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Date: 07/16/13 13:00
Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: Topfuel

Last Friday the 12th, I made a late afternoon reconnaissance from Topfuel East Coast HQ at the former Erie depot in Cohocton, NY to Elmira Heights, NY to check out the construction progress of the new Amtrak Viewliner II cars. I hadn't heard anything about how the contract was progressing, so I decided to see if I could see anything outside the CAF plant.

Cleverly disguised as a member of the homeless community so as to avoid harassment, I rose up out of the bushes to record these shots at the back (east) side of the plant. There were very few Viewliners outside the plant visible from public roads on this day, so this was the best I could do.

The cars pictured are just shells at this point, some sitting on their new General 70 trucks, and some on interesting-looking shop trucks. I don't think there's any way to tell at this point if the non-baggage cars in the picture are going to be diners or sleepers.

The baggage cars appear to be 85' long, but it's hard to tell for sure. 85' long baggage cars were comparatively rare during the lightweight era, with 73' being more of a standard. Though the UP did have a fairly large quantity of 85' aluminum bodied cars.

I am not a fan of the "wide hips" profile of the Viewliner cars, and I sure wish they would have gone with a conventional AAR profile from the 1940's (all Heritage cars have the AAR profile), but I don't think that possibility was ever in play. I also hope CAF does a lot better with the camber on the Viewliner II's then we see on the Viewliner I's.








Date: 07/16/13 13:10
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: The_Chief_Way

Odd shaped cars and locomotives...that's the way we do it nowadays!
Thanks for taking on this stealth mission. I will put you in for a commendation, TF.



Date: 07/16/13 13:15
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: jp1822

Absolute overkill of space on the Viewliner baggage cars, especially with the extra height width they are going to be getting with these cars - just my opinion. They would have been better off as all baggage/dorm cars, thus freeing up the Superliner Trans-Dorm Sleepers in the system as well (making them "all-roomette" sleepers).

Would be nice to see them "finished" as opposed to just in shell form.

Thanks for the photos!



Date: 07/16/13 13:52
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: cforssi

Nice to have a peek at these new cars.......Thanks!BTW, the factory does not exactly look like Pullman in the 1950's How big is this place?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/16/13 13:54 by cforssi.



Date: 07/16/13 13:52
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: joemvcnj

I think these will lack the box-car like "roof-walk".



Date: 07/16/13 13:56
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: railcity

The Cars look great.



Date: 07/16/13 14:07
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: Lackawanna484

Thanks for the pictures. Nice to see the order is coming along.

Do you know if there are regular deliveries of components, etc by rail or trucks?



Date: 07/16/13 14:14
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: hsr_fan

I remember the last time we saw fancy new Amtrak equipment coming out of a factory in New York! Hope this order turns out to be a better use of taxpayer funding. The Viewliners do look great, however!




Date: 07/16/13 14:37
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: Geep

Any plans for Viewliner long distance coaches/business class?



Date: 07/16/13 14:39
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: RNinRVR

I thought this order did include coaches, which could be used on day trains like the Palmetto and Carolinian.

Sharon Evans
Glen Allen, VA



Date: 07/16/13 15:49
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: joemvcnj

No coaches, not even with the 70 car Option order.



Date: 07/16/13 15:51
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: joemvcnj

< absolute overkill of space on the Viewliner baggage cars, especially with the extra height width they are going to be getting with these cars - just my opinion. >

But then all those cars would need HVAC systems, and be more expensive per car. They will still be short about 12 baggage cars with the 55.



Date: 07/16/13 16:59
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: coach

With all that extra baggage car space, they could:

--offer ski service
--install bike racks on for certain trains
--offer palletized EXPRESS cargo transit (deliver it palletized to the station, we'll load / unload at stations with forklift, and customer picks up at other end)

Lots of ways to use that space and generate more revenue.



Date: 07/16/13 18:21
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: burlingtonjohn

Secret Agent Topfuel, you have done well. Report to Agent 99 for debrief.

Regards,
Burlington John



Date: 07/16/13 20:13
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: Topfuel

cforssi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> BTW, the factory does not exactly look like Pullman in the 1950's.
> How big is this place?

No, it's not like Pullman Standard, Budd, or ACF in the 1950's. None of the current US carbuilding facilities are as big as the old plants in their heyday. However, there are more of them out there than most fans realize.

The Elmira plant is what I would call a modest-sized facility, and it does have a carbuilding history. It's about the same size as Alstom in Hornell, NY (former Erie shops), and Kawasaki in Lincoln, NE (built new for passenger railcar construction). The Bombardier plant in Plattsburg, NY is smaller than the 3 noted above.

The photo shows the CAF administration building in Elmira.




Date: 07/16/13 20:20
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: Topfuel

Geep Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Any plans for Viewliner long distance
> coaches/business class?

I think because funding for new equipment is always in such short supply, and Amtrak has low-level coaches that are "only" 30+ years old (Amfleet II), the most critical need was to replace the Heritage diners and baggage cars, and to augment the existing relatively small Viewliner I sleeper fleet. A Viewliner coach order would be dependent on additional funding and is thus likely a ways off.



Date: 07/16/13 20:25
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: Topfuel

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Do you know if there are regular deliveries of
> components, etc by rail or trucks?

It's a safe bet that most, if not all components arrive by truck. Even the "trucks" most likely arrive by truck from Columbus, OH (Columbus Castings) at 1 pair per flatbed, but they might be covered for transit so you couldn't get a look at them outside the plant.



Date: 07/16/13 20:38
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: KV1guy

The replacement coaches were arty drawn up in the next generation equipment plans. They basically had coach, lounge and cab car drawings. The basically kept a smaller viewliner profile, kind of like the Acela cars.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 07/16/13 22:13
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: davew833

Nice to see fresh new LD passenger cars being built, but to me the design already looks 'dated'. The old 'standard' AAR profile is timeless and would have still looked good in 10, 20, or 50 years. Of course nothing on Amtrak matches anyway, and likely never will.



Date: 07/17/13 07:44
Re: Spy photos of new Amtrak Viewliners
Author: crs1026

Topfuel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Cleverly disguised as a member of the homeless
> community so as to avoid harassment,

Great report - thanks for sharing.

Good idea to dress better than the average foamer usually dresses :-)

- Paul



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