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Passenger Trains > The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National Netwo


Date: 01/23/23 10:10
The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National Netwo
Author: Railvt

https://media.amtrak.com/2023/01/amtrak-starts-the-process-for-new-overnight-trains/

This news release is important and hopeful. At last Amtrak is beginning the process to re-equip its National Network/long-haul trains.

BUT, what matters even more is that Amtrak management does not stall/drag out this process so that the BIL (Bi-partisan Infrastructure Law) funding runs out first. Five years (counting FY 2022) were forward funded--with total rail $ set at $66 Billion. Amtrak has targeted funds for new LH equipment included and grants for which it can apply.

BUT, equally vital is that the 170 + national network cars now in storage be returned to service ASAP. The current CAP from DC to Chicago is running with one coach, a Cross Country Cafe diner-lounge and one sleeper (I kid you not). The TEXAS EAGLE is down to the same consist except for the addition of one extra coach.

This is wildly unacceptable.

Try booking a seat on the CAP to see the impact. Coach in particular is now typically sold-out--or if offered sold only at the highest fare bracket. Yet with only 60 seats available per trip the sold-out CAP will none the less show a huge ridership drop--better than 50% is almost guaranteed from pre-COVID levels. Amtrak seems in no way concerned.

Pre-pandemic this train always carried two (and often three) coaches, a full diner, Superliner lounge cafe, two sleepers and sometimes a transition dorm/sleeper. The present three car (only two revenue-generating) stump is incapable of showing positive ridership as it fails to rate any extra cars even when consistently full.

Amtrak has parked dozens of serviceable Superliners to avoid the expense of their required four-year COTS brake overhauls/tests. Further coaches and even sleepers are being dragged empty to satisfy the absurd Axle-count requirement of the Canadian National on the former IC mainline.

As a further example. I support the Amtrak seasonal Ski Train from Denver to Winter Park (indeed I learned to ski while riding its Rio Grande Ski Train predecessor in the 1960s/70s), but perhaps this year Amtrak could have sent an Amfleet consist to provide the service. As it is the 2021 train had 8 coaches. This yer it's four. Do we see a pattern here?

So I'm thrilled to see this initial feeler for new long-haul cars. But note this is NOT a true RFP. Rather it's a "are you sort of interested" feeler--to be followed by a true RFP perhaps later this year. This is of course better than nothing--

BUT---------

Carl Fowler



Date: 01/23/23 10:23
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: pdt

Sorry, but this is old news now, and as stated by some of us, just smoke and mirrors to deflect attention away from the deplorable operating condition of amtk now.

I could care less about new cars in 10 years, when they cant even run the basic system they have now.

And, the title is either purposely, or stupidly misleading.  There are no new overnight trains in the works.  Its new overnight train CARS.  There's a difference, not that one would  expect the drones in the amtk PR dept to understand.



Date: 01/23/23 10:50
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: cutboy1958

Amazing. Amtrak starts  the  process of  procuring  new  LD equipment  and  some  folks  can not  wait  to  be  negative  about  the  entire  process!!



Date: 01/23/23 11:24
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: Railvt

As skeptical as I am about the speed with which this process may proceed, of course this equipment can be used for new trains as well as existing services and that is simply obvious. The procurement of new consists has nothing to do with added services as long as sufficient equipment is ordered, but the new cars acquired can certainly be used for both existing services and added frequencies/routes.

There are many questions that are worth posing here. Will we see single level cars exclusively? If so there will be a need for many more cars than with double-deckers just to match existing capacity. I personally suspect this will be the case--even if only to comply with ADA accessibility.

Will there be some form of economy sleepers? The Norwegian State Ry and Queensland Rail in Australia have acquired upgraded "Lie Flat Bed" reclining seat coaches for increased overnight capacity. Siemens, Stadler, and Talgo all have sleeper designs in current manufacture, as well as economy "Couchette" sleepers, and diners, buffet cars and a wide variety of coach designs. The Swiss Stadler Works built a fleet of new full-length dome cars to North American crash-safety standards for the Rocky Mountaineer service (although these cars would need to shrink just a little to run on some Amtrak routes, including the CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR line). In Finland new double-decker sleepers, diners and coaches are on-order.

