Atlantic Coast (Silver/Palmetto/Carolinian) Service discussion Q4 2023 - 2024 H1

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Incidentally the two original Strata Domes and the additional three Budd built ones for C&O, acquired by B&O all ran on the Florida Special under lease to ACL between Richmond VA and Miami for a while (about a year or so).
Somewhere I have a photo of the dome/sleeper being added in Richmond on a snowy day during my college years in Ashland. The screenshot is from the January 1966 Official Guide, courtesy of Timetable World. Also in this consist are the 7 Dbr-2 Dr cars. These had been modified by Pullman in 1961/62 from 14 roomette - 2DR cars. Business travel was out, leisure travel to Florida was in! Wouldn't it be nice if Amtrak had Pullman's capacity to rebuild cars in house. It seems their capability is limited to maintenance, repairs, and refresh.

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My experience with a B&O dome was that it was not as tall as the western train's domes.
You are correct…the two B&O domes built by Pullman-Standard for their Columbian train were only 15’ 3” overall. The three Budd “low profile” domes B&O acquired from the C&O (for its “stillborn” Chessie, were 15’ 5.75” overall. Most western domes were between 15’ 6” and 15’ 10” overall…
For comparison, Superliner’s are 16’ 2”.
 
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I am on the Star now. My attendant believes the Capitol Limited will be using single level equipment in the fall and that the Star will terminate in WAS. However he does not believe there will be a one seat through ride on the same equipment from Florida to Chicago.
 
Somewhere I have a photo of the dome/sleeper being added in Richmond on a snowy day during my college years in Ashland. The screenshot is from the January 1966 Official Guide, courtesy of Timetable World. Also in this consist are the 7 Dbr-2 Dr cars. These had been modified by Pullman in 1961/62 from 14 roomette - 2DR cars. Business travel was out, leisure travel to Florida was in! Wouldn't it be nice if Amtrak had Pullman's capacity to rebuild cars in house. It seems their capability is limited to maintenance, repairs, and refresh.

View attachment 36668
I was curious about the "Recreation Car":
https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:6108vb763
 
Interesting they had that so long ago. Here is the ad in the ACL timetables for the winter 63/64. 64/65. Note the hostess talking with happy passengers in the recreation car. Can you imagine what the fashion show was like. I suspect the TV's were a short lived feature as that could be really annoying. Although I did not see the recreation car when I rode it in the spring of '68, the sleeper lounge that had been mid train was now an observation sleeper lounge on the rear. On my trip it had been recently removed from the Broadway Limited, probably Mountain View or Tower View. Also in that service was the observation from the Gulf Wind, ex Crescent - maybe Royal Street. I believe that was the last season for the Florida Special.

Even in the 60's, some railroads made a valiant effort to maintain their trains and attract new riders. The schedule has it leaving at 10:45am, about the same time as Amtrak's Silver Star (11:02). Miami arrival is 24 hrs, 40 min later at 11:25. It seems like an ideal schedule leaving NY late enough for local connections and Miami arrival early enough to check into you hotel and be ready for cocktail hour! Our wandering Star of today takes 31 hrs, 33 min, almost 7 hours longer. Sigh:(

IMG_20240510_0003.jpegIMG_20240510_0002.jpeg
 
Even in the 60's, some railroads made a valiant effort to maintain their trains and attract new riders. The schedule has it leaving at 10:45am, about the same time as Amtrak's Silver Star (11:02). Miami arrival is 24 hrs, 40 min later at 11:25. It seems like an ideal schedule leaving NY late enough for local connections and Miami arrival early enough to check into you hotel and be ready for cocktail hour! Our wandering Star of today takes 31 hrs, 33 min, almost 7 hours longer. Sigh:(
In fairness, it's route was more comparable to the current Meteor, which makes the run in 27h 44m, and most of the 3 hour difference is to service all the Central FL stops.
 
I am on the Star now. My attendant believes the Capitol Limited will be using single level equipment in the fall and that the Star will terminate in WAS. However he does not believe there will be a one seat through ride on the same equipment from Florida to Chicago.
It would be interesting to say the least. Unless they want to find more than one additional consist, they will have to most likley clean and prepare the consist at platform as they transition it from 92 to 29 and 30 to 91.
 
A while back Amtrak did advertise for some "coach cleaners" in WAS. Now were they ever filled or still waiting for positions to be filled have no idea.
 
The Silver Star 91(10) hit a large tree overnight north of Camden SC damaging the lead engine. The train did not derail. The engines eventually got swapped and we are moving south about 5 1/2 hours late.

Edit to add the cafe car is providing free coffee or tea to coach passengers. 😀

Another edit: I learned that we left the damaged engine behind on a siding.
 
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Interesting they had that so long ago. Here is the ad in the ACL timetables for the winter 63/64. 64/65. Note the hostess talking with happy passengers in the recreation car. Can you imagine what the fashion show was like. I suspect the TV's were a short lived feature as that could be really annoying. Although I did not see the recreation car when I rode it in the spring of '68, the sleeper lounge that had been mid train was now an observation sleeper lounge on the rear. On my trip it had been recently removed from the Broadway Limited, probably Mountain View or Tower View. Also in that service was the observation from the Gulf Wind, ex Crescent - maybe Royal Street. I believe that was the last season for the Florida Special.

