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WSDOT retiring, selling Talgo trainsets, not acquiring "Wisconsin" trainsets yet

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tgstubbs1

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There is no “navigation” system inside a locomotive. There is a GPS component to PTC, but you can’t strictly rely on GPS because it may not be accurate enough to identify which track you are on, and speed restrictions in many cases are track-specific (track 1 may be 70 mph, track 2 may be 60 mph, and the siding may be 20 mph in the same area).

Positive train control combines that with other information to know where you are, including which track you’re on, and that gives the engineer a heads-up about speed restrictions, including warnings if they are approaching a penalty brake application, which will apply if they go past the programmed braking curve for that particular consist type (which is designed to ensure they are at or below a given speed by the time they reach the point where the restriction applies).

Of course, that’s part of the controversy over this incident, leading to Amtrak’s decision not to return to the new routing until PTC was enabled on that segment. Had PTC been active on that stretch, the train would have gone into a penalty brake application and slowed way down (possibly to a stop) before reaching the curve.
I think any kind of GPS might help if someone is "situationally un-aware".
 

Trogdor

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I think any kind of GPS might help if someone is "situationally un-aware".
Locomotives aren’t designed around the idea that the engineer is “situationally unaware,” as you put it. And, of course, engineers are prohibited from using their own electronic devices while in the cab of the locomotive.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Some Conductor in some areas had a program on there phone, that would help them to keep track of slow orders, and where they were at. Had to stop using it after cell phone were banned. I recall.
 

sttom

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I would bet that Siemens is going to get the Amfleet/Superliner replacement order, and I truly hope they go back to single level. I've seen the interior of the new cars and I am extremely impressed with what they're producing, and I personally think they're a shoo-in for the job.
To replace the Superliners with a similar single level capacity, the replacement would have to be 2 Superliners to 3 single level cars. I doubt that Congress would give Amtrak the money to do a 1 to 1 replacement of capacity and would probably do a 1 to 1 for physical equipment.

As I mentioned on other threads, Siemens does make the Viaggio Twin and Viaggio Classic. The Twin is a bilevel (US Multi level) rail car that is about as tall as the old Santa Fe Hi level cars. Since Siemens is big into customization, it would make sense that they would pitch a modified Viaggio Twin as a replacement for the Superliners instead of the Viaggio Classic that they normally sell for overnight services in Europe. A modified Twin could be built since the regulations are changing and likely have more common parts with the Viaggio Classic being built now and likely in future orders for other states like Washington and New York.

The main barrier to Amtrak having a standardized fleet are the bidding rules and the Viewliners. The Federal government loves its lowest bidder rules and someone could undercut Siemens and get the order and we could be waiting nearly a decade for equipment to show up like what happened with CAF and the current order of Viewliners. Also, the Viewliners themselves are a barrier since they will be around for a few years and would also be subject to the same lowest bidder rules once they come up for replacement.

Siemens Viaggio Twin
 

Mailliw

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Bilevel cars are better for capacity of course, but there are other factors. Being able to standardize the long distance is one, but a bigger issue is Accessibility. Currently disabled Superliner passengers are confined to the lower level of their car, the Viaggio Comforts give end to end acess for the whole trainset. It would be hard (but not impossible) to pull that off with bilevels.That's a hugh deal, and I think it may be worth the tradeoff.
 

cocojacoby

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Here's something really interesting for you. Looking at the Viaggio Twin specs, it is only 15.15 feet high. The GG1 is listed as 15.0 feet high over locked-down pantagraphs and they of course fit through NYP. That is enticingly close. What is the possibility that a low-profile Superliner could be made or the tracks lowered by an inch through NYP (steel ties)?

