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Passenger Trains > California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car order


Date: 01/11/17 15:54
California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car order
Author: GenePoon

California is a no-show

State officials cancel bilevel presentation at conference, send
statement instead

According to a TRAINS Newsline story dated January 11,
“ongoing negotiations” prevented California Dept. of Transporation
from making a presentation on the stalled Next Generation bilevel
passenger car order at a Transportation Research Board conference
in Washington DC yesterday.

Constrained by those negotiations, CalTrans sent a written
statement instead.

“At this time, final design of the [Next Generation Equipment Committee]
compliant cars has not yet been completed and approved. The contract is
behind schedule and negotiations are currently underway to address the
delays,” Steven Keck, CalTrans’ interim chief for rail wrote. “At this
time no further information can be presented.”

Research Board panelists said there have been 243 design changes
thus far on the cars, each taking as little as two weeks or as
long as several months to be processed.

California is the lead agency for the passenger cars, which also
include 130 cars, ordered by states for use on corridor trains
in the Midwest, and financed by $551 million in Federal stimulus
money, which according to statute, must be spent on completed
cars by Sept. 30, 2017. After that, unspent funds must be returned
to the Treasury. California's order is separately funded.

Construction has not yet begun on one single production car.

Link to full article (subscription required):

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2017/01/11-bilevel-car-order-no-show



Date: 01/11/17 15:59
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: dcfbalcoS1

Hmmmmm, government business 101.



Date: 01/11/17 16:04
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: GenePoon

Compare this fiasco to Brightline, which shone at the media event described in a thread, below:

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4200562



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/17 16:04 by GenePoon.



Date: 01/11/17 16:09
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: hazegray

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Compare this fiasco to Brightline, which shone at the media event described in a thread, below:
>
> http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4 200562

Private investors in Florida and public bureaucrats and consultants in California.  



Date: 01/11/17 19:02
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: chakk

Negotiations "bogged down" in the Swamp?

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/11/17 19:08
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: cutboy2

They  failed the  crush test. Nothing to  do  with public  vs  private.  A simple  extension of  deadline needed.
   Siemens  seems  the place to order  equipment if you ask me. 



Date: 01/11/17 20:54
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: coach

Love the Bombardier cars--why didn't they just go with them????



Date: 01/11/17 23:47
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: GenePoon

cutboy2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They failed the crush test. Nothing to do with public vs private.  A simple
>  extension of  deadline needed.

I have a problem with rewarding utter failure with another chance at public expense. 
There is also the possible issue of the captive US subsidiary going bankrupt, leaving
the public holding the bag again.  Is it perhaps better to punt, now?


>  Siemens seems the place to order equipment if you ask me. 

They have certainly performed well with locomotive orders and the Brightline cars.  Political
considerations that directed the car order to an Illinois-based car "builder" may have diverted
it away from the best vendor, and that is where a private customer such as Brightline would
not be influenced by Illinois-based politics and politicians,  I don't know, however, if Siemens
bid on this "package."  They could have seen that "the fix was in" and decided not to fight
City Hall or the White House, or that it benefitted them to go after other business rather
than this order.  Should Amtrak decide to purchase cars based on the Brightline structure, it
could be their biggest order yet.



Date: 01/12/17 01:06
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: GP25

coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Love the Bombardier cars--why didn't they just go
> with them????

They should have just gone with Alstom. They made the Surfliner Cars.
And the Surfliner cars are doing well

Jerry Martin
Los Angeles, CA
Central Coast Railroad Festival



Date: 01/12/17 07:11
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: Dcmcrider

A few thoughts:
1. Siemens has one customer. Nippon-Sharyo has five or six, depending on how you count, resulting in "243 design changes." (It's not an aircraft carrier, folks.)
2. CB&Q and the Budd Company took the Zephyrs from initial concept to revenue service in about two years. The Nippon-Sharyo debacle has taken twice as long and still there's no workable prototype. Additionally, the Zephyrs were a revolutionary design--the Nippon Sharyo cars are glorified commuter bilevels.
3. Using investor monies rather than government funds tends to sharpen the mind. The downside of non-performance is severe, unlike in the public sector where terminations for non-performance are rare.
4. The Nippon-Sharyo contract should be terminated. Start over, preferably with a proven design. If the stimulus funds expire...well too bad.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 01/12/17 07:20
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: GettingShort

dcfbalcoS1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hmmmmm, government business 101.

Sounds just as much like a private corporation proving it's incompetence.



