• Viewliner II Delivery/Production

  • 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 west point
 
Yes going to CAF would definitely require a completely different contract. As well why not invoke the defense production act ? That is far fetched but ??????????? Contract to have 4 sleepers a month for 2 years ? Total 100 ?
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. West Point, not sure where you are coming from.

Just checked; why doesn't Mr. Train Guy round up Mr. LaGura and Mr. Wolf's friend and all three can take a joyride leaving tonight on The Night Owl #67. Each would have their own room (ette) and only $769 for all (return extra).

With three Roomettes open "last minute", I don't think "they're lining up and taking numbers" for this new service. If this one "can't make it" forget about anywhere else.

I'll place my bets that when the last V-II is delivered, that will be the final Sleeping Car Amtrak places on its roster - ever!!!

Simply because some 17, or maybe now 18yo, girl can "shame 'em off" Easy Jet and Ryanair does not mean she will do same over here with United et al. Our culture and travel patterns have moved too far away from The Lark (still "nice" when I rode it Dec '63), Federal, Owl, and Pittsburgher (450 mile mostly Pullman "overnights") to ever be reborn.

The possible acquisition of Greyhound by Amtrak could mean somebody is awakening regarding the National System (LD's) as the day when Superliners need be replaced draws nigh.
  by Greg Moore
 
Invoking the Defense Production Act doesn't magically improve efficiency. The problem with CAF is more endemic and I doubt you'd get 25 a year out of them let alone 100.

As for Mr. Norman, I think with all due respect you're wrong. For one, I think it's not really accurate to take a single ride, right after the service has started up, while a pandemic rages, to accurately predict travel patterns a year from now, let alone a decade from now.

This coming generation in my experience wants more trains. Yes, ideally HSR in many places, but they'll apparently settle for slower changes and even enjoy the overnight trains, across the system.

I think we're in the cusp of another radical change in travel patterns that will be much the inverse of what we saw in the 50s and 60s where we lost a lot of mass transit options and everyone moved to a car.
I think with the continued growth of Uber, Lyft and more mass-transit systems within cities, and a growing population that sees a car as a waste in many ways, we'll see more growth in the center city to center city transportation with links to local transit options.

And as such, because I of course wish you long live and good health, will take you up on that offer. Though I think "ever" is a bit unfair, perhaps we can put a cap on it for both of us.
  by TurningOfTheWheel
 
With all due respect, Mr. Norman, I think you underestimate my generation's proclivity for rail travel (I, for the record, am 21). People get excited about taking the train. They're conscious of sustainability and the climate effects of how they choose to travel. They are largely single and urban-dwelling. They're willing to sacrifice time or prestige for experiential or more environmentally/financially responsible travel. Of course taking the LSL end-to-end from CHI to BBY (home to school) is a once-a-year thing for me at most, but it's a great way to avoid the airline fares at Thanksgiving. When I go see my friends at UIUC, I opt for the Illini over driving. My generation (Z) and the generation that precedes mine (Millennials) are fostering a culture of urban-centric, transit-oriented travel that puts environmental and financial concerns over convenience, or at least what we have defined for the last half-century or so as convenience, i.e. car ownership.

In short, not only is my generation more environmentally conscious and willing to shape their decision-making around efficiency and sustainability, they're also choosing development patterns which favor rail travel. And we're a lot more romantic than a lot of people give us credit for; we do enjoy a good long distance rail journey if the circumstances are right. I can understand where your prediction comes from, but I respectfully disagree. :) After all, what joy is there in being a railfan without a healthy dose of optimism for the future of the thing we love?
  by bostontrainguy
 
Is there (was there) any option on this contract with CAF?
  by Greg Moore
 
There was. But after CAF and Amtrak basically took forever, the general agreement is that there's a 99.9% chance that the option was never taken up.

That said, there's nothing that would stop an administration flush with cash creating a new contract.

And with CAF being located in the state of the Senate Majority leader, it's likely that any new contract would favor NYS.

And TurningOfTheWheel, my son is your age and has a preference for the train in many cases also. (and refusing to invest in stuff like BitCoin because of the environmental impact.)
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Wheel, having been there on A-Day (with the MILW as a Management Trainee) the LD system was "sold" to the industry as an "ease the pain" stopgap. It was to have been gone starting somewhere during '76, or when roads declining to join Amtrak, would have been free to seek discontinuance of their trains. It appeared to me that the '79 Carter Cuts "got the ball rolling". But politicians had discovered that LD's represented an inexpensive "rolling pork barrel", and that was the end of that. The subsequent Clinton Cuts and Bush(43) prunings, simply addressed services added subsequent to RPSA70.

Admittedly, you won't find this in writing, but the Washroom Walls that once were in the now gutted upper floors of CUS (planned to be a hotel, but somehow I think that "fell through") were witness to comments heard to the effect of "We're going to be stuck with those trains for the next thirty years" after the Superliner order became known.

