VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:18 pm

Two thoughts:
1) What could VIA do with Bombardier Bilevels? Seems like they could lease or buy some from GO or another source. Would they be usable on Corridor routes at least?
2) Could VIA try to attract the Talgo traveling circus? I hear there are a few sets :wink: that Talgo SA could send north as demo units, with approval from the courts.

Good luck, guys. At least Amtrak has Federal and State support, and its own rails in a few important places.
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby bdawe » Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:54 pm

I would imagine that if any of Metrolinx RER schemes come to pass then there would be quite the surplus of bilevels in Ontario. Presumably with intercity modifications they could be used for Southwest Ontario Service, which would not have to deal with the high platforms at Montreal.

Perhaps VIA should buy a talgo or two and flood the Amtrak Cascades pool a little more :wink:

(I would also note that VIA owns their own rails in a few places around Ottawa)
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby dowlingm » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:00 pm

GO bilevel interiors aren't optimised for VIA journeys. 2 hours is probably max. Also, GO use a different HEP voltage (575 volts vs VIA's 480)
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby NS VIA FAN » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:37 am

dowlingm wrote:GO bilevel interiors aren't optimised for VIA journeys. 2 hours is probably max. Also, GO use a different HEP voltage (575 volts vs VIA's 480)

That can be overcome...and certainly not at the cost of a completely new car. At one time Bombardier did consider an intercity version of the GO cars:.

From the June 1984 issue of "Passenger Train Journal" magazine

"Sometime during the fall of 1986, a new three car luxury train will depart Toronto Union Station for an overnight dash to the northeastern Ontario cities of North Bay, Cochrane and Kapuskasing. The train will replace the conventional equipment now operating on Ontario Northland Railway's Northland** and put bi-level passenger cars into long-distance service for the first time in Canada.

But what makes this Canadian bi-level story unique is the fact that Can Car Rail (Bombardier) the Thunder Bay builder of the cars, intends to prove that an unusual tri-level bi-level concept used in the Toronto GO Transit Commuter service can be readily adapted to a long-haul vehicle."


(**The Northland was the overnight jointly operated VIA-ONR overnight train (not ONR's daytime Northlander) It was discontinued in January 1990)

It goes on to say the train would consist of two coach/sleeper cars with 45-55 Day-Niter type coach seats on the upper level and sleeper compartments on the lower level similar to Amtrak Superliner Bedrooms and Economy Rooms (now called Roomettes). The mezzanine levels would also have coach seats.

The centre car would have been an Activity Car with Bar & Lounge seating on the upper and mezzanine level and a full sit-down Dining area on the lower level.

The cars were to have been displayed at EXPO 86 in Vancouver with hopes that VIA might have shown interest.....but 30 years later.....we all know the rest of the story.
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby NS VIA FAN » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:57 am

mtuandrew wrote:Good luck, guys. At least Amtrak has Federal and State support, and its own rails in a few important places.

VIA already owns track:

They recently purchased the Brockville Subdivision (Brockville-Smiths Falls) from Canadian Pacific. This now puts nearly the entire 230 km line from Brockville to Coteau through Ottawa under VIA ownership.

VIA has upgraded the Brockville Subdivision with additional sidings and a new CTC system for higher speeds. There’s 16 trains a day...... 8 each way between Toronto and Ottawa with some continuing through Ottawa to/from Montreal.

VIA had previously purchased 100 km of the Alexandria Subdivision on the Montreal-Ottawa route as well as about 55 km of the Ottawa-Smiths Falls segment.

And they also own about 60km of the Chatham Subdivision on the Toronto-Windsor route

>>>>>

VIA is also planning a major upgrade of Ottawa Station (the centre of this Brockville to Coteau segment of the corridor)...... with new high-level platforms

http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/sites/default/ ... tation.pdf
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:29 pm

I misspoke when I said VIA doesn't own important pieces of track - mea culpa, guys. :-)

Also, agreed on the bilevels, NS VIA FAN. It'd be a pain to power 575VAC cars from 480VAC, but there are industrial solid-state AC-AC converters for that (or a plain old rewiring job. Why the heck does Canada use 575VAC/600VAC anyway? :P )
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VIA Corridor Cars

Postby dowlingm » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:12 pm

VIA Rail is looking for corridor cars:
http://www.viarail.ca/sites/all/files/m ... R_RAIL.pdf

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this, and how soon.
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Re: Amfleet Replacement Discussion.

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:01 pm

Siemens,seems to able to meet VIA's request and specs with the "Brightline" coaches,the ACS-64 and the SC-44.
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Re: Amfleet Replacement Discussion.

Postby dowlingm » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:07 am

It will be tough for anyone else to offer the same equipment plus the 30 year coverage - the exact nature of the dual mode capability demand will also be interesting. The question is whether funding will be forthcoming to place an order in a convenient timeline, and whether the order will enough for VIA to fully retire the corridor HEP fleet. As a crown corporation, these processes rarely play out without political gamesmanship either.
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Re: Amfleet Replacement Discussion.

