• Amtrak’s Growing Pains with Siemens Locomotives

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by scratchyX1
 
I ask again, Is brightline getting techs who actually know the gear, and amtrak getting contractors who had training classes?
  by mcgrath618
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:10 am I ask again, Is brightline getting techs who actually know the gear, and amtrak getting contractors who had training classes?
I think to others' points, Brightline never had another locomotive. Their techs and mechanics have only ever worked on SC-44s (at least, for Brightline). Amtrak has a little bit more of an eclectic mix of GE power that a whole generation of mechanics has been trained on (and now essentially has to unlearn).

The ACS-64s on SEPTA have held up beautifully.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Should this thread maybe be updated to "GENESIS DISCUSION/REPLACEMENT"
  by ApproachMedium
 
Amtraks techs arent the ones who are screwing stuff up. Its Siemens. Siemens will change some nonsense on the software. The siemens people work as contractors for amtrak, but its def siemens people.
  by ApproachMedium
 
mcgrath618 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:14 am
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:10 am I ask again, Is brightline getting techs who actually know the gear, and amtrak getting contractors who had training classes?
I think to others' points, Brightline never had another locomotive. Their techs and mechanics have only ever worked on SC-44s (at least, for Brightline). Amtrak has a little bit more of an eclectic mix of GE power that a whole generation of mechanics has been trained on (and now essentially has to unlearn).

The ACS-64s on SEPTA have held up beautifully.
Brightline and SEPTA barely move. Brightline goes nowhere right now. SEPTA runs their motors on rush hour only trains. its comparing Apples to peanuts.
  by mcgrath618
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:11 am
mcgrath618 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:14 am
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:10 am I ask again, Is brightline getting techs who actually know the gear, and amtrak getting contractors who had training classes?
I think to others' points, Brightline never had another locomotive. Their techs and mechanics have only ever worked on SC-44s (at least, for Brightline). Amtrak has a little bit more of an eclectic mix of GE power that a whole generation of mechanics has been trained on (and now essentially has to unlearn).

The ACS-64s on SEPTA have held up beautifully.
Brightline and SEPTA barely move. Brightline goes nowhere right now. SEPTA runs their motors on rush hour only trains. its comparing Apples to peanuts.
Brightline runs about 8 or so trains 70 miles right now, hardly nowhere (though I understand your point) They will be running about 200 miles starting at the end of this year, so we'll see how the Chargers hold up.

SEPTA had a Sprinter go around on an "all day" set for about a month a year or two ago. The issue was not with the Sprinter itself, more that the stations on SEPTA aren't far enough apart to enjoy the benefits of the locomotive. I believe the locomotive used was 903, and it performed admirably.
  by rcthompson04
 
mcgrath618 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:37 am
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:11 am
mcgrath618 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:14 am
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:10 am I ask again, Is brightline getting techs who actually know the gear, and amtrak getting contractors who had training classes?
I think to others' points, Brightline never had another locomotive. Their techs and mechanics have only ever worked on SC-44s (at least, for Brightline). Amtrak has a little bit more of an eclectic mix of GE power that a whole generation of mechanics has been trained on (and now essentially has to unlearn).

The ACS-64s on SEPTA have held up beautifully.
Brightline and SEPTA barely move. Brightline goes nowhere right now. SEPTA runs their motors on rush hour only trains. its comparing Apples to peanuts.
Brightline runs about 8 or so trains 70 miles right now, hardly nowhere (though I understand your point) They will be running about 200 miles starting at the end of this year, so we'll see how the Chargers hold up.

SEPTA had a Sprinter go around on an "all day" set for about a month a year or two ago. The issue was not with the Sprinter itself, more that the stations on SEPTA aren't far enough apart to enjoy the benefits of the locomotive. I believe the locomotive used was 903, and it performed admirably.
The SEPTA Sprinter ran for a few months and was great itself, but as you noted, the concept wasn't well thought out. Other than the electrical issue on the Reading side of the system last year, I don't think there have been any substantive issues with them.
  by CSRR573
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:09 am Amtraks techs arent the ones who are screwing stuff up. Its Siemens. Siemens will change some nonsense on the software. The siemens people work as contractors for amtrak, but its def siemens people.
Heres and example I personally worked on a few months ago. ACS gets shopped for and oil leak by the main compressor. We find its a seal on a test fitting that has failed. You, me, uncle bob and aunt sally would say to just replace the fitting. NOPE! Siemens doesn't do that, instead were instructed to replace the whole compressor that itself was just installed late last year. Well off comes the pans and roof and a simple 10 minute replacement turns into a 3 day overhaul. Neither operationally efficient or cost effective IMO. I've got plenty more stories where Siemens wont replace a part, just replace that whole component at the cost of Amtrak
  by scratchyX1
 
