Home Open Account Help 242 users online

Passenger Trains > Amtrak cancels additional Acela coaches


Current Page:1 of 3


Date: 12/05/12 07:54
Amtrak cancels additional Acela coaches
Author: GenePoon

Late in 2011, Amtrak decided to increase its Acela fleet by
adding forty coaches. Amtrak issued a request for a price
proposal to a sole source...no competing bids. In February 2012, a
proposal and quote was received from the sole contractor.

Because of the high dollar value of the contract and the lack of
information from any other source for comparison, the Amtrak Office
of Inspector General initiated a review of the sole source price
proposal.

As a result of investigation pursuant to the review, the Inspector
General found that the price proposal contained amounts that "were
not based on well-supported and/or reasonable cost data."

In addition, the proposal contained comments that "suggested
modifications to significant terms and conditions" that Amtrak had
included in its request...including a provision for audits.

The Inspector General recommended that Amtrak attempt to negotiate a
lower price, and retain the audit provision that had been specified
by Amtrak and altered by the contractor.

The purchase of forty additional Acela coaches has now been
cancelled.

-GP



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/12 15:28 by GenePoon.



Date: 12/05/12 08:02
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: joemvcnj

I could not see the point of adding 2 cars to 15(?) year old trains that are half depreciated and worn out. What happen when the base equipment has to go - do the 2 additional cars get orphaned and scrapped prematurely, or composed into Acela II (unlikely) ?



Date: 12/05/12 08:54
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: 3751_loony

Have they begun to rebuild the shops for the longer trainsets? If they have already started, perhaps a spare set or two can be parted out to lengthen existing sets and start working on a new order for whole trainset replacement.

JimBo



Date: 12/05/12 09:08
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: jp1822

Let's see when the Viewliner order gets cancelled........



Date: 12/05/12 09:18
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: DavidP

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Let's see when the Viewliner order gets
> cancelled........

Too late...they're already under construction.

Dave



Date: 12/05/12 09:24
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: ts1457

DavidP Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jp1822 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Let's see when the Viewliner order gets
> > cancelled........
>
> Too late...they're already under construction.
>
> Dave

Not all of them and not paid for.

Don't get me wrong. I hope the order does get completed, but I think jp1822's concerns are not unfounded.



Date: 12/05/12 09:25
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: Jishnu

3751_loony Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Have they begun to rebuild the shops for the
> longer trainsets? If they have already started,
> perhaps a spare set or two can be parted out to
> lengthen existing sets and start working on a new
> order for whole trainset replacement.
>
> JimBo

AFAICT at present there are absolutely no spare sets after one accounts for regular maintenance and FRA inspections and protect sets.



Date: 12/05/12 10:05
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: Lackawanna484

Jishnu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 3751_loony Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Have they begun to rebuild the shops for the
> > longer trainsets? If they have already
> started,
> > perhaps a spare set or two can be parted out to
> > lengthen existing sets and start working on a
> new
> > order for whole trainset replacement.
> >
> > JimBo
>
> AFAICT at present there are absolutely no spare
> sets after one accounts for regular maintenance
> and FRA inspections and protect sets.

what's the current distribution of equipment? How many in service, how many in maintenance, etc?

There was some discussion about an inordinately large number of units in "protect mode" a while back.

(Of course, if Amtrak turned their equipment as fast as TrenItalia or NederlandsSpoor turns equipment, there would be a lot of additional capacity with the same number of cars.

The Italian crews are on the train from the service side of the train as passengers are departing on the other side. At intermediate points like Florence, litter patrols come through, toilets are serviced, etc.)



Date: 12/05/12 10:20
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: Jishnu

I dunno for sure, but I am told that Amtrak needs 16 sets for the current diagram, and the rest are needed for periodic maintenance etc.



Date: 12/05/12 11:15
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: NGotwalt

I am pretty sure this is about the sole source contract and unreasonable terms made by the would be manufacturer more than anything else. The Viewliner contract did get multiple bids so a decent review process was possible, with only a single bidder and no source of comparison, I think Amtrak had a take it or leave it decision and I think the IG saw things he didn't like so Amtrak decided to leave it. I suspect we'll hear Amtrak making plans to acquire new trainsets in the next few years to replace Acela. At which times the AE trainsets we'll probably go to Keystone Service and maybe if Amtrak can string wire to Springfield, they could also become Springfield to Washington Regionals. I am sure the AE's could do better time on the Keystone than Amfleet trains, possibly opening the door for Harrisburg to Baltimore and Washington trains via Philly, if time was remotely competitive.
Cheers,
Nick



Date: 12/05/12 11:35
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: floridajoe2001

Boardman has some explaining to do on this one. Hopefully Amtrak will explain more fully on their website why this was done.

By the way, Amtrak didn't "cancel the order" because no order existed in the first place. In fact, Amtrak never asked for funds to purchase them.

Very strange, because Boardman has made statements in the past that due to frequent "sold out" conditions on these high revenue trains, these 40 cars were a "priority" and would pay for themselves in increased revenue earning capability.

