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Replying to The "Missing" Pacific Parlour Car in Illinois


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RyanS

Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:20 PM

Oh yeah, if you can get someone else to foot the bill, that's be a no brainer.

rrdude

Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:18 PM

Also.. please note that I never suggested Amtrak themselves rebuild and maintain these cars... I suggested they enter a lease agreement with the current owner of the cars to restore and maintain them.. so Gateway would be in charge of that.. that way Amtrak for sure comes out ahead. 
Having someone else do the work isn't magically going to make it cheaper. The costs (along with profit to make it worth their while) will just be rolled into the lease fees.

Ahhh, agree with both views on this point. I try to keep my nostalgia in "check".  However, isn't this the perfect scenario for Apple, or IBM, or Google, or any of the CASH FLUSH, marketing-oriented companies to come in, contract and pay for all of the req'd restorations and upgrades, and then "lease" to Amtrak for a minor amount, offsetting such costs and low lease rates by the "Advertising" and publicity that it may generate? Staff them with their own crew. (eww, there's a hornets nest, OK, staff with Amtrak) Not talking coaches here, but PPC cars on EVERY LD route.

 

Now, us "fans" would have to put up with APPLE's LOGO plastered everywhere on the outside of the car, and inside, but hey, for more PPC's, I'd sell Ryan's soul!

 

I swear this could work, just need the right sales guy to pitch it to the right people at these companies.  Isn't the founder of SQUARE a rail fan?

 

I'm just saying............


RyanS

Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:43 PM

Yeah, I'm not sure that a press release from a company trying to sell someone on trying to pull this off can be used as a corroborating source.

Braniff747SP

Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:26 PM

Looks like someone thinks the cars are worth something... 

 

http://ccrail.com/co...ssenger-trains/

 

From the "fact sheet" available in the above link.

 

 

"Remanufacturing the uniform fleet of Hi-Levels to today's specifications will provide cars virtually indistinguishable from Next-Generation cars in appearance, interior comfort, ride quality AND reliability. Plus, the Hi-Levels can be placed in service sooner AND at lower cost.

Built by the legendary Budd Company, the stainless steel Hi- Level fleet has safely, successfully, and economically operated for millions of miles on Santa Fe and Amtrak trains. Today, this indestructible equipment is ready for more, after a complete refurbishment, to provide millions of miles of more reliable and dependable service in a modern, safe environment."

 

Interesting article, and their website is quite interesting. 

 

I'll believe it when I see it, though. 


TVRM610

Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:46 PM

Looks like someone thinks the cars are worth something... 

 

http://ccrail.com/co...ssenger-trains/

 

From the "fact sheet" available in the above link.

 

 

"Remanufacturing the uniform fleet of Hi-Levels to today's specifications will provide cars virtually indistinguishable from Next-Generation cars in appearance, interior comfort, ride quality AND reliability. Plus, the Hi-Levels can be placed in service sooner AND at lower cost.

Built by the legendary Budd Company, the stainless steel Hi- Level fleet has safely, successfully, and economically operated for millions of miles on Santa Fe and Amtrak trains. Today, this indestructible equipment is ready for more, after a complete refurbishment, to provide millions of miles of more reliable and dependable service in a modern, safe environment."


zephyr17

Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:18 PM

Yes, initially the Hi-Level lounges in PPC service hadn't been rebuilt and were in Amtrak lounge configuration they'd been in for a long time. They strung up white Christmas mini-lights to make it look more festive.

JoeRids

Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:15 PM

With regards to an earlier comment about not all the ex-Santa Fe hi levels becoming Pacific Parlour Cars, I would be willing to bet the car that you toured through was indeed used as a PPC. I remember riding the Starlight in December of 1995, not too long after the upgrading of this train went through. The interior config of this car was not much different than its use as a regular lounge, and in fact if I remember looked pretty identical to the car photos you have. I think the upgrading of the cars to include overstuffed chairs and circular sofas came between 1996-1997, because I remember riding again in 1998 and that remodeling was complete.


WellTrained

Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:14 PM

Amazing collection. But most amazing to me is that the owner hasn't sold the obviously unusable metal for scrap. Wheel sets, badly damaged cars. Maybe he thinks the parts can be used? Then again every railroad I've been on in the last few years has thousands of tons of rusting steel just stacked up next to the tracks.  A rough guess for that grade steel would be about 20cts/lb and rr would pay little for transport costs. Al sheeting is running maybe $0.70/lb. Just thinking out loud.


RyanS

Posted 05 September 2013 - 11:04 AM

Also.. please note that I never suggested Amtrak themselves rebuild and maintain these cars... I suggested they enter a lease agreement with the current owner of the cars to restore and maintain them.. so Gateway would be in charge of that.. that way Amtrak for sure comes out ahead. 
Having someone else do the work isn't magically going to make it cheaper. The costs (along with profit to make it worth their while) will just be rolled into the lease fees.

jis

Posted 05 September 2013 - 10:57 AM

 

This is a terrible idea and I'd be pissed if Amtrak wasted their limited resources trying to make it happen.
 

I agree.

But this is also a perennial. It comes up at least once a year, brought up by someone who probably has not seen the last cycle. Unfortunately there is a lot of emotion involved involved when it involves a Budd car of any sort.

If Amtrak found that kind of money, it should first strip and rebuild its own Superliners, which could do with that sort of tender loving care.
 

 

 
What emotion?  Funny.. you are the one who mentioned Budd built them. 
 
And why would it be a better use of Amtrak's money to rebuild cars that are currently operating rather than put MORE cars into operation? 

Just go to Trainorders or railroad.net and see the fun arguments :) - people making claims like because the cars are Budd built they would never suffer from metal fatigue and they'd have infinite lifespan. AU does not exist in isolation. ;)

It is better to use Amtrak money to rebuild cars that need rebuilding, and Superliners do need that. They are at or getting to that point in their life. Just because they are currently operating does not mean they will continue to do so forever. Already their reliability levels are not exactly what would be desirable. Those airconditioning and other failures are getting to be more frequent it seems.

As Nathanael explains, you won't get the sort of reliability needed for Amtrak's operational use of cars out of a $1.2 million rebuild of those cars. Their operating cost will remain higher than for newer cars. Every person who has worked in car maintenance and restoration that I have talked to essentially agrees with Nathanael's assessment.

 

Yes, it would be nice to have a pool of cars that can be leased occasionally. But the risk for maintaining such a pool should not be borne entirely by Amtrak. It should be borne by whoever is trying to make a business of leasing cars. Amtrak should just have to pay reasonable leasing costs. Whether that is a viable business sans subsidy is yet to be seen. In the UK considerable subsidy was required to create the ROSCOs (ROlling Stock COmpanies), but now it is quite a vibrant sector.


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