Talgos on the Move for Good!

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Just-Thinking-51

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Not sure there going to the Pacific Northwest. Not sure there welcome in those states. Might be simple the storage fees have gone up. Got all that heritage equipment sitting there that Amtrak does not own. Got to be fair raise rate on the junkyard and on the Talgo equipment.
 

jis

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The interior of those trains, including seats and food service cars have to be modified for them to fit in with the Cascades fleet. I have not heard anything about whether that is going to get done in their new home or not, and if so when.
 

zephyr17

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Can you cite whatever you read that they are going to the PNW? Haven't heard anything here, plus a few months ago WashDOT announced that they would be buying whatever Amtrak comes up with as their standard corridor car for Cascades service to replace the Talgo Series 6s that they want to retire per NTSB recommendations.

The Talgo Series 8 are fully FRA compliant without waivers, but WashDOT seemed pretty firm about moving away from Talgos and to whatever is the new Amtrak standard for the long term.
 
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bretton88

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Can you cite whatever you read that they are going to the PNW? Haven't heard anything here, plus a few months ago WashDOT announced that they would be buying whatever Amtrak comes up with as their standard corridor car for Cascades service to replace the Talgo Series 6s that they want to retire per NTSB recommendations.

The Talgo Series 8 are fully FRA compliant without waivers, but WashDOT seemed pretty firm about moving away from Talgos and to whatever is the new Amtrak standard for the long term.
While there's no official source, on other boards, people "in the know" who I'd trust, have confirmed they're heading to the PNW. Any other details are unknown at this point.
 

neroden

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I think Talgo's formal request for reconsideration at the NTSB may have affected the political mood in Washington State. It was damning for the NTSB, whose staff were demonstrated to be corrupt, biased, prejudiced, and ignorant. (Talgo pretty much accused the staff of deliberately lying to the board, proved that the staff did not follow standard procedure, proved that the report's conclusions were wrong by commissioning their own independent study, and fingered a specific NTSB staff member as biased. It was hardcore.) After reading that, which clearly shows that even the older Talgos are safer than Amfleets and Superliners, Olympia politicians may have changed their minds and welcomed Talgo back.
 

jis

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NTSB certainly lost a lot of credibility on the railroad side of its activities in its sorry performance after the Cascade accident. They came out looking like rank amateurs.

I wonder how they would have done on the air side if they had to handle the MAX thing as lead. Hopefully not as poorly. Interestingly, the two countries involved explicitly avoided dealing with the NTSB and selected the French safety agency to help them handle those accidents.

While there's no official source, on other boards, people "in the know" who I'd trust, have confirmed they're heading to the PNW. Any other details are unknown at this point.
I agree that as far as I know they are going to PNW. They will first undergo some modifications in Milwaukee, and eventually show up in PNW, owned by WasDOT, sometime in mid to late 2020 for deployment in Cascades service.

There is also talk of creating a 5th Talgo 8 set by stealing cars from the 4 sets and using the extra cab car that was built with the Wisconsin order that is still available. As I understand it, if this is carried out then there will be 5 ten car sets instead of 4 13 car sets, plus a few spares.

At present all this should be treated as hearsay since I don't have access to any citeable reference for this.
 
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DSS&A

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I agree that the Talgo formal request for reconsideration was very informative and provided significant facts and history about how the NTSB staff analysis and "conclusions" along with past historical recommendations, was very damning for the NTSB.

Here is a link to the Railway Age artivle about the Talgo formal request.

https://www.railwayage.com/safety/ntsb-amtrak-501-report-errors-and-unsupported-statements/

I also found it very interesting that the Talgo engineering analysis of their older equipment can be modified with one new corner post per car to be made compliant with current equipment safety standards.
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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Glad to hear WaDot will be getting these railcars. Still a bit surprised of the lack of a direct story about these railcars going to PNW. Maybe some details such as Jis point out, interior modifications, and converting the fleet are the hold up the signing of a contract.

Well the update from Trains Magazine below seem to put WaDot out of the loop.
 
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I wonder how they would have done on the air side if they had to handle the MAX thing as lead. Hopefully not as poorly. Interestingly, the two countries involved explicitly avoided dealing with the NTSB and selected the French safety agency to help them handle those accidents.
That was my first thought as well, Washington connection and all. Glad you said it first and far more eloquently than I could.
 
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rickycourtney

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*If* these trainsets are going to the Pacific Northwest, there are a lot of questions I have...

