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Amtrak Line Plans FY20-25 Released

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jis

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Of course Amtrak used to have an extended Vermonter to Montreal once upon a time, called the Montrealer.

U.S. border formalities were completed at the station stop nearest the border in St. Albans, VT, though, not Montreal.

(And yes the tracks between there and Montreal were horrible.)
The Montrealer had its Canadian C&I done at Cantic QC in the middle of a field essentially! The process was carried out on the train while the train stood at the point just short of where the line from Rouse's Point and St. Albans meet at Cantic. Been there done that several times.

As you say the US C&I on the southbound took place at St. Albans.

At that time the Adirondack also had its Canadian C&I at Cantic. After the Montrealer was discontinued the Canadian C&I for the Adirondack was move closer to the border at LaColle and the adjacent road checkpoint so that it could be staffed out of without requiring a longish drive to the middle of nowhere.

One significant difference between the erstwhile Montrealer and the current Vermonter is that the Montrealer was an overnight train through Vermont, whereas the Vermonet is a daytime train. It is unlikely that the timetable will get flipped for it when (if) it gets extended to Montreal. I suspect it will still be a Vermont State funded train.
 

frequentflyer

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"8) Superliner replacement is on hold for the time being pending a study on whether replacing or rebuilding the Supers is the most cost-effective option as well as any NN changes post-reauthorization. AMF II replacement is also on hold pending AMF I replacement choice and if the AMF I replacement is a viable candidate to use for the AMF II replacement as well as changing some services over to corridor units, such as what is happening with the Palmetto. "

I bet they Amtrak rebuilds since there really is not a comparative product to replace the Superliner, and no Siemens bilevel product is not the same.
 

Ryan

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There's no rule that says that the Superliner replacement has to be multilevel. Common LD rolling stock would be a bonus.
 

manchacrr

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There's no rule that says that the Superliner replacement has to be multilevel. Common LD rolling stock would be a bonus.
I wouldn't mind this if part of the order were to include dome cars for the trains, such as the classic vista-dome style for the western trains and something like Canada's panorama cars for the eastern trains.
 

20th Century Rider

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RE: Amtrak-Service-Line-Plans-FY21-25... the good news is that LD travel is getting a lot of thought. The bad news are some of the observed conclusions appear to be based upon administrative speculation and not actual documentation. When they mention the 'changing demographics of the nation' this would be best supported with unbiased survey and analysis. The following are copy pasted from the Amtrak-Service-Line-Plans-FY21-25:
Screen Shot 2020-08-06 at 8.18.48 AM.png
They seem to have a worthy timeline but needing much study and research:
Screen Shot 2020-08-06 at 8.21.20 AM.png
Finally, they want to run a concept train to further study customer reaction. It can be effective if the evaluation is at a high level of logic and unbiased conclusions. We'll just have to see how things go...

Screen Shot 2020-08-06 at 8.22.26 AM.png
 

Chris I

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Why would we want bi-level cars? Platform length isn't an issue on a single-level, so train length could be increased. After experiencing the bouncy metal coffin that is the upper-berth on a Roomette, I'd much rather have something like the OBB Nightjet trains from Siemens:

 

crescent-zephyr

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Why would we want bi-level cars? Platform length isn't an issue on a single-level, so train length could be increased. After experiencing the bouncy metal coffin that is the upper-berth on a Roomette, I'd much rather have something like the OBB Nightjet trains from Siemens:

If you had a rough ride it’s not the superliners fault.
 

west point

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IMHO replacement or renewal of the Superliners depend on who is president on Jan 21st. One may require rebuilding as there may be large order(s) for more siingle level car to bulk out Amtrak. I would expect that a large order of single levels will have to be subed to some other builders as no single builder can ramp up enough. That would preclude any of the subs from getting a superliner type order. Another problem is getting enough qualified welders as has happened with CAF.

Amtrak Beech Grove can probably turn out many rebuilt Superliners. However the total number of available Superliners for rebuilding has decreased so much that we can probably expect if enough single level cars come on line that one or more superliner trains will go to single level. Probably Capitol 1st and then maybe CNO ? The CNO change is a problem as New Orleans does all but the most complicated maintenance on Superliners. But New Orleans does heavy work on Amfleets as well in concert with Bear.
 

jis

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The problem with single level fleet taking over even a single additional train from Superliners is the shortage of Sleepers, and no current plans for acquiring any more of them.
 

cocojacoby

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But the uppers in Superliner roomettes are coffins and do suck.
I haven't ridden in an upper bunk in a Superliner in years so I don't recall the feeling. I did ride coach on the Auto Train last year and I have to say that they still look really good after all these years. Would a Viewliner type upper berth window make a big difference? A Sightseer Lounge "dome" window would maybe actually be incredible.

You do have to consider the ADA grandfather situation which might make a newer design less efficient and pretty much nullify the bi-level advantage.
 

tricia

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I haven't ridden in an upper bunk in a Superliner in years so I don't recall the feeling. I did ride coach on the Auto Train last year and I have to say that they still look really good after all these years. Would a Viewliner type upper berth window make a big difference?

You do have to consider the ADA grandfather situation which might make a newer design less efficient and pretty much nullify the bi-level advantage.
It's not just the window. There's more height to the interiors of the Viewliners than there is on either level of the Superliners, allowing for more headroom in the upper berth.
 

joelkfla

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Would a Viewliner type upper berth window make a big difference? A Sightseer Lounge "dome" window would maybe actually be incredible.
They'd have to come up with some way to block it for those who don't want to be awakened by overhead lights when passing thru yards and urban areas. I think a roller shade in a curved, partially horizontal track would become a maintenance issue.
 

