Midwest Venture introduction

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PerRock

Conductor
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Sep 16, 2006
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Ann Arbor, MI
Creator of the video here. By “that” I meant that the stripes on the locomotive do not line up with the livery of the cars. A commenter noted that it was because the locomotives were originally meant to match the bilevel Nippon Sharyo cars that never ended up being built. So perhaps one day they’ll adjust the paint job on the Chargers.
Other than that, I loved the cars. I found them to be modern, spacious, light, and comfortable. Although I wish the passenger information screens worked. And the toilet door did not shut all the way.

The few state DOT officials I've talked to have mentioned the plan to correct the stripes on the locomotives.

The screens not working is one of my biggest "fears" of the new cars. Some of the Amfleets had digital screens to show similar information, which very quickly stopped being used & now just say which side the restroom is.

peter
 

TransitTyrant

Train Attendant
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Jul 13, 2022
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Chicago
The few state DOT officials I've talked to have mentioned the plan to correct the stripes on the locomotives.

The screens not working is one of my biggest "fears" of the new cars. Some of the Amfleets had digital screens to show similar information, which very quickly stopped being used & now just say which side the restroom is.

peter
I believe the crews haven’t been trained yet how to properly use the screens and troubleshoot potential problems. With Amtrak’s employee shortage that’s understandable.

The IDOT owned SC44s are expected to receive a quarter life overhaul starting in 2023 so perhaps that’s when they’ll be repainted.
 

joelkfla

Engineer
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Oct 16, 2018
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12 miles from Walt Disney World
I believe the crews haven’t been trained yet how to properly use the screens and troubleshoot potential problems. With Amtrak’s employee shortage that’s understandable.

The IDOT owned SC44s are expected to receive a quarter life overhaul starting in 2023 so perhaps that’s when they’ll be repainted.
I can't see that there would be more than 5 minutes training required. Turn on the system, select the route, and if it isn't activated by GPS or some sort of trackside infrastructure, push a button when approaching a station. Maybe a FF or REW in case a station is missed or triggered by accident. If it's not working right, turn it off and leave it for maintenance to fix. If there's more interaction than that required, it's a poorly designed system.

But somebody (not the train or OBS crew) would need to program in the routes. Maybe they haven't gotten around to that yet.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
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I can't see that there would be more than 5 minutes training required. Turn on the system, select the route, and if it isn't activated by GPS or some sort of trackside infrastructure, push a button when approaching a station. Maybe a FF or REW in case a station is missed or triggered by accident. If it's not working right, turn it off and leave it for maintenance to fix. If there's more interaction than that required, it's a poorly designed system.

But somebody (not the train or OBS crew) would need to program in the routes. Maybe they haven't gotten around to that yet.
I've dealt indirectly with various menu screens and "digital" canvasses in retail situations from the design perspective - clients have had a lot of trouble with them in some situations and they aren't actually, for some reason or other, user friendly.
 

mfastx

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
200
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New York, NY
With everything going on in the world of passenger railroading, we're worried about matching stripes!

I think it reflects the dysfunction surrounding passenger rail in this country that the powers that be can't get something so simple right.

I'm still beside myself at the new viewliner scheme being different from the existing rolling stock lol.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2022
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Chicago
With everything going on in the world of passenger railroading, we're worried about matching stripes!
That's not really a fair summary of this conversation. Nobody here is up all night worrying about it.
The issue is that both the locomotives and the cars carry a livery that's different from the regular Amtrak fleet, to distinguish it as the Amtrak Midwest product. So when they are just off by placement and color, that looks strange and unprofessional. Especially when both are built by the same manufacturer.
In other countries around the world, or in the airline industry, a livery represents the company or the region's brand, and a lot more attention is given to it.
 

jis

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what? They entered service in 2017 so it will have been 6 years. Are they going to be retired after 24 years?
A life can have many quarters I suppose :D

I remember the endless number of "quarter life" overhauls that the Amfleet Is have gone through ;)
 

TransitTyrant

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Amtrak25

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Unlike Amfleet, these things seem to be shop queens, so they could well last 30 years since they do not seem to run very much. Someone said a few days ago on Trainorders that about 16 of them are out of service every day.
 

