NS Consortium Bilevels

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, September 01, 2017 11:02 PM

longhorn1969
This Viaggio Comfort will be the defacto standard, outside of Viewliner cars, what other off the shelf car do you think Amtrak is looking at to replace 400 or so Amfleet cars? Talk about economies of scale? And frankly, with Amtrak not spending much on LD trains, would not be suprised if the former Delta now Amtrak number driven CEO, thinks it might be a good idea to replace Superliners with Viewliners.

The Amfleet design is history and I don't see Amtrak going back to it.  It fit a need in the 1970's and 1980's for single level car replacements.   I don't see anymore of the Amfleet design being replicated.   New single level cars are probably going to look more similar to Viewliners.     Unless the design of the single level cars are flipped around once again and Amtrak leaps to another new design.

I don't have any idea how you come to the conclusion that now folks are going to jump to the Viaggo Comfort design just because they temporarily might have swapped out the Corridor bi-level design for the Simens single level design.   No indication that Siemens switch a permanent decision yet and it looks like a decision made for expediency of getting new cars in the field faster more than one that is based on the design being desired for the Midwest.

Also, disagree that Amtrak has moved away from spending money on LD trains.   I would say that Amtrak has moved away from spending money on LD trains by itself and outside of any kind of partnership.    $100 Million being spent to preserve the SW Chief route is nothing to discard.   Niether are Amtraks encouragment of Dallas to Kansas City service.    Amtraks partial embrace of New Orleans to Orlando service (with New Orleans to Mobile service as a potential add on).    If Amtrak can get a coalition of states to provide funding or add to it's own funding I would expect them to add more new to the LD equipment than what they have on order.........which isn't much.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, September 01, 2017 11:19 PM

schlimm
Why should that be?

Because right now, the unmodified Siemens cars are just end vestibule only.     Would be nice if they had two sets of sliding double doors on each end but in my view that is a significant car redesign from what they are marketing now and also in my non-engineering view NOT what they are offering the Midwest Consortium.     2 large holes on either side of the carbody (for double sliding doors) would impact a compression test unless done right.    Also you expose that much of the car to the outside environment your going to need more powerful HVAC on each car, etc, etc.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, September 02, 2017 3:24 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

The bi-level coach is limited to a dry weight of 150,000lbs. I don't know how this compares to the California cars.

Per UMLER the original 8000-series cars range between 154K and 158K lbs. The newer 6000-series cars card between 151K and 154K lbs. Take it for what it's worth.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Saturday, September 02, 2017 12:13 PM

CMStPnP
My understanding was the Midwest Corridor Cars were based on the California Surf-Liner car type with just a few modifications made to them and they largely followed the Amtrak future standard for corridor cars. Which makes the NS failure to largely apply some reverse engineering to a past car that was already built even more surprising. So not a totally new type of car.

At first glance it is surprising but there are changes. We concentrated on the 800,000 lbs buff load that both have to carry.

The California cars were built before the APTA crashworthiness requirements were introduced in 1999. After building the Surfliners were at least three revisions of APTA rules. Last but not least the PRIIA bi-level cars are required to have pushback couplers as one of several CEM elements.

So there are enough changes to get into difficulties. And with all other requirements in the PRIIA specification the weight limit might have been to tight.

I have looked into the board meetine minutes. From the test failure to mid January 2017 the is always the same bi-level procurement update: The carshell is still re-designed. From mid January the updates are tabled.

BTW Siemens stated that there Brightline coaches are based on the PRIIA spec but heavier. That was the reason for their presentation I linked.

If you see that a Siemens Viaggio Comfort coach in Europe weighs about 102,000 lbs compared to the PRIIA limit of 104,000 lbs it might be near impossible to stay within this limit as the American crashworthiness requirements can bring up to 20,000 lbs more weight.

