One suspicion has been that the Crescent might get one or two sleepers that cut at ATL. NYP-ATL, the train is packed; ATL-NOL, not so much. As to the 25, I believe that there is room to "shake" at least 2, and probably 4, more sleepers in regular use out of that. I don't think Amtrak needs 8 sleepers out of 25 to cover contingencies; 4-6 seems more reasonable.
As to the options, while those could be reallocated, IIRC the split on them was 15 sleepers, 15 diners, 15 bag-dorms, and 25 baggage cars. If you were looking to exercise the whole batch, you'd probably want to cut most of the baggage cars and some of the bag-dorms...but you'd still need a few of the diners at the very least (since once you go past sleeper #4 on a single level, you really need either second dining car or a twin-unit [which Amtrak has no reason to order]). Going to 50/10/10/0 might be possible if Amtrak wanted/needed to and had the money.
My calculations agree that a single Viewliner diner can only acommodate 4 sleepers. So if Amtrak got 50 sleepers, they would need 13 diners to go along. That's 63. The extra seven could be spares. But since this thread is about train length, let's just discuss future consists, which I already asked about in previous posts.
I've done some math where a diner could accommodate five sleepers, but it's a risky stretch. In all fairness, I'd say that when you hit four, it's time to look at adding diner capacity.
As far as single-level consists go, here's what I'm thinking we could see in the not-too-distant future:Crescent
Coach [NOL] -Seasonal
Sleeper [ATL]Lake Shore Limited
Coach [NYP] -Seasonal
Both are likely to make for some very
long walks indeed.Silver Star
Both sections go to Miami, albeit by different routings; therefore, I've labeled them by whether they go to Orlando or down the FEC en route. My best guess, based on the estimates in the FEC studies, was that Amtrak was likely to put two sleepers on the FEC route. However, the number of coaches may be low (I could see a third coach being added in JAX).Silver Meteor
I am predicating this on the success of the diner-club plan on the LSL, but I'm going to guess that it is highly
unlikely for the Cardinal to end up with two food service cars to serve four passenger cars, or indeed to serve five if a fifth coach is added. If a second sleeper is added (I believe that the business is there to support it; if I were Amtrak I'd be inclined to push the Cardinal for September/October and add capacity then, since all of the other LD services hit a rut during those months...particularly
Thinking things through, I would be inclined to suggest
(rather than suspect) the following allocation of 75 sleepers to Amtrak:
-Lake Shore Limited: 12 (3 sets: 3 NYP, 1 BOS)
-Silver Meteor: 16 (4 sets: 4 MIA)
-Silver Star: 16 (4 sets: 2 FEC, 2 ORL)
-Crescent: 12 (4 sets: 2 NOL; 2 sets: 2 ATL)
-Pennsylvanian: 6 (3 sets: 2 CHI)
-Cardinal: 3 (3 sets: 1 CHI)
The "Variable" sleepers would run on the Cardinal in the fall and be assigned to one of the Florida trains (probably
the Star, due to the split) at peak season, depending on demand; under this plan, the Star would require two diners, but that seems inevitable given the length of walk that would be needed to reach the diner at that point (and I pity the SCA who gets a wheelchair-bound retiree couple ordering dinner).
The "backup" cars include the 3-4 "protect" cars plus 3-4 that are shopped at any given time (an additional car or two could be pulled from the variable pile in during parts of the "off-season"; it seems possible that in some particularly slow periods, Amtrak might want to seriously consider trimming a consist or two, even just midweek, back by a car for a week or two so they could carry out a few more planned inspections).
Mind you, I'd like to see another 5-15 sleepers added: 2 for the Twilight Shoreliner, 3 for another sleeper on the Cardinal, and a few more as spares or as sleepers that can be moved around as a "surge fleet" (to actually mark off a "winter season" for Florida to at least some extent). Ideally, you'd have about 10 in the "variable" column so that Amtrak could deal with random bumps in demand (and have the SCA hookups set up so that at least in a few cases, like the LSL or the Cardinal, you could do this without increasing staffing at all) and schedule them on a somewhat ad hoc basis.
Edited by Anderson, 03 March 2012 - 05:47 AM.
Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)