Viewliner II Delivery/Production

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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:40 pm

Greg Moore wrote:BUT, keep in mind, there IS an order of baggage/dorms coming that does exactly what you suggest, put in rooms for 1/2 the crew. This is a small, but significant increase in sellable space. For example, I believe 448/449 is scheduled to get a baggage/dorm so it'll add revenue space to itself (and by extension to 48/49) and still have enough baggage.

Doesn't the Lake Shore actually have two baggage cars? Maybe they will still need a full one to NYP but could use a dorm to BOS?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:22 pm

That is the idea, yes.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:27 pm

Don't mean to gore your oxen, Mr. Trainguy, but sooner or later such as when one pol or the other up your way checks out, someone will push the pencils again and realize the costs of operating the through BOS-CHI cars and we will be back to the "Gunnmen" days of "change at Albany".

While I cannot cite anything in support of that contention, I strongly suspect that restoration of the service was the result of a political button being pushed.

My guess is that the ten Bag-Dorms will be assigned to 19-20, Crescent, and 91-92, Silver Star - eight cars, two spares.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:38 pm

OrangeGrove wrote:Where would you propose to get single-level coaches - already in short supply, probably more so than any other car type - to equip a hypothetical single-level Capitol Limited? Restored through cars at Pittsburgh (Three Rivers) doesn't require both trains use low-level equipment.

A Viewliner II baggage-dorm lacks sufficient capacity for some eastern long-distance trains (Florida services), at least during busier seasons, hence the rationale for more full Viewliner baggage cars. Doesn't mean you are often going to completely fill the car, but just that the baggage-dorm would be too small.

Short-term, there aren’t any*. Medium-term, repurpose some A-Is and Horizons once the midwest corridor order finally arrives (that was one of the ideas behind the Bilevels, they were supposed to free up Amfleets and Horizons for service elsewhere). Long-term, LDSL coach order.


* Still advocating for Horizon IIs, rebuilt from one of the classes of Comets, Shoreliners, or BTC/CTCs to be retired soon. Specifically the NJT Comet IIIs, idled after Sandy.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:17 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Don't mean to gore your oxen, Mr. Trainguy, but sooner or later such as when one pol or the other up your way checks out, someone will push the pencils again and realize the costs of operating the through BOS-CHI cars and we will be back to the "Gunnmen" days of "change at Albany".

While I cannot cite anything in support of that contention, I strongly suspect that restoration of the service was the result of a political button being pushed.

My guess is that the ten Bag-Dorms will be assigned to 19-20, Crescent, and 91-92, Silver Star - eight cars, two spares.


After they spent all that money to reconfigure the Rensselaer Station to allow easier switching just for the Boston section? Maybe :)

To understand this baggage situation better, it would be great to see how much baggage is actually carried on each train. While we talk about other "non-revenue" cars, do the baggage cars generate any revenue? How much over-limit luggage? Is Amtrak making more money by transporting bicycles? Guns? More Express? Maybe even some MAIL some day???

Way back when I heard about the Baggage/Dorms I wondered if that meant that the baggage sections would have heat and A/C and therefore could transport pets (this was before the new pet policy, but there are still dogs bigger than 20 lbs out there needing transportation). How about Miniature Guide Horses? Airlines have been taking them for years.

How much revenue do baggage cars actually generate?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:27 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:How much revenue do baggage cars actually generate?


Zero, unless you can accurately measure how many fares would be lost if Amtrak did not offer such liberal bag checking allowances.

But someone put the "bee in the airlines' bonnet"; will Amtrak follow suit?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Tadman » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:43 pm

That's not quite correct, the LTL business does more than you think. I have shipped Amtrak LTL repeatedly for work and sometimes send my luggage ahead. It's not a world-beater, but there is certainly more than $0 revenue in baggage cars.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Tadman » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:44 pm

jp1822 wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Let's see, with Mr. Moore's report and that Mr. Approach report he notes all eight sets for 19-20 and 97-98 seem to have V-D's, there appear to be eleven, including 8400, on the property.