oh great, So, it's the "Fleece the Feds" business model. They are intentionally making it more complicated, for profit.
I kinda wish there were Engineers/locomotive staff from other parts of the world who could chime in on how this is maintained.
  by Bonevalleyrailfan
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:11 am
mcgrath618 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:14 am
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:10 am I ask again, Is brightline getting techs who actually know the gear, and amtrak getting contractors who had training classes?
I think to others' points, Brightline never had another locomotive. Their techs and mechanics have only ever worked on SC-44s (at least, for Brightline). Amtrak has a little bit more of an eclectic mix of GE power that a whole generation of mechanics has been trained on (and now essentially has to unlearn).

The ACS-64s on SEPTA have held up beautifully.
Brightline and SEPTA barely move. Brightline goes nowhere right now. SEPTA runs their motors on rush hour only trains. its comparing Apples to peanuts.
I can understand the frustration with the overall availability issues that are seen with the Amtrak Siemens equipment. Brightline has Siemens technicians on-site in West Palm Beach at their repair facility. I have been there recently to visit and talk to the shop people there.

Saying Brightline "barely moves" is to ignore the fact that they run an hourly schedule 7 days a week with around 900 trains per month. I was told that on average, only 1 train a month is delayed or not available due to issues with the Siemens trainsets (this includes not only the Chargers, but the Venture cars too). To me, that is an impressive number considering Brightline has been dealing with so many vehicle collisions as well that take a Charger out of service for a day or two.

The question that should be asked is what is different with Amtrak that is running the same equipment as Brightline? Is it the lack of on-site Siemens tech's and the nature of their support and spare parts agreement? Brightline paid a lot of $$$ for a 30 year support agreement that includes on-site support. As far as I know they are the only Siemens Charger customer to do that from the original order date.
  by CSRR573
 
We have techs on site in Boston, we cant even get brake pads without a tech on site anymore. Not allowed to stock them like we can shoes for Diesels
  by Bonevalleyrailfan
 
I guess it all depends on the specific technical and spares support agreements that are signed. In the case of Brightline, I was told they have had adequate spare parts supplies on hand in West Palm Beach. I saw their warehouse of parts there - it is a decent sized operation to support their existing 6 trainsets. Of course their future main repair facility will be in Orlando and will support 10+ trainsets to begin with. That facility will open towards the end of 2022. The next 3 trainsets will be delivered to Orlando, with 2 delivered in July. So there will be a training period starting in September (once the maintenance facility opens) for the new staff in Orlando who will eventually maintain all 10 trainsets. I think some personnel will move from West Palm Beach to Orlando if I recall correctly.

In the end, it appears that you get the level of support that you pay for.
  by eolesen
 
Brightline losing a trainset is going to be a heck of a lot more disruptive than if Amtrak does.
  by ApproachMedium
 
The ACS 64s are nearing a million miles on the oldest units. I highly doubt Brightline comes close to that. There is also other factors, track condition (destroying truck components), Multiple seasons and various weather conditions. Florida is hot and damp. They havent had the issues with snow and etc.

While it hasnt been public, i think VIA has had issues with their stuff too. Siemens is dedicated to making the customer happy at first and getting things going, they were with amtrak. But now they are just constantly coming up with revisions and things to try and push amtrak mechanical away from actually working on the locomotives. My previous job there has since been eliminated by such.
  by photobug56
 
In some cases, where it is quicker to pull the component, put in a good one, than on the side repair the component, can make sense. But an easily replaced part like a seal on an easily reached fitting, I'd change the seal. Now I get I'm not a mechanic, but something here smells.