars.
 

PerRock

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Siemens actually makes a sleeper version of the Viaggio cars (which is what we're getting) for Russia & Austria. I don't think they'd have much problem putting the interior into our shells.

peter
 
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MikefromCrete

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Viewliners are the past. Given CAF's record on building cars, it would be the 22nd century before any Viewliner coaches appear. The Siemens cars are the future and they can be outfitted as just about any kind of car. It would be no problem to make them into cafe cars, lounges, diners, sleepers.
 

railiner

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Upper windows would not be practical in coaches.
That’s where the overhead baggage racks go...
 

keelhauled

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There’s no reason a hypothetical Viewliner III order would need to come from CAF. The design is Amtrak’s and they would just send it out to bid like they did with the CAF order. As I recall, Alstom also bid for that order, but CAF was the low bidder.

That said, the Avelia order and the RfI and RfP for the Amfleet I replacement where they are letting the manufacturers offer their own designs make me think Amtrak has learned their lesson about purchasing bespoke equipment and any long distance order will hew as closely as possible to some builder’s existing design.
 
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jis

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That is certainly true for single level cars.

Replacement for bi-level cars like Superliners is going to be another matter unless Amtrak decides to go with off the shelf bi-level designs instead of trying to get reproductions of the Superliner/Sufliner design. I believe that is still an open issue, which will get resolved after the RFI and then RFQ is issued and responses evaluated.
 

bretton88

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If I recall correctly a big difference between the viewliner procurement and and bilevel procurement is Amtrak doesn't own the designs. Any new superliners would have be made by bombardier (ugh these days) or California cars made by alstom (which has no sleeper variant, though I'm sure one could be come up with.). So amtrak is wise to look at all their options including replacements with single level cars.
 

jis

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If I recall correctly a big difference between the viewliner procurement and and bilevel procurement is Amtrak doesn't own the designs. Any new superliners would have be made by bombardier (ugh these days) or California cars made by alstom (which has no sleeper variant, though I'm sure one could be come up with.). So amtrak is wise to look at all their options including replacements with single level cars.
Amtrak owning the design is a red herring. Amtrak owning the Viewliner design is not causing them to order more Viewliners. Actually it is a formula for increasing procurement costs to insist on your own design since the total number of cars to be ordered is small, less than a thousand. Compare that to worldwide orders for Viaggios for example. There is no way Amtrak can win by spending its own money for designing cars and maintaining car designs. That is not part of its core skill set, or should not be even if someone at Amtrak thinks it should be.

The car specification in the US has specifically been assigned to the PRIAA Committee, and the cars ordered from Siemens are compliant with the specification. That is about as far as these things should go. Amtrak should specify the type of accommodation they want furnished, and car suppliers the world over are quite capable of cost effectively manufacturing cars with proper furnishing as per the request of the customer, as long as they don't insist on the structural foundation of the car to be modified in bizarre ways.

It makes sense for an outfit to own its own design when it is something like Chinese Railways or Indian Railways. Even RZD, the Russian Railways, which orders a heck of a lot more cars than Amtrak does, tends to shy away from owning the car designs. To give you an idea of the number of cars per year we are talking about for owning designs, Indian Railways orders over 7000 cars each year
 
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edgy

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The IDOT portion of the order will have cafe cars, while the Caltrans portion will not, just as Caltrans will be getting cab cars, while IDOT will not.
Looking over the Feb 2018 NGEC PowerPoint and later updates both Caltrans AND IDOT will have café cars. California cars are more set up as 7 trainsets made up of 5 different types of cars. But one is a café car. Full PowerPoint is too large to upload, but they are listed as: Cab car, Café car, End coach car coupled to locomotive, mid coach car, mid coach car with wheelchair lifts.
 

MisterUptempo

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Looking over the Feb 2018 NGEC PowerPoint and later updates both Caltrans AND IDOT will have café cars. California cars are more set up as 7 trainsets made up of 5 different types of cars. But one is a café car. Full PowerPoint is too large to upload, but they are listed as: Cab car, Café car, End coach car coupled to locomotive, mid coach car, mid coach car with wheelchair lifts.
Perhaps you are correct, but looking at the Powerpoint "CALIDOT" presentation from the 2019 NGEC meeting, found here-

http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/Caltrans_IDOT New Single-Level Passenger Railcars “CALIDOT”.pdf


It mentions a "Lounge Car" for Caltrans, while referring to "Lounge Car" and "cafe" for IDOT.

