Viewliner II Delivery/Production

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WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:59 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:41 am
The bag/dorms have nine rooms, right? At least that's the number of double windows on the cars. Is it current practice that every crew member gets their own roomette?
Yes, I believe that is a contractual obligation under the bargaining agreement. I doubt that would ever go away. Even in my own employer's travel regulations, employees can't be forced to share rooms, but shared baths may be OK.
I don't know off the top of my head how many crew members are needed under these new plans,
That's in the linked document posted above (or was it in another thread?): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AQjubZ ... tpiqA/view

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Tadman
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by Tadman » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:36 pm

David Benton wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:59 am
WhartonAndNorthern wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:01 am
RRspatch wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:50 am


It's more than getting the brakes to release ... now it's getting them to apply!

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/loss ... I_bWokwBP0
Sounds like a repeat of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Penn ... rain_wreck

And this is why the FRA has "excessive" brake testing demands when a train changes ends or is split up/joined. I wonder what their rules were.
It says in the report a brake test should have been done.not many mid journey split done in England these days.
The Calley is one of two sleepers left, and both the Highland train and Lowland train have splits. The Highland train splits at Edinburgh for Aberdeen, Inverness, and Ft. William. The lowland train splits at Carstairs for Glasgow and Edinburg. Also worth nothing the TOC specified transit couplers for the new cars to reduce the banging around in wee hours during the splits.

bostontrainguy
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by bostontrainguy » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:04 pm

WhartonAndNorthern wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:59 pm
bostontrainguy wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:41 am
The bag/dorms have nine rooms, right? At least that's the number of double windows on the cars. Is it current practice that every crew member gets their own roomette?
Yes, I believe that is a contractual obligation under the bargaining agreement. I doubt that would ever go away. Even in my own employer's travel regulations, employees can't be forced to share rooms, but shared baths may be OK.
I don't know off the top of my head how many crew members are needed under these new plans,
That's in the linked document posted above (or was it in another thread?): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AQjubZ ... tpiqA/view
Okay, I tried to understand the numbers but I am not exactly sure what they are. However, it seems that they are all way under nine so the entire crew can fit in the baggage/dorm on every train. I am sure Amtrak has some kind of free transportation perk for employees so the unoccupied rooms will find willing passengers. Also it would be good to have a free room just in case there is a serious problem with one of the revenue roomettes like broken bed/seat/water leak, etc.

I have seen pics of them being tested but none are actually running yet in revenue (non-revenue?) service, are they?

WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:39 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:04 pm
Okay, I tried to understand the numbers but I am not exactly sure what they are. However, it seems that they are all way under nine so the entire crew can fit in the baggage/dorm on every train.
Sorry, it's not easy for me to understand either. Assume one crew for the diner, one for the lounge, and one for each sleeper. I can't remember if each coach or pair of coaches get an attendant.
I have seen pics of them being tested but none are actually running yet in revenue (non-revenue?) service, are they?
Nope and the one V2 Sleeper hasn't gone into revenue service either. One bag dorm (69004) went west as part of a test train https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSY8ztuxXLI There was also an experimental run of Chargers on the Southwest Chief that departed Chicago on July 29th. A bag dorm (not sure which one, it may have been the same one) was used to house the technical crew.

And regarding your earlier post
And are the call buttons working yet to put the sleeper attendants in the bag/dorms to free up revenue space as planned?
If that feature was available, it could help integrate the V2 sleepers into the fleet. Right now, a V2 has one less roomette (replaced by bathrooms). Can the reservation system keep track of cars with and without the extra bedroom? Not easily, especially when a car can be bad-ordered right before departure and change your consist. Assign V2 sleepers and bag-dorms to the same route, and just consider a V1 to have an unoccupied bonus room since the attendant's in the dorm.

bostontrainguy
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by bostontrainguy » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:49 pm

Yeah I have heard people say that over and over . . . . you can't mix the old Viewliners with the new ones because of the new bathroom module taking up one roomette. That roomette isn't available anyway. Since the plan is to have the sleeper attendant in the bag dorm with working call buttons once the Viewliner IIs are out there, the room number stays the same. It's not going to be a problem room wise. Of course the toilet situation changes and different people are going to want different things there.

