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Brightline Railcars Any Reason They Can't Be Used By Amtrak?

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Honestly, I don't think the added cost of a Viewliner profile is significant. There's nothing wrong with the Viewliner design and it's specifically designed to maximize volume of space used while fitting in the clearance envelope of the NEC.

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Factors that should matter more is cost of production and currency of design. that is my only point. Some seem to be making the argument that we should perpetuate a particular shape of an 80s design for the sake of "sleekness" irrespective of anything else. that is just nuts.

 

Nobody here has claimed that aesthetic considerations should override all other elements of passenger car design. That's a strawman argument.

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Factors that should matter more is cost of production and currency of design. that is my only point. Some seem to be making the argument that we should perpetuate a particular shape of an 80s design for the sake of "sleekness" irrespective of anything else. that is just nuts.

Nobody here has claimed that aesthetic considerations should override all other elements of passenger car design. That's a strawman argument.

 

All that I said was that should not be done to start with so I was just re-emphasizing that, since it was not clear what anybody was actually saying :P I am glad to see at least you agree with me. I have no idea what the real position of anyone else is.

 

Honestly, I don't think the added cost of a Viewliner profile is significant. There's nothing wrong with the Viewliner design and it's specifically designed to maximize volume of space used while fitting in the clearance envelope of the NEC.

And it is entirely possible that the shape can be achieved in other car bodies with minor variation. Afterall Bombardier had very little trouble doing the M-8 and M-9s with similar bulges. The problem arises when one then goes on to insist that the airconditioning units muse be similar to the ones used in Amfleets and on and on.

 

What should be provided to the manufacturers is the loading gauge, internal dimensions, the regulations they must comply with and furnishing specs and then let them propose how they are going to meet those, rather than hand them a detailed design and say produce us 150 of these. It is the former approach that Amtrak has taken with the Acela II order, and the latter approach with the Viewliner II order. And the lesser we say about the cluster among Amtrak, FRA, Bombardier and Alstom that begat the Acela Is came to be the better.

 

Speaking of new cars (Coaches), whatever its outside shape is, it would be really much more pleasing I think if the interior could be designed to resemble something akin to the so called "Sky" interior that we are seeing in planes today. A 14'6" tall car certainly leaves enough room for doing that and making the car feel much airier even without the upper row of windows, specially with some judiciously designed indirect lighting one would think.

Edited by jis

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Still no comparison of View liner and Brightline profiles ? Brightline appears to have very large windows which may improve passenger acceptance. Granted that will require higher capacity HVAC and more efficient shades. ? Still believe that most but certainly not all persons will like the View liner inside profile compared to Amfleets ? View liner lounges will certainly have a bigger viewing angle available for outside viewing. Can imagine that V-2 lounges on the Cardinal thru New River Gorge will be well received.

 

About Air conditioning units. Our understanding is that the units are now designed to be interchangeable with quick disconnects and identical air handling connections that will prevent delays due to replacements of failed units. Compatible units allow for more maintenance locations to carry a spare unit(s) such as Atlanta, Florence, Memphis, Denver, Minot. That way additional improvements in unit efficiency can be used for new and replacement units. .

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Honestly, I don't think the added cost of a Viewliner profile is significant. There's nothing wrong with the Viewliner design and it's specifically designed to maximize volume of space used while fitting in the clearance envelope of the NEC.

And it is entirely possible that the shape can be achieved in other car bodies with minor variation. Afterall Bombardier had very little trouble doing the M-8 and M-9s with similar bulges. The problem arises when one then goes on to insist that the airconditioning units muse be similar to the ones used in Amfleets and on and on.

 

Sure. I believe the Viewliner IIs have a completely different primary electrical distribution system from the Viewliner Is, however, so they're obviously not being too picky. Did they really specify *Amfleet* A/C units? That would make no sense given that the Amfleets are totally different.

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Amfleet-1 HVAC units ? Ridiculous.

1. Not built anymore due to going from banned R-22 to R-410 to meet current EPA regulations.

2. SEER probably was only 7 - 8 where as units now SEER units are 14+

3. Today's new units will probably be bulkier and weight more than original AM-1 units

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If that mattered they should have stuck with the classic Budd shape (no not Amfleet. The original Budd shape like the Heritage Sleepers). They didn't. So it is safe to assume that it really does not matter.

Come on, JIS. Asthetics always matter to the extent people choose to let them matter. Obviously, operationally it is almost irrelevant, and practicality and getting trains running trump it thoroughly, but to say they don't matter is a rather sweeping statement.

 

Once upon a time it mattered a lot, when railroads could easily order matched sets of equipment from a choice of builder's, to equip their new streamliner's.

Now, we have trains like VIA Rail's Ocean, where they match up Renaissance cars with classic Budd Park series cars... Practical? Certainly. Aesthetic? Hardly......

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Still no comparison of View liner and Brightline profiles ? Brightline appears to have very large windows which may improve passenger acceptance. Granted that will require higher capacity HVAC and more efficient shades. ? Still believe that most but certainly not all persons will like the View liner inside profile compared to Amfleets ? View liner lounges will certainly have a bigger viewing angle available for outside viewing. Can imagine that V-2 lounges on the Cardinal thru New River Gorge will be well received.

 

About Air conditioning units. Our understanding is that the units are now designed to be interchangeable with quick disconnects and identical air handling connections that will prevent delays due to replacements of failed units. Compatible units allow for more maintenance locations to carry a spare unit(s) such as Atlanta, Florence, Memphis, Denver, Minot. That way additional improvements in unit efficiency can be used for new and replacement units. .

Is there actually a proposed design for Viewliner lounges? I would like to see the same size windows as SSLs as well as the same-style chairs. Obviously, some space will be lost due to the need for the food service area on the same level as the viewing area.

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There isn't. Except at AU :P

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I agree shape isn't particularly important. I'm just rejecting the argument that it is immaterial. All things being equal, it is a positive for trains to have a consistent car appearance. Obviously all things are not equal, and it is quite low priority.

 

Nate, I would tend to agree with you that the marginal cost difference of producing a Viewliner shape rather than some other shape would be limited. However that cost would mostly likely mean either dealing with the dunderheads at CAF or setting up new tooling, which would be substantially more expensive than asking Seimans to fire up the bright liner plant and asking them to build Amtrak a fleet of coaches and lounges based on that design. Whether that would be true for additional sleepers I am not sure.

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To revert to the original question.

 

I remember some time ago on this forum, when it was first announced that Siemens had been selected to supply the Brightline equipment.

 

At the time I said that the Railjet coach was taylored for European conditions where track is generally smoother than on most Amtrak LD routes. I questioned whether these coaches would stand up well under American operating conditions.

 

It was countered that FEC tracks were also going to be maintained to very high standards so this wasn't a problem.

 

So to come back to the original question, in my opinion it depends on how well they perform on average and poor track, and whether they can still provide an adequate level of comfort unde those conditions, quite apart from not falling to bits.

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They could hardly run any more poorly than Amfleets on any track IMHO. that would take a special ability to design something with a goal set for poor ride quality and maintenance requirements ;) Not that it cannot be done, but it would be quite an achievement.

 

BTW, it ight be surprising for some to learn that the considerably larger loading gauge of a double decker TGV also fits within the NEC loading gauge envelope. Yes, the Brightline cars would fit fine on the NEC. Actually the NEC loading gauge is not that small by world standards.

Edited by jis

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That would be right on the edge. It is taller than the Viewliners 14'6", but is under 14'8"

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And the clearance gauge ?

When you get that close to the edge one has to take a closer look at the shape.

 

However, so far no one has proposed to purchase Viaggio Twins for anything in the US. If someone does then they will have to make sure that the US version fits the loading gauge of the proposed routes over which they will be used.

Edited by jis

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If that mattered they should have stuck with the classic Budd shape (no not Amfleet. The original Budd shape like the Heritage Sleepers). They didn't. So it is safe to assume that it really does not matter.

Come on, JIS. Asthetics always matter to the extent people choose to let them matter. Obviously, operationally it is almost irrelevant, and practicality and getting trains running trump it thoroughly, but to say they don't matter is a rather sweeping statement.

 

Once upon a time it mattered a lot, when railroads could easily order matched sets of equipment from a choice of builder's, to equip their new streamliner's.

Now, we have trains like VIA Rail's Ocean, where they match up Renaissance cars with classic Budd Park series cars... Practical? Certainly. Aesthetic? Hardly......

 

 

This

 

If aesthetics realyl mattered, locomotives would also be designed to match cars more closely, as they did back in the streamliner era.

