Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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eolesen
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by eolesen » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:48 pm

Third parties might not want Amtrak customers on their cars... a bunch of college kids may not respect the delicate or rare nature of cars from Iowa Pacific or someone else the same way that railfans would.

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Tadman
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by Tadman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:27 pm

I think he means something more like the British rolling stock owner companies, basically like CIT does for engines here. Of course that assumes there are multiple potential lessors of a fleet of such cars.

I’ve always thought a nice alternative would be a set of Via Budd cars that could be leased by Amtrak for Silver service when the Canadian is in off-season. There are some clearance issues into NYP from what I understand, but if the carriers are willing to examine long-term agreements, modifications could be made.
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by John_Perkowski » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:33 pm

eolesen wrote:Third parties might not want Amtrak customers on their cars... a bunch of college kids may not respect the delicate or rare nature of cars from Iowa Pacific or someone else the same way that railfans would.
I asked this question of a PV owner in the recent past. He said at the rate Amtrak pays, there is no way he would lease his car, period.
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:12 pm

That’s what I do mean, Tad, not using “rare birds” but a standardized fleet such as NCDOT runs. Friends of the 261 once leased cars to NCDOT if I’m not mistaken, for instance, and Iowa Pacific ran their own cars in daily service so would (have been) a source of active passenger cars.

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JoeG
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by JoeG » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:39 pm

I'm hoping that when the Amfleet replacements start arriving, some Amfleets can be kept operational as a surge fleet. Right now, Amtrak seems in a hurry to get old cars off the property. I'm hoping they can take a more nuanced view.

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by CHTT1 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:03 pm

mtuandrew wrote:That’s what I do mean, Tad, not using “rare birds” but a standardized fleet such as NCDOT runs. Friends of the 261 once leased cars to NCDOT if I’m not mistaken, for instance, and Iowa Pacific ran their own cars in daily service so would (have been) a source of active passenger cars.

Do any of these operators have a large supply of coaches? Speciality car owners seem to concentrate on odd or rare cars like lounges, observations and sleepers. As I recall, Amtrak was very pricky about Iowa Pacific's equipment on the Hoosier State, bad ordering it at every opportunity.

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:46 pm

CHTT1 wrote:Do any of these operators have a large supply of coaches? Speciality car owners seem to concentrate on odd or rare cars like lounges, observations and sleepers. As I recall, Amtrak was very pricky about Iowa Pacific's equipment on the Hoosier State, bad ordering it at every opportunity.
Can’t say for certain. Every time a tour operator goes bust I keep thinking they have to be out there, even just ex-Amtrak coaches that don’t get much rental time, but I don’t know who owns them or if there are any sizeable fleets that don’t belong to IPH, VIA, or GCRY.

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by wigwagfan » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:59 pm

Sounds like a possibility if Amtrak replaces the Superliner fleet (or decides to go to their "corridor-only" model), for someone to buy some of the Superliner stock and lease it out. Establish a yard somewhere in the desert southwest (just as the airlines store unused aircraft) and set up a shop to refurbish the cars periodically. When needed, ship the cars out.

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by John_Perkowski » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:20 pm

mtuandrew wrote: ... I keep thinking they have to be out there, ...
AAPRCO knows

The Railway Passenger Car Alliance knows.

The fact of the matter is, Amtrak’s decisions on PV operations last year burned away a tremendous amount of goodwill towards it. Why should IPH or GCRY want to even lease coaches to Amtrak? Would they get a decent per diem? Would they get a decent per mile rate? Would they get the quality of maintenance needed (or demanded by Amtrak when the car is in PV service?)?

As for buying and storing the superliners in reserve, may I point you to this? Cars not moving get tagged...
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by mtuandrew » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:58 pm

They do get tagged, vandalized, and scavenged, and that’s a huge problem. Any stored cars would have to be within an actual secured facility with guards, and that eats into profit quickly. Same with keeping pests and mold out.

I hadn’t considered that issue too strongly, because I had the idea that much of the equipment would be in infrequent but regular use. If otherwise unused, I suppose you’d have to put the cars in pole barns within a fence like the LTEX compound.

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JoeG
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by JoeG » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:46 pm

If you kept the "surge" equipment secure, so it wouldn't be vandalized, what kind of maintenance and inspection would it require? Would those expenses make the idea impractical? It may be hard to answer, but how did railroads back in the day manage to have old cars available for surge use?

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by John_Perkowski » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:07 pm

There were these things called coach yards. Each railroad had one. It’s amazing how much capacity SP, UP, and ATSF had in LA. It’s amazing how much capacity Pennsylvania, NYC, ATSF, CB&Q, C&NW and yes MILW had in Chicago.

That didn’t count the Pullman Company’s capacity.

Amtrak has far, far less capacity in Chicago than just the Pennsylvania once did.
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by dowlingm » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:04 am

I often wonder why more rail equipment isn't long term stored in the desert similar to aircraft storage rather than places like Bear. One would think the dry conditions and inhospitable weather (plus remoteness) would deter most deterioration and unwelcome attention. If the airlines and USAF can trust that stored equipment will be largely intact when they need it, how would railcars differ?

That said, while constructors and finance companies have possibly missed an opportunity by building trainsets and creating a leasing market, one has to observe the vibrant aircraft market and come to the conclusion that passenger rail in North America is not similarly sufficiently converged to allow easy interchange of equipment, and the difficulty of getting track access, particularly from freight roads, to sufficiently take advantage of surges in demand which such trainsets could satisfy. NGEC helps with that somewhat (for new equipment) but PTC balkanization does not.

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by John_Perkowski » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:37 am

Let me be blunt.

Even doing a puddle jump, I can fly LA-DC in 12 hours. Most people highly value their time.

Two people driving, sharing the burden, at a 65 mile per hour velocity vector, 12 hours actual driving, can be 780 miles from their origin in a day. Look at many of Amtrak’s velocity vectors between A and B. Is it getting 65MPH? In addition, they can divert at any point to look at something interesting. The days of deciding to get off the train in Raton, spend two days bopping around, and then asking the station agent to continue the journey are long gone.

Rail will only be valuable again if air is truly displaced.
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:52 pm

Point well taken re: Amtrak’s coach yards versus those of yore, Colonel. I wonder what the comparison would look like if including Kearny, Western Ave, and other commuter-only yards, not that they have spare space either.

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