Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

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Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Matt Johnson » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:33 am

According to multiple sources the Coast Starlight's Parlour cars are not going to make it out of this year's maintenance down time, and will be permanently retired. I don't know if they found some unknown mechanical flaw but it seems that previous plans had them remaining in service until Superliners could be reconfigured into first class lounge cars to replace 'em. I hope the first class lounge isn't gone altogether from the Starlight. It definitely helps to make that service something special, and I'm glad I got to ride aboard the Parlour car in 2013:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdEuOenFW58/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdEvQP9FwxA/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdEvoMTlwVY/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMkOPB4h-fE/
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:53 pm

Mr. Johnson, lest we forget that Amtrak has been working towards a standardized service level through the System. The Auto Train since '14 now "is just another train with the "comp" Happy Hour gone and wine SOLD in the Diner with standardized fare (the days of Prime Rib and a steak so good that I'd think a purveyor got Amtrak’s and Hyde Park Grille's mixed up).

Using cars that were increasingly hard to maintain only added to the Parlour's demise.

Not that I was about to make my way out to the Left Coast just to ride it, I'm surprised to learn it lasted as long as it did.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby andegold » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:15 pm

I rode the Coast Starlight in May. Train was pretty full, full enough for the diner to sell out of a number of entrees. The parlour car was not very full at all and the attendant was rather brusque/rude. There were maybe ten people in the swivel chairs watching out the windows. When new people came in and wanted to see out one side of the car where all the swivel chairs were taken they would go to sit in the booths. The attendant immediately accosted them and very curtly told them they could not sit there as the booths were reserved for people eating dinner there. I didn't see anybody come in to have dinner. Meals overall were a disappointment but I went through all of that in the Starlight thread.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:33 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:According to multiple sources the Coast Starlight's Parlour cars are not going to make it out of this year's maintenance down time, and will be permanently retired. I don't know if they found some unknown mechanical flaw but it seems that previous plans had them remaining in service until Superliners could be reconfigured into first class lounge cars to replace 'em. I hope the first class lounge isn't gone altogether from the Starlight. It definitely helps to make that service something special, and I'm glad I got to ride aboard the Parlour car in 2013:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdEuOenFW58/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdEvQP9FwxA/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdEvoMTlwVY/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMkOPB4h-fE/


Probably not a flaw...just parts supply tapped out, and Beech Grove being forced to self-fabricate even more parts than it already does to keep them going. It was always the intention to sunset them. If the 3 states on the route didn't offer up some sort of financing plan to keep them (and why would they for an LD?) for nostalgia's sake, the end was going to come probably coincident with the last of the Budd diner/baggage Heritages being retired and Beech Grove being able to get out of self-fabbing parts for those fleets.

It stinks that Sumitromo/Nippon Sharyo screwed up the statie bi-level order so horrendously, because that would've been the design template for the Superliner III's. With the S3's retiring the S1's, there would've been a fresh production run of Sightseer lounges to not only replace all existing Sightseers and Parlours with something snazzy and new...but also expand the lounge roster. Who the hell knows how long that wait'll be now that they're back to the drawing board on a non-FAIL bi-level design. Probably means the S1's now have to last until nearly Age 50 before they can cue up that procurement.



EDIT: I got to take a quick peek inside the Parlours @ Portland Union in '09 when I was boarding for a trip on the Starlight. Didn't get up while the train was in motion and passengers were in there, but was impressed nonetheless by the furnishings. Very classy.
Last edited by F-line to Dudley via Park on Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:44 pm

I seriously wonder if we will see more eastern LD trains move to single level - specifically the Cap and the CONO. Related, I wonder if Amtrak has thoughts on expanding their Viewliner fleet further while they’re still in production.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:00 pm

mtuandrew wrote:I seriously wonder if we will see more eastern LD trains move to single level - specifically the Cap and the CONO. Related, I wonder if Amtrak has thoughts on expanding their Viewliner fleet further while they’re still in production.


Cap Ltd. makes sense because it's the one and only Superliner train that runs out of D.C. Seems like a better use of stretched-thin fleets to bump that one to flats and stick with a complete hegemony in Washington. The Auto Train (obviously a one-of-a-kind outlier on rolling stock) is the only other bi-level that even gets within sniffing distance. Conversely, it wouldn't make any sense to convert Superliner trains out of Chicago hub like C-o-NoLa to single-level when that would require raiding scarce Amfleet 2's they just don't have enough of from an Eastern equipment base. Perish the thought of sitting for 1000 miles in a freakin' Horizon! :P


The Cap may not have a choice in the matter to go flat if MARC raises Rockville, Harper's Ferry, or Martinsburg to full-highs and/or PennDOT re-does Pittsburgh Union's platforms for Pennsylvanian expansion. File that one under "possibly inevitable".
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:11 pm

There’ve been rumblings in the past of a through Pennsylvanian-Capitol Limited, so it makes some sense. Amtrak doesn’t have the extra single-levels right now of course (still running A-Is on several LD trains as regional coaches), but I have to wonder how it fits into their fleet strategy.

The Parlours... wish I’d gotten out west and that I could have afforded a berth in order to use one. The Parlour experience seems like an obvious attraction for Amtrak’s LD trains, eastern and western.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:37 pm

The Pacific Parlors/El-Cap "Sky lounge"s ride on 3 axle trucks that are unique to them,as were the former El-Cap Diners were,with their 3 axle trucks.
That might be the reason "forcing" to retire them.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Anthony » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:20 pm

Amtrak should sell the PPC's to Corridor Capital because they already own most of the remaining ex-Santa Fe hi-levels. They would then have five more hi-levels to convert into short distance passenger cars. Corridor Capital holds these cars for leasing to passenger rail operators starting new services to help the operators keep startup costs down. The additional equipment would allow Corridor Capital to help one more customer to start a new service than they could now.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:09 pm

Corridor Capital has tried to get the El-Cap coaches leased a few times with 0 results,has yet to start overhauls on the coaches at a
private car shop in the St Louis area.
We can hope for a retirement at a western US RR Museum instead.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby AgentSkelly » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:09 pm

I've been in it once on a trip on the Coast Starlight to San Jose from Portland; it was OK. It seemed like it was due for a refresh for sure.
I do know that the Oakland and Seattle shop fplks hate them as not just parts have to fabbed as previously mentioned, but they don't always get it right. And worse, I guess there is no old timer trained old timers anymore that have the know how on it them. There was talk of I guess a "replacement" using the Alstrom California cars in 2006...
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:50 pm

Backshophoss wrote:The Pacific Parlors/El-Cap "Sky lounge"s ride on 3 axle trucks that are unique to them,as were the former El-Cap Diners were,with their 3 axle trucks.
That might be the reason "forcing" to retire them.

Are they the same trucks as the Great Dome? Didn’t realize these cars were that heavy.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby NorthWest » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:56 pm

They are two axle trucks (the Hi-Level diners were three axles) but I'm not sure that any other cars that Amtrak currently has use the same truck.

I'll miss them.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Matt Johnson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:00 am

They definitely were the classiest cars on the Amtrak roster. Maybe a luxury wood trimmed lounge with old style swivel chairs (so comfortable!) and private car ambiance doesn't fit with Amtrak's mission of pack 'em in to utilitarian plastic and vinyl clad modern cars at the lowest possible cost, but in this era of Walmartization of everything and degradation of middle class America, sometimes an anachronism reminds us of better times!
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby hs3730 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 am

Even without the dome windows, a sleeper passenger only lounge-diner hybrid is a solid concept. Put in a real bar with taps and beers local to the states the route passes through, and it would probably pay for itself...
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