On the other hand a Viaggio bi.level is just 11,000 lbs heavier than the single-level compared to 46,000 in the PRIIA specs.
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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Saturday, September 02, 2017 1:05 PM

CMStPnP
Because right now, the unmodified Siemens cars are just end vestibule only. Would be nice if they had two sets of sliding double doors on each end but in my view that is a significant car redesign from what they are marketing now and also in my non-engineering view NOT what they are offering the Midwest Consortium.

From your point of view it might be nice to have but according the specs not necessary. The bi-level specs require a door width of 52'', the single-level specs a width of 32''. The Brightline coaches have 34''. Bi-level cars require wider doors because of the more complicated passenger flows.

Here is a photo of the structure of the Brightline car. You look onto the door post.
http://www.railway-technical.com/_Media/siemens-florida-ss-bodyshel_med.png

American crashworthiness requirement are much easier to achive with single-level than bi-level cars. So a larger door might be possible but not necessary and unlikely as it might cost seating capacity.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by gregrudd on Monday, September 04, 2017 8:35 PM

So,did NS basicly use Pullman-Standard design principles in their first American cars?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, September 07, 2017 10:31 AM

gregrudd
So,did NS basicly use Pullman-Standard design principles in their first American cars?

It would be interesting to find out exactly what they did to make the design fail the test.    Though I don't think we will ever know.    Europeans and Japanese both have a far different design philiosophy than we do when it comes to passenger carrying equipment and it is not just rail equipment, it's automobiles and passenger aircraft as well.     Hence you see the bumper stickers like  "If it ain't Boeing, I'm not going"......one of my favorites because the traveling public largely doesn't care.....if it is Boeing or Antonov.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Thursday, September 07, 2017 3:39 PM

CMStPnP
It would be interesting to find out exactly what they did to make the design fail the test. Though I don't think we will ever know. Europeans and Japanese both have a far different design philiosophy than we do when it comes to passenger carrying equipment

It disturbes me much more that N-S tried for over a year to find a correction to the problem.

I don't think it has to do with the different design philosophy regarding passenger rail equipment. N-S is used to handle design of CEM element for a long time. And they know stiffness requirements too. The difference is they are lower in Japan than the USA.

Sometimes you can run into problems if the owner defines too many design limits.

As Siemens stated they were not able to keep the PRIIA weight limit for the Brightline car and question if it is possible for the single-level PRIIA cars.

The difference of just 2,000 lbs as posted above between a Siemens European car and the PRIIA single-level coach weight limit seems too low. In the past it was between 10,000 and 20,000 lbs.

Perhaps similar happened with the bi-level cars.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, September 08, 2017 1:24 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
It disturbes me much more that N-S tried for over a year to find a correction to the problem. I don't think it has to do with the different design philosophy regarding passenger rail equipment. N-S is used to handle design of CEM element for a long time. And they know stiffness requirements too. The difference is they are lower in Japan than the USA. Sometimes you can run into problems if the owner defines too many design limits. As Siemens stated they were not able to keep the PRIIA weight limit for the Brightline car and question if it is possible for the single-level PRIIA cars. The difference of just 2,000 lbs as posted above between a Siemens European car and the PRIIA single-level coach weight limit seems too low. In the past it was between 10,000 and 20,000 lbs. Perhaps similar happened with the bi-level cars. Regards, Volker

OK then.   If the PRIIA standards are the issue then why not make the case to the standards body instead of just throwing in the towel on the whole deal.    Seems rather strange to walk away instead of resolving the issue.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Friday, September 08, 2017 3:13 PM

CMStPnP
OK then. If the PRIIA standards are the issue then why not make the case to the standards body instead of just throwing in the towel on the whole deal. Seems rather strange to walk away instead of resolving the issue.

I agree. That was what I meant when I said it disturbes me. Maybe N-S took a commercial emergency exit trying to limit the losses.

All I wrote is still speculation. There are additional numbers I found today that fit.

