• New Superliners

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by John_Perkowski
 
Let's stay on topic to the Superliner Fleet, please. As Jeff Smith says often, we are railroad.net not airlines.net
  by eolesen
 
It's entirely on topic, in that carpet and upholstery are all Amtrak is investing in.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by Matt Johnson
 
In this presentation, Chris Jagodzinski, Amtrak Assistant VP, Operations discusses the Amfleets approaching end of life and also states that the Superliners have a lot of life left in them. So, refurbing 'em would seem to make sense. The question long term will be whether they get consolidated on fewer routes, and whether single level or bilevel becomes preferred for a next gen design. With startup costs and design issues being the biggest hurdle, I wish we could keep the Viewliner II line up and running but inevitably Amtrak will end up starting over at some point.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
"One of these days" some "power that be" - White House or "Under the Dome" - will decree that the LD services have outlived their day and what "transportation of last resort" they offer to the little "can't drive" lady who lives in Sanderson but has to see a Doctor in San Antonio can more economically be provided by bus over public highways. Any such day would not occur overnight and hopefully would provide for an orderly discontinuance of the routes; i.e. the Lake Shore would survive the Builder, Zephyr, and Chief; or the Crescent and City would survive the Sunset.

As such, new passenger equipment would be assigned to the LD's, but such equipment should be single level and of a design readily convertible to short distance Coaches. These would eventually handle increased demand for such service and to replace the Horizons and California bi-levels as they reach the end of their economic life (pretty sure the Talgos are done for).

I noted this before, but the model for the LD of the future, until the service can be completely phased out, is that presently operating along Australia's East Coast through the States of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. I've never been down there, but there are plenty of videos showing these trains.

These are State railway operated and nothing about them could be considered "experiential". If you want "experiential" down there, best be prepared to pony up AU$8000 for the likes of the "Indian Pacific" or the "Ghan".
  by David Benton
 
the Queensland trains are upmarket, equilvalent of at least business class airtravel , and well above amfleet.
  by NH2060
 
Matt Johnson wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:58 pm In this presentation, Chris Jagodzinski, Amtrak Assistant VP, Operations discusses the Amfleets approaching end of life and also states that the Superliners have a lot of life left in them. So, refurbing 'em would seem to make sense.
This is an excellent presentation, thank you for sharing that!
Gilbert B Norman wrote:"One of these days" some "power that be" - White House or "Under the Dome" - will decree that the LD services have outlived their day and what "transportation of last resort" they offer to the little "can't drive" lady who lives in Sanderson but has to see a Doctor in San Antonio can more economically be provided by bus over public highways. Any such day would not occur overnight and hopefully would provide for an orderly discontinuance of the routes; i.e. the Lake Shore would survive the Builder, Zephyr, and Chief; or the Crescent and City would survive the Sunset.

As such, new passenger equipment would be assigned to the LD's, but such equipment should be single level and of a design readily convertible to short distance Coaches. These would eventually handle increased demand for such service and to replace the Horizons and California bi-levels as they reach the end of their economic life (pretty sure the Talgos are done for).
Sounds like -from what you're proposing- Amtrak would do well to simply order single level Siemens Venture coaches and cafe cars with some of the coach windows plated over (much like how the CALIDOT coaches have one set of door openings plated over at the end of one of the vestibules) to account for whatever modular sleeping car/dining car arrangement is constructed on the inside. And then at a later date the cars can be converted to full coaches with all windows uncovered.

Would be a great idea IMO. Though the thought of the LD trains going away for good decades from now is a sad prospect :(
  by bostontrainguy
 
There is a big shift though in the national psyche. Younger people don't have the desire we older folks had to get a license and buy a car. My wife, who is much younger than me, never had a license and doesn't drive. Parking hassles, choking traffic, raising car prices and other negatives makes driving not so much fun anymore and Uber and other ride-share services make it super easy to get around now if you don't have a car.

Lot's of people hate the whole fossil fuel industry and the environmental concerns are very strong especially with the younger generations. Trains are environmentally better than most modes, especially electric ones (notwithstanding the failure to recognize the source), and Amtrak has the ability to build a customer base on these factors alone. Just imagine if Amtrak gets involved with Webtec and starts running battery powered trains! The goodwill and publicity would be off the charts.

