• Parts is Parts, Except When They Aren’t.

  • 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 eolesen
Nah, no more need for "help" from Congress... It's already commonplace in procurements to require the design for critical parts and software to be placed into escrow, so if the OEM disappears, the purchaser still has some recourse to get replacements fabricated.

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  by RandallW
Not only is new legislation not needed, Amtrak is incorporating 30 year maintenance contracts into the purchase when Amtrak purchases the equipment. Amtrak doesn't control what the states order, and they didn't order a maintenance contract. I understand that Amtrak is trying to fix that, but don't have an further information.

I'm not sure the problem is that accountants are in charge of parts supply, as much as each part purchase (absent a long term maintenance contract) is a separate purchase contract, and over a certain value those have to be competitively bid (I have been in situations where government customers are having to open competitive bidding to extend vendor support for an existing system, and its a bureaucratic mess and I can well imagine that for parts over a certain value, the purchase process goes from minutes to weeks due to anti-fraud laws).
  by STrRedWolf
west point wrote: Thu Apr 18, 2024 1:10 am IMO the only solution is for this ongoing parts problem has several items. A planned 40 year life with possibly extension has to be incorporated into all purchase contracts. All contracts to vendors must have provision that if vendor goes out of business for any reason including bankruptcy that all patents, drawings, tooling , etc will become property of Amtrak with tooling going a scrap prices. Another company picking up these items will also need thought. That also goes for replacements and upgrades.

That might require congressional legislation,
Given what I've seen of government contracts, good luck getting that in without legislation to force it in.
  by Tadman
That's a tough sell. What if the part isn't train-specific. For example, a contactor or light ballast is intentionally obsoleted by GE or Sylvania. GE and Sylvania are not about to give up their light technology to Amtrak. Also in case of bankruptcy, the secured creditors have a stronger claim than trade creditors.

What is a good idea is a design life as well as a robust stockpile of parts. Also staying a generation or two behind the bleeding edge would be great, too.
  by eolesen
That's why only critical or proprietary parts get escrowed.

Lights, brake lines and fan motors are a commodity you can somewhat easily work around with another provider's product. A truck frame casting or inverter control module, not so much.

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