Cardinal discussion

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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby justalurker66 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:18 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:I think it would make a lot of sense to remove the sleeper from the Cardinal if push comes to shove as it probably has the lowest percentage of long distance passengers and the lowest percentage of passengers that need/use sleepers.

10% of the Cardinal's passengers used a sleeper in 2015, The yield per mile was 34.2c for a sleeper passenger vs 15.2c for a coach passenger. The average sleeper passenger traveled 643 miles, the average coach passenger traveled 379. Cut the sleepers and cut the income (including losing up to 10% of passengers).

Sure, you hate the Cardinal - as demonstrated by your continued use of a derogatory name for the train. But the least you can do is look at the facts.

The Silver Star had less than 10% in sleepers. The Cardinal beat all sleepers except the Crescent and Lake Shore Limited for yield per mile. The service should stay.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arborwayfan » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:36 pm

I think the most useful numbers for deciding which trains get sleepers would be revenue and cost per car-run. That's not the right word, but I'm looking for the equivalent of car-mile that is how much it costs and how much revenue it brings in to run one sleeper from NYC to Chicago on the Cardinal, and how much it costs and brings in to run the same car on any of the other routes. Or maybe revenue and cost per car-month, if a given car will make more round trips in given period of time if it's assigned to one train rather than another. (I realize that the consists don't stay together all the time, but to figure out how many car-runs a particular route is responsible for we could probably count as though the same cars stayed on a given route.) Does that make sense?

Revenue per passenger mile is a useful number, but it faces some problems: One single level coach holds upwards of twice as many passengers as a viewliner sleeper with two people in each room, right? If both cars sold out with NYP-CHI passengers, the coach would produce more than twice as many passenger miles on that run, with much lower costs for staffing, supplies, etc. Obviously that doesn't happen, but it is still probable that each coach produces more passenger miles than each sleeper, maybe a lot more. Not only do coaches hold more people, but sleepers on a one-night train typically get only one passenger or pair of passengers per room/ette, whereas a coach seat has a good chance of having two or three passengers; if someone gets off in Indy, someone else may get on in Indy, etc. So we'd need to know passenger miles per car mile, revenue per car mile, and cost (attendant salary, cleaning, maintenance, supplies, meal service for the sleeper pax) per car mile of each type of car on each train we were thinking about.

The percentage of the passengers who need or use sleepers is also a useful number, but it also faces problems. If 10% of one train's passengers used a sleeper, while 20% of another passengers used a sleeper, does that mean we should move a car from the first train to the second? Not necessarily. Those 10% could keep the first train's one sleeper well filled, while the 20% on the other train might fill one and a half sleepers. The second train might have more expensive meal service (more meals on the schedule, more double-occupancy rooms, whatever). For any number of reasons that sleeper might be a better financial bet on the first train than on the second.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arlington » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:50 pm

justalurker66 wrote:The Cardinal beat all sleepers except the Crescent and Lake Shore Limited for yield per mile. The service should stay.

Myself, I have generally concluded that sleepers are good but that diners (food & food prep costs) are bad.

One thing to consider, though, beyond $/mile is $/staff-hour. What is the relative average speed of these trains? If a particular train is a lot slower, it will incur extra staff time and have to serve an extra meal, and we'd see that reflected in higher costs per mile and higher losses per mile.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Alcochaser » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:27 am

Sleeper on the Cardinal doubles as a crew dorm. So $$$ space is taken up.

Cardinal will be one of the few trains to get the Viewliner II Baggage Dorms. This will replace the badly underused full baggage car.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby jp1822 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:14 am

The Cardinal's sleeper is nearly ALWAYS sold out between Chicago and at least Charlottesville/Washington DC when it just runs with ONE sleeper. I've heard numerous (and seen it too) sleeping car attendants say how the rooms turn over at LEAST twice if not THREE times enroute. Cincy is a major turnover point and even Indy. A second sleeper is desperately needed. Better yet, it would be served by a Superliner sleeper since there are more rooms per car. The train was ideal when it had a full service Superliner Diner and Superliner Sightseer Car over an incredibly scenic route! Now everyone gets to enjoy Amslit windows. Even the Amfleet II windows are more to be desired. Amtrak could develop a separate "class of service" with the Cardinal if it wanted to with or without bi-level cars. One of the PRIIA reports indicated how this train should have short domes in its consist (removed of course in Washington DC). If the train had Superliners once again, it would also terminate in Washington DC and be serviced along with the Capitol Limited's equipment.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:08 am

