New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby frequentflyer » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:32 pm

BandA wrote:Presumably the Budd Amfleets didn't meet the same crush specification? Also the rounded airplane-style shells are naturally stronger than slab-sided, and I am sure the Budd company optimized their fluting for strength & stiffness. You can make different design choices and advance the engineering, but until the United Federation of Planets takes over you can't repeal the laws of physics.


The round shape has been credited to why the Amfleet cars did better than expected in the Chase MD crash.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby jstolberg » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:43 am

You may not be able to repeal the laws of physics, but you can make the steel stronger.
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/10/ ... less-steel

It's just not been done on this scale before.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:19 pm

No, but extremely lightweight coaches were on the market back in 1956. The Budd Pioneer III is still the gold standard at 53,000 lbs for an 88 seat coach! (It would be very interesting to run the Pioneer through a modern crash-test simulation software and see how well it would hold up, at only 2/5 the weight of a Siemens Brightline.)
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby electricron » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:40 pm

Or they could use a different material than steel. Amtrak's Horizon cars are also as light as an Amfleet between 112,000 and 113,000 pounds pounds. They don't use a tubular exterior shape, but they use aluminum. They seem to be just as robust as the Amfleets in service. Many European rail car manufacturers are using aluminum for the car shells.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby JimBoylan » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:01 pm

Some of the Budd Pioneer 3 MU cars were sent to Pueblo , Colo. for crash testing after their revenue service ended.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:40 pm

The Pioneer IIIs were stainless, but the Amtrak Horizons (as well as all P-S/Bombardier Comets, Shoreliners, and BTC/CTCs) and Bombardier BiLevels are aluminum. It doesn’t wear as well as stainless steel, but seems to be “good enough” for most lines that don’t get extremely heavy salt.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby Bob Roberts » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:56 pm

Press Release from Caltrans:
http://www.dot.ca.gov/paffairs/pr/2017/prs/17pr117.html

SACRAMENTO — Caltrans announced today that Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (Sumitomo) along with Siemens will be fulfilling a $371 million multi-state contract for new railcars to be used throughout California and the Midwest. The newly finalized contract will supply 137 single-level passenger railcars, 49 to Caltrans and 88 to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

....

The first cars are expected to begin production within the year.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:02 pm

Which means that almost certainly Amtrak will buy Siemens for its own Corridor fleet. Siemens made a hell of a good bet, Americanizing the Viaggio.

Now that the order settled again... Nippon Sharyo, what happened?
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby Matt Johnson » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:18 am

Odd and surprising compromise. The Brightline coaches look very nice, and I'd love to ride in a version of them at 110 mph through Illinois! But no level boarding where the bilevels were designed to operate with low platforms, and obviously less capacity for a given number of cars.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby AgentSkelly » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:08 am

I’m sure Siemens has figured that out...
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:09 am

They better have. Because if it's a stock 48-inch boarding Brightline, cue the ADA lawsuits in 3...2...1...

Double-barrel suits, at that: federal challenge over PRIAA being federal law explicitly specifying 18-inch floor to 8-inch platform level boarding, but also state-level suits in California for the outright accessibility regression there. The technical reassurances from Sumitromo will have to come very quickly, or else the legal inquiries are going to immediately start dragging out the timetable for project starts...starting with a flurry of FOIA's about exactly what got negotiated here. The accessibility argument that simply having some/any cars sooner for service increases ends up an acceptable overall improvement in aggregate accessibility is going to be a weak argument in court for upholding Sumitromo when the not-currently-level boarding Midwest corridors and the longstanding-level boarding Cali corridors have to be joined at the hip in one contract. Announcement or no announcement, this saga isn't close to over until Sumitromo produces some proof that Siemens will supply level boarding cars.

The potential ADA challenges, unfortunately, are pretty legally strong the way this procurement was pursued via PRIAA law and have significant potential to...at minimum...drag out the schedule by a frustrating additional number of years regardless of one's overall technical comfort level with Siemens. This is still, after all, being run by the same shambolic Sumitromo-Caltrans/IDOT-PRIAA joint that got us into this mess in the first place and hasn't begun to provide explanation as to how/why this show has been run like such a rhymes-with-blusterduck from Day 1.


Also need to see if any of the losing RFP bidders feel bold enough to challenge the mulligan being granted Sumitromo on the project, on grounds that granting them a white-out pen on the specs circumvents fair bidding. While motivation for that challenge would absolutely be as a business vector against Siemens steamrolling their way to U.S. market dominance, it's legally compartmentalized to go square at the government's relationship with gimpy Sumitromo and thus doesn't have to be about Siemens at all. Personally, I think they avoid this anti-competitive vector if the design substitute does satisfy all the primary ADA concerns, because the government would have a much stronger counter-argument for getting this show on the road. But if there are separate ADA challenges being filed the RFP bidders could see obvious tactical advantage in piling onto the fray "Operation Chaos"-style. The other bidders would be able to count on the ADA challenges nullifying much of Sumitromo's supposed schedule advantage in changing the specs vs. fixing the bi-level design because of legal "Chaos" re: accessibility setting back the schedule almost to par with a re-bid scenario. So we'll also have to see if they can nip the potential for anti-competitive challenge in the bud with a strong enough reassurance on the primary accessibility question.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby frequentflyer » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:40 am

To those that state they rather wait for another bilevel bid, while the car may be ready in five years, the money will not be there to buy them. The Siemen's order is a good compromise.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby electricron » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:12 pm

He original BiLevel order was for 130 cars, this amended to a Single Level order is now 137 cars.
Is this value for money? That depends upon how you look at it.
Per car? You get seven more, so it is a good outcome.
Per seat? You get less seats, so it is a bad outcome.

Some math, assuming the newer replacement cars have the same number of seats.
Existing Surfliners coach cars have 89 seats per car.
Existing Amfleet I coach cars have 72 seats per car.
130 x 89 = 11,570
137 x 72 = 9,864
I have no idea exactly how many seats would have been installed in either of the new cars which is why I used the existing cars as examples. Therefore, most likely the new fleet will have 1,706 fewer seats now, the equivalent of 23.6 single level cars with 72 seats.
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:15 pm

I'm really pleased to see that they got some extra cars. I'm guessing the seat math is probably "close". Can't imagine what Sumitomo is going to do to Nippon-Sharyo for this ...
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Re: New Midwest/California Bi-Level Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:25 pm

Siemens also must have given Sumitomo a very good price per car, otherwise it would have been cheaper for Sumitomo to keep Nippon Sharyo as a subcontractor and have them deliver intercity versions of the MARC IIB (themselves the base for their new DMUs, as best as I can tell.)
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