How is the acquisition of these trainsets being funded and who will be the legal owner?
  • The trains could be purchased from Talgo, or leased.
  • The funding could come from:
    • Amtrak as compensation to WSDOT for the Dupont derailment
    • Insurance proceeds from the derailment
    • The $37.5 million FRA SoGR grant that the Cascades was awarded (although WSDOT said it wanted to commit that money to purchasing the same equipment Amtrak was buying to replace the Amfleet I)
    • The taxpayers of Washington and Oregon
    • Some combination of the above
  • The answer to the above will likely determine the legal ownership
Will the Wisconsin trainsets be reconfigured to better match the Cascades trainsets?
  • The Wisconsin trainsets have 13 cars, compared to the Cascades 12.
  • The Cascades have two business cars per trainset, but the "accessible coach" cars could easily be reconfigured to match
  • The Cascades "end car" is a baggage car with a small office for the on-board Talgo tech (at least that's what I think it is). The Wisconsin trainsets have a end car that has the Talgo tech's office, some coach seats, and a bike storage area (it's a strange layout, you walk through the bikes to get to the next car). Can the bulkheads be removed to match the baggage only layout?
  • The Cascades trainsets have a cafe car and a lounge car, the Wisconsin sets only have a cafe car. Can Talgo build more lounge cars? Is it worth the expense?
  • Wisconsin ordered a spare cab/power car, a spare cafe car, and a spare end coach/bike car. There's been a rumor that WSDOT and ODOT might be interested in reconfiguring the two 12-car and two 13-car trainsets into five 11-car trainsets.
 

bretton88

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Interesting article on this subject with more information can be found on the December 8 Trains [magazine] News Wire
It is interesting to see how relations between talgo and WaDOT aren't very good right now. I suspect Amtrak providing the other 2 trainsets for service and Oregon's (completely correct) insistence on keeping their two sets in service might eventually nudge WaDOT to order talgo sets in the name of keeping the rolling stock all the same. Otherwise you'll end up with two completely separate contracts for trainsets and that makes very little sense.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Following four days of Trains News Wire inquiries to Amtrak, the Washington State Department of Transportation, or Talgo, only Amtrak released the following statement late Friday: “These trainsets are among the interim equipment options being considered by Amtrak for use in the Pacific Northwest.
Wow four days for someone to release a statement.

The NTSB has mess up the Talgo brand, when does the lawsuit get filed?
 

rickycourtney

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It is interesting to see how relations between talgo and WaDOT aren't very good right now. I suspect Amtrak providing the other 2 trainsets for service and Oregon's (completely correct) insistence on keeping their two sets in service might eventually nudge WaDOT to order talgo sets in the name of keeping the rolling stock all the same. Otherwise you'll end up with two completely separate contracts for trainsets and that makes very little sense.
You hit on one of the biggest challenges Talgo faces. Talgo insists that if an agency purchase its trainsets, it must also agree to a service contract for the life of the trainset. That means paying for Talgo supervisors who oversee Amtrak employees as they maintain the trainsets, and paying to keep a Talgo technician on every train as it runs (which entails both salary and travel expenses).

By comparison, Siemens offers this "white glove" maintenance service as an optional add-on. Brightline (now Virgin Trains) signed up for a 30-year service agreement with Siemens.

The NTSB has mess up the Talgo brand, when does the lawsuit get filed?
There's no doubt that the NTSB has some blame when it comes to hurting Talgo's brand in the USA.

But Talgo deserves most of the blame for itself, in large part because the company is stubborn.

The most visible example of the company's stubbornness are the ugly cab cars. IIRC, the story goes, Talgo didn't study up enough on the FRA's CEM (crash energy management) rules or (as you pointed out) the needs of their customers and had to ditch their ill-suited aerodynamic design, and with no time left to do a proper re-design, go with a form-follows-function pug nose.

They also have the mandatory service contracts (as I mentioned above).

My other favorite stubborn Talgo example is that even though the older Series VI trainsets have power doors, they aren't wired for train lined operation. A conductor can not open all doors from one operating panel. This was a feature that had existed for *decades* on North American trains when the Series VI trainsets were built in 1998.

Meanwhile Siemens has taken the opposite approach, totally flexible.

California and the midwestern states are buying on the same contract. California wanted semi-permanently coupled trainsets, while the midwestern states wanted traditional couplers, so Siemens is doing both. California wanted a cab car, the midwestern states want to use a locomotive on both sides, so they are built both ways. Agencies can buy them with or without a service contract.

Siemens takes the exact same approach with their Charger locomotives and light rail vehicles (to my knowledge, there are more than a dozen variants of their venerable S70 LRV).

I don't say all this because of any vested interest in Siemens. I say it because in the last five years, Siemens has inked three deals to deliver 61 trainsets to North American customers, while Talgo has inked zero deals.
 
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sttom

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My question is, why would anyone want Talgo? They may work for Portland to Boise service, but other than that, they could use Viaggio equipment assuming they can be designed with the ability to tilt. And then Talgo would loose it's edge. There are plenty of other companies to contract with. As mentioned above, Siemens has a great track record as well as Alstom, Stadler and Kawasaki. Trains with tilting tech can be made by nearly anyone with far less hassle than always paying to have someone on the train and a restrictive maintenance contract.
 

rickycourtney

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My question is, why would anyone want Talgo? They may work for Portland to Boise service, but other than that, they could use Viaggio equipment assuming they can be designed with the ability to tilt. And then Talgo would loose it's edge. There are plenty of other companies to contract with. As mentioned above, Siemens has a great track record as well as Alstom, Stadler and Kawasaki. Trains with tilting tech can be made by nearly anyone with far less hassle than always paying to have someone on the train and a restrictive maintenance contract.
Talgo's main benefit is their passive tilting technology that suspends the cars like a pendulum.
Passive tilting, as opposed to the active tilting system used on the Acela, is cheaper and more reliable.
But you only see the benefits of tilting in specific rail corridors. You need to have tracks that are pretty curvy, and if you really want to take full advantage of the tilt, the tracks need to be spaced far enough apart to allow the train to tilt and not collide with a train on a neighboring track.