So, if you can't acquire new equipment even for high-revenue, sold out, trains; well then, someone doesn't want you to grow, and it's pretty hard to deny there is "dirty politics" afoot. Who is working behind the scenes to prevent Amtrak from replacing their ageing fleet?

Joe



Date: 12/05/12 11:46
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: ts1457

floridajoe2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So, if you can't acquire new equipment even for
> high-revenue, sold out, trains; well then, someone
> doesn't want you to grow, and it's pretty hard to
> deny there is "dirty politics" afoot. Who is
> working behind the scenes to prevent Amtrak from
> replacing their ageing fleet?
>
> Joe

I think you are reading too much into this Joe. Those cars would have been expensive. Time to move onto Acela II. If nothing happens with that in the next half year, I'd start to wonder.

Expanding old equipment half way through its economic life hardly constitutes "prevent Amtrak from replacing their ageing fleet".



Date: 12/05/12 11:58
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: Jaanfo

Expanding the current sets was supposed to be a near term stopgap to expand the current trainsets quickly using proven designs, while the next generations was gradually being developed, built, and tested. The current equipment then would have been relegated to Regional, backup, and charter service to live out its days.

It would appear that without the benefit of a competetive bid, and with the sole bidder wishing to change the design and charge up the ying-yang, Amtrak's probably decided to focus their energy on developing the next generation of Acela.



Date: 12/05/12 12:00
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: floridajoe2001

ts1457:

Acela equipment is relatively "young"; being in service for only 12 years or so. Who knows, this equipment could last another 30 years.

And if Amtrak is not allowed to upgrade Acela on an "incremental" basis with a small 40 car order; the chances are absolute zero they will ever be given a billion dollars to buy all new Acela-2 train sets. They are "stuck" with the fleet they now have (no growth potential).

I notice that Gene Poon's posting never says that Amtrak, or anyone else, "officially" announced this. It could just be a rumor or something. I think we should wait for further clarification from an official source.

Joe



Date: 12/05/12 12:03
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: Lackawanna484

Jaanfo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Expanding the current sets was supposed to be a
> near term stopgap to expand the current trainsets
> quickly using proven designs, while the next
> generations was gradually being developed, built,
> and tested. The current equipment then would have
> been relegated to Regional, backup, and charter
> service to live out its days.
>
> It would appear that without the benefit of a
> competetive bid, and with the sole bidder wishing
> to change the design and charge up the ying-yang,
> Amtrak's probably decided to focus their energy on
> developing the next generation of Acela.

I wonder if Amtrak would find it useful to sit down with Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi, etc and see what's being done with next generation European and Asian designs?

Are there things that can be done with the newest TGV, ICE etc to harden them for use on US lines?

(While they're at it, it could be worthwhile to raise the B&P tunnel height, address the situation in the Hudson and East River tunnels etc and see if they can go for double decker TGV cars)



Date: 12/05/12 12:07
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: cutboy2

40 cars is a small order. Even tho they are needed. Maybe just better to get on to ACELA 2. Acela 1 becomes the regionals. Amfleet gets spread around other short distance routes. Virginia, Miami to Jacksonville etc. We will see.



Date: 12/05/12 12:20
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: joemvcnj

If they have money to burn on 40 cars, I'd rather they be spent on Next Gen Amfleet replacements, mix with current Regional fleet, bump some 20 Amfleet-1 to Chicago or to Long Distance conversion, and put some Horizons out of their misery.



Date: 12/05/12 12:26
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: GenePoon

floridajoe2001 Wrote:

> I notice that Gene Poon's posting never says that
> Amtrak, or anyone else, "officially" announced
> this. It could just be a rumor or something. I
> think we should wait for further clarification
> from an official source.


Ever hopeful, Joe?

It's for real. And it's been officially announced.



Date: 12/05/12 13:22
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: hsr_fan

I wonder what Amtrak's strategy is going to be. Acela capacity can't meet current demand, much less the projected future demand. How far along is the "Acela II" concept? I know Amtrak has shown imagery of Bombardier's Zefiro in its recent next-gen HSR press releases, but I don't know how likely the FRA is to allow a lightweight EMU design.

I'm surprised that Amtrak ordered the Acelas with a capacity of only 304 pax, rather than 400+. Shame they didn't at least stick with the original plan of ordering 26 trainsets. (Got cut to 18 before being bumped up to the eventual 20.)



Date: 12/05/12 14:02
Re: Amtrak cancels addtional Acela coaches
Author: knotch8

Here's the link to the Amtrak Inspector General's Report. http://www.amtrakoig.gov/sites/default/files/reports/final_12-4____report_summary_acela_purchase.pdf Page 2 says that, "In October 2012, Amtrak has decided to forgo purchasing the additional Acela coach cars."

Everyone has opinions. Mine is that no builder wanted to ramp up for and build 40 brand-new cars for a 12-year-old technology. Or, if they did, they were going to charge through the nose for it.

Time to buy new. Time to size it properly. Time to enlarge the servicing facilities.

Acela Express has turned into a big success, a tremendous generator of revenue and of good will for Amtrak. Time for Amtrak to build on that success.



Current Page:1 of 3


[ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.3726 seconds