Posts Tagged ‘Talgo trains’

Cascades Service to Increase May 24

April 28, 2021

Additional Cascades Service roundtrips are set to begin service May 24.

Amtrak will restore three of four Seattle-Portland roundtrips and both Portland-Eugene roundtrips.

For more than a year the corridor has been limited to a single daily Seattle-Eugene roundtrip.

The trains will use a combination of Talgo Series 8 transets owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation and Amtrak owned Horizon equipment.

An additional full-corridor departure will leave Seattle at 7:25 a.m. and return from Eugene at 4:40 p.m., arriving at 11 p.m.

The new schedule has Train 507 departing Seattle at 6:10 p.m. and its equipment leaving Portland the next day at at noon.

The current schedule has a Talgo departing Seattle (No. 505) at 2:20 p.m. and leaving Eugene the next morning (No. 500) at 5:30 a.m. and arriving in Seattle at 11:50 a.m.

State transportation officials had wanted to shift the departure of No. 500 from Eugene to 8 a.m. but host railroads Union Pacific and BNSF would not allow it, Washington Department of Transportation Communications Manager Janet Matkin told Trains magazine.

Because the U.S.-Canadian border remains closed to non-essential travel, Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver remains suspended.

At present, Amtrak operates a Thruway bus to Bellingham, Washington.

Washington state transportation officials said one Seattle-Vancouver roundtrip could be restored in July.

An official said Amtrak crews are qualified on the route and if the border opens sooner rail service could resume before July.

No date has yet been given as to when Amtrak will resume using the Point Defiance Bypass south of Tacoma.

Officials are eying late summer or early fall but said it is up to host railroad Sound Transit.

The public transit agency conducted testing on the route earlier this year and has been working through a crew qualification process.

Matkin said the Cascades will continue to operate at 50 percent capacity in compliance with Washington and Oregon’s ‘Ride Safe’ Initiatives.

Limited food and beverage service may begin at the same time or soon after the May 24 schedule expansion.

Talgo Trains Find Final Resting Place

March 14, 2021

Two Talgo trainsets once used for Amtrak Cascades Service have reached the end of the line at a scrapping company.

The Series VI equipment was last seen at Coast Rail Services in Anaheim, California.

The trains had been moved there earlier this month from Seattle.

The passive-tilt equipment, which was sold by the Washington State Department of Transportation, last operated in revenue service on Cascades trains in June 2020.

Two other Series IV Talgos owned by Amtrak were taken to the Beech Grove Heavy Maintenance Facility in Indianapolis last year.

Thin Hope to Save Talgos From Scrapping

March 5, 2021

The California company that purchased two Talgo trainsets from the Washington Department of Transportation has placed them up for sale, but that offer may not stand for long.

 “It’s a sensitive matter for everyone involved, and it wasn’t supposed to turn into a spectacle,” said Noah McCann of NSM Transportation Company in an interview with Trains magazine.

 “If anyone is interested, they are still available, but they are going to be gone in a matter of two or three days.”

WSDOT sold the trains sets to NSM for $21,000, but the buyer was responsible for the expense of moving them.

“We paid a lot more than that,” McCann said of the purchase price. “After the purchase, we aggressively tried to market them, but Amtrak doesn’t want them.”

The trainsets are the Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier, which moved from Seattle to Southern California as a special Amtrak move.

The special ran on the schedule of the Coast Starlight on a day the Seattle-Los Angeles train was not scheduled to leave Seattle southbound.

McCann told Trains that if no one buys the Talgos soon after they reach Los Angeles that his company will dismantle them.

“We’re reusing the interior fittings on other projects, but it’s a private job to dismantle them for the State of Washington. In reality, nobody is going to come in to pay to move these things, and they’re getting scrapped,” McCann said.

WSDOT had put the Talgos up for sale last year and rejected bids and requests for a donation of one trainset to a museum.

Trains reported that the Southern Rail Commission had inspected the Talgos to determine if they could be used in a proposed corridor service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

However, SRC’s Knox Ross said his agency’s delegation was unable to meet with a WSDOT representative for the purpose of getting answers to questions about the equipment.

Ross said a third-party representative sent to meet with the SRC delegation “wouldn’t answer any questions, so we didn’t bid.”