One protect can now be assigned to Miami, New Orleans, and New York, even though I'm sure there is one or more H-D hanging around each facility.

So I guess the next hurdle is to get four more on the property so that full-service Dining can be restored to 48-49.

Beyond that, the call is with 60 Mass to assign the remaining eleven V-D's. Will 91-92 have full service Dining restored? Will 50-51 have same? Will 8400 get assigned to company service?

Stay tuned.


Let's hope the Lake Shore gets Viewliner Diners sooner than later.

I wouldn't be surprised if 8400 goes off to company service or special charter service etc.

The remaining prediction is tough, but hopefully the Cardinal (50/51) gets a Viewliner Diner along with a permanent second sleeper. Eastbound, the Cardinal's sleeper is on sold out status for about a month plus right now! It almost seems that this train shouldn't get a full service diner unless two sleepers and coaches can be filled on its meandering three day a week meandering path from NYC to Chicago. IF Amtrak wanted to, it can assign a second Viewliner to the Cardinal's consist year round.

But after that, we'll have to see if the Star gets outfitted with Viewliner Diners or perhaps the Capital Limited converts back to a single level consist once the full CAF order is delivered (with the possibility of a New York City/Philly connection or vice versa). I hope it doesn't.....Superliner LD train set it feel is superior than single level.

Looking back, was there any value to Gunn's statement that he would have liked to seen a car that could be as versatile as a sit down traditional diner, but also have a "cafe counter" for takeout food so to speak. That could have been the better sell for food service on the Cardinal and Star.

Let's get through the diners so the sleepers with their higher end rent can get out on the rails.

By the way I have yet to see a fully loaded Viewliner baggage car.....if Amtrak is going to continue with long distance trains, it likely would have done better with the original distribution of Viewliner bagg/dorms just so they could free up revenue space in the sleepers, or even Superliner Trans/Dorm Sleeper. For example more often than not, the Capital Limited would be better off with two regular sleepers, a Trans/Dorm sleeper that is all revenue sleepers, and then a Viewliner bagg/dorm.


Something out of Chicago is running with a Viewliner diner. Atlanta was in the coach yard yesterday when I left town on 352(3).
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Tadman » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:47 pm

bratkinson wrote:
SouthernRailway wrote:I'm still not clear on why Amtrak can't just offer Acela Express first class food to sleeping car passengers on its long-distance trains.


If they did that, I will happily GIVE you my AGR Select Plus status! After two DETESTABLE, partially edible breakfast meals in Acela 1st Class, I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ride Acela 1st again...not even on an AGR Select Plus upgrade coupon!


Is it really that bad? I fly international business class often enough, and the food is certainly no world beater despite the tremendous price tag of the tickets. To clarify, I do not fly ultra-lux carriers like Etihad or Emirates, it's usually either Delta, Aerolineas, LOT, or KLM. Either way, I would not be disappointed with what Aerolineas or Avianca served me over the last month as a sleeper meal in-cabin.

Image

Edit: In-cabin meals in sleeper might be a real customer pleaser. These days, people are not used to railroad-style dining with strangers. I think people might like it better if a cart were wheeled down the aisle and dinner were served on the fold-out table
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Matt Johnson » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:59 pm

Tadman wrote:Edit: In-cabin meals in sleeper might be a real customer pleaser. These days, people are not used to railroad-style dining with strangers. I think people might like it better if a cart were wheeled down the aisle and dinner were served on the fold-out table


It's too late now, but I'd possibly be willing to trade the 25 Viewliner diners for that plus 25 Viewliner Sightseer Lounge cars.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Amtk30 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:44 pm

Tadman wrote:Something out of Chicago is running with a Viewliner diner. Atlanta was in the coach yard yesterday when I left town on 352(3).


Atlanta was included in a display train in CUS track 1 today Saturday.

Could the Atlanta depart Chicago on 48?

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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby ApproachMedium » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:12 pm

Anybody who thinks baggage cars run empty or not full has not seen train 80/79 on a daily basis. Esp fridays!!! Friday In Baltimore they usually come down with 2-3 luggage trollies with boxies of junk and luggage packed to the heavens. They spend about 5 minutes loading the car up. I never seen them take this much luggage off at Baltimore, but they certainly send it south a lot.

