Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

mtuandrew
Posts: 5925
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:29 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:Yes, the Comets won't be around forever. The Comet IIs are the oldest comets operating on NJT. The Horizon cars were based off of the design of the original NJT Comet IIs. If the Comet IIs are going to be retired soon, then I'm sure that the Horizons will as well. It will be a welcoming sight to see the Siemens single level cars operating in the Heartland and also covering trains in California as well. It sounds like Siemens will be the manufacturer for the passenger cars to operate on the majority of Amtrak routes, especially in the Northeast.
And the California Comet IBs (Comarrows) are even older than any other Comets in daily service, and aren’t like any other car on the rails. In good shape, but elderly orphans.

eolesen
Posts: 487
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:01 am

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by eolesen » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:00 pm

As long as there are still spare parts around, nothing is too old to keep running.... and the Horizons aren't that old.

tomj
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:06 pm

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by tomj » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:06 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:Yes, the Comets won't be around forever. The Comet IIs are the oldest comets operating on NJT. The Horizon cars were based off of the design of the original NJT Comet IIs. If the Comet IIs are going to be retired soon, then I'm sure that the Horizons will as well. It will be a welcoming sight to see the Siemens single level cars operating in the Heartland and also covering trains in California as well. It sounds like Siemens will be the manufacturer for the passenger cars to operate on the majority of Amtrak routes, especially in the Northeast.
The Horizons were built in the 80s and Amtrak is short on equipment, why would they junk them? Even junking the Amfleets doesn't make complete sense.

tomj
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:06 pm

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by tomj » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:29 pm

gokeefe wrote:
tomj wrote:Even junking the Amfleets doesn't make complete sense.
It must be done. The windows on those cars are too small and they have reached the end of their service life. Amtrak pays dearly to operate this fleet using custom made parts and refurbished shells.

Siemens has a global presence and will likely be around for decades to come.
That is all well in good, but is the Amfleet replacement going to increase the size of the fleet? The pride of your supplier doesn't matter if you can't buy from them. Amtrak has been dealing with equipment shortages for the better part of a decade and never has extra cars when states want new corridors. Based on present politics, I wouldn't put it past Trump shutting the government down for 5 weeks over cutting Amtrak or keeping them from getting an order of more than 500 cars for the Amfleet 1 Replacement.

As for keeping them around, I would only keeping them around for experimenting for at most 10 years post replacement. And longer if they are kept in reserve. As for being too old, the Heritage cars were far older when they were retired and Via still uses Budd equipment. If it means more revenue and getting the states to pay for it, I think Amtrak can manage. Hell the trains near me are using refurbished Comet cars that are nearly a decade older. Even if a replacement for experimental whatever cars is hard to come by, having more passengers than you know what to do with is better than never having gotten them at all.
Last edited by tomj on Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

benboston
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:44 pm

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by benboston » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:49 pm

Is Amtrak allowed to issue bonds for funding?

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3452
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:00 am

40+ years is a very long time for equipment to operate. While the Amfleets still continue to operate well, it isn’t worth the time and money to keep refurbishing them over and over at a certain point. It might be possible that some may stick around a little longer than anticipated but in general, it’s time to order replacement coaches for Amfleets. Capacity on trains like the New Haven to Springfield shuttles need to be improved. In fact, with the pilot service of extending two of the shuttles to Greenfield, its a must that more cars get added to the shuttles. It might not hurt to run a four car shuttle or two.

Arlington
Posts: 4042
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by Arlington » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:58 am

benboston wrote:Is Amtrak allowed to issue bonds for funding?
I wish it were: then it could do things like build sidings to right-size routes by turning or dropping coaches.

But it can finance equipment by leasing, and PRIIA etc actually means that the price of lease or replacement equipment is now built into what the states pay. Which, in turn, is why some states would rather supply their own rolling stock if they can get a better deal than Amtrak than "the standard package" that Amtrak offers, such as North Carolina's owned vintage fleet and CA/IL/Midwest hope to.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

eolesen
Posts: 487
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:01 am

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by eolesen » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:15 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:40+ years is a very long time for equipment to operate.
Is it?

I say this as I sit on a train with several gallery cars having between 50 and 60 years in service....

Heck, there are Pullmans from the 1930's still going strong. If it's built well, and can be maintained, there's no reason to retire a car simply based on its age.

east point
Posts: 1260
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by east point » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:17 pm

eolesen wrote:Heck, there are Pullmans from the 1930's still going strong. If it's built well, and can be maintained, there's no reason to retire a car simply based on its age.

The only real reasons for retirement is metal fatigue, bent frames, wreck damages, refurbishment cost. the only problem today is that equipment is built to closer tolerances to fatigue than the cars of yester year.

User avatar
BandA
Posts: 2838
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by BandA » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:16 am

Parts availability, MTBF, institutional knowledge, and wage rates for workers; Presumably Amtrak employees are towards the upper ends of the industry pay scale.

Arlington
Posts: 4042
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by Arlington » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:23 am

ADA Compliance and "large windows, improved climate control systems, improved seating and wi-fi, weather-tight doors and vestibles, and new designs for restrooms and passageways between cars."

I am not sure if this means wider doors, but being able to "do" wheelchairs fluently ends up being good for everyone.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

mtuandrew
Posts: 5925
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:05 pm

True enough, Tad. The Horizon fleet ought to be railworthy as long as Amtrak cares to keep it that way, assuming it can find body-specific parts or order a small run of one-off pieces.

The question becomes, when do you stop sinking money into your 1991 Dodge Ram 12-passenger van and upgrade to a 2019 Mercedes Sprinter coach? And, at what point does it become more expensive to operate, repair, and reupholster that Dodge than the combined operation and purchase payments for a Mercedes? From secondhand experience I know that Ram vans are reliable for multiple hundreds of thousands of miles, but eventually you’re going to have door problems, rust-through, paint fading, windows delaminating, AC and heating issues, electrical faults... and we’ll say there’s a surprisingly large market for used one-owner “church vans” like these. All that aside, your Uncle Sam and his fifty kids will help finance the Sprinter for you, and you get to pick each and every option.

(For comparison: 1991 Dodge Ram Van and 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter coach)

eolesen
Posts: 487
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:01 am

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by eolesen » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:29 pm

Nobody overhauls their personal vehicles interiors or mechanical systems. If they did, they'd also last 30-50 years....

Arlington
Posts: 4042
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by Arlington » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:54 pm

Passenger tastes change. New cruise ships have bigger rooms, fewer windowless ones, and bigger windows on the ones that have them, and they could not just keep re doing the furniture in the old "port hole" ships.

At some point these design choices accumulate in such a way that overhauls don't cut it, or that, for all the changes, you might as well buy new. That moment has come.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

east point
Posts: 1260
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Siemens Single Level Cars for CA/IL/Midwest

Post by east point » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:09 pm

That is good if Amtrak has deep pockets. Will that ever occur? Who knows. Until then keep the cars in a class 2 condition to be used as a surge fleet. We believe that rush times they would be better than leased commuter equipment. Thanksgiving - new years, Easter, summer rush are examples. Most importantly needed to cover some natural disaster or manmade disaster for what ever reason. The fires in California were one example.

Return to “Amtrak”