Posted 27 August 2017 - 08:11 PM
You put a lot of faith in one conductor’s statements. As sure as he may sound about this topic, things like this aren’t secretly told to conductors years in advance of public announcement. There is a lot of misinformation that spreads across front-line employees (of all industries) regarding items on which they really have no access to inside info.
Often, it is just speculation, or hypothetical discussion, that turns into “fact” after passing through a bunch of people’s ears/mouths (see the telephone game for further info). But I assure you, for decisions of this level of importance, as soon as it was officially announced to a large employee group (such as several thousand conductors), it will be announced to the public almost simultaneously. In many cases, I bet interested members of the public would know before most employees.
As already mentioned, Amtrak doesn’t build any equipment. They may own the rights to the Viewliner, but they’re having a hell of a time getting an experienced car manufacturer to build passenger-carrying equipment to that spec. If they can resolve those issues, and secure funding, they could extend the production run and add more cars (and new types, such as coaches or cafes) to the order. If they don’t, and the line shuts down after the current order is complete, then owning the rights to the car won’t do them any good if they don’t have someone who can build it. It would probably be easier/cheaper to go with an already-in-production design than to shop around their blueprints for a 30-year-old design and find someone else that wants to build it.
But regardless of any of the above, the reality remains that no such decision has been announced about the replacement of equipment that still has at least a good decade or more of life left in it. And even if someone in charge today has the personal desire to eventually replace those cars with Viewliners, a lot can happen (including more changes to Amtrak management, changes in the political climate and funding situation, federal regulations regarding equipment safety, etc.) between now and when someone is ready to sign on the dotted line to purchase their replacements.