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Canadian Railroads > Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?


Date: 01/09/20 19:31
Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: stuporchief

Does anyone know the expected date for introduction of the four dining cars being rebuilt by Rail GD for The Canadian. 

The contract for the $16.4 million project was announced in October 2018, and at the time the works was to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.

See the press release here: https://media.viarail.ca/en/press-releases/2018/10-october-2018-rail-gd-new-richmond-qc-to-renovate-via



Date: 01/11/20 15:23
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: ATSF3751

stuporchief Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone know the expected date for
> introduction of the four dining cars being rebuilt
> by Rail GD for The Canadian. 
>
> The contract for the $16.4 million project was
> announced in October 2018, and at the time the
> works was to be completed in the second quarter of
> 2020.
>
> See the press release
> here: https://media.viarail.ca/en/press-releases/
> 2018/10-october-2018-rail-gd-new-richmond-qc-to-re
> novate-via

$4.1 million per car? It would be interesting to see how much VIA Rail has spent upgrading and maintaining the Budd rolling stock and how that would compare with comparable Superliner type cars over the time period from when the last Superliner cars were built.  I believe Amtrak spent around $2 million per car in 1993 (about $3.74 in today's dollars).  A fair comparison would be a "per seat" amount. 
Example: Let's say a new Superliner diner would cost around $5 million, but it seats 74. I think the Budd diners seat 48, some 44. 
The Superliner diner costs $67,000 per seat ($5 million/74 seats)
Budd diner refurbish $85 per seat ($4.1 million/48 seats), $93 per seat if 44 seats. 
Then, compare the Superliner diner with the added efficency (higher revenue per seat) and probable lower maintenance costs per seat then the Budd diner. 



Date: 01/11/20 17:27
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: thatguyonthetrain

The exchange rate alone ($1 USD = $1.3 CAD) makes those prices roughly equal.  $67,000 USD per seat = $87,100 CAD per seat.

Then factor in the overhead and design costs being spread across 4 diners instead of 69; the accessibility, safety, and technical requirements that didn't exist in the 1970's when the Superliners were built; Superliners' 72-seat capacity (not 74) bringing it to ~$69,000 USD per seat; etc., and I'm more inclined to conclude that VIA made a smart decision.

Plus, of course, cost per seat isn't the only (or even primary) factor.  The lowest cost per seat (assuming you have a dining car at all) just needs an old boxcar, a few wooden planks, and a couple microwaves.  (I do expect to be reprimanded for giving Mr. Anderson ideas.)



Date: 01/11/20 21:20
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: jp1822

How about the fact that Amtrak purchased NEW SUPERLINER DINERS to replace their Heritage Diners, while VIA inherited the ex-CP Budd Diners (Heritage Diners) and decided to REFURBISH their Heritage Diners (effectively). The added newly fabricated parts during each refurbishment too. Each refurbisment was a near or complete tear down and rebuild also. So be sure to look at the fully loaded and "all-in" costs when comparing a first generation VIA Heritage Diner to a second generation Amtrak Superliner Diner.

Also, not sure if efficiency is really factoring in too much anymore, as Amtrak is running smaller consists and doesn't really need all the Superliner Diner seats anymore - like it once did. The Superliner Diner was meant to seat both coach and sleeping car passengers. Amtrak is having a tough time getting coach passengers to the Diner. Whereas VIA is running more sleepers in its consist for the higher end revenue and thus nearlt everyone is coming to the Diner for meals. 



 



Date: 01/12/20 05:29
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: joemvcnj

VIA is also doing a major rebuild of their 2 flavors of HEP-I coaches (ex-CP and the US imports), which means they have no intentions of refleeting for many years to come. Whichever political party is in power, for their entire existence outside the Corridor, they are in perpetual survival mode.
 
There is also no guarantee that Amtrak would choose to replace Superliner I with Superliner III, as they could opt for single level equipment. There are advantages to that. 



Date: 01/12/20 13:47
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: ATSF3751

thatguyonthetrain Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The exchange rate alone ($1 USD = $1.3 CAD) makes
> those prices roughly equal.  $67,000 USD per seat
> = $87,100 CAD per seat.

So, that $4.1 million price was in $CAD?
>
> Then factor in the overhead and design costs being
> spread across 4 diners instead of 69; the
> accessibility, safety, and technical requirements
> that didn't exist in the 1970's when the
> Superliners were built; Superliners' 72-seat
> capacity (not 74) bringing it to ~$69,000 USD per
> seat; etc., and I'm more inclined to conclude that
> VIA made a smart decision.

Maybe, but even Budd rolling stock has a life span. Remember Amtrak retired it's heritage diners due to cracked centersills. Sure, Amtrak service is probably rougher then what the Canadian encounters given the Amtrak stock is in daily service with multiple stops. But, to rebuild a car only to have it fail because of a cracked centersill, or some other failure due to age and decay is certainly concerning. 
>
> Plus, of course, cost per seat isn't the only (or
> even primary) factor.  The lowest cost per seat
> (assuming you have a dining car at all) just needs
> an old boxcar, a few wooden planks, and a couple
> microwaves.  (I do expect to be reprimanded for
> giving Mr. Anderson ideas.)