One suggestion . . . add Viewliner upper berth windows to make the upper berths less claustrophobic.
 

sttom

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Bilevel cars are better for capacity of course, but there are other factors. Being able to standardize the long distance is one, but a bigger issue is Accessibility. Currently disabled Superliner passengers are confined to the lower level of their car, the Viaggio Comforts give end to end acess for the whole trainset. It would be hard (but not impossible) to pull that off with bilevels.That's a hugh deal, and I think it may be worth the tradeoff.
Sharing a shell isn't really required if all the parts that need to be replaced are the same. I personally wouldn't say the trade off of capacity would be worth it and it might not even be worth it from a cost standpoint. Longer trains are heavier trains which means increased fuel consumption which might not be worth it. And if the trains are the same length, you'd be getting less revenue which definitely isn't attractive. My question, which Amtrak doesn't like disclosing to the public, is do the Accessible Rooms on the Superliners sell well enough where available? If they sell well enough, they don't necessarily need to be that accommodating. Also, the Viaggio Twin is ~20 inches longer than the existing Superliners, which would mean more room for a chair lift if Amtrak did decide to be accommodating.

Here's something really interesting for you. Looking at the Viaggio Twin specs, it is only 15.15 feet high. The GG1 is listed as 15.0 feet high over locked-down pantagraphs and they of course fit through NYP. That is enticingly close. What is the possibility that a low-profile Superliner could be made or the tracks lowered by an inch through NYP (steel ties)?

One suggestion . . . add Viewliner upper berth windows to make the upper berths less claustrophobic.
The problem with the existing Viaggio Twin design is it is what we would call a multi level, which would mean walking up and down stairs a bunch of times if you were to go between cars. Which is fine in Europe since most overnight trains are designed and planned so the riders don't have to move between cars. From what I've seen from travel videos on YouTube, some railways actually lock the doors between cars since there isn't a lounge or dining car to go to on some overnight trains in Europe.
 

Seaboard92

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Here's something really interesting for you. Looking at the Viaggio Twin specs, it is only 15.15 feet high. The GG1 is listed as 15.0 feet high over locked-down pantagraphs and they of course fit through NYP. That is enticingly close. What is the possibility that a low-profile Superliner could be made or the tracks lowered by an inch through NYP (steel ties)?

One suggestion . . . add Viewliner upper berth windows to make the upper berths less claustrophobic.
There are other considerations on clearance too not all single level cars will clear New York Penn. For instance my friend Mr. Menzies his private car the San Marino can't operate in and out of Penn Station due to clearance. And it is a single level heavyweight office car. Items on the bottom of the car also impact clearance, especially in areas where there are third rails. Penn Station New York is one of such places, as well as Grand Central.
 

KnightRail

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I asked WSDOT's spokesperson if that means the "Wisconsin" Talgo Series 8 trainsets are not coming to the Amtrak Cascades. She replied, "They are being considered by Amtrak as an option if we need more equipment than is already here. No final decisions."
Not sure if there is a misunderstanding in that correspondence like she thought you were asking and responded about short term COVID service recovery instead of long term service plans but it seems work is underway already reconfiguring the two current ODOT Series 8 sets. There are pictures and video(which if shareable would be shared) of The Mt Jefferson cab car and baggage car being lifted in the air by two cranes along with commentary stating that those units are being swapped between the sets. Also the diner and an additional seat car are being removed from the two current sets to then be incorporated with the ex-Wisconsin cars that are said to be coming out in August(to be confirmed). Basically the two Series 8 sets will be transformed and grow to become five Series 8 sets when completed. This will utilize all five of the cab cars that were built 7910, 7911, 7950, 7951, & 7952.
Two OR sets minus two cars each, plus two WI sets minus a few cars each, plus the spare WI cars plus the cars subtracted from the four sets equals five. Confused yet? Then just stay tuned.
 
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rickycourtney

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I don’t think there was any misunderstanding.

To my knowledge, Amtrak has proposed renting the former Wisconsin sets from Talgo as part of its compensation to WSDOT for the loss of the Series VI set that was wrecked in part due to Amtrak’s negligence.

That doesn’t mean WSDOT has agreed to Amtrak’s plan. WSDOT could still negotiating with Amtrak on the details of the arrangement.

But there’s a reason why this thread title ends with a “yet.”

Ultimately, I think WSDOT and Amtrak will come to an agreement that sees the Series 8 sets coming to the Pacific Northwest.

I also think it’s going to be a temporary arrangement. I don’t believe Amtrak or WSDOT will purchase the Series 8 trainsets from Talgo. I get the feeling that WSDOT wants to be done with the Talgo maintenance agreements.