Quickest fix . . . fix the call buttons and put the attendants in the bag/dorm, put bathroom modules in all of the old Viewliners (until they are all rebuilt), seal the toilet covers and shut down the old sewerage system. If you need to standardize the sleepers this would resolve the issue.

gokeefe
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by gokeefe » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:33 pm

Greg Moore wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:42 pm
With the full option of 70... wow.. but even just 20 or so.. imagine a 3rd Florida sleeper train, another NYC-Chicago train... and beyond...
The best possibility in my kind would be simply extending the existing trains. Most single level consists could handle an additional car or two without major complications. If demand were sufficient (which on the Florida trains it can be) that would be a huge improvement for Amtrak's bottom line.
Greg Moore wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:42 pm
Oh well.
In today's environment, not going to happen.
I do not necessarily agree. Current conditions have never been more favorable for Amtrak to be able to self fund additional cars. It will be interesting to see what kind of moves they make as the operating surplus starts to grow. It opens up some private financing options that previously were out of reach for them.
gokeefe

Greg Moore
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by Greg Moore » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:13 pm

I agree with adding additional cars to existing trains is a good use, but I think with 70 extra cars, you'd still have too many.
And at some point, I think you get more benefit from multiple trains as it gives travelers more flexibility in planning. For example a return to a 3rd Silver Service train gives more options for departure times and arrival times (and points in Florida). Another NYC-Chicago train would probably do well.

As for no better time, under the current leadership, I can't see it happening. I'm fairly confident the current leadership would prefer to shut down all LD trains, not expand them.

But, in 2 years, that could all change, and at this rate, the Viewliner production line will still be open :-)
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gokeefe
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by gokeefe » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:04 pm

Try the math Greg. Let's say for example the Cardinal. Run it daily with three sleepers (subject to seasonal demand). It currently runs with one and only three times a week. I believe the current schedule allows for two trainsets to cover the service.

If daily service required four trainsets that would be a net increase of ten cars. Maybe a little less but maybe a little more during the peaks.

Look at the Lake Shore Limited. Very high sleeping car fares and often sold out. Furthermore the overnight schedule leaves very little intermediate demand. Currently they run usually three sleepers out of Penn. If that were expanded to five you would need a net addition of eight cars. Want a second (or third) sleeper from Boston? Now you need another eight cars for a total of 16 net additional cars (+/-).

The Florida services alone could probably soak up 20+ cars between the Meteor and the Star. Want to get creative with the schedule and run the Meteor from Boston or at least have a through sleeper(s)? Tack on another 10 cars +/- to cover that (protect sets etc).

Return of the Twilight Shoreliner/Night Owl? Given current demand levels and if there were a set out sleeper(s) at Penn Station I think you could be talking about five cars per trainset for a total of ten plus two or three protect cars (Based in Boston and Newport News).

Want to add day room service to the Palmetto? Two cars, three trainsets, six cars total plus two protect cars = eight cars. I think this would sell out regularly, not to mention the intermediate NEC station sales it would likely generate.

I'm not going to make any assumptions about the Crescent. Demand doesn't seem as consistent as some of the Eastern long distance trains.

Based on the above I would say there's potential for another 60+ cars. Sure maybe the Cardinal shouldn't run daily, maybe the Florida trains or the Lake Shore Limited can't get quite that long but the point remains that significant expansion of existing service could occur without adding routes (or even frequencies).

This doesn't even begin to touch state supported routes that could see future extensions such as the Pennsylvanian or the Vermonter. It also doesn't address the previously proposed ideas from Amtrak of overnight service from NYP to CHI via Detroit.
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Greg Moore
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by Greg Moore » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:41 pm

My math would be a bit different than yours :-)
I'm not convinced that the LSL could really handle that large of a train.

And if you were to do that, I'd suggest something I've argued for years: Make the LSL a single BOS-CHI train and have a separate "21st Century Limited" that ran NYP-CHI along much of the same route, but say 2 hours later, with a few different stops (keep the major cities of course).