Chris I

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I haven't ridden in an upper bunk in a Superliner in years so I don't recall the feeling. I did ride coach on the Auto Train last year and I have to say that they still look really good after all these years. Would a Viewliner type upper berth window make a big difference? A Sightseer Lounge "dome" window would maybe actually be incredible.

You do have to consider the ADA grandfather situation which might make a newer design less efficient and pretty much nullify the bi-level advantage.
The ADA issue is the biggest one, IMO. It really isn't fair to tell anyone with mobility issues that they can't move about the train at all. Additionally, as Americans get wider and wider, those narrow stairways could be problematic. If we, as a country, actually value the long-distance routes, we need new single-level sleepers.
 

frequentflyer

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I can tell some of you were not around when Amtrak advertised "see level" in regards to its bilevel Superliners.
 
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west point

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It is a shame that CHI Union station is not capable of an Superliner taller than the present SLs. If SLs could be 2 feet taller such as the Rocky mountain cars. Then an upper level roomettee would have good clearancs and an upper berth window. teowill not
 

crescent-zephyr

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I can tell some of you were not around when Amtrak advertised "see level" in regards to its bilevel Superliners.
I actually just found out this week that the “see level” lounge Cars I rode in on the Texas Eagle as a kid became the Pacific Parlour Cars!
 

ShiningTimeStL

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I know this might be a bit of a stretch, but uh.... look at page 15 on the service line PDF. There's a little USA map icon thing with some lines on it for the "Growing the Network" section. Sure it might be "artistic license" but... why is the Texas Eagle the only coherent long-distance route I see on this thing, and all the other lines are segmented?

"I've got a bad feeling about this." -Han Solo
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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I know this might be a bit of a stretch, but uh.... look at page 15 on the service line PDF. There's a little USA map icon thing with some lines on it for the "Growing the Network" section. Sure it might be "artistic license" but... why is the Texas Eagle the only coherent long-distance route I see on this thing, and all the other lines are segmented?

"I've got a bad feeling about this." -Han Solo
As you said, it is next to "Growing the Network", so I wouldn't worry much about it, although it is a strange graphic without a clear explanation. If it was in an LD specific section it would be concerning but there's no way the lines on the map is what is envisioned as the entire system. It could be a plan for potential improvements and expansions listed in the "Growing the Network" section such as "efficient overnight services". However, another weird thing I noticed about that map is the it doesn't even accurately trace the present lines, with the NEC depicted as going roughly through Harrisburg and Albany and the southeastern line terminating in south-central Georgia.

For more reassurance that Amtrak is not planning on completely destroying the LD network, look at page 86, where the future projections not only for LD revenue and ridership but also LD passenger miles are projected to increase.
 

NSC1109

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As you said, it is next to "Growing the Network", so I wouldn't worry much about it, although it is a strange graphic without a clear explanation. If it was in an LD specific section it would be concerning but there's no way the lines on the map is what is envisioned as the entire system. It could be a plan for potential improvements and expansions listed in the "Growing the Network" section such as "efficient overnight services". However, another weird thing I noticed about that map is the it doesn't even accurately trace the present lines, with the NEC depicted as going roughly through Harrisburg and Albany and the southeastern line terminating in south-central Georgia.

For more reassurance that Amtrak is not planning on completely destroying the LD network, look at page 86, where the future projections not only for LD revenue and ridership but also LD passenger miles are projected to increase.
Honestly I’m pretty sure it’s just a graphic for graphic’s sake. RA tried to dump the Chief and Congress rose up to stop him. They may be all up in arms about the cost but they know that taking train service away would be political suicide for many of the districts in question.

I doubt we will see any additions to long-distance service in the near future despite the fact that I think there are a few untapped markets and several changes that can be made to help upgrade LD service. But I don’t see existing routes going the way of the butcher either.

We’re going to see more stuff like the Coast Daylight.
 

Ryan

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RA tried to dump the Chief and Congress rose up to stop him.
No, he (correctly) pointed out that Amtrak wasn't funded to pay for all of the maintenance required to continue traveling over a section of the route. Stakeholders then stepped up to the plate to provide the needed funding.

It's the same story with the COVID impacts - Amtrak isn't funded to provide service at the current levels when the ticket revenue coming in falls off a cliff. Hopefully Congress will step up and pay the bill required to keep service at the same level.
 

NSC1109

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No, he (correctly) pointed out that Amtrak wasn't funded to pay for all of the maintenance required to continue traveling over a section of the route. Stakeholders then stepped up to the plate to provide the needed funding.

It's the same story with the COVID impacts - Amtrak isn't funded to provide service at the current levels when the ticket revenue coming in falls off a cliff. Hopefully Congress will step up and pay the bill required to keep service at the same level.
I'm not disagreeing with you on that, but RA proposed a 400-mile bus bridge for the Chief and Congress freaked out and put up the funding because they knew losing the train would be a major problem for themselves when re-election came around. Whether or not he meant it seriously or as a threat at all, Congress took it as one and sent a signal that they're willing to back up LD service because they know they can't afford to lose it.
 

Trogdor

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The problem with single level fleet taking over even a single additional train from Superliners is the shortage of Sleepers, and no current plans for acquiring any more of them.
It’s too bad Amtrak didn’t recently acquire 25 sleepers and 10 dorm cars without a commensurate increase in the length of eastern train consists.
 
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