In the minutes of August 2nd 2016 executive board meeting is states that the N-S bilevels are still 1,000 lbs overweight.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, September 11, 2017 4:37 PM

If Nippon Sharyo is proposing the same number of single level cars as bilevel cars, shouldn't there be some adjustment for the reduced capacity? Like 15 to 20 per cent more cars since the trains would need more cars to handle the riders expected.

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Posted by gregrudd on Monday, September 11, 2017 6:34 PM

I think that NS were probably looking for some economies in production. John Dunn in his history on Comeng found flaws in the pre-production the Kawasaki LIRR C3 design which of course is derivative of the Comeng designed C1. So perhaps the due dilligence wasn't done by not hiring people with good experence with DD car design.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=fc5UAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA236&lpg=PA236&dq=john+dunn+kawasaki&source=bl&ots=hqNQTOD6HB&sig=iwmY6gRDNUSb-1B7uWGr2WRfE6E&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwivjIT8o57WAhVLhbwKHRUuCjQQ6AEIQjAH#v=onepage&q=john%20dunn%20kawasaki&f=false 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 3:16 AM

Electroliner 1935

If Nippon Sharyo is proposing the same number of single level cars as bilevel cars, shouldn't there be some adjustment for the reduced capacity? Like 15 to 20 per cent more cars since the trains would need more cars to handle the riders expected.

That would make sense in a renegotiation in business but possibly might escape a state planner.   So you might want to send in a Email on that suggestion.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 8:58 AM

The first IDOT announcment with Sumitomo's proposal of single level cars was deleted. Here is the new one: https://www.illinois.gov/cpo/dot/Documents/Railcar%20Procurement%20Subcontractor.pdf

Here is the text from IDOT:

The following is being provided as information and for transparency purposes to a procurement led by the California Department of Transportation
Railcar Procurement Contract No. 75A0362
The Midwest bi-level passenger railcar procurement (Contract No. 75A0362) of 130 bi-level passenger railcars is led by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in joint agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), which represents the Midwest Coalition.


In order to satisfy its obligations under the Contract, Sumitomo Corporation of America (SCOA), proposed to (1) substitute Siemens Industry, Inc. (Siemens) in place of Nippon Sharyo as SCOA’s prime subcontractor and railcar manufacturer, pursuant to Section SP7.2 of the Contract and (2) manufacture 130 single-level railcars in place of 130 bi-level railcars.


Caltrans/IDOT are reviewing SCOA’s proposal. By moving from bi-level to single level railcars, Caltrans/IDOT will reduce the delivery frame for the railcars from approximately 24-34 months for a single level railcar as opposed to 5 years for a bi-level railcar. In order to proceed, Caltrans/IDOT and SCOA will execute an amendment to the Contract which will accommodate the substitution of Siemens as the manufacturer of 130 single level railcars.

What is the plan if they realize that the Siemens Brightline car cannot be changed to fulfill all contractural requirements. Weight perhap being the highest hurdle.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Buslist on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 2:33 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
Electroliner 1935

If Nippon Sharyo is proposing the same number of single level cars as bilevel cars, shouldn't there be some adjustment for the reduced capacity? Like 15 to 20 per cent more cars since the trains would need more cars to handle the riders expected.

 

That would make sense in a renegotiation in business but possibly might escape a state planner.   So you might want to send in a Email on that suggestion.

 

You don't think the state's legal folks have reviewed this change with a fine tooth comb? This would be espically true since it involved a competitive bid!

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Posted by Buslist on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 2:45 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

 

 
CMStPnP
OK then. If the PRIIA standards are the issue then why not make the case to the standards body instead of just throwing in the towel on the whole deal. Seems rather strange to walk away instead of resolving the issue.

 

I agree. That was what I meant when I said it disturbes me. Maybe N-S took a commercial emergency exit trying to limit the losses.

All I wrote is still speculation. There are additional numbers I found today that fit.