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:57 pm

VIA's CEO says 2025 is the absolute red line in the sand for the Corridor HEP2's and LRC's, and made apocalyptic warnings when he took the job that they'd have to be retired by that date whether replacements were ready or not. So there's already been about two years' worth of political whipping behind the scenes to get this show on the road. This announcement would be the prelude conference call to the hiring of an engineering firm to produce their final specs booklet, then the RFP. As with Brightline, VIA's just going to shadow the published Amtrak single-level specs with as little deviation as possible to play off the market scale that's being driven by competition for the AMTK orders. So the technical memorandum portion of the process isn't going to need the years and years that PRIAA took to publish their specs booklet; the firm VIA hires is basically just cross-referencing that with VIA's system and livery preferences to make any necessary addendums. That would suggest formal RFP going out by FY2017, contracts inked in FY2018-19, and then the usual 5-year gestation and debugging period for the fleet to go in-service. Depending on makeup of the next Congress and USDOT head, VIA's timetable might end up hitting pretty close to Amtrak's. No doubt that isn't a coincidence.



The only thing unusual here is the request that the locomotive and the coach manufacturers team up for a single-source agreement. That's downright weird since there's so little industry overlap in manufacturers of FRA-compliant power vs. manufacturers of FRA-compliant coaches. Siemens and Bombardier are pretty much it, and while Bombardier can certainly whip up a purely diesel product for the ALP4x lineup so far it hasn't done so and so far it hasn't tried to stretch its domestic locomotives beyond their commuter rail configuration into intercity. That clause is going to eliminate a lot of lower bidders who could potentially offer better bargains on just the railcars or just the locos. Siemens might be good, but it's not good business to thin the herd so much that Siemens is the only game in town and can name its price.

I suspect this is a politically-motivated trial balloon that may get dropped or amended if the potential bidders at the conference find that or the 30-year contract entanglement a deal-breaker. In fact, I would bet on this being the obligatory "Bombardier clause" somebody buried in the fine print for one of Canada's most heavily gov't subsidized corporations. BBD's Transpo division is one hot mess right now because of their Aerospace stumbles; because of their struggles they're no longer a mortal lock to win every single Canadian rolling stock purchase by default. So if the hometown bidder can't t or doesn't come out on top for either the loco or the coach order they'd be a logical choice for the 30-year service/support contract and the systems integration part of managing the coaches and locos from different suppliers. They do have a lot of ops and management contracts in North America, so that's one way to keep the gov't gravy train pouring into their coffers even if they aren't in particularly advantageous position on the rolling stock itself (due in no small part to them being non-favored for the Amtrak order).



Only other curiosity are sizes of the base order: 40 locos and 160 cars. They have 53 F40PH-2's and 21 P42DC's on the roster. Partial replacement only? Gennies + a third of the older/less emissions-efficient EMD's only? Unless that's going to be back-ended with a +40 option order, the base order size doesn't make a lot of sense.

On the coach side the HEP2's and LRC's being retired total only 130 units. The much better condition long-distance HEP1's are--per the CEO's emphatic statements--not being considered for retirement at all, and their numbers don't match up with that 30-car discrepancy. Quite possible they've made the internal decision to purge the Renaissance fleet, since they'll be hitting the 20-year service mark in 2022 and will be facing an up/down decision on midlife overhauls coinciding with the in-service deployment of these new Corridor cars. The number of regular-configuration coaches in the R fleet: 33, almost a match for this base order discrepancy. VIA's already scrapped the dozen-plus extra sleeper shells, canceling any plans to mint more in-service cars to pad the fleet. Half the completed sleepers are in-storage. The accessibility problems that could only be mostly...not totally...addressed due to their over-small loading gauge soured VIA on further long-term investments in them. Despite their relative youth compared to VIA's other rolling ruins it doesn't appear that they're being treated as if midlife overhaul will be money well-spent. Especially when VIA seems to be mirroring Amtrak's philosophy of standardization + scale! scale! scale! as the be-all/end-all for long-term fleet management going forward.

So it's possible they'll be taking the 160-car base order to give themselves an firm exit on using any Renaissance sets on the Corridor. And then we'll have to wait and see what the option orders on the final contract suggest for the rest. It won't be known how many extra cars above-and-beyond the 160 base they'll be ordering, as that number usually doesn't get ballparked until the RFP or finalized until the money round of contract bids. The options will tell us if the Renaissances simply get booted from the Corridor and have their service hours drawn down to secondary routes like the Maritimes trains and a protect fleet for the LD's, or if the options get stuffed with cars that can outright replace the lounge, diner, sleeper configurations. Suppose that depends on whether the bids for the base order are for all-modular livery designs in the Viewliner tradition...and how faithfully they choose to shadow the Amtrak/PRIAA specs.



