Viewliner II Part 3: Bag/Dorm Car Production, Delivery, Speculation

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Thirdrail7, Jul 14, 2018.

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  1. May 4, 2019 #301

    Thirdrail7

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    I think they need to wait until there are enough of them in service to reliably cover a train. One car on its own doesn't really do any good. Once the next two get here in a few weeks, they MAY be able to start assigning them to a set of equipment.

    The Lake Shore and the Cardinal are easy targets. However, after watching them demote the sleeping cars on the Silver Starvation to day room service (RVR-NYP is a huge city pair for the sleepers) I wouldn't mind some out of the box thinking like putting them on corridor type trains. Maybe the Pennsylvanian (which has desperately needed a baggage car for years) could take a set. Maybe the Vermonter?
     
  2. May 14, 2019 #302

    Thirdrail7

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    Ok, picture take on the NEC. Wednesday is your day (which means Ryan must be out of town) . Same as usual. Two on the rear.

    Ms Penny? Your day is Thursday.
     
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  3. May 14, 2019 #303

    WalterIII

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    Hi, I have not been on since last year. Having too much fun since retiring from CSX in 2017 and embarking on consulting this past year. While on the freight side for 32+ years I have been all over the US on Amtrak over that time and do clinics at prototype modeler meets on passenger trains, cars etc. I also have some knowledgeable contacts.

    Great discussion, I have some comments and observations.

    1 - MHCs
    There were two series of MHC's built for Amtrak, the 1400 series followed by the 1500 series. The 1400 series rode on overhauled express reefer trucks cast in the 1950's/1960's while the 1500 series rode on new GSI G70 trucks (same as Horizon, Superliner II, Viewliner I/II). I believe the cars on which the speed restriction was placed on were the 1400 series with the older trucks after a nasty derailment of the Lake Shore limited.

    As far as I know all of the 1400 series car gone, I did see a number of 1500 series in MOW service in the NEC in January but they are now quite old. Using a box car design or MHC for baggage service is problematic. You need access through an end door, which they do not have, and modifying them can be a structural issue. Then there are the doors, which are harder to open and close. While you can add snubbers and spring packages to allow running freight trucks up to 90 (as was the case of the box express cars Amtrak added in the 1990's), you cannot go 110 let alone 125. On the plus side, going with 70 Viewliner shells for the baggage cars gave them some practice and probably reduced the per unit cost for all of the shells.

    Of note, the original spec for the current Auto Train auto carriers was for a speed of 90 MPH. I was working with Johnstown (now Freight Car America) on some new cars for the CSX phosphate service (we did not build them) and a Johnstown rep meeting with me in Tampa in 1999 was going to Sanford and showed them to me. He did not understand that speed as Auto Train ran at 70. I suggested that Amtrak was still probably fantasizing on running some on the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Arizona (which of course never happened). I do not know if the cars actually built several years later have that capability.

    2 - The Viewliner II order, cars, changes and deployment
    While this order has moved slower than a glacier, at least the cars are being built (unlike the CA and Mid-west bi-levels). The original order had a base of 130 cars: 25 each of sleepers, diners, baggage dorms and 55 baggage cars. There was a 70 car option: 15 diners, 15 baggage dorms, 10 sleepers and 30 baggage cars.

    Intent - who knows now, as noted earlier in this forum we are two or three generations of Amtrak managers removed from the original orders. But I can add this, the Star, Meteor, Crescent and Lake Shore require 16 sets to cover, the Cardinal 2 (Tri-weekly), plus spare reserve. So, that's 18 sets, and 7 spares (enough to cover a daily Cardinal).

    The base order would have covered those 18 sets with new diners, baggage dorms and add a sleeper to each, with 7 spares. As for the options, they would have allowed for the Palmetto to be extended to Miami (again) as a revival of the Silver Palm (which was part of a plan to add service to the FEC by re-routing the Silver Meteor over the FEC from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach), 4 sets of diners/sleepers would have been required, and perhaps revival of the Broadway or conversion of the Capital to single level cars (3-4 sets). With the long delays, these were not exercised.

    As for the baggage cars. The 55 car base order would have barely covered the long haul trains equipped with heritage baggage cars and none of the regional trains. The 30 options would have covered the rest and would have allowed addition of checked baggage service to select NEC trains (that was their plan). With the options gone, they still needed to retire all the heritage baggage cars. The 15 obtained by cutting the baggage dorm order covered all existing assignments, long distance and regional (barely), but bailed on the NEC addition.

    Baggage dorms were common prior to 1994 on all long hauls (of course out west the steam heated ones were replaced in 1981 by ex-Santa Fe hi-level transition coaches which had dorm space added to half the car). With only 10 left on the base order, and the dwindling number of onboard service people, one wonders where they will go. They were intended to house the diner and lounge staff, and as a place for the coach attendants to take a break (the sleeper attendants have a room in their car). I think the original plan was for 4 to be assigned to the Lake Shore (perhaps to Boston), and 2 assigned to the Cardinal makes sense to me. That would be 6 of the 10, but who knows now. Another odd thing I heard was that since there was no accessible bedroom on the cars they could not sell any of the roomettes as revenue space. Do not know if that is true, after all while they sell roomettes in the Superliner crew-dorms they never sell the accessible room in that car as far as I know.

    Well, I guess we will all find out sometime this year! I was startled yet pleased to see the diner Albany on 97 Palatka, FL in March, so all the diners have arrived, finally.

    Walter
     
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  4. May 14, 2019 #304

    Acela150

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    I needed an excuse to get out on Wednesday. This is it.
     
  5. May 14, 2019 #305

    AmtrakBlue

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    Come down to Fox Point. ;)
     
  6. May 15, 2019 #306

    Acela150

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    I'll probably end up somewhere like Prospect Park. Try to stay close to home during rush hour.
     
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  7. May 15, 2019 #307

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

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    no word from Ryan, so maybe he is out of town, and possibly on the high seas. Seems like someone is coordinating deliveries around his schedule
     
  8. May 15, 2019 #308

    Ryan

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    Nope, I’m home, just hair on fire busy. Tonight is a complicated dance of two kids doing three activities (confirmation, rugby, and Girl Scouts) overlaid with a church board meeting for me. Happy shooting to those with the time.
     
  9. May 15, 2019 #309

    Acela150

    Acela150

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    97 (15) O/S Prospect Park 5:03 with 2 bag dorms on the rear.
     
  10. May 15, 2019 #310

    AmtrakBlue

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    17:12 passing Fox Point Park
     
  11. May 16, 2019 #311

    Acela150

    Acela150

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    I got some photos. But the lighting was god awful thanks to the Anti-Railfan cloud. So I'll hold off posting them for now.
     
  12. May 16, 2019 #312

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

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    Lighting was good down my way. ;)

    97-May15-2019.jpg
     
  13. May 16, 2019 #313

    g28646

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    Some photos at King St. IMG_0838.JPG IMG_0839.JPG IMG_0840.JPG
     
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  14. May 16, 2019 #314

    mgl1978

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    Here's some more from ALX.
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. May 16, 2019 #315

    mgl1978

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  16. May 16, 2019 #316

    gaspeamtrak

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    Thank you everybody for sharing with us up here in Canada !!! :):):)
     
  17. May 16, 2019 #317

    mgl1978

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    Does anybody have in depth knowledge of the weight limits of the Bag/Dorm cars? In one of the photos I took it states a weight limit of 5,200lbs. This is 10% of a full baggage car.
     
  18. May 16, 2019 #318

    JustOnce

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  19. Jul 15, 2019 at 3:14 PM #319

    Thirdrail7

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    Here come two more cars to stare at. The 05/06 are supposed to be picked.


    Fleets one, two and three:

    Two on the rear of 97(17)

    Fleet 4: Same train on the 18th.

    Get good shots because who knows when we'll see them again...outside of test trains of course.
     
  20. Jul 15, 2019 at 4:40 PM #320

    jis

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    Maybe they will show up in the Midwest as axle count cars
     

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