Date: 01/12/17 14:27
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: march_hare

Isn't the Bright Line order just off the shelf European stock?  If so, then it's one customer and a checkbook.  Pretty simple stuff.

I work for a government bureucracy, and deal with procurement issues all the time. One of the prics you pay for inclusive, transparent procurement is this kind of issue.  Herding the cats from several different states simultaneously must be an absolute nightmare.  I wonder if they actually do save any money that way.



Date: 01/12/17 14:38
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: Lackawanna484

Bright Line met the U.S. standards. Siemens designed the cars off a European model and ran with it.

That's how US firms used to work before crony capitalism took over.

Posted from Android



Date: 01/12/17 16:25
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: joemvcnj

The lack of center sill in the bi-level car is what through N-S off. That and the weight restriction.



Date: 01/12/17 18:43
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: abyler

cutboy2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They  failed the  crush test. Nothing to  do
>  with public  vs  private.  A simple
>  extension of  deadline needed.
>    Siemens  seems  the place to order
>  equipment if you ask me. 

Nothing to do with public vs. private except preferential award of government business to a patently uncapable company (based on the results so far) whose main qualification seems to have been being located in President Obama's home state.

This (and the interminable Viewliner procurement) is the Wollman Rink of passenger car construction.

Explain why the current US Congress will feel a need to help Illinois out with this passenger car order?  It is not as if these cars are going to be made available to the general Amtrak system in a way that would benefit the rest of the country.

This is where the politicization of Amtrak and pushing the funding obligation down to the states championed by Obama and the Congressional Democrats has gotten us.



Date: 01/12/17 18:45
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: abyler

GP25 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> coach Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Love the Bombardier cars--why didn't they just
> go
> > with them????
>
> They should have just gone with Alstom. They made
> the Surfliner Cars.
> And the Surfliner cars are doing well

Or Kawasaki, but they are located in Nebraska, which voted the "wrong" way, and that is all that matters in the curent political economy.



Date: 01/12/17 19:27
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: RuleG

abyler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> This is where the politicization of Amtrak and
> pushing the funding obligation down to the states

That legislation was passed in 2008, before Obama got into office.

> championed by Obama and the Congressional
> Democrats has gotten us.

Maybe there's a memo that wasn't delivered to me.  How has Amtrak been politicized by Obama and the Democrats?  it seems to me that the only ones who have politicized it are the politicians who want to eliminate all funding for Amtrak.



Date: 01/13/17 11:42
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: abyler

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> abyler Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> >
> > This is where the politicization of Amtrak and
> > pushing the funding obligation down to the
> states
>
> That legislation was passed in 2008, before Obama
> got into office.

Written & passed by a Democratic Congress, then interpreted by Democratic administration such that cost allocation means states pay 100% of all costs on trains Amtrak decides.

> > championed by Obama and the Congressional
> > Democrats has gotten us.
>
> Maybe there's a memo that wasn't delivered to
> me.  How has Amtrak been politicized by Obama and
> the Democrats?  it seems to me that the only ones
> who have politicized it are the politicians who
> want to eliminate all funding for Amtrak.

The continued denial of service to most of the GOP leaning parts of the country, providing free service to Democrat leaning states, selection of rail car/locomotive manufacturers conveniently located in NY-CA-IL, but not GOP leaning states, and the obvious disdain for the long distance network epitomized by the "it's impossible" attitudes towards simple projects like restoring the Sunset on the Gulf Coast or the Pioneer through Wyoming and Idaho and back country Oregon or running through cars on the Pennsylvanian and the "they lose all the money" acounting tricks used to bodyslam the long distance network while pretending the NEC makes profits by ignoring the depreciation charge of maintenance upkeep as "capital costs".  The politicization is certainly obvious to the politicians.  The GOP anti-Amtrakers are well aware they are being fleeced to support a program with close to zero benefits to their constituents.

A national rail network implies standards of service based on uniform characteristics of the population across states, like the federal aid highway program, and not based on where it is most politically expedient to run trains.  When will rational interstate rail service be provided out of major states like Georgia, Ohio, and Texas that is not in the dead of night or tri-weekly?



Date: 01/13/17 12:45
Re: California no-shows at conference on troubled passenger car o
Author: Lackawanna484

In fairness, some big government contracts like aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines etc are built in red states (Alabama and Mississippi), in purple states (Virginia and Maine), and in blue states (Connecticut).  Same thing with military and civilian aircraft.

A few states have driven out the military (NY telling the Navy to take their homeport and shove it, for example), but most see military bases and military construction as being good for the local economies.



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