BTW...that "dual mode" sentence is pretty misleading. All trailers are agnostic to where their HEP power comes from, exactly like an Amfleet never cared if all-electric Sprinters/Toasters/Hippos/E60's were pulling it, all-diesel Gennies/F40PH/Dash 8/F59PHI/GP38H-3/F69PHAC/Pooches/SDP40F's were pulling it, or dual-mode P32AC-DM/FL9's were pulling it so long as the HEP voltage was the same. All that mention means is that VIA wants the HEP feed and batteries to be able to handle on-fly power switches without the lights blinking (pretty much standard-issue for anything recently manufactured).

"Push-pull" caught my eye too. VIA doesn't currently roster any cab cars whatsoever, as they don't have any route configurations that demands it. Are they thinking of introducing some short-turn or spur routes that might need cabs? Changing ops practices on some routes? Replacing the remaining RDC's? Or just making sure they have a supply of cabs for a rainy day? Something's got to be driving the decision to lump that car type in there.
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Re: Amfleet Replacement Discussion.

Postby electricron » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:43 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Only other curiosity are sizes of the base order: 40 locos and 160 cars. They have 53 F40PH-2's and 21 P42DC's on the roster. Partial replacement only? Gennies + a third of the older/less emissions-efficient EMD's only? Unless that's going to be back-ended with a +40 option order, the base order size doesn't make a lot of sense.

"Push-pull" caught my eye too. VIA doesn't currently roster any cab cars whatsoever, as they don't have any route configurations that demands it. Are they thinking of introducing some short-turn or spur routes that might need cabs? Changing ops practices on some routes? Replacing the remaining RDC's? Or just making sure they have a supply of cabs for a rainy day? Something's got to be driving the decision to lump that car type in there.


I'll agree including cab cars is a good sign that the RDC fleet would be history. ;)

As for the number of locomotives to be ordered, you might find the following math interesting.
(53 F40PH-2 x 3200 HP) + (21 P42DC x 4200 HP) = 169,600 + 88,200 = 257,800 HP
FYI, 40 SC44 x 4400 HP = 176,000 HP
I'm not so sure the P42DC will be up for retirement. ;)
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Re: VIA Corridor Cars

Postby gaspeamtrak » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:43 pm

dowlingm wrote:VIA Rail is looking for corridor cars:
http://www.viarail.ca/sites/all/files/m ... R_RAIL.pdf

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this, and how soon.


Thank you for sharing this !!! :-) :-) :-)
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby Ken V » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:05 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:"Push-pull" caught my eye too. VIA doesn't currently roster any cab cars whatsoever, as they don't have any route configurations that demands it. Are they thinking of introducing some short-turn or spur routes that might need cabs? Changing ops practices on some routes? Replacing the remaining RDC's? Or just making sure they have a supply of cabs for a rainy day? Something's got to be driving the decision to lump that car type in there.

The "push-pull" requirement is being driven by VIA's desire to quick turn corridor trains at various terminals without wyeing the consist. They are also implementing 50-50 fixed seating in the LRC coaches which means on any given trip half the seats will be facing backwards. VIA has already started the practice by placing a locomotive on each end of selected corridor consists.
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby dowlingm » Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:46 am

There were some upgrades to the Corridor Renaissance fleet announced in July 2015, but this may have been simply a way to bridge the gap to the next gen cars. http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1013689

VIA do have stated intentions to increase service in Atlantic Canada, and that would in theory soak up some displaced Corridor stock - if it happens and assuming it has to be done with equipment on hand, it would make sense for this to be Renaissance given the use of the sleepers on Ocean.

The F40PHs are only a few years out of major overhaul/refit with the addition of HEP generators. But they are only good for 90-95 in VIA config and it would make sense for them to come off VIA's highest speed tracks to solely rural/long distance service. The P42DCs might be the odd locos out - either stored as attrition replacements or disposed.
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Re: VIA Seeking $1.3B In Funding For New Corridor Equipment

Postby NH2060 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:18 pm

According to the Aug. 2nd draft minutes document VIA had made a request to use the PRIIA specifications which was approved and encouraged as it would improve interoperability:
http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Pages/305ExecBoard.aspx

dowlingm wrote:There were some upgrades to the Corridor Renaissance fleet announced in July 2015, but this may have been simply a way to bridge the gap to the next gen cars. http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1013689

VIA do have stated intentions to increase service in Atlantic Canada, and that would in theory soak up some displaced Corridor stock - if it happens and assuming it has to be done with equipment on hand, it would make sense for this to be Renaissance given the use of the sleepers on Ocean.

Not just regional services, but potentially also commuter rail out of Halifax (the latter could in fact happen before the former and unless there are more RDCs waiting for re-use it'll be VIA locos and coaches).

I would think that if they were to utilize the Ren fleet for the Ocean and any new Maritimes "corridor" services that a new maintenance facility would need to be built somewhere in or near Halifax since equipment would now have to be based out of Halifax instead of Montreal.
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