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Passenger Trains > Time to move on from Superliners?


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Date: 02/11/20 18:55
Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: Macster

I've been pondering this forever but with various restrictions on train lengths and the overall age of the Superliners, maybe it is time to sunset the equipment for a modern single level car that is flexible.

Right on, the only available cars are from Siemens, CAF, and Stadler. The offerings from Siemens are at already available with a decent lead time. The same cars are used in long distance service abroad and currently in use with Brightline and several states as Intercity equipment. CAF is likely out due to the issues with the Viewliner contract, and Stadler does not have a crash tested car at this time but they do have a model that will work for the US market. Bombardier is on its way out and likely won't survive 2020 (own speculation) for the passenger car market at the very least.

Utilizing a single car type will make overall maintenance easier to manage. The interior, being setup for Intercity or Long distance means the overall configuration is mechanically the same, with seating being the primary difference. Sleeper accommodations are possible with the car as well.

The pros -

New equipment potentially means less downtime, enroute failures, safer with CEM technology, and lighter, reducing fuel costs.

Eliminating the narrow stairway reduces fall hazards that do occur on trains, along with waiting to disembark from the train at station stops.

Enable west coast long distance routes to be extended to the east coast, potentially also tapping into former west coast routes direct to the east coast (North Coast Hiawatha or Desert Wind for example)

The cons -

The downside will be station stops that were a single spot, will become a double spot unless an investment was made to lengthen platforms to reduce those dwell times. Summer loads could potentially mean doubling in/out of stations.

The second issue would likely be a higher step up/down to the platforms unless again, platforms are rebuilt to accommodate a standard height for passenger trains in the US (similar to other countries), NEC, or Brightline.

Like it or not, the Superliners that we know today will be eliminated at some point, it is just a matter of when a contract is awarded.

Logistically speaking, if I were Amtrak, that would be my end goal to order a full fleet replacement of the Horizon, Amfleet, and Superliner equipment, a rebuild/repower program of the P42 locomotives, and add an additional 50 Chargers as a nationwide reserve fleet.

Penny for your thoughts?

Posted from Android



Date: 02/11/20 19:29
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: KV1guy

Macster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Logistically speaking, if I were Amtrak, that
> would be my end goal to order a full fleet
> replacement of the Horizon, Amfleet, and
> Superliner equipment, a rebuild/repower program of
> the P42 locomotives, and add an additional 50
> Chargers as a nationwide reserve fleet.
>
> Penny for your thoughts?
>


 Repowering the P42's is out of the question.  It was looked at 7 or 8 years ago.  The EVO powerplant is too tall and wont fit in it.



Date: 02/11/20 19:41
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: Railpax71

What happened to trains pre-Amtrak? Did they do double spots? On the NP at CleElum recall boarding one car and then walking to the coach/sleeper assigned. Even one trip on early AMTRAK San Francisco Zephyr boarding at Osceola. IA from the side of the train away from the station then walking to my sleeper. Possible side-effect from ADA requirements?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/20 19:50 by Railpax71.



Date: 02/11/20 19:45
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: ts1457

KV1guy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>  Repowering the P42's is out of the question. 
> It was looked at 7 or 8 years ago.  The EVO
> powerplant is too tall and wont fit in it.

I believe the EMD 710 can be Tier 4 with urea injection. I wonder why that was not explored for the basis of a new Amtrak locomotive?



Date: 02/11/20 19:51
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: mcdeo

75 Chargers have already been ordered, with an option for more. Looks like late 2021 to start seeing them in service and initial order complete by 2024. LD trains to get them first according to the 2018 press release. 

One thought, with AC traction motors, I wonder if they plan on changing the guidance of number of engines per passenger cars. Could more LD trains run with 1 locomotive? I know the flames coming with that statement, but it's a valid question with higher horsepower and higher adhesion available on the newer engines to re-evaluate the choice. 

Mike ONeill
Parker, CO
Colorado Photos



Date: 02/11/20 20:04
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: JohnM

How about freight motors pulling a hep car?   Yes.....70mph. 



Date: 02/11/20 20:06
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: RuleG

Macster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Penny for your thoughts?
>
> Posted from Android

My thoughts require at least a beer (I'll settle for a Budweiser!)  :)

Double deck rolling stock like the Superliners allow Amtrak to carry more riders per car than single level trains.  I think it makes sense for Amtrak to order similar designs when the existing fleet nears retirement.



Date: 02/11/20 20:37
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: illini73

Railpax71 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What happened to trains pre-Amtrak? Did they do double spots?

I am old enough to have ridden trains pre-Amtrak.  I experienced double spots when trains were extra-long on the Burlington and on the Santa Fe.  On all-coach trains, there was often a "shorts" coach (usually first behind the locomotive) that handled passengers getting on/off at smaller stations "short" of final destination that had very short platforms.  Never personally saw or heard of doubling out a long train from initial terminal, but on occasion a switcher would pull off the rear cars of a long train at the final destination and double them over to a second track so passengers could detrain (recalling that the locomotives and head-end cars would take up platform space at the end of the trip, not at the beginning).



