VIA might get funding for new equipment

Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mdvle » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:52 pm

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/garneau-supportive-of-via-rails-15-billion-request-for-new-trains/article37714915/

Highlights:

    VIA might have to start removing some equipment for service this year
    Government is favourable to the idea of new equipment
    Government is still evaluating VIA's proposed new corridor track
    Plans in Ontario and Montreal are complicating VIA proposal however
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby electricron » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:04 am

Might is the key word in your title.
Canada is setting up a $35 Billion investment bank, to partner with private enterprise in PPP infrastructure projects.
Whether VIA gets any funds for either new trains or new passenger train only corridors; or both; has not been determined. Would VIA qualify as the private enterprise investor? Does VIA have any private investment funds locked away in any bank vault?
Might is still the key word!
electricron
 
Posts: 4328
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mdvle » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:00 pm

The article makes clear that the government is treating the equipment and a possible new corridor as two separate items - only the new corridor is going to the investment bank. While it is not clear, the implication is that the new equipment would be handled through the government budget (like VIA's capital expenditures have been up until now) given that VIA needs new equipment regardless of what happens regarding trackage (either that or be shut down).

As for the PPP item, VIA would be the public part of the equation.
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby NH2060 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:56 pm

I'm sure someone at VIA has made it clear to Ottawa that 1) they really can't keep kicking the can down the road with this and 2) with Siemens currently free of any major Amtrak order to make however many Viaggio/Brightline coaches VIA were to need to replace the HEPs and LRCs + expand the coach fleet the time is literally NOW to get funding released and contracts secured. Unless of course the gov't does some strong arming and has VIA award the contract to Bombardier...
NH2060
 
Posts: 1505
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mdvle » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:22 pm

NH2060 wrote:with Siemens currently free of any major Amtrak order to make however many Viaggio/Brightline coaches VIA were to need to replace the HEPs and LRCs + expand the coach fleet the time is literally NOW to get funding released and contracts secured.


Except Siemens is currently starting up the order for 137 coaches for the assorted States, which apparently will take up until 2023 to complete. The question is whether Siemens has the ability to increase production capacity or not.

NH2060 wrote:Unless of course the gov't does some strong arming and has VIA award the contract to Bombardier...


Bombardier would have 2 problems - first, and most importantly, they don't have a current design available (one of the reasons Siemens got the US State order even though they originally wanted bi-levels) - the time to design, test and certify a new coach could well be too long for VIA at this point.

Secondly, given the TTC/Metrolinx experience with LRT I don't know that any level of government wants to risk Bombardier again (yes, the bi-levels continue to be bought, but that is an existing design with existing production that actually works).

It's one thing to support Bombardier (and more importantly the jobs in Quebec) and their plane hopes, another thing entirely to risk anything new with their train division.
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mdvle » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:38 pm

A better choice (if VIA has the time) would likely be the coaches used in the Alstom Avelia Liberty (soon to be Siemens), which would give VIA more flexibility in the future.

The Siemens Viaggio coaches are 125mph, but the Avelia are 180mph. While VIA may not use that extra speed capability, it would at least leave the option open for the future if VIA does get their own dedicated tracks or even extra money in say 15 years.

There should be no reason for now that VIA couldn't put a Charger locomotive on the front of the Avelia coaches.
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby electricron » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:12 pm

mdvle wrote:A better choice (if VIA has the time) would likely be the coaches used in the Alstom Avelia Liberty (soon to be Siemens), which would give VIA more flexibility in the future.

The Siemens Viaggio coaches are 125mph, but the Avelia are 180mph. While VIA may not use that extra speed capability, it would at least leave the option open for the future if VIA does get their own dedicated tracks or even extra money in say 15 years.

There should be no reason for now that VIA couldn't put a Charger locomotive on the front of the Avelia coaches.

The new Amtrak Avelia HSR train sets will have the same problem that the existing Amtrak Acela HSR train sets have, the lack of traps for 8 inch tall or shorter platforms. With the maximum speeds of 90 mph on Canadian traditional railway corridors by law, a new 125 mph coach car would be more appropriate.

