Illinois, California Cars On The Horizon
July 10, 2020
After nearly a decade’s delays, new coaches for Illinois Dept. of Transportation services are expected to begin shipping in August, according to the minutes of the Section 305 Next Generation Equipment Committee teleconference.
Fifty-one cars of the original 130-car order are in production right now at Siemens’ Sacramento facility. Siemens has delivered nine to Caltrans at Stockton, and another two were slated for delivery on June 30.
Rail Passengers Board Vice Chair David Randall, who oversees equipment issues at the Association, notes that it’s important and long-awaited progress.
“The Horizon and Amfleet I cars are simply getting weary,” Randall said. “The ‘gun turret’ windows don’t comply with the Federal Railroad Administration safety regulation that requires windows be 24” high so that folks can evacuate themselves in case of an accident.”
There’s no indication yet when the new cars will enter service. The NGEC minutes say that the “project teams continue to monitor potential production and schedule impacts due to the coronavirus and are receiving frequent updates from SCOA and Siemens.”
"I wish to extend my appreciation to members of the Rail Passengers Association for their steadfast advocacy to protect not only the Southwest Chief, but all rail transportation which plays such an important role in our economy and local communities. I look forward to continuing this close partnership, both with America’s rail passengers and our bipartisan group of senators, to ensure a bright future for the Southwest Chief route."
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief