Does Amtrak Have Wrecked Superliner Sleepers?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by desertflyer, Jan 8, 2020.

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  1. Jan 8, 2020 #1

    desertflyer

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    I know this might seem like a dumb questions, however I'm a bit curious. Here in California, our state sponsored service has quite a few formerly wrecked Superliner coaches that the state either leased or purchased (I'm not sure). This got me thinking, if there are wrecked Superliner coaches, there must be some sleepers that are sitting around too. Is that the case?

    I really think Amtrak California should explore some state sponsored sleeper service. It's unlikely to happen but seeing the resurgence of overnight rail in Europe, it does give me some hope.
     
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  2. Jan 8, 2020 #2

    Devil's Advocate

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    I don't doubt Amtrak is sitting on least a few wrecked sleepers. The questionable part is whether California would be well served by starting new sleeper service with old hardware that is difficult to clean and has already seen so many hours and miles.
     
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  3. Jan 8, 2020 #3

    desertflyer

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    Yeah it probably doesn't make sense. I think it'd be cool if there could be some proof of concept on a few routes somehow, before making some huge investment. I'm sure it'd be expensive to rehab any sidelined cars though.
     
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  4. Jan 8, 2020 #4

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Bunch of new sleepers (Viewliner 2) coming on line this year. No know assignment...
     
  5. Jan 9, 2020 #5

    JC_620

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    It's about time for some Superliner 3's, no??
     
  6. Jan 9, 2020 #6

    ehbowen

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    I'd say it's past time for some Superliner 4s....
     
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  7. Jan 9, 2020 #7

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    We would have gotten that with the original CALIDOTs but Nippon Sharyo done goofed, so we got a single-level railcar from Siemens instead.

    If there is going to be a Superliner 3, I suggest having them be derived from Bombardier's IC 2000s (coincidentally Bombardier made the Superliner IIs)
     
  8. Jan 9, 2020 #8

    jis

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    At the rate Bombardier is going with their deliveries elsewhere in the world, we will probably have to wait till 2030 to get the first of those that actually are usable, if ordered today. LOL!

    Alstom might really be a better bet. They built the last order of Surfliners. Indeed, I was surprised when Nippon Sharyo with no experience in building center sill-less cars meeting US buff strength requirements was chosen over Alstom or Bombardier who had already done so successfully. Apparently NS was so clueless that they managed to produce the lowest bid, perhaps based on lack of experience on how much it costs to build such things in the US.
     
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  9. Jan 9, 2020 #9

    Maglev

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    I thought that a few years ago, there was a major push to repair the wreck-damaged cars. I don't think there have been any major Superliner wrecks since then, but cars are probably damaged from time to time.
     
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  10. Jan 9, 2020 #10

    Devil's Advocate

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    The last big push to get repairable Superliners back on the road was started during Obama's first term. There have been numerous Superliner wrecks since then. Attrition due to collision is a problem for Amtrak and it's one reason suggestions for new or returning service are perpetually impractical. Amtrak's current fleet barely covers what Amtrak already runs and write-off wrecks keep chipping away at the repairable roster over time.
     
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  11. Jan 9, 2020 #11

    Siegmund

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    In my opinion, the underlying problem is the idea of equipment purchases as rare one-time things. We'd be much better off, from the standpoint of equipment supply AND of a reliable supply chain, if we were buying 50 cars a year every year, rather than nothing for ten years and then hoping somebody can fill a big order. (When the first Viewliners were built, there was some discussion whether to expand Beech Grove's fabrication facilities to be able to do it in house, scaling up from building the 3 prototype cars - didn't happen and hasn't since - that'd be worth considering too.)

    We'd also be in a better place to really be "self-insured" rather than "not insured" - they really do NEED to be replaced when they are wrecked and there is no mechanism to, when getting replacments is a decade-long process.
     
  12. Jan 9, 2020 #12

    jis

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    I don't think in house manufacture of 50 cars per year would ever be price competitive with what any of the established car manufacturers can do. Besides, one of the big problems so far has been project management, which has been pretty bad, and that will not get better magically just because something is done in house.

    But the point about having a continuous order chain rather than episodic large orders makes sense. The problem though is the relatively small size of even the big orders. A big 500 car spread over 5 years is 100 cars per year, which in effect is exactly what happens even when the order is placed episodically.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020 at 2:53 PM
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  13. Jan 10, 2020 #13

    sttom

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    It would be nice to have an overnight train between the Bay and LA, but I'm willing to bet the high speed rail system will be up and running before the state puts more money into Amtrak California. If the state were actually serious about rail, the legislature would push for an SB 1 level of investment into non high speed rail. Which could give us 150-200 round trips per day worth of in-state trains, but we'd need to raise taxes and organize like 43 JPAs cause God forbid the state actually be responsible for something and go through a process of designing new cars cause ordering California cars from Alstom is out of the question. (Seriously why wasn't Alstom picked in 2009 besides asinine lowest bidder rules?) Building Amtrak California and the commuter rail lines into something useful would be work and we don't do that anymore (this was heavily infused with sarcasm)
     
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  14. Jan 10, 2020 #14

    F900ElCapitan

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    From the list I’ve compiled over the last couple of years there are 12 sleepers (not counting the transition sleepers) that have sustained some sort of damage that would cause them to be withdrawn from service/stored.
     
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  15. Jan 10, 2020 #15

    SanDiegan

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    The Siemens cars would work well with new Viewliner sleepers :)
     
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  16. Jan 10, 2020 #16

    Willbridge

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    In the meantime, a review of GL, Flix and Megabus fares indicates that their most popular schedules between the Bay Area and the Southland are overnight.

    You are right about the JPA's. Anything that runs between two or more JPA's would generate a lot of meetings. Perhaps it will turn out that reviving the SFe's Saint and Angel will be the preferred route, as it would have the least conflict with the other JPA's. [For newcomers, this is the concept of extending the last eastbound and first westbound San Joaquin to LA via Barstow. There are a number of other -- --- perhaps better -- alternatives that all require more parties to cooperate.]
     
  17. Jan 10, 2020 #17

    ehbowen

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    Any traffic which runs via Barstow on existing rails will have to transit Tehachapi. That probably makes it a non-starter as far as UP and BNSF are concerned.
     
  18. Jan 10, 2020 #18

    sttom

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    Personally I think doing away with the JPAs in general would be a better option in the long term. California is state that is at least ambivalent to public transit, but local government is....at best idiotic. Amtrak CA needs to be run fully at the state level with a commission of people actually qualified to run a public transit system and there needs to be 8 or so regional transit agencies to handle intercounty transit between their respective counties. As much as some try to tout the power of the JPAs, they don't have a good track record. My local bus JPA offers nearly useless transit in my town because the city doesn't want it, Caltrain is almost always in a budget crisis, SJJPA thinks automats are a good idea and the one running Metrolink doesn't have great day time service. Amtrak CA should have a state wide web of trains, but it doesn't because the legislature doesn't want to put money where it's mouth is and buys into the notion that local is always better. It's only really better for their careers if something goes wrong, so at least there is that it's good for politicians, not necessarily us as riders or the public.

    As fordistricts over JPAs there is very little threat of BART dissolving or ruining itself because it has more safe guards in place. Well more than the good graces of local politicians. My over all point is that California needs to hit the reset button on the government, tinkering around the edges can only fix so much and that doesn't seem to be working anymore.
     
  19. Jan 11, 2020 #19

    Willbridge

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    Their initial reaction for sure; that's why I used the word 'parties' rather than 'agencies'. Perhaps 'entities' would be more descriptive, as any improvement attracts NIMBY's, too.

    One negotiating point on any overnight train is whether it might be held to the same speeds as intermodal trains. A big chunk of the PRIIA cost in the Pioneer 'study' was for sidings long enough for 79 mph passenger trains to overtake freight moving almost that fast.
     
  20. Jan 12, 2020 at 8:33 PM #20

    sttom

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    Part of me still thinks expansion would be more likely if the state was on board rather than leaving an intercity (and interregional) transit systems to local entities. Why would an entity that consists of politicians from around Sacramento care all that much about connecting to So Cal? Or LOSSAN caring about service to the Inland Empire or restoring the Coast Daylight/Lark? Ultimately this is a state issue and the state is either too afraid to do something or is lying to the public when politicians say they care about the environment or public transit. Personally, this disgusts me as someone who lives in California and cares about mass transit and the environment. And this has basically been the status quo since the early 2000s so I am starting to sit on the side of malice over incompetence.
     
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  21. Jan 14, 2020 at 3:04 PM #21

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    I can see the state try to buy the remainder of the Coast Line (San Jose-Moorpark) from Union Pacific, since that line doesn't see much freight traffic anyway. It is gonna require considerable construction for a modernized service though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020 at 3:13 PM
  22. Jan 14, 2020 at 6:38 PM #22

    sttom

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    Which as I've mentioned, is a state issue, not a local one. I want to see rail expand in California and leaving it to local authorities hasn't led to that. It's time for the state to step up and put money where it's mouth is. And it's not like if JPAs stopped existing that the trains would stop, same thing with commuter agencies if they become districts.
     
  23. Jan 14, 2020 at 6:56 PM #23

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    Seems California DOT/Amtrak California should reassume operation of the 3 routes (Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner) from those 3 agencies it transferred over to. In the meantime, California DOT/Amtrak California can also acquire the tracks between San Diego and Fullerton and the Caltrain ROW.
     
  24. Jan 15, 2020 at 2:28 AM #24

    sttom

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    Frankly, I'm ambivalent to who owns the track, but the state needs to be at the helm when it comes to Amtrak. I've been working on a blog post outlining what a project would look like, and also far it's totalling $23 billion for Phase 1. Upgrading will take money and political courage, but it's worth it in the long run.
     
  25. Jan 15, 2020 at 2:35 AM #25

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    As for who owns what
    * PCJPB/Caltrain: San Francisco-Tamien
    * BNSF: LAUS-Fullerton, Bakersfield-Fresno
    * SCRRA/Metrolink: Fullerton-San Diego County line, LAUS-Moorpark
    * NCTD/Coaster: San Diego County line-San Diego
    * UP: everything else

    Mind sending me a link about this blog post.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 2:42 AM

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