A good number of times the baggage cars are used for the LTL shipments as mentioned above. I often see Uhaul and Home Depot shipping boxes on pallets being loaded or unloaded. Amtrak also uses the baggage car network to distribute company printed materials for stations such as schedules, paper stock, seat-back magazines etc.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Greg Moore » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:18 am

I don't see 448/449 become a "switch trains please" any time soon. There's certainly a LOT more customer satisfaction from not having to switch trains, especially for the sleeper passengers who don't want to be in coach for 5 hours before switching trains.

BTW, folks, there's another revenue source you missed in regards to baggage cars. One rarely used but there; transport of human remains.

Baggage is here to stay and once the bag-dorms come into play, I suspect you'll see a few trains with baggage cars that don't have them now.

Yeah, Amtrak will have more diners than they currently need, but hey, aren't we always saying Amtrak needs to plan ahead? Since they've had the money, makes sense to get what they could.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby jp1822 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:54 pm

Amtrak did good by ordering 25 Viewliner Diners. They will find a home. Allows for expansion too - of Amtrak, Congress, or States so desire. If New York State or Vermont wants to pick up the cost of running a full service diner during the trek through the State - so be it!

When looking at the Viewliner Baggage cars though, we often enter he world of "rarely used but" or "occasionally on train..." Were full baggage cars needed - yes. Where I disagreed was the proportion of full baggage cars ordered verse baggage/dorms. More baggage/dorms should have been ordered as this would have allowed Amtrak to pick up great revenue - be it freeing up Viewliner Sleeper revenue space or allowing a Trans/Dorm a Sleeper to be a full revenue car. The Trans/Dorm sleeper could easily add 24+ sleeping spaces to a train. That's more room than a Full Viewliner sleeper could add. The need for sleepers can't be denied either. And there's high end money automatically in that!

I am not going to go train by train, but Lake Shore would be better off with one full baggage and then a baggage/dorm. It currently operates with two full baggage cars. Capital Limited DOES (and can easily) get away with a Superliner coach/baggage so it would have no problem with a Viewliner bagg/dorm. Cardinal and Crescent? Viewliner baggage/dorm for sure. But yes, the Silver Service likely needs full baggage cars. Again, I just think some better decision making should have been exercised. Sleeper sales are going to be greater than ANYTHING the baggage cars can carry.

That being said though - no doubt money played a decision in the allocation either as baggage cars are cheaper than bagg/dorm cars....
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby jp1822 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:16 pm

OrangeGrove wrote:Where would you propose to get single-level coaches - already in short supply, probably more so than any other car type - to equip a hypothetical single-level Capitol Limited? Restored through cars at Pittsburgh (Three Rivers) doesn't require both trains use low-level equipment.


If Amtrak wanted to operate a single level Capitol Limited WITH a combined Broadway/Three Rivers at Pittsburgh, it could find single level coaches by:

1) Removing the Amfleet II's from some of the long distance DAY trains (eg Pennsylvanian, Maple Leaf) after all that's "not always been." Replace with low density Amfleet I's. Recall that the former Metroliners ran with low density Amfleet I cars. That would be six train sets to potentially look at for Amfleet II's, replacing with low density Amfleet I.

2) Convert the Cardinal back to Superliner, but truncate at Washington DC. Only two Superliner train sets needed, and perhaps you'd get a Cross Country Cafe and Sightseer Lounge for a spectacular route. I only suggest this as it would still lead to a "Superliner" equipment gain, put better "sightseeing equipment" on the Cardinal than Amslits, and would increase amount of Viewliners (sleeper and diner) needed.

Restored through cars don't require same equipment type, true, but it would certainly make Amtrak's life simpler if you had a single level Capitol Limited AND restored Broadway/Three Rivers combining or completely detaching at Pittsburgh.

This of course could also NEVER happen till the CAF order is completely delivered! So there could be more coach options then too!
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