Even in the 60's, some railroads made a valiant effort to maintain their trains and attract new riders. The schedule has it leaving at 10:45am, about the same time as Amtrak's Silver Star (11:02). Miami arrival is 24 hrs, 40 min later at 11:25. It seems like an ideal schedule leaving NY late enough for local connections and Miami arrival early enough to check into you hotel and be ready for cocktail hour! Our wandering Star of today takes 31 hrs, 33 min, almost 7 hours longer. Sigh:(

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I was fortunate to get a “sampling” of the SCL operated Florida Special, in its Winter 1969-1970 season…
I rode it from New York to Fayetteville just to experience its features and cuisine. I travelled coach, but spent most of the trip in either the diner’s or Recreation Car.
The travelling Passenger Service Agent, along with the Hostess indeed put on a Florida Fashion Show, with the latest provided I believe, by Jantzen. They also conducted bingo and provided other games. They turned on the tv to watch the evening news. About the only thing I didn’t try was the mobile telephone.
I also spent some time in the dome sleeper, (with special permission) , when it was added at Richmond.
I had lunch in the coach diner, and a “charbroiled” steak dinner in the sleeper diner.
IIRC, not sure about this, but in the sleeper diner, they dimmed the lights and had real candles burning on each table…probably not a good idea on a moving train, but regulations were much more liberal in that era.
One thing for sure…all passengers received complimentary champagne. The newspaper and tv ads for the train even announced: “The Champagne Train rides again”.
SCL’s president, William T. Rice, was one of the strongest passenger train proponents right up until Amtrak, and along with Santa Fe’s John Reed, languished over joining Amtrak until their fiduciary duty to stockholders demanded it.
 
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I was fortunate to get a “sampling” of the SCL operated Florida Special, in its Winter 1969-1970 season…

Interesting, I didn't realize the Florida Special lasted that long. That prompted me to pull out the timetable from that winter and not only did it have the features you mention but the scheduled time had been reduced to a flat 24 hours - 11:15 am departure and arrival.

Aside from the dome sleeper there was only one car with roomettes, the others were 4DBR-4CPt-2DR cars, probably of PRR heritage. Too bad Amtrak didn't order more of the 'Deluxe' sleepers that are mostly all bedrooms and are only on AutoTrain. It would certainly have helped to keep the exorbitant prices for them lower, as the larger room with full bath is a real attraction for travelers who seem to increasingly want nicer accommodations.
 
The Silver Star 91(10) hit a large tree overnight north of Camden SC damaging the lead engine. The train did not derail. The engines eventually got swapped and we are moving south about 5 1/2 hours late.
More train time for the same price! With a current Deland ETA for 2:02, you may meet 98 (Deland 2:40) and get to use the new double track south of there.
 
Trying to book NYP to KIS
Train 91
March 26 through April 11
Says sold out
Called and told “train is full”

Train 72 is wide open.

Can’t be!

What’s the real story.
Yeah we did bury the lead.

Sliver Star is not going north of Washington DC. Various reason given, not sure what is going to happen or why.

If you need the Star take a regional or Acela from NYP to Washington DC. Then of course transfer trains.
 
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B&O feature cars, domes and observations, always started in Washington. They were used on the National and Capitol Ltd, Columbian, and Shenandoah. Even in ‘59, after NY service ended, they were added in Washington although the train began in Baltimore at Camden station.

One of the highlights of my summer trips on the National Limited (to Cincinnati and St Louis) was backing into Washington. Standing at the rear door of the last car it was fun to watch the flagman signal the engineer as we came to a stop, then coupled to the two sleepers to the southwest (MP and Frisco) and the observation, ex NYC.

I suspect the Washington terminal for these cars allowed a same day turn. Perhaps there is a lesson here for Amtrak, although intermediate switching seems a foreign concept unless it involves the whole train.
I recall backing into the Jacksonville Union station. I guess that doesn't happen any more anywhere.
 
Just booked NB 9811 ( is this VL 1--probably?) and SB 9712 ( is this VL 2? probably?) Not a fan of VL 2..will change if the option exists.
 
My understanding is that 5 Diners are coming out of mothballs this FY and Crescent is getting a Diner in the Summer. My understanding is that they already have the equipment needed to make the changes planned for this FY.

Haven't heard anything about what happens in the next FY, but my expectation is that substantial number of Viewliner I Sleepers are slated to come out of mothballs. Also the Viewliner I refurbishment program will get into full swing later this CY and that will cause the shop count to increase by one probably for the duration of the program.

As for the Star, irrespective of what happens to its route its consist is unlikely to change except for perhaps an additional Coach, before Summer of '25 at the earliest. The Meteor will get additional Sleeper and Coach this summer I would think. LSL will likely get additional Coach, but not so sure about additional Sleeper this summer.
Meteor rider here. VLI is preferred.
 
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