Date: 02/11/20 20:45
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: dan

Some said the superliners saved the western long distance network, you have to use the cube or costs spiral.  Same car components to maintain, producing many more seat miles.  But i want Anderson gone before replacement cars are talked about, he will use the cost to kill trains.  He will ASK FOR STATE FUNDING, AND THAT WILL KILL THEM.  I thought it was JUST the cab car that failed the compression tests for Nippons cars?  western trains don't use them.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/20 07:52 by dan.



Date: 02/11/20 21:43
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: webmaster

The Superliners are efficiently designed cars, especially the sleepers.  In modern times, there is not much need for the baggage coaches, dining cars with their spacious kitchens, or bi-level lounge cars where Amtrak wants to get away from non-revenue cars.  Then there is the never ending battle dealing with reliability with retension toilets on Superliner equipment.  

Single level cars introduce ADA boarding challenges for western train routes that do not have high level platforms.  

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 02/11/20 22:29
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: zfan

I've always been in favor of going back to the single level cars on LD routes here in west ala Desert Wind, Pioneer, etc,, but do realize that will never happen due to multiple restrictions in the stations platform-wise.  Always request lower level roomettes today when occasionally travelling, like this weekend, from SLC to New York.  Scored!!  Got the CZ by chance, but requested lower level viewliner on Cardlnal.  Have rode Capitol and Lakeshore before.  Wanted to ride this route before it's gone.  



Date: 02/11/20 22:30
Re: Time to move on from Superliners?
Author: 4thDistrict

Bi-level cars have been around since the early 50s and have proven their worth for 7 decades now. Why kill off a concept that has worked so well for so many railroads, such as the Santa Fe, Amtrak and dozens of commuter lines around the nation. Many foreign countries also employ bi-level equipment successfully. It works, and it will continue to work for as long as train wheels roll on steel rails. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/20 22:31 by 4thDistrict.



Date: 02/12/20 00:23
Re: Time to move on from Super liners?
Author: GP25

I know a few East Coast Commuter operators uses Bi-Level Cars.
Had Amtrak been able to get the NEC to handle Bi-Level Cars.
Back when they were starting to rebuild what ever they had back than. 

I do not think we would be talking about this today.
Because all of Amtrak equipment would have been standardized.
And would have been able operate anywhere in the USA.






 

Jerry Martin
Los Angeles, CA
Central Coast Railroad Festival



Date: 02/12/20 02:52
Re: Time to move on from Super liners?
Author: mp51w

If they stick with a bi-level car, they have to deal with two realities.  1.) A lot of mobility impaired and overweight passengers demand lower level seats, & 2.) There is not enough luggage space.



Date: 02/12/20 03:27
Re: Time to move on from Super liners?
Author: howeld

I think all of you are missing the point that there isn’t a long distance double deck car available currently. Should Amtrak decide tomorrow to order it would be 5-7 years before the the first one rolled out if it could even pass the buff tests. Where as as the OP points out Amtrak could start receiving single level cars from Siemens in 2-4 years.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/12/20 05:37
Re: Time to move on from Super liners?
Author: joemvcnj

Various species of "east coast" bi-levels all have traditional gangways between the cars, low ceilings, harsh lighting, and terrible luggage accommodation. That is not of the Superliner/Cal Car design.
Has FRA changed their structural requirements in the last few years ? 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/20 05:39 by joemvcnj.



Date: 02/12/20 05:55
Re: Time to move on from Super-liners?
Author: stevenlsilva

they need cars on Amtrak where you can see forward .



Date: 02/12/20 09:07
Re: Time to move on from Super-liners?
Author: tehachapi-dave

Why exactly does any of Amtrak's passenger equipment need to be replaced?  It seems a capitol rebuild program of the current equipment would be a far better use of Amtrak's already limited funds.  The car-bodies should be in fine shape considering they are mostly stainless steel.  Brake components can be rebuilt/replaced.  Interiors can be redesigned.  I don't really think 10's of millions of dollars need to be spent creating a new fleet.  Amtrak needs a wholesale change in both management and in philosophy.  How many locomotives and passenger cars are sitting in Beech Grove that could be rebuilt for substantially less than new equipment?  I'm tired of the default answer for all of Amtrak's problems being that they need more money and new equipment.  They need a new philosophy on how to run their business.  If you only get X amount of dollars per year, figure out how to stretch that money not complain you need more; that's how private business works, and how Amtrak should work too. 

Tehachapi-TJ Over & Out.   



Date: 02/12/20 09:23
Re: Time to move on from Super-liners?
Author: Flyer92122

Touché. It's not rocket science. Anderson and Gardner need to be gone yesterday, they  can't be this stupid. I think their motives are to sabotage Amtrak into oblivion.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/20 09:35 by Flyer92122.



Date: 02/12/20 09:24
Re: Time to move on from Super-liners?
Author: goneon66

well, i sure don't want to climb the stairs of a superliner...........

66



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