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Author Topic: New Viewliner Order
palmland
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In the current issue of 'Trains' magazine, there is an article on the new order. Some of the main points:

The interiors of sleepers are modular in design with tight tolerances. The goal is to eliminate all those squeaks and rattles as well as insure all light is blocked at night.

Baggage cars have expandable and folding racks for luggage and bikes.

The sleeper was referred to as a 10-2-1 design (a reference to Pullmans' ubiquitous 10sec-2cpt-1DR heavyweight cars). For the viewliners that means 10 roomettes (including one dedicated to the attendant), 2 BR, and the handicapped room - that is larger. This represents a loss of two roomettes, presumably for additional toilets that are now at the end of the car - and no longer in the room.

The dining car will "have wood grain interior, soothing colors,plus glass like dividers between tables' and direct and indirect lighting. The cars have 'more of a restaurant feel'.

No mention of the dorm space. While the sleeper will have less revenue space, I guess moving the crew members that now use a sleeper to the dorm will make up for this.

Equipment underneath each car will be shrouded and pressurized to prevent snow and dust damage.

I am a bit surprised that there were not fewer roomettes in the design and more of the popular bedrooms.

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Gilbert B Norman
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From Holiday Inn Express The Villages FL--

Oh Oh, I hope the showers will not be a casualty; I can hear it now "you're only on for one night; you can do without".

I just may have taken my final LD journey should that come to pass.

Finally, I can only presume that Amtrak has done adequate research regarding the car's configuaration, however, like Mr. Plmland, I Am surprised; I thought 8BR 4RM Attendant Shower (no handicapped room; you only need one per train) would have been the configuration.

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palmland
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Rest easy, GBN..."In addition the cars will offer a large dressing room and shower."

Have a good journey on AT and give us a report on the pine trees.

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Ocala Mike
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Met up with GBN for lunch today in Belleview, FL (about an hour or so NW of Sanford). Wished him a nice trip on the AT, and awaiting his report when he arrives in Chicagoland.

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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notelvis
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I know that decisions are driven more by politics and economics, but I firmly believe that the solution to increasing Bedroom space (while enhancing the long-distance rail travel experience for premium passengers) would have been a Viewliner Sleeper offering 6 bedrooms on one end and a first class lounge (a la the famed Seaboard 'Sun Lounge' cars) on the other.

Add one of these cars to the standard consist in use on most single-level trains and you've essentially doubled the available bedroom space on each train.

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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palmland
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Great idea, David. And I suppose it would be relatively easy to accomplish with the modular design. Perhaps the SCA could also tend bar - as was done in the original sleeper lounges.

Perhaps they could be named in the '--Beach' series like the Seaboard's. A quick check of fares for next week shows that a Bedroom on the Meteor will set you back $1071. I would think $6K per trip plus bar revenue would certainly cover its operating costs.

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notelvis
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Been years since I've paid cash for sleeping car space on an Amtrak train..... though I do manage a sleeper trip using AGR Points about once every 8 months on average.

Two trips back - July 2011 a bedroom PDX-LAX on the Coast Starlight.

Last One - a roomette ATL-NYP on the Crescent in November, 2011

Next up - a Family Bedroom on the Southwest Chief ABQ-CHI in July, 2012.

Got 'points in the bank' for the one after that!

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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sbalax
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Will the bedrooms and the handicapped room still have toilets/sinks?

The cabins on most cruise ships are also modules. I can attest to the fact that that doesn't eliminate squeaks and noises!

Frank in sunny but cooling SBA

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SilverStar092
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I'm pretty sure the existing Viewliners use a modular design. If you look closely, there is a big hatch on the side of the car where rooms can be inserted. The new design will cause problems as it will be impossible for Amtrak to ensure the use of a Viewliner I or a Viewiner II for a particular car line. Using a II instead of a I will leave some passengers with no room.
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PullmanCo
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Back to the Future.

