Viewliner II Delivery/Production

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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby leviramsey » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:55 pm

(Perhaps this is better for the diner economics thread, but...)

Diners could conceivably be more profitable on the Regionals (and the state-supported day trains) than on overnight LDs, simply because the diner imposes costs (staff, HEP draw for refrigeration, etc.) for every hour that it's rolling whether it's earning money or not. On top of that, I suspect that the trains with wealthier ridership will see more coach passengers opting for diner-type service.

Also, I don't see why diner service can't be restored to the NE Regional and/or NEC-related day trains while the extra Viewdiners serve as wreck protects. If there's a wreck than an NER/Vermonter/Pennsylvanian/Palmetto/Maple Leaf/Adirondack loses a diner.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:25 pm

leviramsey wrote:(Perhaps this is better for the diner economics thread, but...)

Diners could conceivably be more profitable on the Regionals (and the state-supported day trains) than on overnight LDs, simply because the diner imposes costs (staff, HEP draw for refrigeration, etc.) for every hour that it's rolling whether it's earning money or not. On top of that, I suspect that the trains with wealthier ridership will see more coach passengers opting for diner-type service.

Also, I don't see why diner service can't be restored to the NE Regional and/or NEC-related day trains while the extra Viewdiners serve as wreck protects. If there's a wreck than an NER/Vermonter/Pennsylvanian/Palmetto/Maple Leaf/Adirondack loses a diner.

While I’d like to see an NER with a diner too (and perhaps first class day seating), they lose more money and have higher staffing needs than a cafe. I’m not convinced one or two additional crew would be able to make up the marginal costs through the higher-margin food, let alone the costs of operation and supply.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Greg Moore » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:25 pm

Here's one... a diner on Friday Ethan Allen Express. Drop it at Albany. (or possibly Saratoga, which schedulewise would be better, but personal-wise might not be).
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby gokeefe » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:38 pm

mtuandrew wrote:While I’d like to see an NER with a diner too (and perhaps first class day seating), they lose more money and have higher staffing needs than a cafe. I’m not convinced one or two additional crew would be able to make up the marginal costs through the higher-margin food, let alone the costs of operation and supply.


I don't think it's a sure winner but I do think diner service on select day time Northeast Regionals is more likely to succeed (cover direct costs) than diner service anywhere else. There are two other choices ... Let the cars sit (not bad) or run them on the Cardinal and the Silver Star in which case Amtrak could do just as well to light a fire and burn $10,000,000 in cash.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:06 pm

I think spares (of all V types) will be a great way to ensure reliability and consistency.

If there's going to be growth, I hope it is powered by the ability/confidence to schedule quicker (intraday) turns of whole trains, rather than a bigger fleet that turns as slowly as H-bags and H-diners required.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby ApproachMedium » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:17 am

A train like 171 that takes all day to go from Boston to Richmond, would be viable use for one of the new diners. I wouldnt put them on a bunch of trains, but maybe something that runs thru the course of the day where you could run a few different meal seatings in it. I think it could work, there are plenty of people who ask about trying to get off in NY or DC to run upstairs and grab some food thats better than the cafe car food.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby electricron » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:42 am

ApproachMedium wrote:A train like 171 that takes all day to go from Boston to Richmond, would be viable use for one of the new diners. I wouldnt put them on a bunch of trains, but maybe something that runs thru the course of the day where you could run a few different meal seatings in it. I think it could work, there are plenty of people who ask about trying to get off in NY or DC to run upstairs and grab some food thats better than the cafe car food.

The problem with placing diners on extended corridor trains to Virginia is that Amtrak will ask Virginia to pay for it after it heads south of the Union Station in D.C. These trains are just barely breaking even, such the Virginia pays very little subsidy - if any. Place a dining car on these trains and watch the subsidy rise, that's not what Virginia order or wants.
Add the dining car to the Palmetto instead, a train Amtrak fully subsidizes. The problem that arises now is that the Palmetto doesn't go to Boston.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby ApproachMedium » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:45 am

The palmetto stinks anyhow, that train does not need anything else to make it even more of a problem. The diner could be on the head end maybe for a train to VA, and be removed with the electric in DC if VA doesnt want to pay for it. They already remove coaches on some trains. So why not?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:40 am

electricron wrote:The problem with placing diners on extended corridor trains to Virginia is that Amtrak will ask Virginia to pay for it after it heads south of the Union Station in D.C. These trains are just barely breaking even, such the Virginia pays very little subsidy - if any. Place a dining car on these trains and watch the subsidy rise, that's not what Virginia order or wants.
Add the dining car to the Palmetto instead, a train Amtrak fully subsidizes. The problem that arises now is that the Palmetto doesn't go to Boston.


I've suggested a few times on other threads to combine the Palmetto with the "Night Owl". Overnight sleeper service BOS to WAS and extend it Miami. Add a diner and you have a good alternative to the Star and Meteor with a complimentary schedule arriving in Florida in the morning and leaving in the evening.

See Nov 9, 2013 on this thread for a suggested schedule.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby gokeefe » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:38 pm

The other reason I think diner service on a handful of Northeast Regionals is worth considering is because the passenger mix has such a strong business travel component. As we have discussed elsewhere there appears to be a significant segment of passengers who travel Acela or not at all. These are passengers who pay premium fares for premium service and they are heavily concentrated in the Northeast.

If having diner car service on certain Regionals pulls premium passengers into trains they would otherwise never consider then I think this is something well worth considering. It won't hurt Acela at all because they would simply remain sold out. Instead Amtrak would get more passengers all around by selling more seats that would otherwise be empty.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby David Benton » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:00 pm

wouldn't the easiest way to achieve this be to extend the Silver Star to Boston, and allow corridor travel?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:03 pm

no major servicing of train sets in boston it would need a lot of deadheading and at least two more consist.
and pretty sure those bathrooms could not handle another 4 hours of travel.
Last edited by DutchRailnut on Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby gokeefe » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:04 pm

David Benton wrote:wouldn't the easiest way to achieve this be to extend the Silver Star to Boston, and allow corridor travel?


No because you lose frequency and have to also lose a pile of money to do it. The Silver Star without diners is actually losing less money and showing higher ridership.

The point of introducing diner service on the Northeast Regionals is to utilize new assets in Amtrak's premium market to spur additional ridership from premium customers. If they run on LD trains they can't be relied upon to cover the NEC.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby gokeefe » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:09 pm

ApproachMedium wrote:A train like 171 that takes all day to go from Boston to Richmond, would be viable use for one of the new diners. I wouldnt put them on a bunch of trains, but maybe something that runs thru the course of the day where you could run a few different meal seatings in it. I think it could work, there are plenty of people who ask about trying to get off in NY or DC to run upstairs and grab some food thats better than the cafe car food.


Another angle to this is that it could significantly increase BusinessClass sales. BC passengers would get first choice on seatings. This be a major "value added" proposition to existing amenities that are otherwise undersold. It could be significant enough to give Amtrak some pricing leverage to increase the accommodation charge.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:46 pm

Amtrak could conceivably run a single daily, limited-stop business- and first-class Metroliner using conventional equipment including a V-II diner. At Acela prices and without food included in most fares (only first class), the diner might break even.
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