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Passenger Trains > Amtrak baggage cars.... why?


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Date: 05/14/19 16:48
Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: mp208

Why were millions spent on Amtrak's new baggage cars?  Just curious if even 25% of available space is ever used.  Who has ever looked in one of them.  Perhaps they can be converted to the conductors lounge and ample storage for cafe car supplies etc.  This would free up at least four tables in the cafe cars for revenue passengers enjoyment.



Date: 05/14/19 16:56
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: P

Especially since they have eliminated baggage service at so many stations. It's hard to understand why Amtrak does what it does.

Posted from Android



Date: 05/14/19 17:12
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: Ray_Murphy

P Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Especially since they have eliminated baggage
> service at so many stations. It's hard to
> understand why Amtrak does what it does.

Didn't the procurement/planning cycle for these cars start in 2008 or so?

Ray



Date: 05/14/19 17:19
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: PHall

Ray_Murphy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> P Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Especially since they have eliminated baggage
> > service at so many stations. It's hard to
> > understand why Amtrak does what it does.
>
> Didn't the procurement/planning cycle for these
> cars start in 2008 or so?
>
> Ray

Yep.  



Date: 05/14/19 17:41
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: joemvcnj

I don't think adding an HVAC system and interior appointments would be very easy or cheap.

Posted from Android



Date: 05/14/19 17:46
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: TomG

I believe they were built modular just so that sort of thing was possible.
joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't think adding an HVAC system and interior
> appointments would be very easy or cheap.
>
> Posted from Android



Date: 05/14/19 18:39
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: restricted_speed

I have asked the same question before.  The baggage cars I have seen have almost always been nearly empty.

Better use of a car would be maybe 1/2 baggage and 1/2 crew office space like the OP suggests.

Or maybe 1/2 baggage and 1/2 coach ??



Date: 05/14/19 18:54
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: KansasCityChief

amtrak also carries  express ,, bicycles  beside luggage and human remains also



Date: 05/14/19 20:27
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: MojaveBill

Just like the railroads did...

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 05/14/19 20:33
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: wpjones

When I worked there in 2000-2002 most of the checked baggage was from major stations like SLC,DEN,CHI and so forth and used almost all the wall space on both sides of the car. Plus we did express and at OMA heavy express where there was a fork lift. While I worked there the heavy express I unloaded in OMA included two new Harley Daviidson motorcycles and in LNK I unloaded caskets with human remains on two different occasions. Nothing has changed at those two Stations so I would say the need still exists.
Steve



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/19 15:54 by wpjones.



Date: 05/14/19 20:49
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: jp1822

restricted_speed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have asked the same question before.  The
> baggage cars I have seen have almost always been
> nearly empty.
>
> Better use of a car would be maybe 1/2 baggage and
> 1/2 crew office space like the OP suggests.
>
> Or maybe 1/2 baggage and 1/2 coach ??

Folks, this was debated extensively back in 2009/2010 when the order was first placed! This is nothing new!!!

The question of WHY so many baggage cars when there was a more economical use for the Viewliner Baggage/Dorm, especially to be used so as to move the crew from the Superliner Trans Dorm Sleeper to the Viewliner Bagg/Dorm. This would artificially “add” valuable sleeper space to the Western Long Hauls particularly by opening up the Superliner Trans/Dorm Sleeper. That car has the MOST berths than ANY revenue sleeper Amtrak has!!!

Viewliner - 3 bedrooms, 12 Roomettes = 30 berths
Superliner Sleeper - 5 bedrooms, 14 Roometttes, 2 “Large” End Rooms = 42 berths
Superliner Trans Dorm Sleeper - 17 Roomettes Upper Deck*; 4 Roomettes Lower Deck**; 2 Large End Rooms*** = 46 berths

* Conductor’s office - space to be converted back to roomette module
** Lower deck roomette - space to be converted back to roomette module (crew tables taken out and crew lounge taken out
*** Handicap Room largely in place, crew lounge would be taken out and converted to one large bedroom or family bedroom. 
 



Date: 05/15/19 06:00
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: joemvcnj

What was really stupid is the change order of 15 Bag-Dorms to all Baggage. What possessed them ? Some fantasy of getting back into an LCL or parcel business ?



Date: 05/15/19 07:16
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: ts1457

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What was really stupid is the change order of 15
> Bag-Dorms to all Baggage. What possessed them ?
> Some fantasy of getting back into an LCL or parcel
> business ?