In the minutes of August 2nd 2016 executive board meeting is states that the N-S bilevels are still 1,000 lbs overweight.
Regards, Volker

 

If NS wanted a change their discussion would be with the contracting agency not the "standards" body. My lawyer would never let me refer to some other document in a procurement, I needed to specify the value. I suspect the contract for the cars incorporates the values from the PRIIA document. This was an issue a few years ago when a couple of FRA safety standards included references to AAR interchange rules. FRA lawyers insisted the rules be changed to incorporate the values ( which were stated in the AAR document). Volker can confirm but it's my understand that the EU is requiring the same thing for the new TSIs. UIC documents cannot be included by reference.

 

As to why they would walk away, perhaps they realized what the Siemens official stated at the time of the bidding "nobody can build that car at that price" so even if they got the car to pass they might still be selling $1 loaves of bread for $0.75.

 

One has to wonder when a bid comes in so far under the budgeted amount, poor calculations on one or the other's part, or a deliberate underbid by the winner to get the work in hopes of some future return, but this difference is just so large.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 4:25 AM

I don't know the practice in the rail equipment industry.

In the construction industry it was common to reference to standards. Usually it read state of the art and latest standards. That led to discussions when the standards were changed during the procurement process.

I read of EMU procurements in Germany where the delivery was delayed for month as new regulations had to be implemented even during construction of the vehicles.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Monday, October 30, 2017 9:55 AM

Looks like Siemens is not able to comply with the specifications. The minutes of the Executive Board meeting of October 24th 2017 contain a document change request (DCR) for a weight change: http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/305%20Exec%20Brd%20minutes%20-10-24-17%20DRAFT.doc

Here in Italics a copy from the minutes:

9.

Document Management Update – single level car DCRs – Tammy Krause, Amtrak – and the NGEC Revision Control Coordinator (RCC):

 

Tammy Krause reported that Caltrans has submitted a DCR on weight change and that it has been distributed to the NGEC Technical subcommittee.  Comments have been coming in – some are favorable to the change, and one or two are not.  One person commented that the specs should never be changed, and that is contrary to the intent of the NGEC specifications which are living documents. 

 

Tammy is planning on holding a conference call with Technical subcommittee members to go over the comments received.  Once this is complete she will assemble the comments and ask that Steve Hewitt send them out to all subcommittee members.  It is Tammy’s intent to ask for a vote to consider the DCR on the net Technical subcommittee call – 11-2-17.  From there it goes to the Board and the Review Panel.

 

Steve Hewitt explained the process, and added that he had heard from Larry Salci, who has agreed and is prepared to conduct the technical review of the change to ensure compliance with the requirements document, and make a recommendation to the Review Panel – which will then convey its recommendation to the Executive Board for its consideration of the DCR.   Larry also confirmed to Steve Hewitt that the review of the DCR for compliance with the requirements document should not happen until the DCR has been approved by the Technical subcommittee. 

 

Steve noted that the Review Panel members and Larry have been provided with the DCR, and will await any further changes and/or approval by the subcommittee before taking action.

 

That leaves the question if a weight change would heve helped N-S with the bi-level cars? Somewhere in the minutes of Technical Committee a design fault was stated as reason for the buff load test failure.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Jim200 on Thursday, November 02, 2017 1:01 PM

My opinion is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen or there are one or two moles trying to hamper passenger rail progress. Getting multi state DOT institutions  to agree on things is difficult, especially if nobody wants to take responsibility of adding a thousand pounds or more to the PRIIA specs. More weight would have solved the buff force and moment (torque) loading failure.

On the other hand, the equipment bay walls are a structurally weak design as shown in Volker's link on 9/1/17. Here we have three large floor to ceiling openings with somewhat slender vertical members in between. There appears to be distortion in the third opening and further on, beyond the door, the center buckling with a vertical member detaching from the upper floor. The Superliner has smaller openings, more area between openings and no nearby door, all of which can contribute more wall strength, which combined with the floor above forms a truss to better combat the forces. The other bi-levels, such as the Viaggio Twin, the gallery cars, and the Colorado bi-level, have seats (not equipment bay) in this area. Below the windows there is room for an excellent truss to strengthen the floor. In fact, Colorado Railcar even used diagonal members like you see on bridges. Unfortunately, none of these other bi-levels meet the PRIIA spec of connecting to the upper level of the Superliner.

