Amfleet Refresh

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:52 pm

The only issue I have is that we continue to talk like some sort of Fleet replacement will be ordered "real soon now". I'm pretty cynical and don't expect anything for a few years, at the earliest... :-(
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:32 am

While hardly intending to take this topic over to airliners dot net, and how Mr. F-Line has noted that Bombardier is still in the game to be an Amtrak contractor, developments within their aircraft division cannot be overlooked. The financial media is portraying that Bombardier’s health "flies" with the success of its aircraft. Towards that end, this article from the Journal should be of interest. To me, it bodes ill:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/airbus-secu ... 1508245759

Fair Use:

..On Monday, their battle for the $200-billion-a-year commercial aviation market took a turn into the deal room: Airbus agreed to take a majority stake in Bombardier Inc.’s CSeries jet project, effectively pulling the Canadian company into the European plane maker’s corner.

The deal is the first of its kind for Airbus, which is putting in no equity upfront for its 50.01% stake. Bombardier has agreed to finance as much as $700 million of any near-term funding needs. Airbus, meanwhile, will take operational control and put its enormous sales and marketing infrastructure to work selling the CSeries


In effect, they have conceded they cannot market their new aircraft (yeah, they got Air Canada to buy 'em) on their own and, effectively have sub-contracted such to Airbus.

I have to wonder if they have stripped their aircraft sales department so clean, what have they done with others such as rail equipment engineering?

Amtrak; beware of the "Faustian pact with the Devil", who just might be knocking at your door with a "lowball" you can't refuse.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby ryanov » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:23 pm

Strictly speaking, that's not true. Delta has ordered them as well.

To get onto the actual topic, not new cars, not airplanes, but the refresh of the existing cars, clearly they can still produce the interior fittings for the previous Amfleet 1 interiors. I'm on train 244 right now in car 82975. This is the cleanest most new-looking interior I've ever seen in an Amfleet car. The overhead lights have no trace of yellow, the ceiling panels are white, the seatbacks and electrical strip along the wall are shiny, and the seat cushions look brand new. They also seem to have received the "put a sticker over the exit sign at car end" treatment that I see here and there otherwise. Looks like this can't have been done more than a few weeks ago.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:28 pm

From Crowne Plaza Ravinia Atlanta---

ryanov wrote:Strictly speaking, that's not true. Delta has ordered them as well.


You have a point, Mr. Novosielski.

But let it be noted, the Delta C'S aircraft will be built at Airbus' Alabama facility. It would appear to me that Bombardier has as good as surrendered control over the product.

As I noted, this outfit appears to be moribund. They could pitch Amtrak a low ball for SDSL cars that Amtrak would be compelled to accept. Delivery and quality control; need we go there.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:30 pm

Mr. Norman: when you say “this outfit”, do you mean Bombardier, and why would they opt to take a loss on Amtrak? The company won’t deliberately sabotage its plants’ own work rules in order to squeeze out a profit. If they bid, it’ll be with the full expectation of making a profit while using their existing facilities.

My prediction: watch out for CRRC’s bid on an Amfleet replacement. I have a feeling their SEPTA bilevel cars will exceed our (modest) expectations enough that Amtrak will be forced to take them into consideration as a responsible bidder, and that they will lowball a single-level bid under Siemens.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby ryanov » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:36 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:From Crowne Plaza Ravinia Atlanta---

ryanov wrote:Strictly speaking, that's not true. Delta has ordered them as well.


You have a point, Mr. Novosielski.

But let it be noted, the Delta C'S aircraft will be built at Airbus' Alabama facility. It would appear to me that Bombardier has as good as surrendered control over the product.


From Amtrak 244 :wink:---

That was not the case when Delta ordered them some time back -- their order caused Boeing to file a complaint with the ITC (though apparently they were already working on a deal with Airbus). The overall point that they were struggling is probably a fair one, though it appeared to me that the Delta order was a turning of the tide.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Tadman » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:06 pm

Ive spent a fair amount of time on CRRC cars and they're not bad. Here's a few pics from last week. I have some more from today but haven't uploaded them all.

https://scontent-eze1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5A867E40

https://scontent-eze1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5A7BB5F0
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby ryanov » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:53 pm

82975, incidentally, is a very recent cafe car to coach conversion. I guess that explains why everything was so fresh.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby OrangeGrove » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:07 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Mr. Norman: when you say “this outfit”, do you mean Bombardier, and why would they opt to take a loss on Amtrak? The company won’t deliberately sabotage its plants’ own work rules in order to squeeze out a profit. If they bid, it’ll be with the full expectation of making a profit while using their existing facilities.

My prediction: watch out for CRRC’s bid on an Amfleet replacement. I have a feeling their SEPTA bilevel cars will exceed our (modest) expectations enough that Amtrak will be forced to take them into consideration as a responsible bidder, and that they will lowball a single-level bid under Siemens.


Do we yet know for sure whether there will even be an Amfleet I replacement order at this time? If I understand it correctly, the rebuild/replace decision for the 450 in-service cars was due September 30th, with the business case for it to follow. I'm frankly a bit surprised Amtrak would evaluate an extensive (and costly - $1.1 to 1.3 billion) rebuild program for railcars already passing their fourth decade, at least beyond the "refresh" they're already getting.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:15 pm

The Five Year Service Line Plan currently indicates that the decision is due December 2017. I think that Amtrak feels that they have a responsibility to make a clear business case for new equipment acquisition especially to answer the concerns of those who might say, "Why can't you just rebuild what you have?". Those questions won't be asked by industry professionals but rather by policy makers who may or may not understand the vagaries of metal fatigue and/or unibody ("monocoque") construction. Given the amount of money involved I think this is a very good exercise for them.

The Amfleet "Refresh" will also allow Amtrak to demonstrate that they are maximizing final utility out of their assets and it enables them to tolerate an extended timeline for acquisition.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:05 pm

OrangeGrove: you know as much as I do - I’m not at 60 Mass, nor do I have special sources there. $1.xb/450 is only about $2.5m a car, which gives you some idea of how Amtrak plans to sell new $3m cars to its funding source (Congress.)

Tad: that was my impression too. Waiting for CRRC to offer to buy Bombardier Rail at this point.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Matt Johnson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:58 pm

My two major gripes with the Amfleets are the small windows (solved on the Amfleet II design) and the jittery Pioneer trucks (ironically the outboard bearing trucks on the original Metroliners became the superior standard for subsequent Amtrak rolling stock). I suppose the inability to adjust HVAC from inside the car is another downside (I believe conductors have to make temp adjustments from outside underneath the carbody). But that being said, as long as they're structurally sound, the Amfleets are perfectly adequate. The only time I really wished for more out of 'em was on my Adirondack trip to Montreal. I think 12 hours is just about long enough to be in one! :)
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby hs3730 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:03 pm

The Adirondack at least frequently has a couple of Amfleet IIs in the consist.. though last time I went by train my friend and I came back on different days, I had an Amfleet II and his train did not. He was quite annoyed...

Question about this refresh: any idea on the schedule? How many per month, estimated completion date, etc... I'm sure, like the capstone rebuild project, the NEC will get most of them first before the other corridors (Empire, Keystone, Downeaster) get any....

Edit: Just saw the original post with the "9 month period" statement. Which at this point makes me think if we're 2/9ths of the way through, there should be one on most NEC trains by now...
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby R30A » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:16 pm

It has been many years since I have seen an Adirondack without 2 Amfleet II cars. Perhaps they never reached it or didn't recognize it?
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:06 pm

Here's the latest video from Amtrak on the Amfleet Refresh (via TrainRiders Northeast Facebook).
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