The historic Pullman Company Plan 3585 cars (10 Section, 1 Drawing Room, 2 Compartment) have a footprint that sounds very much like these new viewliners.

These were the LAKE series HW cars...

Since Viewliners, like many modern LW cars, have only one set of loading doors, the exception would be the space on a HW devoted to the B end doors could be reallocated against the mens/womens lavs/showers...

Otherwise, care to bet the final design will look a bit like:

[ 10-28-2013, 08:55 AM: Message edited by: Admin5 ]

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palmland
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Frank, the report says only that no toilets in the roomettes. I'm pretty sure no change in the ones now in bedrooms or HC room.

I believe I'll take a room on a Lake car any day over the Viewliner, even without a shower. I don't expect the new viewliner communal restrooms will be anything as large as the ones shown here. I guess the closest we can come now is a bedroom on Dover Harbor (outside of PV/office cars).

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PullmanCo
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Speaking of DOVER HARBOR:

[ 10-28-2013, 08:55 AM: Message edited by: Admin5 ]

--------------------
The City of Saint Louis (UP, 1967) is still my standard for passenger operations

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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by Ocala Mike:
Met up with GBN for lunch today in Belleview, FL (about an hour or so NW of Sanford). Wished him a nice trip on the AT, and awaiting his report when he arrives in Chicagoland.

From Holiday Inn West; Akron OH--

Mike, you should be pleased to know I told "Lady Lex" (the GPS Sat/Nav) "you're fired". She wanted to take me to Sanford on first I-75 thence Turnpike to I-4.

I would have done it had I had balance in my SunPass for such, but I didn't, so I took your routing starting with SR42, thence US 441 to SR 46. Got there at 230P.

All told in a word, 52(29) upheld my "more positives than negatives". Beef Tournedos at Dinner were "super" as were table companions. "LOR arrival was 1000A, and "Lex Noir" was one of the first off. In fact I was talking with some people I had met, did not hear the loading # called, but I did hear "Black Lexus with Illinois plates". They said it was about fifth off and was sitting there waiting on me for fifteen minutes. I showed the lovely girl - a loading supervisor my "booby prize" - a sunscreen - from being last unloaded on about Voyage 15.

AT is a great service, but I really think the only possible markets beyond LOR-SFA would be adding carriers to #3 Galesburg-La Junta and #5 Galesburg-Irondale CO. Remember, the AT clientele are simply not hobby travelers and definitely not railfans. Again I note, I wish more here had occasion to try out AT. (Yes, even though I've lived in Chicago for forty years, I know I'm really a New Yorker at heart).

Addendum, Feb 2; now that all usage has been reported at my SunPass account, there is a balance remaining of $2.90. Therefore I would have had adequate balance to take "Lady Lex's" suggested route via the TP ($2.00 toll). However, I got to SFA with time to spare and I got to see Eustis, Mt. Dora, and Sorrento - localities that not too many sonwbird tourists see the likes of.

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The Chief
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Here are some pics of the guys on the CAFUSA assembly line in Elmira, and materials, and almost a couple of pics of actual Viewliners. Article says 1Q 2013 initial delivery:
http://www.stargazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=CB&Date=20120127&Category=NEWS01&ArtNo=201270807&Ref=PH

Local news story:
http://www.stargazette.com/article/20120128/NEWS01/201280361/Made-Twin-Tiers-Wheels-rolling-CAF-USA?odyssey=nav|head

"The final assembly building is where workers will install the electrical wiring, upholstered seating, beds, and cooking and dining facilities. The completed cars will then be attached to the wheel assemblies, which are provided by an outside vendor."

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_ _ __ _ _ ŤĦę ĊĦĪĘҒ
_|_|_|_|_|

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Ocala Mike
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Gil, when I left you I started thinking about your GPS routing you via I-75 and the Turnpike. I guess it's programmed for the FASTEST, not the SHORTEST, way (and not the CHEAPEST way either). Glad my "triptik" (remember those from AAA days?) was useful for you, and glad you had a good trip on the AT.