I want this order to succeed and fully appreciate Amtrak's desire to be presented with options. But I don't want to see what may become real in 5-7 years be used as an excuse not to refurbish and re-deploy in revenue service the current stored Amtrak fleet. As Bob Jonston correctly points out in the Trains Newsire Amtrak is now so short of Superliners that it literally can not assemble a make-up consist at Chicago, Emeryville or Seattle to deal with late arrivals. And then there is the one coach/one sleeper CAP LTD and the one coach/one full sleeper (plus diner) Seattle section of the EMPIRE BUILDER.

There is an immediate equipment crisis right now and Gardner's sarcasm at the public Amtrak Board meeting in St. Louis that the stored fleet is only good for parts is an insult to the intelligence of his own workers and passengers.

Carl Fowler



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/23 11:27 by Railvt.



Date: 01/23/23 11:32
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: CPMorris

Good points! So what happens to all the Viewliner diners and sleepers
that are still in storage at Hialeah(?) and never used, especially the diners?



Date: 01/23/23 11:38
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: Railvt

If Amtrak orders single-level new equipment it could specify that some/all of those cars be compatible with the existing eastern fleet. The unused Viewliner II's are a scandal indeed.



Date: 01/23/23 13:16
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: pdt

cutboy1958 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Amazing. Amtrak starts  the  process of
>  procuring  new  LD equipment  and  some
>  folks  can not  wait  to  be  negative
>  about  the  entire  process!!

Sorry, but i am unphased by announcements about things that are new and shiny.  IMHO, you've just gotten sucked into the spin.
I think they could have spent the time better just getting the current system up to snuff,, and worked on adding more trains, just to get some routes up to "critical mass".
 
Im not negative just for fun.....but this announcement is just a nothingburger.   The house is falling down, and the announcement is "Hey, we're thinking about soliciting bids for new kitchen appliances, to be delivered in 10 years.

I would have been glad to see an announcement that Amtk has hired 200 more maintenance ppl;, and that getting at least half the cars sitting at Beach Grove fixed and in service was Amtks top priority



Date: 01/23/23 13:44
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: lordsigma

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> cutboy1958 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Amazing. Amtrak starts  the  process of
> >  procuring  new  LD equipment  and  some
> >  folks  can not  wait  to  be  negative
> >  about  the  entire  process!!
>
> Sorry, but i am unphased by announcements about
> things that are new and shiny.  IMHO, you've just
> gotten sucked into the spin.
> I think they could have spent the time better just
> getting the current system up to snuff,, and
> worked on adding more trains, just to get some
> routes up to "critical mass".
>  
> Im not negative just for fun.....but this
> announcement is just a nothingburger.   The
> house is falling down, and the announcement is
> "Hey, we're thinking about soliciting bids for new
> kitchen appliances, to be delivered in 10 years.
>
> I would have been glad to see an announcement that
> Amtk has hired 200 more maintenance ppl;, and that
> getting at least half the cars sitting at Beach
> Grove fixed and in service was Amtks top priority

I do find it odd that people seem to believe that long term capital efforts with once in a generation funding for it shouldn't be persued when there are short term operational issues. These are totally different sides of the company and the effort to buy new cars is taking nothing away from Beech Grove and to suggest it is isn't really reality. The money for the new cars can only be used for new equipment - overhauls and car maintenance comes from a totally different funding source and is managed by different portions of the organization and one really has little to do with the other. Regardless of current operational constraints the new fleet efforts are positive.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/23 13:45 by lordsigma.



Date: 01/23/23 14:07
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: Englewood

What is definitely NOT needed is another once in 20 year order of cars.
After the current backlog is filled there needs to be SUSTAINED delivery
of x number of cars each subsequent year to replace wrecked cars, and
allow for holiday and extra movement demand.

Every 20 or so years they end up where amtrak started in 1971;
worn out locomotives and worn out cars.



Date: 01/26/23 16:06
Re: The Amtrak Announcement of a Start in Ordering New National N
Author: ProAmtrak

cutboy1958 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Amazing. Amtrak starts  the  process of
>  procuring  new  LD equipment  and  some
>  folks  can not  wait  to  be  negative
>  about  the  entire  process!!

What would you expect from us when CAF took forever with the Viewliners and the Seimens cars haven't been doing well either!

Posted from Android



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