Viewliner II Delivery/Production

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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby ApproachMedium » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:28 am

jp1822 wrote:
Plenty of other equipment around to be used as axle count cars, OR retain the needed Heritage Bags for said service, just like certain Heritage Sleepers and Heritage Diners have been retained.



You cant take heritage stuff if you dont have it to use anymore, its all for sale. The heritage car parts inventory was listed recently and sold off. Either to private car people or to scrap, im not sure if it was every part but any parts in the northeast are now gone. Amtrak is shedding unnecessary items which is a good thing. The H bags are not needed anymore and the extensive cost to maintain parts and repair for them is going to cost them a lot more than rolling around some brand new diners or even new sleepers and bag dorms. Parts for running gear are fully interchangeable with horizons superliner 2s etc so that helps a lot.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby USRailFan » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:44 am

jp1822 wrote:Delivery of these two diners puts the Viewliner II Diner Count at 24 received (Albany I believe is the only one left to be delivered after it has some re-tooling done). The Viewliner Diner Prototype is also floating around, so there's technically 25 Viewliner Diners. Only 11 are required for service. If they are not going out to service (Amtrak's already got 11 in service), WHERE besides storage in Hialeah, will they be going to? Amtrak has come up with NO operating plan for these diners - not even to use them on eastern long distance trains as Viewliner Lounges of sorts (with the kitchen area closed so as to avoid all operating expenses). Absolutely crazy! Nearly 10 years to get these cars and once on Amtrak property, best use for them is PARKED in Miami. If anyone has any other evidence of them being used for something, or plans for them to being used for something - curious minds would LOVE to know or see pictures of such!


So why order that many in the first place?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Arlington » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:46 am

They ordered these with the best information they had at the time:
(1) They had not yet been forced into the Diner-free LD experiments, and it would have been too crazy to try a "Starvation" if not forced into it (the # and $ success of the Star could not have been planned on)

(2) Small fleets require more spares, percentage-wise, than large fleets, because failures and accidents are "chunkier". A fleet of 1 requires 100% spares (a second). A fleet of 100 might only need 10% spares (number 101 to 110). Diners as a "must have exactly 1 per train" were always going to have a relatively large spare group.

The removal of diners from even a small number of trains makes it appear they vastly over ordered, but this is so only in retrospect.

Personally I'd like to see them re- configured as businesses class (windowed half) and cafe or vending (windowless half)
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby jp1822 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:20 pm

Arlington wrote:Can't chase $5 in revenue if it requires $10 in staff and ingredients costs.


Agreed! 100% agree. Look, you can find a “cost” for anything.... Storage costs even acccrue. Till Amtrak “figures out” what to do with these cars on a long term basis - what’s a short-term simple void they could fill and even potentially charge a nominal fee for with NO labor or above the rail operating costs. I gave my best suggestion. Next best would be to sell the cars to someone - VIA or for scrap...... We’ve seen it all at Amtrak.....
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Matt Johnson » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:18 pm

I know this is a crazy idea, but what if they just used the cars as intended and reinstated the dining car service that was working just fine until it was arbitrarily deemed unworkable?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby gokeefe » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:22 pm

Doesn't make any sense in terms of revenues vs. expenses. I remain convinced that if run in captive service WAS-BOS-WAS that they could do quite well on the Northeast Regional. Give priority for reservations to BusinessClass and then everyone else.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Tadman » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:44 pm

I doubt Via wants either new or used diners at this point. The Canadian and Ocean are at historic lows in frequency and the Chaleur is probably gone for good. They probably have more diners than they know what to do with, and all the diners match right now, coming from the same CP fleet.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Arlington » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:13 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:...what if they just used the cars as intended and reinstated the dining car service that was working just fine until it was arbitrarily deemed unworkable?

The Starvation's improved economic performance is hard data at this point, not an arbitrary deeming. Similarly, they've also collected data from the Cardinal and the LSL's not-full-diner ops, which, if not a big obvious-from-MPRs win like the Star, was at least data they'd be silly to ignore. That they're storing the diners (and taking the heat from railfans and those who like to find "government waste") suggests strongly that they'd have imposed more losses if running than if stored.

Whatever happens with LD food concepts in the future, they have way better market data guiding their decisions--a way broader set of tests and data--now than when they scoped the diner order. I don't see any of this as arbitrary deeming (but if anything were, it'd have been their original diner-ordering that arbitrarily deemed that diner service would never change. )
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:31 pm

Arlington wrote:They ordered these with the best information they had at the time:
(1) They had not yet been forced into the Diner-free LD experiments, and it would have been too crazy to try a "Starvation" if not forced into it (the # and $ success of the Star could not have been planned on)

(2) Small fleets require more spares, percentage-wise, than large fleets, because failures and accidents are "chunkier". A fleet of 1 requires 100% spares (a second). A fleet of 100 might only need 10% spares (number 101 to 110). Diners as a "must have exactly 1 per train" were always going to have a relatively large spare group.

The removal of diners from even a small number of trains makes it appear they vastly over ordered, but this is so only in retrospect.

Personally I'd like to see them re- configured as businesses class (windowed half) and cafe or vending (windowless half)

I’d like to see them as cafe/grill/lounge cars, as I’ve mentioned, but I’ll take any reasonable low-cost use for them.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby ryanov » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:31 pm

You can make the data say more or less what you want, depending on the constraints. We already know that the 24-hour diner experiment was a success, compared to the way that they were being run. How does it compare to running the way they are now? Who knows, and I guess who cares: the agenda has spoken.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:04 pm

ryanov wrote:Who knows, and I guess who cares: the agenda has spoken.

True, and the customers haven’t spoken (at least, not loudly enough to overcome a Congressional mandate.)

So - any news on sleepers? That’s one car type that unquestionably will pull in revenue.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:09 pm

as I said before , Amtrak did not complain about slow delivery of Dinners , why ?? the decision was made long before current Amtrak CEO came to power ??
as someone showed the food service as per CFR 49 has to cover its cost or it would be gone. guess the numbers have spoken .....
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby ApproachMedium » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:24 am

ryanov wrote:You can make the data say more or less what you want, depending on the constraints. We already know that the 24-hour diner experiment was a success, compared to the way that they were being run. How does it compare to running the way they are now? Who knows, and I guess who cares: the agenda has spoken.


24 hour diners?
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Matt Johnson » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:57 am

gokeefe wrote:Doesn't make any sense in terms of revenues vs. expenses. I remain convinced that if run in captive service WAS-BOS-WAS that they could do quite well on the Northeast Regional. Give priority for reservations to BusinessClass and then everyone else.


From a customer service perspective, it makes zero sense that overnight sleeper passengers can't expect at least the food quality of Acela first class. If the new ex-Delta Airlines CEO really believed in maintaining and improving rather than killing the service, I have to think he would have deemed it unacceptable to replace meal service with 7 Eleven/Wawa quality snack boxes when even the airlines can manage full meal service along the lines of what Acela first class offers.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Postby Arlington » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:06 pm

ApproachMedium wrote:
ryanov wrote:...We already know that the 24-hour diner experiment was a success, compared to the way that they were being run...
24 hour diners?

I know we've discussed this somewhere before, and I'd be very interested in learning more about the 24-hour diner experiment and the dimensions of its success, but am sure we should do that in the diner thread, not the V-II production delivery thread.

Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

(and eventually we'll start a V-II modules & modifications thread)
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