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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Gilbert B Norman
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Now that exterior photos of the CAF cars are in the public domain, it appears that such will be quite similar, and possibly even identical to the existing Viewliners. Maybe, there will be no need for a new fleet name other than V-II's. While the interior configuration as we have noted will be different and taking that of a historic Pullman, 10-1-2, there are reports the existing Viewliners will be reconfigured to this 10-1-2 AND that undercarriage components such as HVAC will also be standardized with that of these CAF cars abuilding.

It appears that someone, maybe even within Amtrak, simply laid down the law and decreed "take 'em or leave 'em" avoiding any of the pervasive "design by committee' mentality with the Superliners, furthered by the "who's on first?" culture of 955 Elephant, 400 N Cap, and 60 Mass, as well as likely same today. "Take 'em or leave 'em" prevailed with Budd and the Amfleets; wonder why they are hands down the most successful equipment order Amtrak has made to date? Also wonder why they were in revenue service within two years of placing the order - and let alone thirty seven years thereafter?

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PullmanCo
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Gee. Fleet standardization. What a novel concept...

Developed by...

 -

--------------------
The City of Saint Louis (UP, 1967) is still my standard for passenger operations

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notelvis
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GBN -

Mt. Dora has been the home to several erstwhile tourist train operations...... one an interesting Doodlebug. Even now, a small steam locomotive and three antique coaches makes a 16-mile roundtrip out of nearby Tavares on weekends...... something that I sampled just a couple of months ago.

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Noted, Mr. Presley--

At Mt. Dora, I observed a "historic" downtown district as well as railroad tracks. But alas, my "focus' was on driving as well as the need to "maintain schedule".

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Ocala Mike
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notelvis - Under what name is that new tourist operation down there? Back around '07, they ran an excursion train from Eustis to Orlando and back, but I thought they went bust. Do they have a website?
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notelvis
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Mike,

The operation that you are thinking of did go bust.

This latest one, billing itself as the 'Orange Blossom Cannonball' just launched this past October.

The 2-6-0 locomotive has quite the resume and is currently lettered 'Tavares, Eustis, & Gulf'.

Here's the website - Orange Blossom Cannonball

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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Ocala Mike
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Thanks for that link, David. My son's family is coming to visit us from Salt Lake City in a couple of weekends, and my 3-1/2 year old grandson is a train buff already. Maybe we'll go down there that weekend.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Now that a 10RM-1SP-2BR + Att & Shower configuration has been announced, as well as plans to reconfigure the existing 50 car fleet (hopefully 52 with a return to revenue service of prototypes 2400-01), one has to wonder how much NET additional space Amtrak is gaining?

Let's first address Roomettes and lets ASSUME (let's can the jokes regarding that term; remember I've been Service and I've heard 'em before) that six Roomettes per train are presently reserved for Dining Car crew; also let's assume that the entire 50 car fleet is needed to support the existing assignments. The loss of two Roomettes per car for presumably four communal potties represents (50 X 2 = 150) a loss of 100 rooms for the existing fleet. The 25 Dorms added will enable 150 rooms to be released, and the 25 new cars with 10 each means 250 additional rooms; or a NET gain of 300 Roomettes. Since only seventeen sets are in service, with eight sets "resting', this means 170 more Roomettes are available systemwide each day.

No question there is a net gain of 50 rooms (25 X 2) for the fleet, or 34 (17 X 2) per day; also 25 or 17 Special rooms.

Now where I must question Amtrak's reasoning is with regards to Special Rooms (I think Handicapped is a now a non-term). I would think that the new cars should have been 10RM-4BR (assuming the SP represents 2BR) and that twenty existing cars be reconfigured same (the LSL will need two SP in each set). I realize this is a "touchy' with a publicly funded agency (and possibly even with some Members here), but it is my understanding that only one SP per train is required and that can be released for general sale 24 hrs prior to departure if not booked by a qualifying party. It was one thing to have standardization when there were only fifty cars, but with more and with only Card and Bos LS having a single car, should not this decision be reviewed?

