- Apr 23, 2019
A source of mine with a direct line to people in AMTK management claims that around 200 Superliners are parked on rip track at Beech Grove, being stripped of parts to feed the active trainsets. That's 40% of the fleet gone with no intention of returning them to service. I'd say it's a legitimate car shortage.I think most people would agree that they all should have Sightseers - but assuming for a moment that the car shortage is legitimate, the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle were the appropriate to drop. I'd probably say Texas Eagle should be a bigger priority over the Capitol but definitely neither over any of the trains currently operating with them. Having said all that I certainly support bringing them back to both if the cars are there once they get back in service. Another problem remains the Chicago - Carbondale service. Until a solution is found to get that off Superliners and transition it to the Venture cars you're going to continue to have to put revenue Superliners or non revenue superliners like diners and sightseers behind its Superliner coaches for axle count - resolving that given the current status of Superliners in the fleet would be immensely helpful.
There's every possibility that the Teagle could be converted to single level equipment at some point. It's literally illegal now to cut or curtail long distance services without explicit congressional approval thanks to IIJA, so they'll have to do something when they start running out of spare parts before new cars arrive sometime in the next 500 years.
As for the Illini/Saluki Superliners... they brought an F59 up to Michigan to test an electronic shunt for activating CN signals, hopefully eliminating the axle count requirement in the near future. Those cars are our only hope for any additional Superliner capacity on current bilevel trains.
However... I'm wondering what Caltrans' plans are for the California cars once their Ventures replace them on the San Joaquins and Capital Corridor. Perhaps they can run on the Surfliners and relieve the Superliners in use there, freeing up a few more. With some modifications, perhaps they can run as coaches themselves.