I thought that Amtrak may have been trying to reduce what it had to pay for the whole CAF order.



Date: 05/15/19 07:21
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: joemvcnj

Part of the financing deal was anticipated incremental sleeper car revenue, but they have reduced that  To the extent the Bag-Dorms would have allowed VL sleeper spece now held by crew, that would be accounted for as part of that incremental revenue. 



Date: 05/15/19 08:17
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: ts1457

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Part of the financing deal was anticipated
> incremental sleeper car revenue, but they have
> reduced that  To the extent the Bag-Dorms would
> have allowed VL sleeper spece now held by crew,
> that would be accounted for as part of that
> incremental revenue. 

There's a difference between justification and and paying out hard cash. An IG study, including audit, of the whole deal between Amtrak and CAF could be interesting.



Date: 05/15/19 08:43
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: Lackawanna484

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> joemvcnj Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Part of the financing deal was anticipated
> > incremental sleeper car revenue, but they have
> > reduced that  To the extent the Bag-Dorms
> would
> > have allowed VL sleeper spece now held by crew,
> > that would be accounted for as part of that
> > incremental revenue. 
>
> There's a difference between justification and and
> paying out hard cash. An IG study, including
> audit, of the whole deal between Amtrak and CAF
> could be interesting.

Interesting, indeed.

Amtrak's OIG looked into the matter of contracts between CAF and Amtrak.  It found that the contracts contained many standard industry provisions and there was no evidence of unlawful activity.

However, Amtrak lacked the ability to monitor progress in many key areas, manage the payment of funds at various intervals, and evaluate the results.  A big problem was the provision which allows people in other departments to waive or change provisions recommended by the Law Department, if they felt it necessary.  Documented steps were often omitted (who measures whether a test is late, and how is the test administered, for example) or unclear.

Operationally, Amtrak allows the design of certain systems which expose it to high replacement parts cost.  The Acela is specifically cited in the report.  A single source supplier may be cheaper in the purchase, but jacked up costs later can be a problem. Requiring the design to incorporate standard parts can make costs much lower later in the cycle.

https://amtrakoig.gov/sites/default/files/reports/OIG-A-2018-003%20Contract%20Analysis%20%28REDACTED%29.pdf



Date: 05/15/19 08:53
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: joemvcnj

Speaking of CAF, WMATA plans on junking the 5000 series cars, not a mid-life rebuild. They've had it with those cars.

Too bad Amtrak went with a 1980's car in 2010. But what else was available ? The only other single level car produced in that era was the Alstom NJT Comet-V. They are not good cars, all non-cab cars confined to the Hoboken Division. 

Everything Bombardier builds has major problems. The Toronto flexi trolley cars are nothing but trouble. NYCT has had many issues with the R179, the latest being improper welds in the collision posts, a component that was fabricated in Mexico. The are storing, not scrapping, the 1960's cars they are replacing. 



Date: 05/15/19 08:56
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: ts1457

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

> Interesting, indeed.
>
> Amtrak's OIG looked into the matter of contracts
> between CAF and Amtrak.  It found that the
> contracts contained many standard industry
> provisions and there was no evidence of unlawful
> activity.
>
> However, Amtrak lacked the ability to monitor
> progress in many key areas, manage the payment of
> funds at various intervals, and evaluate the
> results....

Thanks for that info.

I have no proof of this, but I suspect with some of the change orders, the costs were increasing. To avoid throwing in more money, I could see Amtrak telling CAF to change some of the baggage-dorm's to baggage cars.

With everything going on now, I would think that Amtrak's dorm requirements are going down. However the requirements for baggage are going down, too. With the old baggage cars being condemned, maybe Amtrak took the most rational course. Too bad Amtrak and CAF could not have built a long-term relationship. While both sides had faults of their own, the CAF product does not appear to be something worth sticking with.



Date: 05/15/19 12:39
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: Dcmcrider

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Speaking of CAF, WMATA plans on junking the 5000
> series cars, not a mid-life rebuild. They've had
> it with those cars.

The 5000-series cars are already pulled from revenue service and on their way to the scrapper, as of Oct 2018. Some of them are being retained for work trains, and for testing and commissioning of the Silver Line extension. The 2000- and 3000-series cars from Breda (many nearly a decade older than the 5000-series) are still going strong.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 05/15/19 15:53
Re: Amtrak baggage cars.... why?
Author: joemvcnj

Didn't realize it was happening already. They didn't last long. 



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