The Mt. Hood and Mt. Olympus have been out of service since July 2020. A third Talgo, the Mt. Adams, was destroyed in a Dec. 18, 2017, derailment of the Amtrak Cascades train.

The Mt. Adams had originally been owned by Amtrak, which later sold it to WSDOT.

Two Talgo trainsets are owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation and continue to operate in Cascades service between Seattle and Eugene, Oregon.

Amtrak owns two Talgo trainsets that have been sitting idle at its Beech Grove shops in Indianapolis.

Three other Talgo trainsets that originally were built for use in Wisconsin corridor service but never operated there remain idle.

Talgos Sent to Scrap Dealer

March 2, 2021

Two Talgo Series 6 trains sets once used for Amtrak Cascades Service have been sent to a California scrap dealer.

The trainsets are owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation and had been idle since a December 2017 derailment of another Talgo trainset in DuPont, Washington

The Talgos were removed from service after the National Transportation Safety Board concluded the Talgo design played a part in the severity of the derailment left three passengers dead.

Talgo has disputed the NTSB findings and filed a formal challenge to some of the report’s conclusions.

Two Series 6 Talgo trainsets that are owned by Amtrak were moved to the carrier’s Beech Grove shops Indianapolis last summer.

Loading Baggage on the Cascades

January 18, 2021

An Amtrak worker is loading checked baggage aboard a Talgo train used in Cascades service at Seattle’s King Street Station. This particular Talgo will be headed for Portland, Oregon. Note the hooks inside the car for hanging bicycles. The image was made on June 29, 1999.

Talgos Sent to Beech Grove Shops

September 2, 2020

Two Talgo VI trainsets have been moved to Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops for storage.

Amtrak has not said what it plans to do with trainsets Mt. Hood and Mt. Olympus, which were removed from service following a December 2017 fatal derailment in DuPont, Washington.

The Talgos are owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation and were used for several years in Cascades Service between Vancouver, Washington, and Eugene Oregon.

The agency owns two other Talgo trainsets that remain in Washington State.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the 2017 derailment was critical of the design of the Talgos but manufacturer Talgo has disputed that portion of the conclusions of the NTSB report.

Orphan Wisconsin Talgos May Find Home in Pacific NW

December 11, 2019

The Talgo equipment built for but never used in Amtrak service in Wisconsin was moved last week to Milwaukee from the Beech Grove Shops near Indianapolis.

Trains magazine reported that the equipment might be poised to be sent west for use in the Pacific Northwest.

The magazine said a Talgo spokesman said the company is working with Amtrak to prepare the equipment for service in the Amtrak Cascades corridor.

This includes the installation of positive train control and “features to align with the service provided in the Amtrak Cascades Corridor.”

The Talgo Series 8 train sets were built in 2012 in Milwaukee for use in Wisconsin-funded service to Madison that never materialized.

Trains said Amtrak released a statement saying that the Talgo equipment in question is being considered by the carrier for use in the Pacific Northwest.

The Wisconsin-built Talgos have been sitting at Beech Grove since 2014.

They were moved to Chicago on Friday, Dec. 6 over the route of the Cardinal between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Trains reported that the ferry move was hindered by freight train interference.

The Wisconsin Talgo train sets include three cab cars, three bistro cafes, three baggage-coach end cars and 22 coaches.

Although Talgo equipment has been used in Cascades service for years, it became the subject of controversy after a Talgo Series VI trainset was involved in a Dec. 18, 2017, derailment in DuPont, Washington, that left three dead.

A National Transportation Safety Board report concluded, among other things, that the design of the Talgo equipment played a role in the consequences of the wreck.

Talgo has disputed that and asked the NTSB to reconsider that finding.

In the meantime the Washington State Department of Transportation has said it wants all Talgo VI equipment removed from service as soon as possible, citing the NTSB report.

Amtrak is responsible for providing replacement equipment for the service.

The Trains report noted that a contract between Amtrak and Talgo has yet to be finalized and that the “interim” nature of the equipment use might be a point of contention.

The equipment would also need a waiver of Federal Railroad Administration crashworthy rules.

The State of Oregon, which also funds Cascades Service, plans to keep in service its two Talgo Series 8 train sets that it purchased in 2013.

The Trains report speculated that the Wisconsin Talgos will be reconfigured into two train sets with some equipment being kept for backup service as needed.