And again, with the Silver Service, I think you're better off with a 3rd train.

But, I'll give you that, let's say we follow your plan... if you're buying 70, might as well buy 100.
(and part of my idea for a 21st Century Limited would be that since a large portion runs through NYS, NY fund it and run it with NYS themed cars, especially the diner.)

I really don't think the Twilight Shoreliner could support that many sleepers, but again I'd like to be proven wrong. :-)

It's a all dream though (much like the ones I have while sleeping in my Amtrak sleeping car)
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WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:03 pm

Here's a question: how modular are the V2s? I know the sleepers can be internally reconfigured. Can the car bodies (windows) and doors be reconfigured? I know I've seen Amfleet cafes reconfigured into coaches: the telltale center vents are still there but the coach windows were added back.

Can they rebalance the equipment for their needs? 24 more sleepers coming (1 delivered) which will also allow some V1 sleepers to go in for overhaul, 25 diners (too many), 70 baggage cars (too many?), 10 bagg-dorms (some already delivered) which aren't enough to obtain critical mass.

If it's even possible, it may make more sense to convert a few baggage cars to bag dorms to gain a critical mass, or write the dorms off completely and make them sleepers.

Most east coast LDs require 4 train sets and the LD sets require 6. Is there one western route that would really benefit from increased sleeper capacity? Can a bag-dorm that mostly serves crew be turned faster than the rest of the train? I imagine though, that this would require more switching/shunting at an end terminal and possibly needing to call more crews to duty to act as yard crew.

gokeefe
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by gokeefe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:28 pm

Greg Moore wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:41 pm
And if you were to do that, I'd suggest something I've argued for years: Make the LSL a single BOS-CHI train and have a separate "21st Century Limited" that ran NYP-CHI along much of the same route, but say 2 hours later, with a few different stops (keep the major cities of course).
Completely agreed if it were at least feasible that the host railroad would allow it. Fact of the matter is they won't. I've been through enough planning discussions for service options related to Massachusetts (either East-West or North-South, or some combination) to be very comfortable with my understanding of the situation.

CSX plays a major role in practically all of the Eastern single level long distance trains. That being the case what are the "real" options? Train consist adjustments are clearly an option. And honestly they are what's needed the most before considering additional frequencies or routes.

Prove the trains can make some money (or perhaps just see a substantial deficit reduction). Then Amtrak will know how to make new routes work. Right now they don't even know if they can improve financial performance if given some fleet flexibility.
gokeefe

bostontrainguy
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by bostontrainguy » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:30 am

gokeefe wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:28 pm
Greg Moore wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:41 pm
And if you were to do that, I'd suggest something I've argued for years: Make the LSL a single BOS-CHI train and have a separate "21st Century Limited" that ran NYP-CHI along much of the same route, but say 2 hours later, with a few different stops (keep the major cities of course).
Completely agreed if it were at least feasible that the host railroad would allow it. Fact of the matter is they won't.
Run it through Canada.

Greg Moore
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by Greg Moore » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:02 am

That is certainly an option! And again, helps pick up cities like Detroit as a stop.
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by Arlington » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:45 am

I would like to see amtrak buy the VII sleeper shells (all the usual windows) and operate them with some form of "business class" interior. A semi-closed but not fully closable "pod" in which it feels more normal to be seated "next to" a stranger, and have seat occupants change over the course of the journey (easily changed "linen kit" / "sack sheet").

Phase 1: V2 Business Class module would be built from an existing kit of Amtrak's nicest seats, spaced at much greater pitch.
Phase 2: V2 Business Class would use standard "international first" lie-flat seats bought from an airline supplier
Phase 3: the creation of a lie-flat interior that uses the full height of the car's volume (as a Slumbercoach did), still without a door and lower requirements for an attendant.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

gokeefe
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Re: Viewliner II Delivery/Production

Post by gokeefe » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:48 am

Modern version of a drawing room almost. Amtrak does not appear able to command sufficient fares and demand for that type of accomodation on existing single level long distance routes.

Here's an idea ... Take Acela seats and table configuration from BusinessClass and put them in a Viewliner shell. That could sell very well indeed.
gokeefe

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