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High-speed rail in California: Alstom or Siemens?

High-speed rail in California: Alstom or Siemens?

The California High-Speed ​​Rail Authority, CHSRA, has selected Alstom and Siemens Mobility as finalists to supply vehicles for future high-speed rail in the state. The agreement will also include maintenance of the trains for a period of thirty years.

The company issued an approval request for the project in August 2023. They believe the final call for bids will be issued in the coming months, and the award may occur this year.

The winner will have to meet Buy America's manufacturing standards, under which a significant percentage of the vehicle's components must be produced domestically. The contract will include the design, manufacture, storage, integration, testing and operation of the trains prior to conditional acceptance.

The winner will be responsible for the delivery, testing, operation, maintenance and software updates of the simulators required for qualitative cognitive training of new vehicles. In addition, you will be responsible for:

  • To develop design standards for coordinating interfaces with facilities, paths, systems and stations;
  • To participate in the testing and operation of facilities, tracks, systems and stations;
  • To develop and provide the information necessary to approve the type of trains and support their subsequent operation, and
  • To operate and maintain maintenance equipment to be installed in railway maintenance and rehabilitation facilities to be built by a third party.

In 2028, two sets of prototypes should be delivered to the selected manufacturer for static and dynamic testing and trial runs of the locomotives. According to CHSRA calculations, the remaining four trains will be delivered by the end of 2030; The fleet will operate on the Merced to Bakersfield section of California's high-speed rail network.

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The contract, which includes high-speed vehicles and their maintenance, is partly funded by a $3.1 billion grant (about 1.060 billion HUF based on the current exchange rate), which was won by the so-called Federal Interstate Partnership for Intercity Transport. Passenger Rail Transportation Program Authority (National Federal Jurisdiction) in December 2023. In addition to the acquisition of the new fleet, the Fund will contribute to the design of maintenance facilities, the design and construction of the Fresno station, and the final design and early work of the Merced to Bakersfield section (including land acquisition and facility relocation ) and construction work in the Central Valley. This is the largest one-time grant gigainvestment has received from the federal government since its launch in 2009.

According to CHSRA, the new high-speed rail will transform the commuter rail experience in California – Reports of the International Railway Journal.

(In our opening image, the visual design of one of the competitors, Siemens Mobility's Velaró, is painted in California colours. Image source: Railway Gazette)

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