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

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sttom

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I see the SJJPA still thinks bringing back Automats is a good thing. I will have to look into making a trip before they get their way.
 

jrud

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I’ve been watching the Siemens Venture coach test videos using a stopwatch for speed estimates. The fastest I found was one train at around 105 mph. A couple were 95-100 mph. Everything else was slower. It is amazing how fast around 100 mph seems on a close video.
 

rickycourtney

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I really do hope that they fully test these trainsets at 125 mph.

California legislators seem to be really considering cutting the funding for the high speed rail trains and electric systems. If they get their way, the plan would be to run diesel trains (presumably these trainsets and the Chargers) on the high speed tracks.
(Source: California Assembly wants bullet train contract deferred in rebuke of project's current plan – LA Times)

If that comes to pass, I hope these trains can at least do the advertised 125 mph.
 

rickycourtney

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A couple of updates from the NGEC website...

Update – Multi-State Rail Car Procurement as of 5-19-20:
Design review for the standard coach is now complete. The Cab Car structure FDR took place in February and plans are in work for structural and CEM testing. IDOT galley FDR reviews and releases are ongoing. Cab Car F-coupler FDR occurred on May 6.
On 5-28-20, Melissa Shurland reported that the US Access Board extended the comment period for Recommendations on Access for Rail Vehicles until July 14, 2020. (Link)
Open items for complete coach FAI are near closure. Non-domestic testing has been postponed due to travel restrictions. Video and photos are being provided for tests that SMEs are unable to witness. The Interior Lighting test was repeated last week, and open items are being reviewed. NEC testing made good is complete (Thank you Amtrak!) and the car is being prepared for return shipment to Sacramento.
49 cars total are in production or have been produced at Siemens Sacramento Facility. The production facility remains open under an Essential Business clause. System-level FAIs for standard coach are complete with final approvals in work. Cars 7, 9 and 13 were shipped to Stockton on April 27th, and there are now seven cars total at the Stockton facility. Cars 10 through 34 are in final assembly. Cars 11 and 12 are scheduled to be shipped the 2nd week of June. The First IDOT cars are scheduled to ship the 3rd week of June.
The project teams are continuing to monitor potential production and schedule impacts due to the coronavirus and are receiving frequent updates from SCOA and Siemens.

Update – Multi-State Rail Car Procurement (provided by Caltrans) as of 6-30-20:
Design review for the standard coach is complete. The Cab Car structure FDR is complete, and CEM element testing is currently planned for early July, with setup for compression testing to follow in July or August. The Cab Car brake system FDR is confirmed for July 13th. IDOT galley FDR reviews and releases are ongoing, and the latest galley review occurred on June 16th.
On 5-28-20, Melissa Shurland reported that the US Access Board extended the comment period for Recommendations on Access for Rail Vehicles until July 14, 2020.
On the 16th and the 30th, members were reminded by Steve Hewitt that any comments they wished to submit to the docket were due by July 14th. (Link)
Travel restrictions are being evaluated, with potential travel in July to reviews and test sites. Video and photos continue to be provided for tests that SMEs are unable to witness. NEC testing is complete, and the test report is in process.
51 cars total are in production or have been produced at Siemens Sacramento Facility. System-level FAIs for standard coach are complete with final open items in work to complete first car overall FAI. The overall car FAI for IDOT is in process this week, followed by an FRA Sample Car Inspection. There are seven cars total at the Stockton facility. Cars 11 and 12 are scheduled to be shipped to Stockton at the end of June. The IDOT cars are scheduled to begin shipments near the end of July.
The project teams continue to monitor potential production and schedule impacts due to the coronavirus and are receiving frequent updates from SCOA and Siemens.
 
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Steve4031

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Based on this information is it possible to determine when cars might enter service? It seems like they are on schedule or ahead of schedule.
 

Mailliw

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Wow, if Siemens can actually deliver something ahead of schedule they're a shooin for Amfleet replacement.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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This PowerPoint lists delivery as May for the Midwest and service rollout in September. Given that delivery is now expected in July maybe there will be some ready for service by the end of the year. The cars for California are actually listed as starting service in July but I'm not sure when delivery actually occurred.
 

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sttom

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I can say that I have not seen the new cars on any trains in the last few weeks. I have seen the San Joaquins running with the California Cars and sometimes the a Comet consist.
 

rickycourtney

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The delivery of 9 cars is pretty impressive IMHO.

It's interesting that the cars are being delivered to Stockton, considering Amtrak California yard is in Oakland.

My educated guess is that the cars are being stored at the new Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) service facility. Which is interesting, because no other Amtrak California equipment has been kept there.

For those who don't know, ACE handles the day-to-day business operations of the San Joaquin under contract with a state agency.

It’s possible that the Oakland yard is full of trainsets sidelined by COVID, and ACE has a yard with plenty of room that also happens to be a quick trip from the Siemens factory in Florin.

But there's been discussion that Herzog, the same contractor who operates and maintains the ACE trains (and runs the Stockton yard), would be interested in taking over train operations for the San Joaquins. It’s interesting that they’re getting the first look at the new equipment.
 
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Steve4031

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Trains had the following information behind a pay wall today.