I think that N-S tried its' best to resolve the problem, but a gummed up mess in the DOTs stopped us from having beautiful bi-levels.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Monday, November 06, 2017 1:05 PM

The draft minutes of the Technical Subcommittee's meeting of 11/2/2017 show the discussion about the weight DCR. The Siemens proposal was changed and voted unanimously. Minutes: http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/305%20tech%20sc%20minutes%2011-2-17%20draft.doc

There are other committees that have to agree before it is finally accepted.

The weight are changed as follows:
- coach: 104,000 lbs to 126.200 lbs
- cab/baggage: 108,000 lbs to 137,200 lbs
- cafe/lounge: 111,000 lbs to 132,000 lbs

There is no weight buffer for further design changes.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by aegrotatio on Monday, November 06, 2017 10:44 PM

OK, I don't want to be a pest for asking this, but I've ridden VRE and NJ Transit trains, and I'm puzzled as to the definition of NJ Transit "Bilevel cars" vs. VRE "Gallery cars."

 

I know there's a difference, but I don't know what it is.  The VRE cars fit into Washington DC Union Station but don't go north of it (yet).  The "upper" level is two single-seat aisles separated by a gap (where you can see the lower level and VRE has rules in which they ask you not to drip wet umbrellas or dirty shoes to down below) and have a luggage rack.  I wasn't in the NJ Transit car to notice much difference but the NJ Transit cars fit into shorter tunnels than the VRE cars do.

 

The VRE cars have impossibly narrow stairs to the "upper" level that I don't remember on the NJ Transit cars.

 

What's the difference?

 

 

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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, November 06, 2017 10:55 PM

The gallery part is the open space between the single aisles on the second level. The NJT cars have a true second level with a full floor and full seating.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Monday, November 06, 2017 11:08 PM

Thanks, I always wondered why the VRE cars don't have a full upper level.  I guess it was probably for cost reasons.  Along with scolding passengers for dripping and shaking dirt on the lower level passengers, they also cry poor about eight-car train passenger loads and the lack of layover storage in the carriage yard.  I guess the extra passengers afforded by true bilevel cars didn't seem worth it.

 

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Posted by longhorn1969 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 10:32 AM
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Posted by oltmannd on Thursday, November 09, 2017 10:44 AM

Look like clones of Brightline Cars, complete with ADA wide aisles (and accompanying narrow seats.  Amtrak 23", Brightline 19", Airline 17")

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 09, 2017 12:04 PM

oltmannd
"...and accompanying narrow seats."

But Tamie said they were going to be "spacious".

Didn't occur to me to ask for what category of rail rider they were spacious for.  Dyspeptic inmates of an orphanage for dwarfs (seated two by two)?

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:25 PM

I'm a bit surprised. The minutes of the Executive Board meeting of 11-07-2017 state that the final ruling by the Executive Board will happen on 11-21-2017
http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/305%20Exec%20Brd%20minutes%20-11-7-17%20DRAFT.doc

See chapters 5 to 7.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 10, 2017 10:58 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
I'm a bit surprised. The minutes of the Executive Board meeting of 11-07-2017 state that the final ruling by the Executive Board will happen on 11-21-2017

Curiouser and curiouser, the technical committee approval of the weight reduction was made 11-02-2017 (to continue in that date format) and that may be the action used as a basis for Tamie McGowen's press release - note the indication in section 5, provided below, that 'all subcommittee voting members' were 'in agreement for the DCR as amended' and would hence be justified in going forward UNLESS the DCR as amended fails in some way to accord with the requirements document - that is the thing that all the subsequent check-and-review is concerned with.  (You can check with her directly about this issue at (916) 657-5060, but I think it would make sense to go ahead and issue the release based on what's expected to happen; note the e-mail addresses for the individual review-panel members should you want to consult them directly)

Here is the relevant section of the draft minutes:

5.

