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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Shocking change to Coast Starlight consist (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Shocking change to Coast Starlight consist
PullmanCo
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As to consists, sooner than later, Amtrak will retire the Hi-Level Lounges. After all, they will be 60 years old next year...

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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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Yesterday, I got an "up close and personal" observation of #5(27).

Consist: 2 P-42, Baggage, Lounge, 2 Coach, Diner, 2 Sleeper.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Today, I had a reasonably good observation of what I think was #4 (26).

2 P-42, 2 Sleeper, Diner, Lounge, 2 Coach.

Woe to those folk paying the big bucks for Sleeper; best enjoy "listening to the music" that I think is in E Major.

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DonNadeau
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If remember correctly, nine was the usual minimum consist (minus the locomotive) for the CZ.

Sleepers at the end is the Via protocol.

This gives fine views when rounding curves. Of course, Via trains are a wee bit longer. Twenty-four or 25 cars on my last trip (in summer), although not all were in service.

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@DonNadeau

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smitty195
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quote:
Originally posted by PullmanCo:
As to consists, sooner than later, Amtrak will retire the Hi-Level Lounges. After all, they will be 60 years old next year...

I don't think it's going to be soon. They funded and are either about to or already did a full refurb on the Pacific Parlour Cars. They're not redesigning or changing decor or anything like that, but they are getting a full mechanical makeover. I would hope that pouring money into these cars means that they're going to stick around for a bit.
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jp1822
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quote:
Originally posted by smitty195:
quote:
Originally posted by PullmanCo:
As to consists, sooner than later, Amtrak will retire the Hi-Level Lounges. After all, they will be 60 years old next year...

I don't think it's going to be soon. They funded and are either about to or already did a full refurb on the Pacific Parlour Cars. They're not redesigning or changing decor or anything like that, but they are getting a full mechanical makeover. I would hope that pouring money into these cars means that they're going to stick around for a bit.
The Amfleets aren't that much younger than the Pacific Parlor Cars. And Amtrak still has two Heritage Sleepers it refurbed for its business fleet. Having these four (ok - five) Pacific Parlor Cars to maintain is not going to severely cost Amtrak that much money. If Amtrak were smart, they'd look for ways to generate revenue from these cars. Often the souvenir rack display case is empty and one has to go to the lower level of the café to grab a drink or snack. The Wine & Cheese program worked well at one time at $5. When Amtrak took this out, and then re-introduced it, something was different.

There's no doubt these are popular cars, and widely liked by sleeping car passengers. Amtrak is supposedly experimenting with a "business class" on the Coast Starlight, which would also give these passengers access to the Pacific Parlor Car. That's one step in the right direction.

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palmland
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In the new issue of Trains magazine, an article on premium class services, there was this interesting comment about businees class:

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"Details have yet to be finalized, but Starlight route director, Mike Dwyer says, 'Twelve seats have already been installed in the cars by Los Angeles shop fores. The business-class passenger would have access to the Pacfic Parlour car, and my thoughts are to offer Wi-Fi as well as a food coupon, which can be used in the diner or lounge."

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Another article on Auto-Train notes that "conversion to LED lighting..will reduce electrical load, says Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. This will enable us to operate a 17th car that could be coach or sleeper...". Note he didn't say restore the 1st class lounge.

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PullmanCo
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Revenue, revenue, revenue.

As to Heritage Cars for the business fleet: Business fleets, whether UP, BNSF, CSXT, NS ... they are immaculately cared for. They get above standard of service and support for line passenger cars.

I don't know how many of you have seen Wayner's reprint of the 1939 Pullman Company Private Car Service flyer. It was designed to attract those who planned other people's travel. It identified the cars by feature.

It did include 8 Section, Restaurant, Observation Lounge cars, but even those went to the yards and got immaculate cleaning before being sent out on charter.

That Budd 10-6 is not going to go out every day. That ex-ATSF Hi Level lounge racks up 1377 every two days, so 90 round trips a year is 124K miles.

Add that to its 35 years on the El Capitan/SW Limited/SW Chief (4530 miles every 6 days, or 271K miles a year), and any one of the fleet has something on the order of 13 MILLION miles on it.

Steel. Does. Age.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Volks, I can only reiterate what I have noted during my 20 voyages on AT (V21 will have to wait; as Florida this year will be a three day "fly down and back" to Miami), the "First Class" Lounge is a waste; let it be gone - guarantee you I won't miss it.

All of the five #3310X cars are identically appointed. Away from Happy Hour, practically I never was near one other than a walk through. One time I started to have conversation in there with a Doctor and his Nurse wife; that came to a quick end as soon as she smelt a "whiff from down below". Then it was time for the flick (another waste; especially since in this day and age, those who have the compulsion to be so entertained seems to carry it with them).

After smoking was prohibited on the AT, the Smoking Room was converted to more Lounge space. That formerly the Kitchen is also Lounge space (cars converted from #380XX S-I Diners).

Finally, there was a 330XX Sightseer also assigned to the Pool (again, there are five AT Lounges; two got roughed up at Crescent City but were returned to service). Presumably that car has been reassigned to Chicago; how many times need I reiterate why any railroad serving Florida spent a dime on sightseeing equipment simply escapes me.

One Lounge on AT is adequate; "been there done that" enough in this life to make that statement.

Posts: 9388 | 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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