Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak rolling stock’

Amtrak Sets Deal to Buy New Trainsets

July 8, 2021

Amtrak will spend billions to buy new trainsets from Siemens Mobility that will replace Amfleet I equipment in the Northeast Corridor and state-supported corridor trains.

How much the deal is worth depends on whose news release you read. Siemens said the deal is worth $3.4 billion while Amtrak put it at $7.3 billion.

The Amtrak news release indicated that the contract also covers parts and service, facilities upgrades and other related expenses. The deal has an option for up to 140 additional trainsets and related maintenance agreements.

Siemens characterized the contract as its largest North American order in its history.

Back in April Amtrak had announced it had chosen Siemens to build replacement equipment for its corridor trains.

Corridor trains expected to get the new equipment include the Adirondack, Carolinian, Amtrak Cascades, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Hartford Line and Valley Flyer, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter and Virginia services.

The long-distance Palmetto between New York and Savannah, Georgia, also will receive the new trainsets.

Amtrak said the Siemens order will include dual-power and battery hybrid trains, therefore ending locomotive changes in Washington and New Haven, Connecticut.

Also displaced by the new equipment will be dual-mode locomotives now used on Empire Corridor trains.

The announcement did not say how the order is to be divided between dual-mode and hybrid equipment.

Trains will have individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard WiFi, a digital seat reservation system, and trip information and digital navigation displays.

Cars will have ADA accessible restrooms, vestibules, and food service cars, wheelchair lifts, and inductive hearing loops.

Few other details about the makeup of the trainsets were provided other than saying they will have predictive maintenance technology and real-time digital monitoring

Siemens plans to build the trainsets in Sacramento, California, with the first deliveries being made in 2024. Deliveries will be completed in 2030.

Water Problem Sidelines New Venture Cars

June 4, 2021

An issue with the water supplies in the restrooms has delayed use by Amtrak of new Siemens Venture passenger cars in corridor service in the Midwest and California.

The problem was found during routine testing last November, a California Department of Transportation official said.

A Siemens spokeswoman said the company has found a solution to the problem but further testing is needed before the cars can be delivered.

The spokeswoman said the fix will enable the cars to meet water-quality standards of the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency.

Caltrans is the lead agency overseeing the $386 million, 137-car order for single-level cars that was awarded to Siemens in 2017.

California will receive 49 of those cars while Midwest corridor trains will use 88 cars.

Contractor Sumitomo Corporation has been paid $28 million for its work on the cars, but the Caltrans spokesman said Sumitomo won’t be paid for the cars themselves until the water issue has been resolved.

California officials had hoped to put the cars into revenue service this fall but now the timeline for their debut is unclear.

Four Venture cars have already been delivered to Amtrak in Chicago for testing on the Chicago-Detroit corridor and on the Chicago-Carbondale, Illinois, corridor.

The cars are based on the design Siemens used to build passenger cars for Florida’s Brightline intercity rail passenger service where they began revenue service in December 2017.

Siemens to Build New Cars for Amtrak

April 21, 2021

Amtrak will contract with Siemens for new equipment that will be assigned to service in the Northeast Corridor, on some state-supported trains and for the New York-Savannah, Georgia, Palmetto.

The passenger carrier said Siemens was chosen as the “preferred bidder” to build 83 intercity trainsets.

Siemens is already constructing new Venture cars to be used for Midwest and California corridor services.

Amtrak said it chose Siemens as part of a competitive procurement process that began in January 2019.

The new equipment will feature dual power in some cases and will replace Amfleet I and Metroliner cab cars.

The equipment is also expected to replace existing equipment used in Cascades Service in the Pacific Northwest.

Siemens and Amtrak are talking about a contract for construction and long-term service that both parties hope to sign this summer.

The contract would also include technical support, spares and material supply.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said the carrier would not release any other information about the equipment order beyond what was reported in a news release.

Biden Campaign Train has Amtrak Consist

September 30, 2020

Democratic president candidate Job Biden will be riding an all-Amtrak consist as he tours Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania today (Sept. 30) by train.

An online report indicated that Biden’s campaign train left Chicago Tuesday night following the eastbound Lake Shore Limited with two P42DCs, conference car 9800, two Amfleet coaches, an Amfleet dinette, a Viewliner diner, another Amfleet coach and executive car American View.

The train was reported to have passed Chesterton, Indiana, at 1:03 a.m. (CDT) and Elkhart, Indiana, at 3:35 a.m. EDT.

The train is to leave Cleveland this morning and make a stop in Alliance late this morning en route to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, via Pittsburgh.

Mystery Passenger Train

August 21, 2020

We wish we had more information about this train. The only information the photographer sent about it is that it it is a southbound at Sugarcreek, Ohio, on Oct. 6, 1984.

The motive power is a pair of Norfolk Southern geeps and there are at least four former Amtrak passenger cars in the consist.