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notelvis
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I agree that perhaps the final plan for thes cars should have perhaps increased the number of available bedrooms (as opposed to roomettes) by a greater margin.

I am hopeful that the new Viewliners will mean one additional sleeper on every train currently operating with Viewliners.

Imagine, two sleepers on the Cardinal and Boston section of the Lake Shore. Three or four sleepers on each departure for Florida. Three sleepers on the Crescent...... though maybe with one or two of them being short-turned in Birmingham as ridership dictates.

*Yes - Atlanta might make more sense for turning back part of the Crescent HOWEVER the track capacity for holding a handful of passenger cars over out of the way of freight traffic still exists at the Birmingham station - it does not in Atlanta.

Maybe even this means the return of a Washington-Boston sleeper line.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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palmland
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Trains.com reported Amtrak has issued a news release on their major projects for 2013. This includes new locomotives, bridge work on the NEC and the new Viewliner cars.

In Trains' report their version of the new Viewliner orders was:

New cars: Late 2013 will see the delivery of the first four of eight test cars of a $298.1 million order for 130 new single-level long-distance cars, including 25 sleepers, 25 diners, 55 baggage cars, and 25 baggage/dormitory cars. The first units will be placed in service late spring 2014. They are being built by CAF USA at a facility in Elmira, N.Y.

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notelvis
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Saw somewhere else that the diners would be coming first but that may have just been someone's conjecture.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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PullmanCo
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Gad. The order-ship time for passenger equipment is slower now than it was at the end of WWII, when everyone was streamlining as fast as they could.
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palmland
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If the diners are first, David, it must be because the heritage ones are now a maintenance nightmare. Otherwise I would think they would go for revenue producing sleepers first.
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George Harris
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quote:
Originally posted by palmland:
If the diners are first, David, it must be because the heritage ones are now a maintenance nightmare. Otherwise I would think they would go for revenue producing sleepers first.

Consider that the basic body shells of the current diners were built 60 plus years ago would be the same as for those of us that began riding trains in the 1960's getting in a car built in 1900!!! At that time, the 1920's built cars were regarded as between old and flat out ancient. Subtract 40 from now and you get cars built in the 1970's. There is not even any thought of replacing cars of that vintage.
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Vincent206
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quote:
Gad. The order-ship time for passenger equipment is slower now than it was at the end of WWII, when everyone was streamlining as fast as they could.
Try ordering a Boeing Dreamliner if you want to see slow delivery.
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Gilbert B Norman
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While the source of this material may be one frequented by Dr. Goebbels and Baghdad Bob, there is nevertheless a photo of a Diner well under construction. This would appear to confirm that Mr. Presley learned that the Diners will be the first cars to be delivered.

Considering that the youngest 85XX Heritage Diner in now 53 years old (NP; 1959) and the oldest 65 (NYC 1947), as well as the multitude of "things to go wrong" with Diners, as distinct from Baggage Cars, it is no wonder that they will be first off the line.

Finally, where has anyone seen from an official source that these cars will be fleet-named Viewliner?