Where would Amtrak get short domes?? (And are we talking short lengthwise like the early Budd domes, or height-wise like the Colorado Railcar units?)
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:58 am

There's a yard in the Granite City IL area with former Amtrak "Short Domes" are stored,possilby stripped of parts,
and never rebuilt for HEP.
The VIA "Short Domes" are rigged for 575 VAC HEP, so forget about borrowing them.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Woody » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:59 am

Apparently at the time of the PRIIA study (2009 iirc), several dome cars were on the market and Amtrak was interested in getting them. But alas, those cars are among "the ones that got away".
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Alcochaser » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:56 pm

I honestly wouldn't mind seeing some honest to goodness Viewliner Lounges.

Maybe they can rebuild the last remaining prototype sleeper into a one off Lounge car. Something to use like they use 10031 for.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Morning Zephyr » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:53 am

The absence of real lounge cars is a huge drawback for not just the Card but for all the eastern, single-level long-distance trains: Crescent, Florida trains, Lake Shore. The Amdinette / Amcafe, with its rigid table seating and small windows, was designed as a corridor snack car, totally unsuited to be a long-distance lounge car. (That's just on a design basis, not to mention the low quality of the food.) The lack of a real lounge is one of the major factors that make the Cardinal and the other eastern trains so unappealing to riders compared to the western trains that have lounges designed to be lounges.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby east point » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:00 pm

Lounge cars will be nice but first let us fill out the trains with revenue cars. A future train of a bag dorm sleeper diner 2 coaches does not have enough revenue cars to non revenue. Once enough equipment is available to have a bag -dorm, 4 sleepers, diner (or 2 ) and 6 -10 coaches then a lounge makes much more sense.

IMO lets get the sleepers, Bag dorms and a whole bunch of coaches added to the consists then the operating ratio may go below 100.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby jp1822 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:22 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Where would Amtrak get short domes?? (And are we talking short lengthwise like the early Budd domes, or height-wise like the Colorado Railcar units?)


Short Domes as in VIA Rail Canada's Skyline Cars.

Where would Amtrak get them? One would be amazed as to what comes up on the market from time to time. Who would have thought someone would have been able to buy sleepers from a defunct GrandLuxe, aka American Orient Express.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:08 am

And as I've pointed out, I believe 4 of the sibling dorms to the existing Amtrak Dorm are still in service.

If Amtrak were to acquire dorms, I'd suggest those first if at all possible. If you're going to have a fleet of dorms, better 3-4 of the same fleet than 4 different dorms.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby jhdeasy » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:04 pm

Backshophoss wrote:There's a yard in the Granite City IL area with former Amtrak "Short Domes" are stored,possilby stripped of parts,
and never rebuilt for HEP.


That is a business known as Gateway Rail Services. Once upon time it was named Illinois Transit Assembly; before that it was named Kasten Railcar Services and located in Edwardsville IL.


Backshophoss wrote:The VIA "Short Domes" are rigged for 575 VAC HEP, so forget about borrowing them.


That is incorrect.

VIA HEP is 480 VAC, as is Amtrak's HEP. The only difference is that 2 of the pins on the HEP control circuit are reversed from the Amtrak specification. The work-around for that difference is a special adapter jumper cable (inserted between a Via car and an Amtrak car) that crosses over those 2 control circuits. I've taken MOUNT VERNON to Canada numerous times in the past 15 years, and successfully received HEP on various Via trains and in Via stations/yards at Toronto, Montreal, Senneterre and Halifax.

In the past, Via owned some equipment that had been wired for 550~577 VAC HEP. That was the fleet of 25 former CN Tempo cars. Via eventually converted them to 480 VAC HEP.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby east point » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:12 pm

VIA HEP is more complicated than Amtrak. On VIA cars the connectors on each side are isolated from the other side.. On each car the forward right connectors exit at the rear on the left side. Normally each car only takes power from the right side so the next car takes power from the right side which is not the power from the front car. VIA wires it so that both locos provide HEP one on each side of the trailing loco. That is why VIA is able to run 25 - 30 car trains on the HEP. If a car does not receive any power from the right side it automatically switches to left side but limits it power draw so one loco will not overload. If a train only has one loco that loco is set up to power both left and right side.
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