Long Distance (LD) fleet replacement discussion (2022-24)

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The Slumbercoaches were the all-time best bargain in public transportation, IMHO...
That may be the case and its looks good to me but the Duplex single sleeper arrangement had steps to enter every other unit. If Amtrak kept the toilets in them that wouldn't require going down steps to the sleeper bathroom but I do not see that ever happening again. Can you imagine rising at 3 AM for a bathroom break and having to go down steps to leave the room? As for the double bed lie flat idea; that would take up an excessive amount of room and greatly decrease capacity.
We have no idea what design Amtrak will decide at this point but it sure doesn't seem like there is much urgency on the project.
 
That may be the case and its looks good to me but the Duplex single sleeper arrangement had steps to enter every other unit. If Amtrak kept the toilets in them that wouldn't require going down steps to the sleeper bathroom but I do not see that ever happening again. Can you imagine rising at 3 AM for a bathroom break and having to go down steps to leave the room? As for the double bed lie flat idea; that would take up an excessive amount of room and greatly decrease capacity.
We have no idea what design Amtrak will decide at this point but it sure doesn't seem like there is much urgency on the project.
The original Superliner sleepers did not have a public toilet on the upper level. Those in the "Economy Bedrooms" (Roomettes), had to go down to the lower level to use the restrooms.
 
A good test for lie flat accommodations might be to refurbish a few very roadworthy Amfleets as they become somewhat surplus. Amtrak has no idea what the real demand for seats are with more reasonable fares.
Except how would you connect amfleet cars to superliners. You could put them in front of the dorm car that has stairway to baggage car, but then would have to go up and down stairs for Diner and lounge cars?
 
Except how would you connect amfleet cars to superliners. You could put them in front of the dorm car that has stairway to baggage car, but then would have to go up and down stairs for Diner and lounge cars?
Which is similar to latter Santa Fe days with bi-level coaches and single-level sleepers in the same train. Of course ADA and like regulations weren't a factor then. 🤔
 
I just wish the FRA was involved in the new equipment order the same as they are in charge of the new route review process. Seems odd Congress found Amtrak management not to be competent or unwilling to conduct the LD route study but is allowing them to make the LD equipment order. This order could make or break the LD routes for most of our lifetimes. I personally think the order will be dragged out as long as humanly possible. I hope I’m wrong and I hope the equipment is appropriate when it actually is ordered. Things will be more clear next year at this time. As someone posted above Amtrak is public transportation. I don’t think that this management understands that however. There needs to be more accountability and urgency.
 
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I used to love the original Hi-Level transition cars, when they were in all-coach configuration. The end with the stairs down to the single level, offered a few "single" seats on either side of the stairway. That all went away, when Amtrak rebuilt them into coach-dorms for the crew.
 
My main concern with the LD fleet replacement is that it is budgeted sufficiently so that (1) a quality product is obtained and not compromising quality in order to get a bargain and (2) sufficient equipment is obtained not only for current routes, but to bring all routes to daily operation plus the ability to add new routes such as a restored Pioneer, North Coast Limited, and other potential routes. There will be the temptation to just replace the existing equipment pool one for one to save money and that will need to be fought.
 
My main concern with the LD fleet replacement is that it is budgeted sufficiently so that (1) a quality product is obtained and not compromising quality in order to get a bargain and (2) sufficient equipment is obtained not only for current routes, but to bring all routes to daily operation plus the ability to add new routes such as a restored Pioneer, North Coast Limited, and other potential routes. There will be the temptation to just replace the existing equipment pool one for one to save money and that will need to be fought.
IMHO the best way of doing this is to standardize the fleet with Siemens single-level equipment based on venture cars or Airo standards. Siemens has some sort of food service car for their railjet services in Austria. The sleepers are doable if the minisuites were eliminated and they produced all-room cars with beds that could be converted to daytime configuration.
 
I 100% think a BI level order is needed . I hope they go with these 9 car sets which will allow for fixed set and less equipment shortages .

I think having one car for both baggage and staff is great idea . I do think that for NYC LD trains the other option should be used but I like both .

There are likely going to brand the connect us and LD order as one huge project and have them be under a new name like ario sets


Here is my pitch . Amtrak streamliner brand - LD bi level stuff west of Chicago
 
I 100% think a BI level order is needed . I hope they go with these 9 car sets which will allow for fixed set and less equipment shortages .

