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Digest: Amtrak selects Siemens to build new intercity trainsets

By | April 21, 2021

News Wire Digest third section for April 21: Memphis businesses seek STB help with intermodal congestion; Savannah Port Terminal Railroad expands to serve Mason Mega Rail project

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White building with Siemens sign.

Amtrak selects Siemens to build replacements for Amfleet I cars, other aging equipment

White building with Siemens sign.
The Siemens Mobility plant in Sacramento, Calif. Amtrak has selected Siemens to build 83 new intercity trainsets. (Bob Johnston)

Amtrak has selected Siemens to build a fleet of 83 intercity trainsets for use on the Northeast Corridor, Palmetto, and various state-supported services. The selection of Siemens as the “preferred bidder” — which is currently building cars for use on state-supported trains on Chicago-based Midwest services and in California — comes after a competitive procurement process that began in January 2019. The new equipment, which will feature dual power in some cases, as well as other amenities, will replace the current Amfleet I and Metroliner cab cars, as well as the Amtrak Cascades fleet. Amtrak is negotaiting with Siemens on the contract for construction and long-term service — including technical support, spares, and material supply — and is targeting summer 2021 to execute a contract. “This new state-of-the-art equipment will not only provide Amtrak customers with an enjoyable and efficient travel experience, it will also enable us to improve safety, increase passenger capacity, and reduce carbon emissions,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a press release. An Amtrak spokeswoman said the company had no additional details on the order to share at this time.

Memphis businesses ask STB for help with intermodal congestion

Memphis business officials have asked the Surface Transportation Board to address an “overwhelmed interior intermodal infrastructure” leading to delays, increased costs, and other consequences for those in the supply chain. A letter from the Greater Memphis Chamber, signed by more than 40 companies, asks for two immediate moves — addressing of feeds that accumulate when cargo waits for equipment to be moved, and a more flexible system of providing chassis for container movements — as well as consideration of four longer-term solutions. The request comes as three railroads — BNSF, Union Pacific, and Norfolk Southern — make moves to address capacity issues resulting from a pandemic-related surge in container traffic [see “Railroads take steps to ease intermodal congestion,” Trains News Wire, April 19, 2021].

Savannah Port Terminal Railroad to serve Mason Mega Rail project

The Savannah Port Terminal Railroad, a Genesee & Wyoming property, has expanded its agreement with the Georgia Ports Authority to include the Mason Mega Rail Terminal, which is expanding the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year. The railroad, founded in 1998, operates on 18 track-miles inside the port, which is expanding by 15 track-miles with the Mega Rail project. The railroad provides the port’s intermodal and merchandise service, railcar switching and yardmaster services, and interchange with CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.“We are confident in the ability of Genesee & Wyoming’s SAPT railroad to consistently provide the safe, efficient rail services needed to match our growth trajectory,” ports authority executive director Griff Lynch said in a press release. “With the near completion of Garden City Terminal’s Mason Mega Rail project, intermodal trade via the Port of Savannah is expected to play an increasing role in our business.”

 

9 thoughts on “Digest: Amtrak selects Siemens to build new intercity trainsets

  1. So these new trainsets will replace the Amfleet 1s only? What is going to happen with the LD Amfleet IIs?

  2. The Midwest was originally supposed to get bilevels until the supplier couldn’t deliver. Bilevels are needed to increase capacity without making platforms longer or stopping twice. The Cascades could really use the tilt functionality of new Talgos due to curves. In both cases, this is a step backward.

  3. What about Superliner I’s they are 40 yrs old? Will this be the way Amtrak eliminates the LD routes through attrition? Too costly to repair as with Santa Fe bi-levels & Pacific Parlour cars. If Amtrak mgmt put as much creativity into expanding & improving the LD routes as they do trying to undermine them we’d have one great national network.

    1. GALEN – It’s too early to know how President Kamala Harris will address your question. She’s got other things on her plate at the moment. Your question reminds me of the Canadian government’s decision, many years ago, not to purchase bi-levels for VIA Rail’s transcons. Too expensive. I can’t imagine what’s more expensive than the ongoing rebuilding of ex- Canadian Pacific Budd trainsets to continue to run its transcons a couple of times a week. Or maybe once a week or once a year, whatever the schedule is these days.

  4. Galen, the answer to your second question is a resounding “YES”. And it will stay that way unless Congress and Mayor Pete wake up, smell the sour stench coming out of Flynn’s, Gardner’s, and Board Chair Coscia’s kitchen, and dismiss them. That is the only way a national system buttressed with short to medium distance corridor trains survive. The current management have no plan to replace the Superliners and the above-named are counting on Congress’ and Mayor Pete’s inattention and ignorance of passenger rail details to pull off their plans.

  5. I agree Mr. Shapp only problem is the Amtrak Board needs to dismiss them much as the current problems with the USPS the Board would have to dismiss Mr. Dejoy. Until Biden can appoint enough members to the respective Boards nothing is going to change.

  6. Galen, you can call me “Mark” if you want. I’m no one special. And of course you are correct regarding the Amtrak Board. And I’m afraid the President, whoever it is at the moment-hey Charles, ya’ll like that?-and the SecTrans are not paying attention.

    1. I suggest you all take a look at the latest Amtrak corporate reports and the Rail Passenger Interviews, Superliner replacement will come shortly after Amfleet I. The Superliners are currently being refurbished, like the Amfleets were a few years back. Also, the board has gotten it in their heads that they will get no money if they cut the LD trains.

  7. “Trainsets”.
    Sounds inflexible.
    When I started riding Amtrak in the mid ’80s as a kid, Amtrak had lots of flexibility, adding and taking cars off; and several trains that split/joined.
    The Montrealer would frequently have an extra coach between NYP and WAS.
    The California Zephyr would split/join at SLC (and occasionally Denver, when the Pioneer went through Wyoming).
    The Vermonter, more recently, has occasionally had an extra coach between Washington and New Haven.
    Trainsets potentially put you in the position of not being able to add or remove cars enroute.

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