News & Reviews News Wire Parts issues leads to Amtrak Midwest cancellations (second update)

Parts issues leads to Amtrak Midwest cancellations (second update)

By David Lassen | April 13, 2024

Parts shortage cited for cancellation of four trains Friday, four on Saturday

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Train with four matching Siemens Venture passenger cars
Northbound Amtrak Hiawatha No. 337 features a matched set of four Siemens Venture coaches departs Chicago on April 7, 2023. The Hiawatha route was among those affected by weekend cancellations. David Lassen

CHICAGO — Amtrak has cancelled a series of state-supported trains in the Midwest on Friday and today (Saturday, April 13) because of issues involving parts for its Siemens Venture equipment.

Responding to an inquiry from Trains News Wire, Amtrak’s Beth Toll wrote in an email, “A supply chain backlog from key vendors has delayed replacement parts needed to support required routine maintenance inspections. Customers are being notified of some cancellations in the Amtrak Midwest network and substitute transportation by chartered buses is being provided as available. Refunds are also being made without penalty.”  A Siemens spokesperson said in an emailed statement, “We are aware of the situation and are working closely with Amtrak to resolve the supply chain backlog to best support routine maintenance inspections and help Amtrak resume normal service.”

The parts in question are expected to arrive in Chicago on Tuesday.

According to the Amtrak Alerts feed on X (formerly Twitter), these trains have been cancelled:

On Friday:

— Train 302, the 6:35 a.m. St. Louis-Chicago Lincoln Service

— Train 364, the 4 p.m. Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water

— Train 383, the 5:55 p.m. Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr

— Train 305, the 5:20 p.m. Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Serivce


 Train 380, the 6:12 a.m. Quincy-Chicago Illinois Zephyr

— Train 330, the 6:15 a.m. Milwaukee-Chicago Hiawatha

— Train 365, the 6:20 a.m. Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water

— Train 300, the 9 a.m. Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service

Bus substitutions were provided in most cases, although in the case of Friday’s No. 302, the bus transportation was only provided between Bloomington-Normal and Chicago. It is unknown if additional cancellations will be necessary.

Southbound train No. 21, the Texas Eagle, also is not operating today between Chicago and St. Louis, but Amtrak Alerts attributes that to a “vehicle incident” that also led to the northbound train’s cancellation on Thursday. No. 21 will originate in St. Louis.

The Venture equipment made its debut in Midwest service on Feb. 1, 2022. The 88-car order dates from 2017, when the Illinois Department of Transportation and California’s Caltrans chose Siemens as the replacement when Nippon Sharyo was unable to fulfill its 2012 contract for bilevel equipment [see “Expensive questions surface …,” News Wire, Nov. 17, 2017]. Supply-chain, testing, and manufacturing issues delayed the order, which is not yet complete. As of a year ago, roughly half the cars were in service [see “More Midwest Venture cars enter service …,” News Wire, April 14, 2023]; none of the cafe cars have yet been delivered.

The parts-related cancellations come little more than a month after Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General issued a report detailing issues with the company’s parts management, and how it affects operations [see “Amtrak Inspector General report shows how parts shortages impact service,” News Wire, Feb. 27, 2024].

— Updated at 5:05 p.m. with Amtrak response and additional inquiry; updated at 8:05 p.m. with Siemens statement and background information on Venture equipment.

12 thoughts on “Parts issues leads to Amtrak Midwest cancellations (second update)

  1. FOR CRIPES SAKE!!!! These Seimen’s cars are brand new!! They have never seen ANY meaningful service!!!!

    I’ve been commuting past them since 2018 (5-days a week until March 2020, 3 days a week since October 2020) There they all sit, idle, unused, slowly depreciating, their worthless side marker lights a blinkin away, at the Amtrak (former Pennsy) facility, while the taxpayers pay for this?? Are you KIDDING ME!!!!

    Everyone at Amtrak that was involved in this debacle should be FIRED. I’m not a big one for lawsuits, but Amtrak should also sue the britches off of Siemen’s. Totally unacceptable.

    Limited “Spare Parts” for cars that have never even seen worthwhile service?? The folks at Trains should be embarrassed they even published this article as presented.


    P.S. I actually support the concept of NRPC, just not under current management.

  2. All bad ordered cars were running the next day…FRA took exception to some emergency window seals….seals procured and installed.

  3. It is time that Amtrak be required to become transparent. this keeping non essential items secret has no place for a public US company. FOIA requests do not need to be required.

  4. Spare parts for any piece of equipment with a service life of 40 years can be a major problem. Can this be resolved both now and into the future? Amtrak needs to have more capacity to make spare parts in house. The RFP for the new Superliners has a provision that all parts drawings and construction drawings will be sent to Amtrak and become the property of Amtrak.

    Does that mean Amtrak can produce any part if the vendor does not? Have no idea.

  5. Where are the new Siemens Venture cars during the parts shortage. These cars are too young to require new parts. Any replacement part is available from Siemens Mobility unlike the lack of availability for Amtrak’s older cars.

  6. So much for the Hiawatha, the only Amtrak train I still ride. If Amtrak’s most reliable train can’t be counted on, what about the rest of the show?

  7. The simple reality is that parts sitting on the shelf have been paid for, and is basically money sitting on the shelf. I even incur the same thing when ordering prescription meds from my local Meijer: “we don’t have it in stock. We’ll order it and should have it by 2:00PM tomorrow”. Sound familiar?

    Amtrak management is so firmly entrenched in the “spend as little as possible” mindset due to management with zero previous passenger railroad experience, they know no other way of doing things. Yet they spend obscene amounts of cash on studies, planning etc. On everything except THE FRICKIN’ TRAINS!

  8. Humm… so the parts will be there Monday when personnel are working to deal with them?
    Sounds like more mismanagement to me. Better not be any performance bonus payments going out to management any time soon. More pathetic performance.

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