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Henry Kisor
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PR Newswire has been around for ages. It's just a clearing house and transmission center for corporate press releases and product photographs. It was once carried on a variety of business trunk wires (AP and Reuters included), and is now a website. Just about every newspaper financial section has been or is a customer. I believe the Times and the Wall Street Journal still are.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Amtrak has released a video showing production of the now officially named Viewliner II's. There apparently was some kind of media event at the CAF facility in Elmira today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHAGdl5J0uw&feature=youtu.be

I trust all will note the cars liveried 'retro' in Phase III. According to a blog release, that is by intent, although the 'pointless arrow' will be replaced with 'three sheets to the wind':

quote:
Amtrak" Amtrak moderator41 minutes agoWith the launch of our new single-level long distance equipment – the “Viewliner II”, Amtrak is also launching Amtrak America, a brand that will encompass all that is great about Amtrak’s long-haul trains, including those with sleeper class service. Amtrak’s route brands will continue, and this brand will make the conversation and overall service offerings clear to our customers and stakeholders. Amtrak America will utilize our Phase Three striping on the single-level long distance cars as a tribute to our heritage. The first cars released from production will also carry Amtrak’s heritage logo in honor of our past. Amtrak’s current logo will return on the standard production cars
Finally, entry into revenue service is now set for Summer 2014; stay tuned for 'revisions'.
Posts: 9389 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ocala Mike
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Well, somebody (Joe Boardman) is still "excited" about Amtrak LD, at least in the east.

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Ocala Mike

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palmland
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Other railfan sites are all excited about the return of the phase III paint scheme. But your quote, GBN, says the "the logo will return on the standard production cars". I would be surprised if the current paint scheme isn't also used rather than phase III - which to me does look outdated.

The interior of the cars in the video does seem quite attractive.

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Gilbert B Norman
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I would think that the use of Phase III is a 'hey look at our new cars' promotion; just as I believe same case with the Exhibit (fka Anniversary) Train.

Likely only a few will be so liveried; I doubt if Phase III will be applied to any of the Baggage Cars. Once the V-II's become 'simply another car', those liveried Phase III will be reliveried Phas IV.

Finally, my avoidance of the term 'paint' is intentional; Amtrak 'paint' is actually industrial decals.

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palmland
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Apparently the new baggage cars can't come soon enough. Saw the Silver Star in Ashland a couple days ago. It was quite a healthy consist with 5 coaches and 3 sleepers. But, the sleepers were still up front, unlike recent winters when they went to the rear to facilitate rotating the consist with the LSL for thawing in the southland.
Also - no baggage car. Instead, ahead of the first sleeper was a deadheading coach presumably filled with suitcases!

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SilverStar092
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That happened on my latest trip in October 2013. A peak into the Amfleet II coach revealed luggage piled atop seats. Slow loading via vestibule instead of directly via a big side door.
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PullmanCo
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Sometime look at the plans for a true baggage car: You'll find it has a reinforced underframe and more robust structure in the walls than a coach, diner, lounge, or sleeper. It's carrying relatively dense weight. Passengers really are just cube, and a lot of that cube is comfort space.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Regarding 'where in the world are the V-II's', there are now reports at other sites (to what extent credible, I know not) that as many as twenty cars will soon be released by CAF and will be gathered at Rensselaer for training and pre-acceptance testing.

There are further reports that five of the cars will be handled in a test train, along with an A-I and A-II, with an Amtrak locomotive from Elmira to Rensselaer to further expose the equipment to 'the real world'. If this be the case and the most direct ERIE-Bingo-D&H routing is used, this equipment (sigh, Mr. Mike Smith) will run through Oneonta, NY - often considered to be the cradle of organized labor.

Once again, all of this is hearsay - and not necessarily 'authoritative'. But if there is any foundation to such, it would appear that whatever production issues have delayed V-II deliveries have been resolved.

And finally, at the Illinois topic, while I made the comment that Nippon Shyaru, has certainly made a real commitment towards continued railcar building in Northern Illinois, CAF's commitment to Upstate NY cannot be overlooked. As the V-II's enter revenue service, one will quickly learn to what extent CAF is a responsible bidder. However, considering that intercity passenger trains are clearly here to stay, Amtrak or successor agency, could place orders for as many as 1000 cars over the next ten years and that 'buy American' guidelines are apparently met so long as cars are assembled and are rolled out from a US facility, there could well be a case of 'all hands on deck'.

Posts: 9389 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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