I think having one car for both baggage and staff is great idea . I do think that for NYC LD trains the other option should be used but I like both .

There are likely going to brand the connect us and LD order as one huge project and have them be under a new name like ario sets


Here is my pitch . Amtrak streamliner brand - LD bi level stuff west of Chicago
Having taken a back-to-back trip on single level (Canadian) vs. bi-level (Empire Builder and Capitol Limited), I would disagree and vote for an all single level long-distance fleet. My reasons:

1. The sway of the cars in the upper level of the bi0level Superliners makes for a less comfortable ride.
2. The clearance in the upper berths are insufficient for creaky old fogies like me to contort my body to get in and out of the upper berths. I should note that on my recent trip on the Auto Train, I actually fell out of the upper berth when getting up in the middle of the night to use the lavatory. I do not have similar problems when using the upper berth of a Viewliner sleeper.
3. Hauling bags up the steps to the upper level is a pain in the neck.

In addition to limitations on personal use, having a single level long-distance fleet that could access every part of the system (including New York Penn Station and the Baltimore tunnels) would give Amtrak more flexibility in allocating equipment.

As for those routes for which some sort of panoramic viewing would be desirable, Amtrak could acquire dome cars, or a panorama viewing car similar to those used by VIA (Passenger cars - Panorama Dome car) or the Rhaetian Railway (Bernina Express - Rhaetian Railway RhB).
 
My main concern with the LD fleet replacement is that it is budgeted sufficiently so that (1) a quality product is obtained and not compromising quality in order to get a bargain and (2) sufficient equipment is obtained not only for current routes, but to bring all routes to daily operation plus the ability to add new routes such as a restored Pioneer, North Coast Limited, and other potential routes. There will be the temptation to just replace the existing equipment pool one for one to save money and that will need to be fought.
I just wish the FRA was involved in the new equipment order the same as they are in charge of the new route review process. Seems odd Congress found Amtrak management not to be competent or unwilling to conduct the LD route study but is allowing them to make the LD equipment order. This order could make or break the LD routes for most of our lifetimes. I personally think the order will be dragged out as long as humanly possible. I hope I’m wrong and I hope the equipment is appropriate when it actually is ordered. Things will be more clear next year at this time. As someone posted above Amtrak is public transportation. I don’t think that this management understands that however. There needs to be more accountability and urgency.
I feel like we're going to need to hope for a situation where, if Amtrak doesn't get their butt into gear, Congress just yanks some of the "Amtrak National Network" money from Amtrak and programs it to a sufficient LD equipment order with orders to Amtrak to run the equipment once delivered "or else".
 
I just wish the FRA was involved in the new equipment order the same as they are in charge of the new route review process. Seems odd Congress found Amtrak management not to be competent or unwilling to conduct the LD route study but is allowing them to make the LD equipment order. This order could make or break the LD routes for most of our lifetimes. I personally think the order will be dragged out as long as humanly possible. I hope I’m wrong and I hope the equipment is appropriate when it actually is ordered. Things will be more clear next year at this time. As someone posted above Amtrak is public transportation. I don’t think that this management understands that however. There needs to be more accountability and urgency.

The involvement of FRA in the route study makes sense given that it’s ultimately up to the federal government as the customer to fund and direct Amtrak to operate the routes that it thinks provide the most benefit. Ultimately FRA and Congress chooses what corridors and routes are going to receive grants and funding so it only makes sense for them to be in a leading role with the study. However it’s not really FRA’s or Congress’s role to micromanage the nuts and bolts of the railroad to the degree that they’re designing equipment nor do they likely have the resources or desire to do so. The most you’d probably see is a Congressional mandate in a funding bill requiring Amtrak to proceed with an order if they think they’re trying to avoid doing it but they’re not going to get involved with bilevel vs single level, and programming decisions regarding the equipment. For right now Amtrak has stated it’s moving forward by end of year - the timing of which kind of makes sense given the pending grant awards Friday. If Friday’s announcement sufficiently moves things like daily sunset or Cardinal and I20 corridor closer to reality then it could give Amtrak a better idea of what to include for the base order as far as number or units vs options.
 