And to all this that Greyhound is struggling and may not provide service to a lot of these smaller cities and towns that Amtrak LD passes through. They recently stopped all intra-Canadian routes this year.

So if Amtrak plays it's cards right, it just may be the right time to stabilize the LD network and start building on the foundation. For instance, from what I have read the recently reborn sleeper between Boston and Washington is doing very well. I bet a lot of these passengers are new to Amtrak. Where else might this concept work? Washington to Atlanta maybe Amtrak? (I know, I know . . . they just messed up the schedule).

So I'm not so pessimistic about the future of Amtrak LD.
  by west point
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 8:29 am So I'm not so pessimistic about the future of Amtrak LD.
However I am pessimistic about the speed of expansion. It is going to be a run of fits and spasms.
  by Arborwayfan
 
Reliable trains with many sleepers at reasonable cost, no meals, no experience, between city pairs that people currently often fly between, ideally with a couple busy stations at each end, would be a good way to compete with planes among people interested in reducing fossil fuel use or as fossil fuels get more expensive over the decades.
  by RRspatch
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:26 pm Reliable trains with many sleepers at reasonable cost, no meals, no experience, between city pairs that people currently often fly between, ideally with a couple busy stations at each end, would be a good way to compete with planes among people interested in reducing fossil fuel use or as fossil fuels get more expensive over the decades.
Sounds like you're describing the OBB NightJet trains in Europe. There's lots of city pairs in this country that could be linked by overnight trains. I see you've also mentioned fossil fuels. Careful, you're starting to sound like that Swedish Teenager that gets GBN so worked up. A lot of countries are looking towards passenger rail as a means to reduce carbon emissions. Sooner or later attention will have to turn to the elephant in the room .... er, sky that goes by the name Boeing/Airbus that everyone is trying very hard to avoid right now.
  by RRspatch
 
Well, here we go. another anti-passenger train rant from GBN. Nothing really new here just the same copy and paste we've seen before. Usually I don't bother replying but this time I will.
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:49 pm "One of these days" some "power that be" - White House or "Under the Dome" - will decree that the LD services have outlived their day and what "transportation of last resort" they offer to the little "can't drive" lady who lives in Sanderson but has to see a Doctor in San Antonio can more economically be provided by bus over public highways. Any such day would not occur overnight and hopefully would provide for an orderly discontinuance of the routes; i.e. the Lake Shore would survive the Builder, Zephyr, and Chief; or the Crescent and City would survive the Sunset.
And conversely the powers that be at either end of Pennsylvania avenue might go the other way and greatly expand Amtrak in both short and long distance trains. We now have a pro passenger train president in the White House and I'm guessing No.47 in waiting also shares the same views. One reason for this expansion might be Climate Change which is getting worse every year. Witness the worsening drought in the southwest. The state of "Arid-zona" is going to find it's self running out of water in the next few years the way lake Mead is dropping. Of course when your 80 years old it's easy to dismiss Climate Change and Swedish teenagers who talk about it when that "adios drumhead" gets closer everyday.
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:49 pm As such, new passenger equipment would be assigned to the LD's, but such equipment should be single level and of a design readily convertible to short distance Coaches. These would eventually handle increased demand for such service and to replace the Horizons and California bi-levels as they reach the end of their economic life (pretty sure the Talgos are done for).
Double decker equipment is the way to go out west for both long distance trains (Superliners) and short distance trains (Alstom Surfliners). Both types meet ADA requirements without the need to portable lifts ($$) or high level platforms ($$$$). Since most Amtrak platforms out west are next to mainline tracks high level platforms are something you're NOT going to see outside of major stations.
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:49 pm I noted this before, but the model for the LD of the future, until the service can be completely phased out, is that presently operating along Australia's East Coast through the States of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. I've never been down there, but there are plenty of videos showing these trains.
As a regular reader of Railpage Australia (Australian version of Railroad.net) I see that new long distance passenger equipment is on order in both New South Wales (CAF Bi-modes) and Victoria (SG VLocity). As for Queensland this is word that the government is thinking about ordering new equipment for the "Landers" trains as well as The Spirt of the Outback.

https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/92416

“We’ve also got a $1 million for a business case to build replacement carriages for the iconic Westlander, Inlander and Spirit of the Outback long-distance services right here in Queensland.”