WSDOT has cash and grants in hand to buy new railcars. They’ve made it clear that they want to get on Amtrak’s (seemingly delayed) order for the Amfleet replacement. Talgo is unlikely to win that order. I’ve also heard rumors that they’ve looked into buying Siemens Venture trainsets similar to those being built for California, the Midwest and VIA’s Corridor.
 
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KnightRail

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Short-term looks like Horizon equipment, mid-term Series 8 Talgos, long-term likely new equipment. Discussing short to mid-term: It’s obviously beyond talk, proposal, and negotiation if the two ODOT sets are being altered and cars are being removed. It also took more than hope and a prayer for the ex-Wisconsin equipment to be moved out of Beech Grove and sent off for modification. The players appear to be holding their playing cards close for now and that’s their prerogative. Some agreement must be signed between ODOT, WSDOT, AMTK, and TALGO that initiated musical cars amongst trainsets. ODOT clearly has stronger leverage now since they are the state who owns the only in service Cascades Talgo equipment. How do they feel having purchased two Talgo Series 8 sets that are only eight years old? Not a good look for ODOT to write off new equipment they were given grant money to purchase. ODOT must want to see successful Talgo utilization if willing to give up cars from their owned sets. Would like to see an ODOT statement on the matter.
 

rickycourtney

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The ownership of the Cascades equipment has been somewhat strange with the states owning five of the trainsets and Amtrak owning two trainsets.

These three additional Series 8 trainsets are only enough to replace Amtrak's two Series VI trainsets and the one WSDOT Series VI trainset that was wrecked. WSDOT didn't need to agree to this plan, just Talgo, ODOT and Amtrak. Also, if ODOT is smart, they put a provision in the contract that when Amtrak's rental agreement with Talgo is over, the cars they "borrowed" will be returned.

I suspect the discussions around how much WSDOT will pay Amtrak for rental fees on these trainsets (which must be fun with Amtrak's opaque accounting). I also suspect that with service gutted... WSDOT isn't interested in paying anything at the moment.

WSDOT has about 75 million to spend on new trainsets. At current market prices, that's enough to buy three trainsets, a one-for-one replacement of WSDOT's Series VI trainsets.

So, theoretically, ODOT could continue to use the Talgo Series 8 trainsets, while WSDOT operates newer and very different trainsets. I'm sure the folks in Salem aren't happy with Olympia's decision.
 

Chris I

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I hope that they can make the Wisconsin cars work in the mid-term future. 5 Talgo sets would at least allow them to operate the pre-Covid schedules. If the Bypass is used and schedule/reliability improve as expected, I think an adjustment of the schedule could be done to add 2 more round trips and better utilize the equipment. At a minimum, it makes sense to focus the Talgos on SEA-PDX and then SEA-VAC, and then use Horizons between PDX-EUG.
 

rickycourtney

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I hope that they can make the Wisconsin cars work in the mid-term future. 5 Talgo sets would at least allow them to operate the pre-Covid schedules. If the Bypass is used and schedule/reliability improve as expected, I think an adjustment of the schedule could be done to add 2 more round trips and better utilize the equipment. At a minimum, it makes sense to focus the Talgos on SEA-PDX and then SEA-VAC, and then use Horizons between PDX-EUG.
Except that ODOT will balk at the idea of their Series 8 trains being used only in the VAC-SEA-PDX part of the corridor and not on the section of the line they pay for.
 

Chris I

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Except that ODOT will balk at the idea of their Series 8 trains being used only in the VAC-SEA-PDX part of the corridor and not on the section of the line they pay for.
I agree, but it's time to make some tough choices. Ridership south of Portland has always been dismal. With University of Oregon going online this year, I think it is going to continue to stay very low. Using a 2 carriage Horizon trainset would probably serve the line. It's too bad we don't have any spare DMUs laying around. A line like this in Europe would probably have 4x per day DMU service.
 

NSC1109

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I don’t think there was any misunderstanding.

To my knowledge, Amtrak has proposed renting the former Wisconsin sets from Talgo as part of its compensation to WSDOT for the loss of the Series VI set that was wrecked in part due to Amtrak’s negligence.

That doesn’t mean WSDOT has agreed to Amtrak’s plan. WSDOT could still negotiating with Amtrak on the details of the arrangement.