LOL. I will be sure to improve upon the Anderson comment and send him plans for an SP Automat with plank seating. 

Well, it was one on the primary reasons Santa Fe came up with the Hi-Level design. Increased seating without a sacrifice in comfort. In fact, the Hi-Levels also provided a more quiet ride regardless of where one sat in the car. Budd also proposed a Hi-Level sleeper, but obviously that did not see the light of day. 
The Hi Level diners sat significantly more patrons (80) and could turn out meals faster due to the larger galley. This was important on the El Cap where trains oftern departed LA with 600 passengers during high season. 
Santa Fe knew how to maximize revenue while still providing a comfortable ride (and experience). Reduced consists with the same seating capacity gave Santa Fe an edge in efficency. The Hi-Levels were successful enough that Santa Fe ordered 24 additional cars in late 1963 that were delivered in 1964. The Hi Level cars were easier to service and more accessable then their low level counterparts with major appliances located at each end of the car which in turn reduced maintenance costs. No spicer drives, no water tanks or batteries exposed to the elements, ect. Self contained except for steam heat requirements. 
Think about this:...
..... a conventional El Cap ran 16 cars, carried 438 people and weighed 1,069 tons. Fred Gurley's $13 million(1955 dollars) got Santa Fe a 13-car train (including the same head-end cars) that carried 130 additional people and weighed 110 tons less ...— Fred Frailey, Twilight of the Great Trains
I
It is known that Santa Fe's El Cap, Super, and Texas Chief were at, or close to break even operations into the late 1960's. Some of that is attributed to the success of the HI Levels. 
I think Via is on the wrong path with the continual rebuilding of the Budd fleet based on simple economics. But, that is just "IMHO". 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/20 13:49 by ATSF3751.



Date: 01/12/20 15:29
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: jp1822

ATSF3751 Wrote:

> I think Via is on the wrong path with the
> continual rebuilding of the Budd fleet based on
> simple economics. But, that is just "IMHO". 

VIA would fall under even more criticism if they tried to go out and buy new equipment, so I think they are pretty much "stuck" with what they have. Thankfully what they have is still holding up.

Keep in mind that VIA learned a lot from Amtrak's mistakes from when Amtrak modified and overhauled its Heritage fleet in the early 1980s. The HEP overhaul program, and later, retention tank installations,  had a definite effect on the car's integrity (dd it lead to an early cracking of center sills). VIA reversed engineered one of Amtrak's Heritage coaches that had HEP and retention tanks to it to try and gain a better understanding of what "to do" and "not to do." Amtrak ram-rodded the HEP project through very quickly. They couldn't afford to have the equipment out of service for that long! A former Amtrak service manager even recounted some errors he thought were made (in a book that came out a few years back). 

The Hi Levels and Superliners were certainly ingenious designs, particularly on maximizing efficiency. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/20 15:30 by jp1822.



Date: 01/12/20 16:13
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: ATSF3751

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ATSF3751 Wrote:
>
> > I think Via is on the wrong path with the
> > continual rebuilding of the Budd fleet based on
> > simple economics. But, that is just "IMHO". 
>
> VIA would fall under even more criticism if they
> tried to go out and buy new equipment, so I think
> they are pretty much "stuck" with what they have.
> Thankfully what they have is still holding up.
>
> Keep in mind that VIA learned a lot from Amtrak's
> mistakes from when Amtrak modified and overhauled
> its Heritage fleet in the early 1980s. The HEP
> overhaul program, and later, retention tank
> installations,  had a definite effect on the
> car's integrity (dd it lead to an early cracking
> of center sills). VIA reversed engineered one of
> Amtrak's Heritage coaches that had HEP and
> retention tanks to it to try and gain a better
> understanding of what "to do" and "not to do."
> Amtrak ram-rodded the HEP project through very
> quickly. They couldn't afford to have the
> equipment out of service for that long! A former
> Amtrak service manager even recounted some errors
> he thought were made (in a book that came out a
> few years back). 
>
> The Hi Levels and Superliners were certainly
> ingenious designs, particularly on maximizing
> efficiency. 

I'm sure Via did learn from Amtrak's errors. I hadn't thought about it, but I remember in the early 1960's, C&NW embarked on a program to convert the last remaining LD trains they operated to full HEP. The exception was the Kate Shelly 400 and a few locals, which retained steam heating. In any event, most of the remaining trains became bi-level usiing the commuter cars as a basis. A few low level diners, lounge cars, and even RPO's were converted to operate with the bi-levels, including the addition of false upper levels to match the bi-level cars. Of course, C&NW did not have to add retention toilets. 



Date: 01/12/20 17:11
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: joemvcnj

Amtrak was more careless and rough on their Heritage car conversions than VIA. They used torches to get old equipment off, and bolted new stuff onto the center sills. That's what I have been told over the years. 



Date: 01/13/20 07:38
Re: Status of dining cars being rebuilt for The Canadian?
Author: davew833

About 20 years ago, Illinois Transit Assembly Corp. (ITAC-- now Gateway Rail) had a website with an extensive treatise on the abuse inflicted on Amtrak's Heritage cars in converting them to HEP, including pictures showing how the way various brackets for new equipment were mounted in a way that compromised structural integrity.



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