New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

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New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby ACeInTheHole » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:15 am

There doesnt seem to be a thread on the new Bi-Levels and the conversation involving them is getting tied up in the Viewliner thread. i figured Id start one for them. Okay.. Down to business.


The order breakdown is 130 cars, 88 for midwest and 42 for Cali from Nippon Sharyo. Anyone know how these bi levels will integrate with the current fleet? Will the Amfleets be sent back east or will the new cars only supplement them?
Last edited by ACeInTheHole on Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby electricron » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:00 pm

The 88 bi-levles for the midwest will replace most of the single level Horizon and Amfleet fleets there today. So most of these single level cars should be able to migrate elsewhere. The only exception will be the Wisconsin subsidized Hiawathas, their ultimate status is in limbo now with the Talgo lawsuit unresolved.

The 42 bi-levels for California will supplement existing cars. There's no way 42 new cars will be able to replace 54 existing bi-level cars, although they will allow Amtrak to move all the few remaining existing single level cars left in California elsewhere. I'm not sure what will happen to the recent 14 recently refurbished Comets California uses today.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby ACeInTheHole » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:39 pm

Thanks Ron. Do we have any indication that there will be a state funded add on or separate RFP for diesel locomotives to match the midwest cars coinciding with the rumored upcoming diesel loco annoouncement, think like the Amtrak California F59s?
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby R30A » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:46 pm

Yes, and it is to include new Diesels for California and the Cascades as well.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby Greg Moore » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:23 pm

So now we can start to speculate where the Horizons and Amfleets end up.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby Woody » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:11 pm

Fearless forecast: The current order is at least 300 cars short of what will be needed. At first the Lincoln service will be limited to the four slots it has now. Nearly a billion in upgrades and they couldn't get another slot or two out of UP until more money is spent in the unimproved stretches: Chicago-Joliet, near and thru Springfield, Alton-St Louis. When those sections are upgraded, you'll need hourly service. Similar on the Wolverine corridor; the section Indiana-Kalamazoo-Ann Arbor-Dearborn will be going 110 mph, but from Indiana into Chicago it will be barely going. Invest another billion in "south of the Lake" and Dearborn-Detroit-Pontiac and you'll need hourly trains.

Add a corridor to the Twin Cities … add Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati/Louisville. Add Cleveland-Chicago. Don't forget Omaha-Des Moines-Iowa City-Quad-Cities-Chicago. And California. And more.

All we need is another $10 billion for upgrades and more cars. Better make it at least $20 billion, LOL, from the next Stimulus.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby quincunx » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:15 pm

Do you all think the new cars will increase or decrease boarding and unboarding times? It's a big problem especially in Springfield where there is no platform. I'm worried with more people per car and more stairs it'll get worse.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby ACeInTheHole » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:05 pm

If Approach in the other thread was anything to go by.. The Amfleets are in short supply over on the East Coast, thats with several dead/retired AEM7s and dead HHPs. When the new Sprinters show up, well have one extra over the fleet number of the AEMs and HHPs if they were all still running. That means you would be left with a bunch of shiny new locomotives with nothing to pull if the released Amfleets dont come east.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby afiggatt » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:13 pm

Appears that a copy of the RFP for the Bi-level passenger cars (dated April 20, 2012) is still available on-line at an Illinois.gov link. The PDF document is 175 pages and about 6MB in size. This may or may not be the final version of the RFP, but the document provides a lot of info on what the states were looking for in the bid down to the Buy America Worksheet.

The 130 cars were to be configured as follows: 80 coach cars, 5 cafe/lounge cars, 21 cafe/business class cars, 24 cab/baggage cars. The RFP also states: "In addition to the base order quantity, there will be Options for 200 Railcars and associated goods and services such as, but not limited to, spare parts, training materials, parts and maintenance manuals, special tools and diagnostic equipment, as specified in this RFP."

Since California has a decent amount of state funds available for their corridor services, track projects, expansion, I expect CA will order more cars in the next several years through the options, very likely to equip the long planned Coast Daylight service.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby BuddSilverliner269 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:40 pm

not to stray from the subject, but when we get all of the Sprinters on the property, we will have more then just 1 extra motor over the current electric motors. Technically there were 54 AEM7s(900-953) and 15 HHP8s(650-664) but serveral AEM7s have been off the roster now for a number of years. I believe although im not certain, there are only 47 active on the roster. When we have all Sprinters, we will have a few spares. Theres no doubt in my mind that these new motors will be excellent. Ok, back to bilevels.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby Matt Johnson » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:07 pm

These new bilevels will be of the same overall dimensions as the California/Surfliner fleet and fully Superliner compatible, correct? I wonder if the assembly line might someday be able to churn out some new Superliner class long distance cars.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby ACeInTheHole » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:49 pm

Thanks Budd for the info.

Matt, with this massive fleet replacement plan they have going on here.. They really might as well.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:32 pm

electricron wrote:The 42 bi-levels for California will supplement existing cars. There's no way 42 new cars will be able to replace 54 existing bi-level cars, although they will allow Amtrak to move all the few remaining existing single level cars left in California elsewhere. I'm not sure what will happen to the recent 14 recently refurbished Comets California uses today.


Yes, the plan is to add capacity, not replace.

I would think the comets could be used on the Daylight service, if it does come into play.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby Woody » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:38 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:These new bilevels will be of the same overall dimensions as the California/Surfliner fleet and fully Superliner compatible, correct? I wonder if the assembly line might someday be able to churn out some new Superliner class long distance cars.


The specs may be out on NextGen bi-level LD cars, I forget. All the attention so far has been on getting these already funded cars built and ready to ride when the first $1 billion+ worth of upgrades on the St Louis-Chicago and Wolverine routes are finished.

But I don't think we've seen a RFI, much less an RFP, for the NextGen LD cars. When they locate a spare billion, sure. Then the order will be put out
to bids. Nippon Sharyo, with the open line (and experience of building bi-level coaches in Rochelle, Illinois), would seem to have a head start. But the bidding process will be open, and other builders could be hungry for the business.

With Amtrak's funding always vulnerable to bloody cuts by the haters, it would be protective of the supply of bi-levels if the assembly line could handle orders from states, then Amtrak, then states again, then Amtrak … And that should hold down costs. We can hope.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-level Discussion

Postby ACeInTheHole » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:47 pm

Having the assembly line basically right next door to Chicago will definitely help Nippon
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