jis

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Unlike Amfleet, these things seem to be shop queens, so they could well last 30 years since they do not seem to run very much. Someone said a few days ago on Trainorders that about 16 of them are out of service every day.
Would expect nothing less from the excellent Chicago shops. LOL. Actually, as per the claims made in the TO post, managing to keep half the fleet running is pretty commendable with a new technology I'd say! Normally one expects 80% to be on the road. Besides, posts in TO are hardly the last word of reliable information ;)

Brightline seems to have no problem running theirs, but of course they are maintained by Siemens under contract. WSDOT appears to have relatively little problem keeping theirs running either.
 
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TransitTyrant

Train Attendant
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Location
Chicago
Unlike Amfleet, these things seem to be shop queens, so they could well last 30 years since they do not seem to run very much. Someone said a few days ago on Trainorders that about 16 of them are out of service every day.
That person; I know who you’re talking about, has a very unhealthy obsession with trying to prove the Chargers are just dogs and useless. There are days when several are being shopped but for the most part the majority are pulling trains.
 

Cal

Engineer
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Jan 23, 2021
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When i passed the Chicago yards it felt like there were a lot in the shops, but I don’t think I ever saw a Midwest train being pulled by anything other than a charger so…
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
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Dec 21, 2012
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Fresno, CA
The California units also seem to have no more issues than any other locomotive. Admittedly, that's anecdotal data. But, I would also point out that Los Angeles and Oakland are also Amtrak-run shops.

I think the perception of the Chargers being "shop queens" is at least partly the fault of Amtrak's poor oversight of the Chicago shops.
 

Cal

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The California units also seem to have no more issues than any other locomotive. Admittedly, that's anecdotal data. But, I would also point out that Los Angeles and Oakland are also Amtrak-run shops.

I think the perception of the Chargers being "shop queens" is at least partly the fault of Amtrak's poor oversight of the Chicago shops.
Surfliner's have been doing good, in fact I don't think a P42 has had to substitute in a very long time.
 

Mark P

Train Attendant
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Jan 9, 2012
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Seattle
Looking to take the MO River Runner next May and excited to try out the new Venture coaches. Any idea as to the schedule of the new business class cars? Will they be operating on that route by then? The old split cafe/business cars do not look too exciting.
 

Amtrak25

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New Jersey
Be careful what you wish for, or be on a diet of solids only prior to going. According to a poster on Trainorders, cancellations for Lincoln trains due to too much non functioning equipment :

Train 305 from August 12-17 cancelled.
Train 300 from August 13-18 cancelled.

These trains have been operating with only one working restroom on the entire train for almost a week now. These trains are running with all Ventra cars and they can't keep the toilets working. The Amfleet I cafe car is usually the only working restroom on the whole train.
 

rs9

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
143
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Chicago
Be careful what you wish for, or be on a diet of solids only prior to going. According to a poster on Trainorders, cancellations for Lincoln trains due to too much non functioning equipment :

Train 305 from August 12-17 cancelled.
Train 300 from August 13-18 cancelled.

These trains have been operating with only one working restroom on the entire train for almost a week now. These trains are running with all Ventra cars and they can't keep the toilets working. The Amfleet I cafe car is usually the only working restroom on the whole train.

There is verification of the cancellations, but the only source of the bathroom problems that I can find is the TrainOrders post, which doesn't cite any source of its own.
 

TransitTyrant

Train Attendant
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Chicago
There is verification of the cancellations, but the only source of the bathroom problems that I can find is the TrainOrders post, which doesn't cite any source of its own.
Well before the stairs issue two Wolverine runs were using Ventures but for the past week all Wolverines were using Amfleets/Horizons. Something is up.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
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These trains have been operating with only one working restroom on the entire train for almost a week now. These trains are running with all Ventra cars and they can't keep the toilets working. The Amfleet I cafe car is usually the only working restroom on the whole train.
I can't help but chuckle at your typo since Ventra is the payment system Metra and the CTA use....
 
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