I wonder how many rows of those will fit in a car. How does the capacity compare with, say classic Sections. Afterall if people can sleep in open lie flat seats they should be able to sleep in completely curtain enclosed berths.
The trains in Norway with specific lie flat cars have 23 seats in a 1:1 configuration.



This is about half the capacity of an Amfleet II coach car. With that said, these are very much in the design of a first class airline pod. I would be curious if there's a more simple model of basically a seat that lies flat without the accompanying pod around it that is taking up space - this would help get to the 1:2 configuration that Amtrak would likely find more accepting, if they have any interest in this concept.
 
Getting back to the Slumbercoach design, it may be possible to build a similar car based on the bi-level car design now used by NJ transit. There are only a set of steps at the front and rear of the car. The lower level is below platform height while the high level is quite a bit above it. There is H space at each end. Both levels have a ceiling height of over 6 feet that might allow for 30-40 single occupancy small rooms. Those cars would fit in all stations and tunnels. I believe that in Europe there may be such a design already in use..
 
Getting back to the Slumbercoach design, it may be possible to build a similar car based on the bi-level car design now used by NJ transit. There are only a set of steps at the front and rear of the car. The lower level is below platform height while the high level is quite a bit above it. There is H space at each end. Both levels have a ceiling height of over 6 feet that might allow for 30-40 single occupancy small rooms. Those cars would fit in all stations and tunnels. I believe that in Europe there may be such a design already in use..
The Slumbercoaches utilized standard single level cars relatively high ceilings to 1. allow upper and lower berths in Double rooms, and 2. 'duplex' design single rooms that were of an interlocking design with each other. The NJT double deckers would not have sufficient height to allow that on both levels. They could have all single berth rooms on both levels, but not double rooms nor duplex interlocking single rooms.
 
I don't think it's necessary to have full standing height in a neo-Slumbercoach/pod sleeper. They could be stacked vertically and still give passengers ample room to sit during the day and sleep at night. Just allow passengers to specifically book an upper or lower unit (like they did with Pullman sections).
 
I don't think it's necessary to have full standing height in a neo-Slumbercoach/pod sleeper. They could be stacked vertically and still give passengers ample room to sit during the day and sleep at night. Just allow passengers to specifically book an upper or lower unit (like they did with Pullman sections).
I don't think I would like to occupy a "pod" type unless it was just overnight...couldn't imagine trying sit up in a stacked bed in an NJT height, double decker...
 
I don't think I would like to occupy a "pod" type unless it was just overnight...couldn't imagine trying sit up in a stacked bed in an NJT height, double decker...
I think even proponents of this type of accommodation realize they're limited to quick single-night trips. I'd venture to say trains like the Capitol and Lakeshore Limiteds spend too much time in daylight hours to make a pod practical - especially without lounge and dining cars to provide an escape from one's cubbyhole. Amtrak's only real need for these might be a revitalized Night Owl or route of similar length and timing, which raises the question if a sub-fleet like this is even practical.
 
I think even proponents of this type of accommodation realize they're limited to quick single-night trips. I'd venture to say trains like the Capitol and Lakeshore Limiteds spend too much time in daylight hours to make a pod practical - especially without lounge and dining cars to provide an escape from one's cubbyhole. Amtrak's only real need for these might be a revitalized Night Owl or route of similar length and timing, which raises the question if a sub-fleet like this is even practical.
In this context I am not quite sure what the phrase "pod type accommodation" means. Could one of you using the phrase please clarify what is it that you are referring to? Thanks.
 
In this context I am not quite sure what the phrase "pod type accommodation" means. Could one of you using the phrase please clarify what is it that you are referring to? Thanks.
I was replying to the two prior posts using that term - presumably like the newer "coffin-like" accommodation recently introduced by Nightjet, which are not something to spend more than overnight in. The new Norwegian sleeper referenced in the video above looks more more like a BC/FC airline seat, although often also referred to as a pod. :)
 
I was replying to the two prior posts using that term - presumably like the newer "coffin-like" accommodation recently introduced by Nightjet, which are not something to spend more than overnight in. The new Norwegian sleeper referenced in the video above looks more more like a BC/FC airline seat, although often also referred to as a pod. :)
That was exactly my confusion. I agree that the luxurious coffins would be inappropriate. However, I think the airline BC-like pods with lie flat seats would be fine, just as current Coach seats are fine for multi-day journeys.
 
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