Alstom is building new Acela's with active tilting technology.

Siemens contends in a BBC article that “the demand for tilting trains is low” so despite doing all the necessary R&D, they don't offer it. The one exception is the german "ICE-T" trainsets, but they built those jointly with Alstom.
 

sttom

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Then the question is would active tilt or just upgrading on the Cascades Corridor make it not worth putting up with Talgo's ridiculous demands? If WashDOT thinks it's worth looking into, Talgo might be out of a contract at some point. And it's kind of on them for that.
 

John Bredin

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My question is, why would anyone want Talgo? .....
And yet the two ex-Wisconsin Talgo sets exist. Given Amtrak's persistent equipment shortage, it would be better for someone* to use them than to break them up for scrap before they've carried a single revenue passenger.

* Amtrak itself or one of the states paying Amtrak to run trains.
 

cocojacoby

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I don't say all this because of any vested interest in Siemens. I say it because in the last five years, Siemens has inked three deals to deliver 61 trainsets to North American customers, while Talgo has inked zero deals.
They seem to be doing pretty well all over the world though.
 

rickycourtney

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And yet the two ex-Wisconsin Talgo sets exist. Given Amtrak's persistent equipment shortage, it would be better for someone* to use them than to break them up for scrap before they've carried a single revenue passenger.
No agency has wanted to use them because they don't want to pay for Talgo's service contract for just two trainsets.
They seem to be doing pretty well all over the world though.
I suppose that depends on how you define "pretty well." They are a small player on the world stage compared to the likes of CRRC, Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier and Hitachi. Source: Nikkei, Talgo
 

Anderson

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A practical question is whether Talgo's (near-mandatory) service contract negates most or all of the savings vis-a-vis an active tilt system.
 

frequentflyer

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http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2019/12/08-orphan-talgo-equipment-returns-to-milwaukee-factory

Latest Update-

Until more specifics are revealed, Amtrak’s Friday statement reflects the following:

— Amtrak is on the hook for supplying a replacement for the Talgo Series VI trainset damaged in the Dec. 18, 2017, Cascades wreck at DuPont, Wash., and perhaps at least one of the other two Washington DOT-owned Talgo VI’s. Amtrak also owns two.

— Contract details between Talgo and Amtrak have yet to be worked out. A sticking point is likely the “interim” aspect.

— The replacements could use a new paint job and will require modifications that add business class seating and a different bistro car setup than their as-ordered configuration. Wisconsin ordered the equipment for enhanced Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison Hiawatha service before Republican Gov. Scott Walker turned back $800 million of federal stimulus money for the route after he was elected in 2010.

— If Amtrak reaches a lease or purchase agreement with Talgo, the ex-Wisconsin Talgo 8’s can operate under a waiver issued in 2018 by the Federal Railroad Administration.

— Washington DOT spokeswoman Janet Matkin tells Trains News Wire, “Amtrak is responsible for supplying appropriate interim equipment to replace Talgo Series VI trainsets currently in service for the Amtrak Cascades system,” but the Federal Railroad Administration is not requiring replacement. She recently told the Seattle Times that her agency wants all Talgo VI trainsets removed from service “as soon as possible” based on a National Transportation Board recommendation. The manufacturer has formally disputed that recommendation [see “Talgo challenges NTSB finding in Cascades accident report,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 1, 2019]. The ongoing conflict between the state and Talgo with Amtrak in the middle has delayed the use of the Series 8s and complicated negotiations.

— Oregon intends to keep in service the two Series 8 trainsets it purchased in 2013, despite Washington’s animosity toward the manufacturer (WashDOT recently shortened Talgo’s renewable maintenance contract). A permanent addition of more compatible equipment would help protect Oregon’s investment. Though three shorter trainsets can be created from the red-and-white orphans, it is more likely that they will be configured into two trainsets with an additional spare cab car, baggage, and bistro available to substitute as necessary.

Trains News Wire will continue to seek more details as they become available.
 

rickycourtney

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It appears almost certain that the trainsets are going to the Pacific Northwest.

On Monday, a Talgo spokeswoman told Trains, "Talgo is working with Amtrak to place the Series 8 trainsets in service in the Pacific Northwest. They have been moved to Milwaukee for preparation of that service later next year. Some of those enhancements include PTC and features to align with the service provided in the Amtrak Cascades corridor."

That builds on Amtrak’s Friday statement, which is just such a typical flimsy statement from Amtrak’s media people, “These trainsets are among the interim equipment options being considered by Amtrak for use in the Pacific Northwest.”

That, combined with no statement from WSDOT seems to suggest that while Amtrak and Talgo have a deal, the state of Washington still may be balking.
 
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