Amfleet Refresh

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Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:24 pm

Amtrak has announced a major "refresh" program that will cycle through the entire Amfleet I pool by this coming spring.

Beginning this month, Amtrak coach cars will begin to undergo a series of major improvements including:
  • Brand-new seat cushions
  • New carpeting
  • New LED reading lights
  • New bathroom flooring
  • Upgraded wainscoting and bulkhead
  • New curtains in Business Class cars
  • Redesigned galleys in the café cars
The total investment is valued at more than $16 million.


Railway Age is covering the story:

When funds for capital equipment acquisitions are limited by government largesse (or lack thereof), and billions have already been expended on locomotive replacements and new high-speed trainsets, you give your “old reliables” a once-over and a “refresh,” as Amtrak is calling a $16 million extensive interior overhaul on more than 450 40-plus-year-old Amfleet I cars that protect Northeast and Midwest services.

The overhaul program, which is “aimed at introducing a more modern, more comfortable experience for customers,” begins this month and will be accomplished in phases over a nine-month period. The overhaul includes new seat cushions, flooring and carpeting; LED lighting; upgraded wainscoting and bulkheads; new curtains in Business Class cars; and redesigned galleys in Café cars.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:02 pm

The last major "refresh" was the 2000-2001 Capstone program (which was part of the rebranding to "Acela Regional"), most of the Amfleets received their present numbers then. Still, yet a third rehash of passenger equipment dating back to 1975-76.

Will the Metroliner cabs (operating with Amfleet equipment on Keystones and Hartford/Springfield shuttles) have the interior overhaul as well?
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:35 pm

Good to hear. Wonder if they will hit the A-IIs as well?

R36: I don't actually know, but does Amtrak still seat passengers in the cab car? If so, is there a "thou shalt not pass" line short of the engineer's cab?
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby andrewjw » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:49 pm

Yes, the Metroliner cab cars run on the ends of Keystones as coaches. The end door has been modified to create a larger cab, so I assume it has a lock or something.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:59 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:Will the Metroliner cabs (operating with Amfleet equipment on Keystones and Hartford/Springfield shuttles) have the interior overhaul as well?


Indications are that the answer to this is "Yes".
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:15 pm

Since the interiors of the Horizon Fleet shares components with Amfleet I's,will the Horizons also get the interior "refresh"?
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:15 am

Mr. F-Line, this program appears to be nothing more than normal maintenance needed for forty year old units.

Let's see; $16M/450=$35.5T. Ask me, that's normal maintenance, plus maybe a little lipstick.

Do I put out a press release when my buggy goes in for its scheduled 5K maintenance, or when it goes for its annual day at the detailing spa? Would the local free circulation Clarendon Courier (that I've fished out of my "prickly" evergreens when the kid delivering them "misses") even print it?

At the rate funding for the A-III's (or whatever they will be named) is moving forth, the A-I's will have been in revenue service for 50 years - longer than most P-70's had been on A-Day.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:45 am

This is good. To me, Amfleet Is are just inherently flawed due to the small windows, so I won't ever rejoice at riding in one. I also wonder what will happen to them once they're retired: the scrap heap? I can't imagine that many museums or the like would want Amfleet Is.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby Greg Moore » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:06 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr. F-Line, this program appears to be nothing more than normal maintenance needed for forty year old units.

Let's see; $16M/450=$35.5T. Ask me, that's normal maintenance, plus maybe a little lipstick.

Do I put out a press release when my buggy goes in for its scheduled 5K maintenance, or when it goes for its annual day at the detailing spa? Would the local free circulation Clarendon Courier (that I've fished out of my "prickly" evergreens when the kid delivering them "misses") even print it?

At the rate funding for the A-III's (or whatever they will be named) is moving forth, the A-I's will have been in revenue service for 50 years - longer than most P-70's had been on A-Day.

When your buggy has as many miles on it as an A-1 and carries as many passengers, then, yeah, I think you'd be entitled to a press release :-)

And I suspect closer to 60 years.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:27 am

SouthernRailway wrote:This is good. To me, Amfleet Is are just inherently flawed due to the small windows, so I won't ever rejoice at riding in one. I also wonder what will happen to them once they're retired: the scrap heap? I can't imagine that many museums or the like would want Amfleet Is.


Scrap heap, because AMTK is already in the position of having to fabricate parts at Beech Grove for the defunct/unsupported Budd design. That's the same unfortunate reality that befell the stainless steel Budd Heritages here...and now with VIA Rail as they prepare to make the same mass-replacement of corridor flats. Self-fabrication also economically rules out any continued commuter rail use by jacking up the price considerably for another midlife overhaul that swaps out major components for ones still in-production. Though noboby in CR-land is buying flats to overhaul anyway because the final purge to bi-levels is well underway, so that potential was moot to begin with; by the time the Amfleets are put in storage the only flats left in CR service will probably be NJT's Comet V's and whatever old/borrowed stuff CDOT may still be running.

I expect there'll be MANY rolling on for decades to come in excursion service because it's an iconic American railcar, and AMTK certainly is going to keep them in rainy-day storage for several years before parting them out because they're pretty methodical about dispersal schedules. But indestructible shells and all there's simply not a whole lot more you can do to them.


Note that this livery refresh doesn't cover the Amfleet II's, which are scheduled--because of higher mileage than the I's--to be first displaced by the East Coast coach order. So if you figure ~600 total coaches in the order, Am1's second, and the state-sponsored route coaches + Metroliners coming last after the LD + NE Regional national order...then these new Am1 liveries have a minimum of 7 years left to roll. Simply because a monster order of 600 coaches don't get produced and accepted overnight.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby eubnesby » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:21 am

The 'refreshed' seats are uglier than the current ones...
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:33 pm

Indiations are that they will be leather not cloth.

I'm actually surprised that Amtrak "buried the lead" on that one.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:36 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Since the interiors of the Horizon Fleet shares components with Amfleet I's,will the Horizons also get the interior "refresh"?


There is no indication of any such intentions at this time that I am aware of or have seen anywhere else. Others may be better informed ...
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:38 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Good to hear. Wonder if they will hit the A-IIs as well?


Not this year according to the public information and perhaps not at all. However, it seems likely a completely logical "next step". That pool is also much smaller and might come with a lower price tag. Worth remembering as well that Amfleet IIs all have curtains in Coach as well so the price might not be as low as one might imagine.
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Re: Amfleet Refresh

Postby gokeefe » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:45 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Let's see; $16M/450=$35.5T. Ask me, that's normal maintenance, plus maybe a little lipstick.

Do I put out a press release when my buggy goes in for its scheduled 5K maintenance, or when it goes for its annual day at the detailing spa? Would the local free circulation Clarendon Courier (that I've fished out of my "prickly" evergreens when the kid delivering them "misses") even print it?


I think that's a fair point. In this case however "maintenance" would imply existing equipment that is merely being improved in situ, repaired or cleaned. The "equipment" I'm referring to in particular are the interior treatments of the Amfleet Is which, regardless of condition, are being removed and replaced with all brand new treatments.

Also worth noting that the new cushions are reported to be leather and not cloth. Not exactly the realm of the detail shop.

Taken as a whole this is a major program that will significantly "refresh" the Amfleet cars and likely result in improved customer satisfaction (and hence the logical follow-on benefits of improved ridership and revenues). The changes to the cafe galleys have been completely understated and in my opinion represent something potentially more significant if Amtrak can find a way to address issues with capacity for onboard stock levels etc.

Of all the things Amtrak has ever spent money on this investment will probably have the best rate of return they have ever seen.
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