If you know anything about this trail feel free to leave a comment.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Flapping Its Wings Westbound

June 1, 2020

Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Cardinal is on the money as it cruises northbound on the former Monon route about 10 miles north of Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Train No. 51, which operates here on Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning has two Amfleet II coaches, two Amfleet food service cars, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage dorm car.

It was the first time I’d seen, let along photographed, a Viewliner dorm-bag.

The train is on CSX tracks that in this location run next to Old U.S. Route 231.

A cloud shelf that was breaking up led to some dramatic light and sky conditions for this image.

One Night at the Cleveland Amtrak Station

January 16, 2020

On most days if you want to photograph Amtrak in Northeast Ohio you’ll need a good tripod because the four trains that cross the region do so between 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Back in the late 1990s I dabbled with making night photographs of Amtrak trains at the Cleveland station.

The two images shown above were made on Aug. 22, 1998. You’ve probably forgotten but it was a notable day in railroad history because Norfolk Southern and CSX took administrative control of Conrail.

That had no effect on Conrail operations because the carrier continued to operate as normal until being formally divided on June 1, 1999.

Back in 1998, Amtrak’s P42DC locomotives still wore the Phase III livery in which they were delivered although some had the Phase IV look. The now ubiquitous Phase V livery would be introduced in the next year.

Shown at top is dome lounge No. 2511. Like most Heritage Fleet cars still operating in the late 1990s, this car had an interesting history.

It was built by Budd in April 1950 as Pacific Park for Union Pacific, a 10 roomette, 6 double bedroom sleeper. At UP it was No. 1430.

It initially carried Amtrak roster 2623 and became the 2923 when rebuilt in September 1977 for head end power capability.

It was transformed into a dorm lounge in April 1998. Amtrak’s thinking at the time was that it could double as a lounge, but that apparently didn’t happen because Amtrak onboard crew members objected to having revenue passengers in their dorm car.

Amtrak retired the 2511 in June 2006. It was stored at the Beech Grove shops for several years until being offered for sale in 2018.

Amtrak Previews Onboard Service Changes

January 12, 2020

A service advisory posted on the Amtrak website last week briefly described coming on-board service changes including the inauguration of Viewliner II sleeping car service on eastern long-distance trains.

Amtrak did not give a date for when the Viewliner II sleepers will begin revenue service other than it would be “in the coming months.” Nor did it say which trains would get the new sleepers.

The announcement merely said they would be assigned to “trains on the East Coast” and would be the first addition to the Amtrak sleeping car fleet in more than 25 years.

The passenger carrier said sleeping car passengers will begin using upgraded bedding, towels and linens at an unspecified date.

This change will initially be made on the Auto Train that operates between the Washington area and Florida.

Also coming is the completion of renovations to Amfleet II coaches with new seating cushions, carpets, curtains and LED reading lights. These cars are used on the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited.

Since early 2016 sleeping car passengers on the Silver Star have not received meals as part of their fare as is the case on all other Amtrak overnight trains with sleeper service.

That will change on May 1 when flexible dining service comes to Nos. 91 and 92. It will be the same service as that provided on the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited and Silver Meteor.

Silver Star sleeper class passengers will have access to dining car reserved for their exclusive use.

Amtrak said traditional dining service will continue to be offered on the California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle and for sleeping car customers aboard the Auto Train.

Amtrak Receives Last of New Baggage-Dorm Viewliners

November 7, 2019

Amtrak took delivery last week of the last of the 10 Viewliner baggage-dorm cars that it ordered from CAF USA.

The carrier also received the second car of an order of 25 new Viewliner sleepers from CAF.

All of the cars were taken to Amtrak’s Hialeah, Florida, maintenance facility for acceptance inspection and testing.

Some Viewliner baggage-dorm cars have already been placed into revenue service on the New York-Miami Silver Meteor in recent weeks.

In a related development, the first Siemens passenger car that is part of an order to be used on corridor trains in the Midwest and California has been sent to Canada for cold weather testing.

Two other prototype Siemens cars have been sent to the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado, for operational testing.

Ex-Amtrak Cars Went Home With NKP 765

October 5, 2019

When Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 returned home to New Haven, Indiana, this week after a two-week stay on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad it took home some “souvenirs.”

The ferry move from Cleveland had in tow some former Amtrak rolling stock that the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society bought earlier this year.

The cars included several baggage cars and a former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy dining car.

The dining car will become the Society’s new souvenir and concession car for excursion service while one of the ex-Santa Fe baggage cars will replace the current tool car that travels with the 765.

The remaining baggage cars will be used for a variety of functions that the Society did not disclose.

The Society said in a news release that the acquisitions “are the first big boost to our passenger fleet since it was originally sold off in the 1990s.”

The release noted that merchandise sales make up a considerable portion of Society revenues and help to cover the cost of insurance.