 

SilverPilot.jpg

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If aesthetics realyl mattered, locomotives would also be designed to match cars more closely, as they did back in the streamliner era.

 

SilverPilot.jpg

 

 

When you operate six different models of single-level passenger cars - each with distinctive shapes and profiles - and multiple types of bi-level equipment, to what exactly do you match the locomotives?

 

Remember that aesthetics were a primary reason the railroads got the FP-45/SDP-40F designs; It would have been easier and cheaper to have just bought more SDP-45's (or even P32's instead of the Genesis). Indeed, the issue of cost is paramount. It was far less expensive and more practical to do a cowled GP-40 than a modern E-unit.

 

None of which proves aesthetics unimportant. There are very good reasons - and more important considerations than style - why much modern equipment doesn't match very well. To the extent possible and practical, attention should be paid to style and a more uniform appearance.

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The modern trend elsewhere in the world is to use semi-permanently coupled matched consists for passenger service.

 

However, in countries that have extensive long distance service, at for the long distance trains the trend still is to have trains consists built of individual cars coupled together using standard couplers. Even there though because of other reasons e.g. braking system, HEP system etc. compatibility, more often than not similar cars from the same generation tend to be kept together. Attempts to keep cars with similar livery start with much fanfare at the introduction of a new service, but in five years it descends into a mess.

 

Matching the livery of train consists with engines is more often than not, mostly ignored.

 

As has been mentioned, operational convenience and cost considerations tend to derail the best laid out aesthetics plans. But it is still good to start at a good point.

 

The problem that Amtrak has is that, as Thirdrail and I have discussed elsewhere, it is a grossly under-capitalized operation, both on the capital purchases front and on the maintenance front. Under those circumstances, you basically acquire what you can at the lowest possible price, You maintain things closer to the point of failure than a fully capitalized operation would. The reason that the very effective maintenance paradigm used for the Acelas is not used elsewhere can be traced to this basic under-capitalization. Even when you plan to rebrand it takes so long to re-livery the relevant fleet that the whole plan falls apart and aesthetics suffers even more.

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If that mattered they should have stuck with the classic Budd shape (no not Amfleet. The original Budd shape like the Heritage Sleepers). They didn't. So it is safe to assume that it really does not matter.

Come on, JIS. Asthetics always matter to the extent people choose to let them matter. Obviously, operationally it is almost irrelevant, and practicality and getting trains running trump it thoroughly, but to say they don't matter is a rather sweeping statement.

 

Once upon a time it mattered a lot, when railroads could easily order matched sets of equipment from a choice of builder's, to equip their new streamliner's.

Now, we have trains like VIA Rail's Ocean, where they match up Renaissance cars with classic Budd Park series cars... Practical? Certainly. Aesthetic? Hardly......

 

 

This

 

If aesthetics realyl mattered, locomotives would also be designed to match cars more closely, as they did back in the streamliner era.

 

SilverPilot.jpg

 

Gorgeous! Thanks for posting!

Love those E-5's...only the 'Q' had them...they sure looked great with a matching set of stainless Budd Zephyr's..... :):cool:

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match for awhile then mix becomes the normal. Since the Bright line coaches are different colors for each semi permanent train set want to bet when the sets get mixed up ? Bright line may have certain trips that sell out with a current train set and they will add cars from other set(s) ?

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match for awhile then mix becomes the normal. Since the Bright line coaches are different colors for each semi permanent train set want to bet when the sets get mixed up ? Bright line may have certain trips that sell out with a current train set and they will add cars from other set(s) ?

They are unlikely to do that since their plan is to maintain and run each set as a single unit. The sets are not easy to take apart to replace a single car.

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match for awhile then mix becomes the normal. Since the Bright line coaches are different colors for each semi permanent train set want to bet when the sets get mixed up ? Bright line may have certain trips that sell out with a current train set and they will add cars from other set(s) ?

They are unlikely to do that since their plan is to maintain and run each set as a single unit. The sets are not easy to take apart to replace a single car.
Yeah, they will be run similar to how the Acela is run now. The only time the consists may be adjusted is if a specific car needs repairs, which is unusual as a whole set is usually worked on at the same time. There was a time a few years ago when one of the Acela sets was missing a car due to major repairs. If I remember correctly, it was a first class car.

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