Fifty-one Siemens cars in the order for Amtrak state-supported service in California and the Midwest have either been completed or are under construction, according to the end-of-June report by the Next Generation Equipment Committee, which includes representatives of Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, host freight railroads, manufacturers, and state and other operators. Cars for the Illinois Department of Transportation portion of that order are scheduled to begin shipments near the end of July. A total of 137 cars are on order, replacing the original order for 130 bilevel cars by Nippon Sharyo,
 

NSC1109

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The way it reads, the answer would be yes. Looks like the Midwest will be seeing some cab cars after all. Two questions now:

1) Will this equipment be painted in the same scheme as the “Amtrak Midwest”-painted cars from IDOT?

2) Will these sets be sequestered into Hiawatha-only service, or will we be seeing them on any corridor route out of Chicago as needed?

If the answer to question 1 is “no”, then I believe it is setting a dangerous precedent. Amtrak already has a branding problem with numerous services that have their own paint schemes:

Empire Services (P3 variant)
Amtrak Surfliner
Amtrak Capitol Corridor
Amtrak Cascades
Amtrak North Carolina (Piedmont I think?)
Amtrak America Bag/Diners

A unified brand is extremely important, and Amtrak lacks it right now.

There’s a reason why one of the top airlines in the US refuses to do “heritage paint” for their fleet like AA: it screws with the brand.
 

Crowbar_k

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The way it reads, the answer would be yes. Looks like the Midwest will be seeing some cab cars after all. Two questions now:

1) Will this equipment be painted in the same scheme as the “Amtrak Midwest”-painted cars from IDOT?

2) Will these sets be sequestered into Hiawatha-only service, or will we be seeing them on any corridor route out of Chicago as needed?

If the answer to question 1 is “no”, then I believe it is setting a dangerous precedent. Amtrak already has a branding problem with numerous services that have their own paint schemes:

Empire Services (P3 variant)
Amtrak Surfliner
Amtrak Capitol Corridor
Amtrak Cascades
Amtrak North Carolina (Piedmont I think?)
Amtrak America Bag/Diners

A unified brand is extremely important, and Amtrak lacks it right now.

There’s a reason why one of the top airlines in the US refuses to do “heritage paint” for their fleet like AA: it screws with the brand.
Who cares? It's just paint. I think the reason states such as North Carolina and California have different branding is try to distance themselves from the rest of Amtrak given its reputation. I don't even think the Peidmont trains say the word "Amtrak" anywhere on them. Amtrak already has a separate website for the Hiawatha.
 
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NSC1109

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Who cares? It's just paint. I think the reason states such as North Carolina and California have different branding is try to distance themselves from the rest of Amtrak given its reputation. I don't even think the Peidmont trains say the word "Amtrak" anywhere on them. Amtrak already has a separate website for the Hiawatha.
It’s more than “just paint”. Early on in my business education at University, we were taught that branding is everything, and that not having a unified brand can lead to consumer confusion, a perception of “in-cohesiveness” within the company, and in the end, rising costs for doing things like individual websites for various services, painting costs, etc. I realize that most of us on this site don’t really care. But it’s a real problem in the transportation/business world.

A personal example that occurred earlier this year, pre-COVID: I had a passenger come up to me and ask me why her flight was being marketed as “on time” when the aircraft “obviously hadn’t arrived yet” and proceeded to make various demands (hotel, vouchers, etc). She didn’t realize that the aircraft she was flying on was a spare operated by one of Delta’s regional carriers (SkyWest) and the aircraft was lettered for SkyWest, not Delta Connection as per normal.

Branding matters.
 

railiner

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I realize that most of us on this site don’t really care.
You'd be surprised...many 'fans' live for variety in paint schemes and equipment differences...the sharp eyed ones can even tell if a stripe varies from 'standard'.
It's a funny thing...Amtrak started out with its "rainbow fleet", that is inherited equipment painted in their original railroad's scheme. Then for a while, the fleet became fairly uniform, until California and other states starting insisting on their own scheme's...
 

NSC1109

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You'd be surprised...many 'fans' live for variety in paint schemes and equipment differences...the sharp eyed ones can even tell if a stripe varies from 'standard'.
It's a funny thing...Amtrak started out with its "rainbow fleet", that is inherited equipment painted in their original railroad's scheme. Then for a while, the fleet became fairly uniform, until California and other states starting insisting on their own scheme's...
Actually, that’s exactly what I meant. Most railfans don’t really care about the various brandings. A lot actually like it because it’s “different”, “rare”, etc. Apologies if I was confusing.
 

jiml

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I like all the retro paint schemes currently running on Norfolk-Southern. They've done a really nice job - second only to CP's SD-70's:

CPheritage.jpg
 

PVD

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I like the NYS DOT sponsored "Empire Service" repaints of the P32-DM (700's) I think they are almost done, only one or two not done yet.
 

me_little_me

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When the states are forced to subsidize the trains or own them but pay Amtrak to run them, they are entitled to decide what they look like (the latter case) or at least have an input on it.
 

Crowbar_k

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When the states are forced to subsidize the trains or own them but pay Amtrak to run them, they are entitled to decide what they look like (the latter case) or at least have an input on it.
I have a feeling that some state run trains don't even want to be associated with Amtrak. I believe the Peidmont trains don't have the word "Amtrak" written anywhere on them.
 
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