Status: Single level car DCR 003-155 on Weight change - Tammy Krause, Amtrak – NGEC Revision Control Coordinator:

Tammy Krause reported that on 11-2-17, on the Technical subcommittee call, the Single Level Car Specification DCR on weight change was approved as amended.  While the weight change is not as much as originally requested, a compromise was reached and the DCR was approved with all subcommittee voting members in agreement for the DCR as amended.  The next step is for the Review Panel to review the DCR against the requirements document to ensure compliance.  Larry Salci was tasked with preparing a report with recommendations for Review Panel consideration.  Once the Panel receives the report it will meet to discuss and consider it.  If approved, it is taken to the Executive Board for its consideration, and ultimately, its adoption.

 

Tammy also provided 3 documents related DCR 003-155 as an FYI to the Executive Board:

 
·       The original submittal by California that includes the justification (DCR-00-0155 Support Info.pdf)
·       The originally approved DCR by the Structural Group (DCR-003-155-to RCC.pdf)
·       The final approved as amended DCR by the Technical Working Group (DCR-003-155R-toRCC.pdf)
 

6.

Single Level Car Specification Review Panel to review Weight Change DCR – timeline - Larry Salci:

 

Larry Salci reported that he expects to complete the report with recommendations later today (11-7-17) and will be sending it to Steve Hewitt on 11-8-17 for distribution to the Single Level Car Specification Review Panel members for their review.

 

Steve Hewitt reviewed who the members of the panel are.

 

Single Level Car Review Panel Members:
Eric Curtit, Missouri DOT – Chair -  eric.curtit@modot.mo.gov
Ray Hessinger, NYSDOT – raymond.hessinger@dot.ny.gov
Kevin Kesler, FRA – kevin.kesler@dot.gov
Larry Salci, Consultant to the Panel – Larry@salciconsult.com
Tammy Krause, Amtrak – technical support – krauseT@amtrak.com
Steve Hewitt – NGEC support – shewitt109@aol.com

 

 

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Friday, November 10, 2017 3:09 PM

You might be right that they proceeded because the final rule might predictable.

Then I would have expected a remark like "to place the order on condition of final approval by the Excecutive Board" or so in the minutes.

Instead:
7.

Scheduling the Review Panel Meeting - Eric Curtit, Missouri DOT – NGEC Chair:

 

Eric Curtit and Steve Hewitt will set a date and time for the Review Panel to meet to consider the report and recommendations. It is anticipated that it will take place early next week. (week of 11-12-17)

 

The goal is to bring this forward to the Executive Board for its consideration on 11-21-17. 

All of the Technical Subcommitee member voted for the DCR as amended. The Excecutive Board forwarded the DCR to the Review Panel. It stays curious.

 

Calling from Germany is cost prohibite, I think.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 10, 2017 4:26 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
The Executive [note English sp.] Board forwarded the DCR to the Review Panel. It stays curious.

The reason it's not particularly curious to me is that they clearly disclose that all the subsequent 'review' by the Panel is only to confirm (perhaps largely for CYA reasons) that the decided final proposal is "i's dotted and t's crossed" fully in accord with the basic 'requirements document'.  Now, it would be a very poor DCR indeed if a Structural or Technical WG hadn't conducted all its review and engineering with an eye toward the design requirements, and therefore no surprise that a pro forma review and signing-off is only a last step of no particular operational importance (or that a change mandated by a last-minute discovery of some error would be somewhat unlikely!)

This organization is not like the one in France which blithely arranged for an entire order of cars to be designed and built too wide to fit French platforms.

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