Canada's recent history of allowing infrastructure to breakdown before buying replacements is prevalent. Just check out the status of their icebreakers for the St. Lawrence Seaway, and how both the American and Canadian shipping interests economy has taken a severe blow this winter as the latest example. I'm afraid the Canadian government will not invest into new rolling stock for VIA until the existing rolling stock breaks down and existing minimum service can't be maintained.

What VIA needs to do is find some fairly new, cream puff used, no longer wanted rolling stock they can buy cheaply - like they did for the Renaissance cars they bought in 2000. It's hard to believe their newest trains are fast approach 20 years of age.

FYI, the Acela sets Amtrak will be retiring soon are just as young. ;)
electricron
 
Posts: 4328
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:36 pm

Bombardier made generations of Comets, which fit the bill for single-level equipment, if VIA is willing to accept an old design built from aluminum. They could also use the M-7 as a base, but it would require a moderate redesign to add end vestibules and traps. The MR-90 would probably be the best of all their single-level platforms from recent memory.

Or they could export a design from Europe like the Talent.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 5064
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby Mark0f0 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:05 pm

VIA might have to start removing some equipment for service this year


This is serious, as it indicates that there's equipment for which regulatory compliance is quite questionable. And probably some back-room deals between VIA and Transport Canada/the railways as to whether such equipment is even allowed.

Anyone care to speculate which equipment this might be? Corroded LRCs? Prehistoric HEP1/HEP2's?

There's no need to buy cars that are capable of crazy speeds, or electric operation.
Mark0f0
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:19 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:12 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Bombardier made generations of Comets, which fit the bill for single-level equipment, if VIA is willing to accept an old design built from aluminum. They could also use the M-7 as a base, but it would require a moderate redesign to add end vestibules and traps. The MR-90 would probably be the best of all their single-level platforms from recent memory.

Or they could export a design from Europe like the Talent.


It's been exactly 20 years since anyone's produced an aluminum "classic" Comet. That's an awfully long-in-tooth starting point for a modern design update. Since the last unit from either BBD or a clone maker rolled off the assembly line in '98 (MNRR Shoreliner IV's, Batch #2 of 10 cars in CDOT paint) the nearly-as-generic BLV has been design-refreshed by Bombardier 3 separate times to keep up with evolution. That's quite a lot of change for the aluminum flats to be sitting on the sidelines throughout.

The stainless steel Alstom Comet V's produced in '02 were a separate...if heavily-derived...species altogether from the "classics" where the change in carbody sacked them with excessively rough ride quality and middling reliability. Any revival's got to skip right over the V's and reach much further back in time to start from a good working template. I can't fathom BBD seeing any upside in that effort when it would take a considerable amount of design derivation to make a Comet-bodied car that can compete head-to-head with Brightline on component modularity and modern frills. I mean, VIA (and Amtrak East Region even moreso) is looking for something a bit more forward-leaning to put on the Corridor for the next 25 years than just a straight rip of Horizon II's fitted with less ghastly lighting. It's competing with stuff from Siemens that was literally lab -born and -bred for these exact AMTK & VIA flats procurements and packaged as their go-to product family for its given market segment. Yeah, BBD is very well up to the task of producing pretty much any type of conventional trailer for the job, but when the game Siemens is playing is world domination they're not going to achieve competitive parity expending design effort on a "Horizon Comfort". BBD's far more likely to import the Talent MU carbody--or one of its superficially Talent-lookalike Euro trailers--as a general design template for adaptation to North American rails...and work from a starting point of something they've been actively fabbing this century as their platform of choice for a head-to-head bid against Brightline.