Talgo Manager Takes Issue With NTSB Report

November 19, 2019

A Talgo manager said the National Transportation Safety Board that its report on the derailment of an Amtrak train in Washington State in December 2017 contains many errors and unsubstantiated statements.

The NTSB recommended that Amtrak and the Washington State Department of Transportation remove from service immediately the Talgo Series VI trainsets and replace them with equipment that meets current federal safety standards.

Talgo has asked the Board to reconsider its conclusions and recommendations in the case.

Talgo’s Director of Product Development and Compliance Joshua D. Coran told Railway Age that the recommendation to cease using Talgo equipment immediately was “unprecedented and nonsense.”

“I have researched every available NTSB report of passenger train derailments and collisions dating back to 1971,” he told the magazine. “I have found 33. None recommends the removal of an entire fleet of cars.”

The NTSB report concluded that because the Talgo Series VI equipment did not meet federal safety standards it poses an unnecessary risk to passenger safety.

Talgo Series VI equipment was being used on Cascades No. 501, which derailed due to going too fast on a curve.

The NTSB concluded that the Talgo equipment did not provide adequate passenger protection and was structurally vulnerable if involved in a high-energy derailment or collision due to its lack of crashworthiness protections.

The Talgo equipment, though, was in compliance with Federal Railroad Regulations having been “grandfathered” in on one FRA regulation.

In an editor’s note, Railway Age noted that Coran’s comments were his own and not necessarily reflective of the views of Talgo.

Coran said the NTSB’s recommendation “to replace compliant equipment with compliant equipment makes no sense, as it accomplishes nothing except negative commercial impact on the manufacturer of the criticized equipment, Talgo, and benefits manufacturers of potential replacements.

More of his comments can be found at https://www.railwayage.com/safety/ntsb-amtrak-501-report-errors-and-unsupported-statements/

Talgo Challenging NTSB Cascades Derailment Report

November 2, 2019

Talgo is challenging a recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board that its equipment be removed from service by Amtrak.

The NTSB made that recommendation in its report on the December 2018 derailment of an Amtrak Cascades Service train that left three dead.

The safety agency concluded that the design of the Talgo equipment used in Cascades Service contributed to the fatalities and injuries in the crash.

The agency also said the Talgo equipment was not in compliance with Federal Railroad Administration crashworthiness regulations.

Talgo is asking the NTSB to reconsider its conclusions, saying that evidence presented by the company to the agency and the participation of its representatives was not seen by NTSB members before they voted on the likely cause of the derailment.

The Spanish railroad equipment maker also called unprecedented the NTSB recommendation to remove Talgo Series VI trainsets from service “instead of recommending improvements or modification to or further research on the Talgo railcars.”

Talgo’s petition to the NTSB said the agency erroneously pointed to the FRA “grandfathering” provisions allowing the Series VI trainsets to begin operating in 1999 without complying with an 800,000-pound buff strength requirement.

However, Talgo said it has a letter from the FRA noting that lack of carbody integrity was not an issue, which was confirmed “by new finite element stress and collision dynamics analyses performed by independent engineering firm Simpson, Gumpertz, Heger.”

That report “establishes that the Talgo Series VI railcars meet the relevant federal safety standards and performed in the derailment as well or better than conventional cars would have under similar circumstances,” Talgo said.

Talgo wants the NTSB to review again its findings based on evidence either initially ignored or now submitted.

Citing the NTSB report, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Rail Division, which funds Amtrak’s Cascades Service, has called for replacing all of the trainsets used in Cascades Service before service resumes on the Point Defiance Bypass.

Future of Amtrak Travel?

August 27, 2019

I was driving westbound on Interstate 70 back in August 2011 near the Ohio-Indiana border when I spotted what looked like a part of a Talgo train being toted on a flatbed truck.

I was able to get past the vehicle and determine that it was, indeed, part of a Talgo train.

I was able to get ahead of the truck, duck into a rest stop and grab a photograph as it went by.

Why it was out there I don’t know. Maybe it was headed for the Amtrak shops in Beech Grove, Indiana.

But I don’t think Talgo equipment is serviced there.

At any rate, it occurred to me that some at Amtrak might think this would be one way to deal with the hassles of working with host railroads.

Put passenger cars on trucks and let them travel by road.