Also in the minutes of the May 21, 2019 Executive Committee meeting, found here-

http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/305 Exec Brd minutes - 5-21-19 final.doc



It is mentioned that IDOT, and IDOT alone, had a cafe car and galley design review meeting with Siemens, while Caltrans alone had a cab car design review with Siemens, and we know Caltrans is the only entity getting cab cars.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into the fact that only IDOT has a cafe car listed on the presentation and that they alone took that meeting with Siemens. We'll see.
 
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Good dialogue and speculation. Thanks for the rundown on the Siemens order, it will be interesting to see their cars go into the regional service and on VIA Rail. I need to go over to Miami to ride Virgin/Brightline to see how they are sometime soon.

Some observations from a 33 year Class 1 railway semi-retiree and veteran of many Amtrak/VIA and pre-Amtrak/VIA "journeys".

As I recall Superliner I was designed by Amtrak and a third party engineering firm (L. T. Klauder) and likely owned by Amtrak. Pullman Standard and Budd both bid on the Superliner I program and Pullman won; according to Wikipedia Boeing and Rohr were also sent bid invitations . I have read that some Budd patents were used in their construction. Viewliner was an in house Amtrak design (one of the managers involved in the concept development is a friend of mine) and Budd built the three prototype shells (Amtrak Beech Grove completed the interior and systems installations). Years later Bombardier had acquired all Pullman and Budd designs, and perhaps any production jigs etc. but that did not stop Amtrak biding out Viewliner I with Morrison-Knudsen winning the bid, or for that matter Viewliner II being bid on as well.

So, a Superliner III program using an updated Superliner design could likely be possible. The active Superliner I and II fleet is some 424 cars, and VIA could use over 100-150 to replace the ex-CP Canadian cars used on the Canadian and other western trains plus 30-50 more for the Ocean if a low level platform was established in Central Station/Gare Central in Montreal. So, a 550-650 car multi year Amtrak/VIA program could be conceived, and could be bigger if train capacity was increased to 1980-1995 levels. Remember, only 12-13 years separate the last Superliner I cars from the first Superliner IIs, so a program over 5-7 years would make sense with 100 cars per year. Of course the current Amtrak leadership would likely be fine replacing the superliner trains by a single car DMU with a couple of vending machines at one end.

As for Viewliner, the project went through several concept and detailed design steps. Original concepts included a vestibule near center and Superliner sized windows, and upper berth windows were added. As it progressed to detailed design a more conventional vestibule location was decided on and the carbody enlarged to the maximum loading gauge for the northeast. The upper berth windows were at first removed, and then added back (for sleeper, lounge and diner); the windows by then were Amfleet II (main) and Amfleet I(upper) for standardization. Here are the later detailed designs:
upload_2019-6-10_11-7-12.png

upload_2019-6-10_11-8-3.png
As I recall a full family was envisaged: sleeper, diner, lounge, coach, crew dorm and baggage, and was to replace all of Heritage Fleet from 1990 on. The M-K order was for 50 sleepers with 50 sleeper options, and the potential for 250 or more additional cars (the other types). In the end only the 50 sleepers were built, and none of the options exercised. The program had been delayed by a then awful 1-2 years. I recall an article in Trains back in the 1990's when the program was underway that the lounge variant included a skylight roof and a large service door for the snack bar that included a lift for both supplies and wheel chair passengers. I do recall seeing a comment somewhere that M-K built a 51st shell on their own as a test article which was a lounge with the skylight roof; never saw that confirmed, let alone a picture. Would have enjoyed riding one of those through the New River Gorge on the Cardinal

From the new Amtrak fleet plan it does seem they are intent on replacing Amfleet I with an off the shelf design and that it could replace Amfleet II, so more Viewliners do seem out of reach, which is a shame.

Keep in mind when Superliner and Viewliner were designed there were no "off the shelf" designs that could be used in the US other than Metroliner/Amfleet (and some commuter designs). There was little interest in changing European designs for the most part, and Japanese Shinkansen trains have a carbody too wide for US clearances . There was also issues with "buy USA provisions" for Federal purchases and the uncertainty of Amtrak's future. Amtrak was able to bring on the 6 ANF RTG Turboliners but the additional Turboliners were built by US aerospace supplier Rohr (7 RTL trains built, 7 more planned but cancelled by Congress, even more above 14 sets were planned). Superliner and Viewliner are good and successful designs (sure, there were some bugs). The big problem in the last 15 years has been elimination of a US industry base due to a lack of orders and inexperienced builders winning bids (CAF-Viewliner and stillborn Sumitomo regional bi-level). It will be interesting to see if the new "off the shelf" designs are as durable and long lived as Amfleet, Superliner and Viewliner.

Walter
 
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