Sure, you can probably get some no-name vendor in a second-world country to produce some modestly updated "classic" Comets real cheap if you really wanted to, and they'd Just Work™ all the same. But none of those vendors will ever get in the front door on a national intercity carrier's RFP because there's no way they can offer Service & Support packages as comprehensive as the big boys can...the kind of S&S that VIA & AMTK are now demanding in their newest procurements. The big boys--Siemens, BBD, hyper-ambitious Chinese upstarts like CRRC--are all packaging that sought-after S&S wrapping around new 21st c. product families as they jockey for market share domination. So unfortunately the very mechanism of procurement being pursued here with its much-heightened emphasis on vertically-integrated vendor support just doesn't lend itself to competitive bids from the class of vendors who'd consider doing something like a new run of modestly updated "classic" Comets.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7355
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby D40LF » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:20 pm

Mark0f0 wrote:
VIA might have to start removing some equipment for service this year


This is serious, as it indicates that there's equipment for which regulatory compliance is quite questionable. And probably some back-room deals between VIA and Transport Canada/the railways as to whether such equipment is even allowed.

Anyone care to speculate which equipment this might be? Corroded LRCs? Prehistoric HEP1/HEP2's?

There's no need to buy cars that are capable of crazy speeds, or electric operation.


A lot of their equipment is suffering from corrosion damage. I don't believe this "removing some equipment" thing is as serious as it sounds though. I heard a rumor that they want to remove a small amount of HEP equipment from service.

Last I heard, VIA thought LRCs wouldn't last beyond the mid 2020s.
D40LF
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:50 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:16 am

F-Line: that’s my thought too. If VIA wanted Comets, they would have bought them back when Amtrak was getting their Comet IIs - sorry, Horizons. They have many more options now, and a public interested in riding equipment whose design dates to the current Trudeau administration.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 5064
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mdvle » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:23 pm

Mark0f0 wrote:Anyone care to speculate which equipment this might be? Corroded LRCs? Prehistoric HEP1/HEP2's?


They have just redone the LRC cars, so I doubt it is them (unless they skipped some).

No talk of replacing the Canadian, so likely can rule those out.

Which leaves the HEP equipment in the corridor, or the Renaissance cars.

Mark0f0 wrote:There's no need to buy cars that are capable of crazy speeds, or electric operation.


VIA has determined that their future depends on building their own corridor so that they can offer the level of service (both in frequency and on time performance) required to allow them to survive long term.

Given new dedicated track there is no reason higher speeds can't be obtained without going to the lengths of a TGV or Bullet train type of system.

As such it would be rather short sighted to purchase equipment now that can't take advantage of what VIA is planning, unless you believe VIA won't get their new corridor in which case VIA has bigger problems than worrying about getting new equipment.
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby mdvle » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:34 pm

electricron wrote:The new Amtrak Avelia HSR train sets will have the same problem that the existing Amtrak Acela HSR train sets have, the lack of traps for 8 inch tall or shorter platforms.


With this purchase VIA needs to decide on a desired platform height, and switch to it. Any new equipment purchase will be watched closely by disability advocates and I would guess any attempt to maintain the status quo of unacceptable disability access will be challenged.

If high platforms can't be done, then VIA will need to purchase equipment designed for low level boarding without using the existing trap system.

Whether they like it or not VIA has to be brought into the modern world with level boarding and passenger controlled doors(*) and any purchase that doesn't work towards that goal would be unacceptable.

electricron wrote:With the maximum speeds of 90 mph on Canadian traditional railway corridors by law, a new 125 mph coach car would be more appropriate.


But VIA is planning a dedicated corridor, and as such any equipment purchased should be done so with that in mind.

* VIA "forgot" to allow passengers off a train recently, leading to some bad publicity http://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windsor-news/2018/01/24/via-rail-reviewing-train-blows-past-chatham-stop/
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: VIA might get funding for new equipment

Postby electricron » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:12 pm

European trains are moving to two different standard platform levels, 550 mm (21.7 in) for low floor trains and 760 mm (29.9 in). There are few exceptions on modern lines, with Ireland standardizing at 915 mm (36 in). Older lines vary a lot.

Canada doesn’t have to adopt the high platform standard of 1219 mm (48 in) used only at the two stations in Montreal and Quebec. The tracks and trackbed can be raised at those two stations if a different standard is adopted. Elsewhere the existing standard is no taller than 203 mm (8 in) above top of rail.
electricron
 
Posts: 4328
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Next

Return to Canadian Passenger Operations: AMT, Go Transit, VIA, etc.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests