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Thread: Viewliner II Diners Usage

  1. #1
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    Question Viewliner II Diners Usage

    Nearly every single unit ordered has rolled out of the factory down to FL for certification, but only the Crescent and Meteor utilize them. Could this be another one of Richard Anderson's selfish stunts?
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  2. #2

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    Selfish? What exactly does Anderson gain here?

    Amtrak isn't not someone's 1:1 scale model railroad. It's a business, and a very sick one at that.

    The diners shouldn't have been ordered, but the prior management had their heads in the sand about what was/wasn't a viable business model. At least Anderson is interested in keeping the trains running and doing what should have been done decades ago -- building up regional services and corridors instead of being focused on running rail cruises....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by eolesen View Post
    Selfish? What exactly does Anderson gain here?

    Amtrak isn't not someone's 1:1 scale model railroad. It's a business, and a very sick one at that.

    The diners shouldn't have been ordered, but the prior management had their heads in the sand about what was/wasn't a viable business model. At least Anderson is interested in keeping the trains running and doing what should have been done decades ago -- building up regional services and corridors instead of being focused on running rail cruises....
    Not going to get into the Anderson thing in this thread - 'nuf has already been said about it.

    As for the Viewliners, they were long ago designed to replace the "Heritage" (aka ancient, inherited from the railroads that ran passenger trains before Amtrak) sleeping and dining cars on long-distance trains that must operate in the NE Corridor for part of their run. Superliners, that are used on most Amtrak long-distance trains, don't fit the NEC clearances. At the moment, Viewliners are seen mainly on the Florida trains, but they also appear on Chicago trains to NY that use the NEC for part of their run. They've been acquired in relatively small batches at various times as budget allowed. The most recent batch (of diners) had the misfortune of being delivered just as management changed and food service was largely eliminated; the shells, at least, should be usable for sleepers, or even coaches or lounges, with some fiddling.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 06-10-2018 at 02:53 PM.

  4. #4
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    How I see it, the viewliner II sleepers would be surplus, despite that some may view it as the return of Night Owl/Northeast Regional 66/67's return of long-distance accommodations. I'll just let the rest of the diners be given when Amtrak can buy them.
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  5. #5

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    Something else to consider... the movement right now for next-gen equipment is trending to single level equipment.

    That's what the Midwest/California consortium will be getting, and my guess is a new defacto standard of either CAF or Siemens cars may emerge as the replacement for Superliner equipment which is quickly approaching the end of its serviceable live.

    Today, single level equipment can't easily be intermixed with Superliners, but 3-5 years from now, it wouldn't surprise me to see some of the current bilevel services switch over to single level. The City of New Orleans and Texas Eagle seem to be prime candidates for that type of switch-over.

  6. #6

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    Trending? The only reason you'd say that is because a bi-level order was replaced by an order from Siemens.

    Nevertheless, it has occurred to me that it would be easy to build single-level equipment for the west from Siemens in a way it wouldn't be if a new bi-level was designed. (A new design is required both because of changed FRA standards and changed EPA standards that effectively prohibit US use of the Budd shot-welding process. IF you are going to buy American . . .).

    What I like about the bi-level equipment is that it lowers costs: 50% less equipment to carry the same people. And equipment is roughly 40% of the cost of passenger trains.

    Christopher

  7. #7
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    Personal taste...I enjoy riding higher up, so I'll miss the bi-levels, if and when they are decommissioned. I think the view is broader, and more enjoyable, as the ground rushing (somewhat distracting) by isn't as close to eye level.
    Neil

    Here at home, in the railroad mayhem capital of the world.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by conductorchris View Post
    Trending? The only reason you'd say that is because a bi-level order was replaced by an order from Siemens.
    It goes beyond the current order. In addition to the Midwest order, you also have Brightline (new single level), multiple sets of Talgo's on the cascades, Talgo on the failed Wisconsin service, and even Via and the ARR's last purchases for new equipment was for single level cars.

    That's a trend. Historically, the Superliners and California cars start looking like the exception.

    Bi-levels in long distance service don't necessarily reduce train length. Here's the seating capacities for coaches:

    Superliner 1 Coach: 62+12 lower seats
    Amfleet Coach: 77 seats
    California Coach: 76+13 seats
    Seimens Coach: 66 seats

    There might be a slight advantage for sleepers, but it's not a 50% reduction in cars being hauled.
    Last edited by eolesen; 06-12-2018 at 01:11 PM.

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    Of course the midwest bi-level to single level change did not come about from a philosophy change, but rather came about due to the inability of the new bi-level design to pass (crashworthy) compression tests in the timeframe needed to not lose the money that had been set aside for the order. The single level Siemens cars were a crashworthy deign ready to go and production slots were open. We have come to the point where, though process evolution, we have placed so many structural demands on the designs of new cars that very few builders can successfully package it all into a bi-level design. That being said, I don't see any bi-level design being associated with high speed rail. Yes, I know some commuter bi-level cars have been cleared for 110 or 125, but that's not really high speed in today's context, and due to frequent stops commuter cars rarely get there. And for what we are spending on new cars nowadays, they had better be something capable of 160 minimum, at least that's how I see it.

  10. #10
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    If anything, California and Illinois could've asked Bombardier. They had new cars already made for GO, and their cars have a good influence in America with some railroads. They could make more, but change stuff to meet Amtrak standards. As for the superliners they're better for western long distance (and Capitol and Sunset Limited) trains. How else can we see the westen part of America's history from ground level amfleet IIs, plus there may not even be enough to bring them out west.
    Last edited by J.A.V.; 06-12-2018 at 04:34 PM.
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