OK let's all acknowledge that the only reason the LD's survive today is political pressure; even the most avid enthusiast cannot dispute that point. But let us note, many of those Congressmembers who thought of "rolling pork" as a delicacy are either "six feet..", defeated, or cashed in for K Street, so the support for Amtrak to that its needed Corridor services will continue, and hopefully thrive, is sufficient without them.

Further let us note that the more the investor owned railroad industry becomes indoctrinated by "The Gospel According to Saint Elwood" (PSR), the more difficult it will be to move a scheduled passenger train over the road on its schedule. While hardly very much the case around here, at some "advocacy" sites that delight in referring to the managements of certain Class I's as "criminals" because they do not welcome passenger trains on their roads, is simply immature to me.

I have long contended that when signing up to join Amtrak, the industry signed "the Faustian pact with the Devil". But even Faust, or at least in Marlowe's version, eventually was "cleansed". The LD's by no measurement, can be considered "sustainable", so it could be time to consider the exit strategy. That is why I think the possible acquisition of Greyhound by Amtrak could be the opening to continue offering commercial surface transportation to "the little Lady from Sanderson" who needs to see her doctor in San Antonio. That little lady brings her own food, could care less about a Sightseer Lounge, and is not about to find out what a Sleeping Car is all about.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  by J.D. Lang
 
Maybe just another 25 VII sleepers from CAF. They and Amtrak must be through all the major design changes that helped bog the whole order down, not just the inept CAF management.

Before the pandemic almost all LD sleepers were sold out weeks in advance. There is a market for this type of travel and as the two previous posters said the younger traveling market isn't just all about cars and planes. I'm sure an extra sleeper on the eastern LD's would sell out even when the prices increase as the departure day approaches.
  by R&DB
 
Just my opinion, but I think all overnight trains should be 80% sleepers , 10% coach and 10% food service. More availability of sleeper would reduce the 'sold out' situation, hopefully reducing pricing. The whole point is more people would pay for sleeper if the price was lower and the availability existed.
  by west point
 
Boston: Completely forgot about the CAF option. Vaguely recall the number might have been 70 cars ? Without actually reading / knowing the language any speculation is completely futile. "IF" the option allows for a quick construction start then maybe more. But sleeper demand this summer might give Amtrak, the board of directors, FRA, DOT, and white house confirmation more sleepers should be ordered. Otherwise it is a no go. Also the need to supplement Superliner route sleepers can come into play.
  by Alphaboi
 
R&DB wrote:Just my opinion, but I think all overnight trains should be 80% sleepers , 10% coach and 10% food service. More availability of sleeper would reduce the 'sold out' situation, hopefully reducing pricing. The whole point is more people would pay for sleeper if the price was lower and the availability existed.
That model could work for Euro-style night trains like the NER overnights or LA-Bay Area proposal, but you'd need a budget sleeper option. Long distance trains have substantial daylight travel times and most passengers use them for short to medium distance intercity travel.

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  by gokeefe
 
I think Amtrak has had something of an epiphany with Siemens. It is probably true we will never see a single Viewliner ever built again (or a contract awarded to CAF). However, I strongly suspect Amtrak will eventually award a contract for replacement of the Superliners. Whatever Siemens builds that is compatible with the Western transcontinental service routes has a high chance of being selected.

The grim reaper probably got as close to shutting down the LD routes as it ever will in 2020. I would not be surprised at all to see an RFQ go out sometime in 2023.

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  by lordsigma12345
 
I think things have changed a bit since the Clinton and Bush era. I think the NEC funding (and things like Gateway) is more of a political target by congressional republicans right now than the national network funding. During the COVID rescue plan debate the GOP senators put forward an amendment to axe the northeast corridor relief funding (but not the national network funding) essentially calling it a wasteful expensive railroad benefiting 8 liberal northeast states. I don’t feel that way - I think NEC is clearly the most important passenger railroad in the US - but with a lot of billions in pending capital projects I think NEC is more of a target right now.

I think Amfleet IIs will be replaced and Superliner Is will get a heavy rebuild to extend their life. Any future sleepers would probably be on Siemens platform and would probably be single level.
  by STrRedWolf
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 4:35 pm I think Amfleet IIs will be replaced and Superliner Is will get a heavy rebuild to extend their life. Any future sleepers would probably be on Siemens platform and would probably be single level.
Siemens will probably build the next gen Amfleets/Viewliners. The Superliner? Well, Bombardier/Alstom has experience with double deckers...
  by RRspatch
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 6:05 pm
lordsigma12345 wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 4:35 pm I think Amfleet IIs will be replaced and Superliner Is will get a heavy rebuild to extend their life. Any future sleepers would probably be on Siemens platform and would probably be single level.
Siemens will probably build the next gen Amfleets/Viewliners. The Superliner? Well, Bombardier/Alstom has experience with double deckers...
Doesn't Alstom now hold the patents on the Superliners? I thought the chain went something like this - Pullman Standard -> Bombardier -> Alstom or does Amtrak hold the patents?

It's a shame Alstom didn't get the contract to build the California/Midwestern bi-level order based on the Surfliners.
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