Consist make up?

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basketmaker

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
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93
Just curious as to the current consist make up. I know many of the eastern routes have the Baggage cars on the rear. But it appears some of the western routes are now doing the same since the pandemic has reared it's ugly head. Is this the new norm or is it a temporary thing during the crisis? I watch #5/#6 go by daily (BNSF Brush Sub MM528). And have noticed the Baggage on the tail the last couple of trips. That is in addition to the lack of Dorm/Trans and currently (normally at least two) shy a Sleeper. Which it understandable due to lack of revenue and low ridership. *Note today's #5 did have a Dorm/Trans and 2-Sleepers with Baggage on the tail but terminating here in Denver.

Just curious about the Baggage placement which has been right behind the power and in front of the Dorm/Trans for quite a while. My thought is that since baggage service is not available at most station that tacking it on the rear allows more revenue cars to line up with the shorter platforms enroute any maybe lessening double stops. And wondering if it will be the new norm will they also swap ends of the Dorm/Trans to allow lower level access to it?

Any thoughts or ideas?
 

F900ElCapitan

Lead Service Attendant
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Oct 7, 2018
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370
I think the ideal train for them right now is, as you noticed, to be without the transition sleeper, and consist of one full sleeper, diner, lounge, and then one full coach and one baggage coach to take care of any checked luggage. My guess is they aren’t able to pull together enough coach baggage cars to cover all the LD trains so if two regular coaches are all they have they just put a baggage car on the end. I’ve also noticed 7/8 have lost the baggage car and transition sleeper and now almost mirrors 27/28 in that it has one sleeper, diner, coach, and a coach baggage. I’ve also read Amtrak is only selling half of the capacity in coach so having some extra coach space to Seattle does make some sense.
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
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Sep 4, 2016
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869
I think the ideal train for them right now is, as you noticed, to be without the transition sleeper, and consist of one full sleeper, diner, lounge, and then one full coach and one baggage coach to take care of any checked luggage. My guess is they aren’t able to pull together enough coach baggage cars to cover all the LD trains so if two regular coaches are all they have they just put a baggage car on the end. I’ve also noticed 7/8 have lost the baggage car and transition sleeper and now almost mirrors 27/28 in that it has one sleeper, diner, coach, and a coach baggage. I’ve also read Amtrak is only selling half of the capacity in coach so having some extra coach space to Seattle does make some sense.
I saw a video of the Coast Starlight's COVID consist, and it included a coach, coach-baggage, and a baggage car on the rear.
 

basketmaker

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
93
I think the ideal train for them right now is, as you noticed, to be without the transition sleeper, and consist of one full sleeper, diner, lounge, and then one full coach and one baggage coach to take care of any checked luggage. My guess is they aren’t able to pull together enough coach baggage cars to cover all the LD trains so if two regular coaches are all they have they just put a baggage car on the end. I’ve also noticed 7/8 have lost the baggage car and transition sleeper and now almost mirrors 27/28 in that it has one sleeper, diner, coach, and a coach baggage. I’ve also read Amtrak is only selling half of the capacity in coach so having some extra coach space to Seattle does make some sense.
TBH after watching several Virtual Railroad and even Galesburg Museum cams where you can see arrivals and the Baggage car are in view. It appears that the Baggage car is really a waste. I watch the #3 @ FLG regularly and the small station powered cart/tractor rarely has more than 4-6 bags outbound or inbound. I would think the Coach/Baggage could easily handle any checked bags.

Now if origin, destination or enroute point do a regular Amtrak Express and/or even USPS contracted moves then yes I could see a regular Baggage being in the consist dependent on normal shipping volumes. But just for the few passenger checked baggage no. Could even set certain days for Express needing a Baggage in the consist. I moved AM, PM and 2nd Day, Deferred services via ground, air and ocean from a 1# box to 15k# machine part for over 30 years. Shipper requested/required service level priced accordingly.

And yes during these times a Sleeper, Diner, Lounge and Coach/Baggage and regular Coach should suffice on most western LD routes. With a potential Dorm/Trans for the crew with the option of selling Roomettes for passengers that want to "distance" themselves from others.
 

F900ElCapitan

Lead Service Attendant
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Oct 7, 2018
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370
The Texas Eagle hasn’t been using a baggage car for the past year or so. It surprised me when they fully disappeared, but the job seems to be getting done. I’d also bet there are other trains where a coach baggage would be sufficient for the route. I took a look at todays southbound 11, it did have a baggage car, but it had two full coaches (no coach baggage).
From time to time I take a look at different cams and YouTube videos and keep a bit of a roster. As of early this year, 5 coach baggage’s have been written off/retired and 4 are working in California on the Surfliners and NoCal trains. So they have 39 out of 48 available for service minus any in longer term repair (backshops). Not enough to reliably support all the Superliner LD trains, thus why we see some with two coaches and a baggage car.
 

Duane Witte

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 7, 2019
Messages
17
I believe the reason for having the baggage car on the rear is due to not using a transition sleeper. I read they are using a cover over the front door on the sleeper in an effort to keep diesel fumes from entering the car. The difference in height of the baggage car diaphragm would damage the cover.
 

willem

Conductor
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Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,009
I’ve also noticed 7/8 have lost the baggage car and transition sleeper and now almost mirrors 27/28 in that it has one sleeper, diner, coach, and a coach baggage.
An Empire Builder to Chicago about two days ago had a baggage car and one coach but no coach-baggage on the Seattle section, so maybe the consist is changing day to day. It did have the cover on the sleeper door just behind the engines. Also, it had three engines for the shortened consist.
 

basketmaker

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
93
I believe the reason for having the baggage car on the rear is due to not using a transition sleeper. I read they are using a cover over the front door on the sleeper in an effort to keep diesel fumes from entering the car. The difference in height of the baggage car diaphragm would damage the cover.
That makes sense. I've been on the EB (28) a couple of times out of PDX where the upper-level door had a cover. I'm sure with the reduced load factors the staffing is lower also so currently probably a couple of Roomettes in the sleeper should cover their needs The covers remind me of a police riot shield....
 
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