But there’s a reason why this thread title ends with a “yet.”

Ultimately, I think WSDOT and Amtrak will come to an agreement that sees the Series 8 sets coming to the Pacific Northwest.

I also think it’s going to be a temporary arrangement. I don’t believe Amtrak or WSDOT will purchase the Series 8 trainsets from Talgo. I get the feeling that WSDOT wants to be done with the Talgo maintenance agreements.

WSDOT has cash and grants in hand to buy new railcars. They’ve made it clear that they want to get on Amtrak’s (seemingly delayed) order for the Amfleet replacement. Talgo is unlikely to win that order. I’ve also heard rumors that they’ve looked into buying Siemens Venture trainsets similar to those being built for California, the Midwest and VIA’s Corridor.
Amtrak was supposed to turn a profit this year and they lost a crap ton of money due to COVID. They’re laying off staff, cutting train frequencies, and doing everything they can to reduce expenses.

It’s truly not a mystery why the order is delayed. It’s not happening any time soon.
 

NSC1109

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I hope that they can make the Wisconsin cars work in the mid-term future. 5 Talgo sets would at least allow them to operate the pre-Covid schedules. If the Bypass is used and schedule/reliability improve as expected, I think an adjustment of the schedule could be done to add 2 more round trips and better utilize the equipment. At a minimum, it makes sense to focus the Talgos on SEA-PDX and then SEA-VAC, and then use Horizons between PDX-EUG.
The cars will be based in SEA because that’s where the MRO base is. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. 507 lays over in EUG but there is nothing done there beyond general servicing. PDX has no maintenance facility beyond general servicing.



I agree, but it's time to make some tough choices. Ridership south of Portland has always been dismal. With University of Oregon going online this year, I think it is going to continue to stay very low. Using a 2 carriage Horizon trainset would probably serve the line. It's too bad we don't have any spare DMUs laying around. A line like this in Europe would probably have 4x per day DMU service.
The US doesn’t have DMUs running next to freight trains because of the dangers involved with the lightweight cars plus lack of coupler strength. PTC won’t stop everything, either.

Even then, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a two-car train serving only PDX-EUG.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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DMU are in use in multi states. Oregon is/was one of them.

You can buy new or rebuild use.

 

NSC1109

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DMU are in use in multi states. Oregon is/was one of them.

You can buy new or rebuild use.

They may be in use, but only because they’re classified as Light Rail or they are kept away from freight trains. You cannot share a tracks with a DMU and freight. FRA doesn’t allow it.
 

Seaboard92

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They may be in use, but only because they’re classified as Light Rail or they are kept away from freight trains. You cannot share a tracks with a DMU and freight. FRA doesn’t allow it.
Actually the West Side Express is a DMU service that shares 95 percent of it's routes with the shortline Portland & Western. The Colorado Railcar DMU's they are using are not overly reliable to the point that they have two Budd RDCs in service to augment schedules when the other cars are down. Recently they just bought three more Budd RDCs for the route as well. Now generally I haven't seen freight when the WES is running but it wouldn't surprise me if there was some mixing.
 

cocojacoby

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They may be in use, but only because they’re classified as Light Rail or they are kept away from freight trains. You cannot share a tracks with a DMU and freight. FRA doesn’t allow it.
Sorry but not true. The Colorado Railcar DMU is certified for such use.

US Railcar is the company who bought the assets and patents from them:

 
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NSC1109

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Sorry but not true. The Colorado Railcar DMU is certified for such use.

US Railcar is the company who bought the assets and patents from them:

Then it’s the only car for such use.
 

Seaboard92

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I believe the River Line DMU's that New Jersey Transit operates also share a line with freight service. But the freight service scheduled times are never in conflict with the DMUs. DMUs by day freight by night. And I believe those are on a waiver too.
 

KnightRail

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Within the past couple days Mt. Jefferson returned to service. Previously the set consisted of:
7910-7562-[7560-7810]-7310-7700-7204-7701-7201-7704-7202-7707-7110
Now the set is:
7910–7707-7202-7704-7201-7701-7204-7700-7310-7562-7110
The end cars(cab and baggage) changed positions and cars 7560 & 7810 were removed.
 
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