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Baggage cars on end of Illinois Service trains

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bikeoutside

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Why would there be baggage cars on the aft end of Illinois Service trains. They do not offer checked baggage at any station, however, recently on Chicago-Carbondale service there were two baggage cars at the end of the consist. And the mix of cars was different on the southbound evening trip from the morning northbound trip. Perhaps this is also happening on the Milwaukee service as well, as sometimes the consist can run through on the easternmost tracks through Union Station.
 

keelhauled

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CN requires a certain number of total axles on a train, I believe to properly trigger grade crossing detectors. The baggage cars are empty and simply there to meet the axle count.
 

MikefromCrete

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Keelhauled is correct. CN, unlike every other North American railroad, apparently can't guarantee its crossing gates will operate unless there's seven or eight cars in the consist, so Amtrak has to run more cars than are usually needed on the Illini and Saluki, and I imagine the Blue Water. Sometimes these have been food service cars. The baggage cars are a new addition, but serve the purpose. This doesn't affect the Hiawathas which operate with a locomotive at one end and a cabbage at the other and run on CP, which doesn't have CN's nonsensical requirement.
 

Eric S

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This doesn't usually affect Lincoln Service trains, though, right? I can't recall seeing extra cars (of whatever sort) on those trains whenever I've ridden them, even though they operate on CN between Chicago and Joliet.
 

Thirdrail7

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Unless something changed earlier this year, I believe the Lincolns have a 24 axle minimum. It is good to see the old bags being used as riders. There is a dialogue about keeping some on the NEC to use as rider cars like they did years ago.
 

Palmetto

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Unless something changed earlier this year, I believe the Lincolns have a 24 axle minimum. It is good to see the old bags being used as riders. There is a dialogue about keeping some on the NEC to use as rider cars like they did years ago.
The Lincolns run on the UP. It's the CN that's dictating the minimum axle count, so I think not.
 

MikefromCrete

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The axle restriction may not in effect on the Chicago-Joliet route since Metra runs some short commuter trains on that line. Perhaps Metra paid to make sure the crossing gates work with short consists. Or maybe trains just slow to 60 mph before crossing the streets, I don't know. IDOT is making plans to take the Chicago-St. Louis trains off the CN and put them onto the Meta Rock Island north of Joliet. The crossing gate issue may be part of the reason for the reroute.
 

Thirdrail7

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The 24 axle count on the Lincolns is confirmed. I'm a big proponent of hanging on to the bags until the bitter end and using them as riders. It would really save time and money on the NEC when it comes to shopped engine moves.
 
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DryCreek

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If I had a concession business with coin-operated pool tables, video machines and a bar - do you think that I could lease space aboard one of these baggage cars? Hmm, if there's more than one, can I also open a day-spa in the other one?
 

DryCreek

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You'd have to modify them and put in end doors, I think.
Baggage cars don't have end doors? I always thought that they did. I could have sworn that on the older trains it was possible for the conductor or Assistant Engineer to pass through the EMD E and F units ("B" units especially) and get the the remainder of the consist. Sure, there may not be a diaphragm to cover the vestibule, but I'm sure the allure of doing something different while on a train would attract a few folks to the back of the train.
 

jis

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The Heritage Baggage cars are falling like flies. Until the full complement of V II Baggage cars are on line, there is a persistent shortage of serviceable baggage cars with trains occasionally seeing Amfleets as substitute baggage cars. At present the situation in eastern trains have improved, but western trains are still seeing the use of Coach Baggage cars as substitute for missing baggage cars. So do not expect too many Heritage Baggage cars to hang around for too long. They are already not being put through any major servicing any more.
 

neroden

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For this goofy CN requirement, Amtrak could use anything, even flatcars: I think Amtrak still has the "materials handling car" boxcars, and they'd suffice.
 

Thirdrail7

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For this goofy CN requirement, Amtrak could use anything, even flatcars: I think Amtrak still has the "materials handling car" boxcars, and they'd suffice.
They are usually restricted to 60mph by the various host railroads. So unless the MAS for that route is under 61mph, these cars would impact the schedule.
 

edjbox

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Feb 7, 2014
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Since Amtrak got all those new Viewliner 2 baggage cars, why don't they institute baggage service on the Illini and Saluki? It'll be great for all the college students traveling with baggage and opens up space for more unboxed bikes in addition to meeting any axle count requirements.
 

fulham

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Jun 22, 2012
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Watching the Rail Stream camera from "MH Tower" in Chicago the last several days, the northbound Saluki has had 4 Horizon/Amfleet cars and 3 old Heritage bags. The northbound Illini has had 6 or 7 Superliners...which I think are all coaches and no baggage cars. The southbound City of New Orleans has had 7 Superliners and a Heritage baggage car instead of a V-II baggage car.
 
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