Yup, better sign up for RPA (free) real quick so you can talk Queensland out of it.

https://www.railpage.com.au/
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:49 pm These are State railway operated and nothing about them could be considered "experiential". If you want "experiential" down there, best be prepared to pony up AU$8000 for the likes of the "Indian Pacific" or the "Ghan".
With Australia still pretty much closed to outside visitors it will be interesting to see if Journey Beyond Rail survives Covid. Other than the subsidy that Victoria gives to the Overland I'm not sure if JBR got any money from Canberra.
  by David Benton
 
I don't believe JBR gets a govt subsidy as such . They are high end tourist trains. Australians still cant travel overseas (except to NZ and a couple of Pacific Islands) easily, so they will be traveling more internally.
The Queensland inland trains are old stock , not the newer tilt trains that ply the coastal routes.
I would agree the market for Amtrak appears to be ready for growth , at all distances. Long distance is starting from such a small base , it won't take much of a swing among current non users to double the number of prospective riders. I would expect 5 to 10 % of current air travelers to at least consider rail for environmental reasons in the next few years. Ditto for car drivers. And for that to snowball ( a rapidly melting snowball it seems) .
The elephant in the room is that outside the Electrified NEC , Amtrak services are very fuel inefficient. Heavy old designs , antiquated HEP and HVAC systems , long periods sitting idling , contribute to this. New rolling stock will help, as would rebuilds of existing equipment with modern HVAC etc. But the carbon footprint counting passengers will want to know , and may be put off by a not so great saving.
  by west point
 
Have to wonder what mainly is the EU's sudden change to overnight services. This poster really though that overnights in the EU's + UK was a goner. Now we see a rush to get more sleepers. Does anyone know how much of the old sleeper cars survived the cutback. Have to wonder if refurbishing some over there is even possible,

What is confusing is Amtrak's not using what equipment it has especially sleepers ? The sky high prices certainly would appear to be revenue positive ?
My train the Crescent is sold out until Saturday. Both coach and sleeper, no excuse nt to have more equipment ?
Capitol appears to not operating next 3 days?
  by electricron
 
How nice, a thread about new Superliners when Amtrak is not building any. :-D
So the conversation is about everything else, from Europe to Australia, great!

Getting this thread back onto the title of the thread, the fact being ignored is there is a lack of Superliner equipment presently for the existing services. Two long distance trains are operating daily, or soon will be, without Sightseer Lounge cars. Which means no cafeteria for coach passengers to buy food, no cafeteria for every passenger to buy drinks between meals nor buy Amtrak branded souvenirs on these trains. Instead, Amtrak dumps the Cross Country Club cars on them and try to provide all these services to everyone on the train with just one employee in the car. Needless to say, the service being provided is terrible. Need a blanket because the train is too cold for you, pack one in your own bag.

Amtrak, if you do not have enough Sightseer Lounge cars in your fleet to have one on every train, it is time to start building some more! :wink:
Likewise for all the other Superliner car types. I'm tired of reading that you do not have enough Superliners to expand long distance services on new routes, or for the reinstatement of old routes. How could Amtrak extend the Heartland Flyer to Newton or to Houston or both without new Superliners in the pipeline?

Alstom has the ability to build more of them.
Last edited by electricron on Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Spatch, from what I gather you "did this stuff for a living" much longer than did I. My career was eleven years with the MILW holding various non-Agreement positions. I "pulled the pin" to go into private practice as a CPA. The thought of relocating to Minneapolis, and being shuffled into some desk on the floor in an Accounting Bureau when the SOO bought the property from the Estate was "shivering".

"It was fun" when I hired on; long ceased to be that when I left Dec '81.

What I am at a complete loss to understand is why you are so interested in having Amtrak LD trains continue to interfere with the operations of your road (ATSF/BNSF I think) when they contribute essentially nothing to paying salaries and bills. Yet the advocacy community holds that the roads should plan their operations around the movement of the Amtrak trains. Your handle certainly suggests you have been a Train Dispatcher, and possibly you saw such first hand.

Now if suddenly Amtrak was prepared to pay the full opportunity cost, i.e. what a road would make in profit, from the high priority Container train (I think that is a "Z" on the BNSF) that cannot be handled account Amtrak requirements of service, that would be a whole new ball game. But I give that "a Chinaman's Chance....".

disclaimer: author long UNP; previously long BNI, CSX, KSU, NSC. Sold account sector and equity overweight or tender offer.
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