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Silver Service/Viewliner Consist

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Pullman

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2008
Messages
18
Location
Pennsylvania
1) Are the current Silver Service lines running the Viewliners in the rear of the train following the diner?

2) If so, are they planning on keeping it that way?

3) Do you think there are any disadvantages running a Viewliner at the rear of the train?

Thank you,

Happy New Year!
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
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Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,386
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Orlando, FL
1) Are the current Silver Service lines running the Viewliners in the rear of the train following the diner? 2) If so, are they planning on keeping it that way?

3) Do you think there are any disadvantages running a Viewliner at the rear of the train?

Thank you,

Happy New Year!
I have traveled on the Silver Meteor and Silver Star a total of 8 times in the past 7 months and each time the sleepers were in the rear of the train. I have heard that they will continue that consist.

I personally like the sleepers in the front of the train because the ride is smoother, but I understand that a safety issue warranted to switch.
 

MattW

Conductor
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
1,729
Location
East of Atlanta, GA
The safety issue could be solved by keeping everything as is, putting the baggage "behind" the sleepers and then the locomotives "behind" that thus making it the front and the vestibules all lining up properly. I still don't know why Amtrak decided to endanger 60 coach passengers by putting them behind the baggage and leaving them with one vestibule for them ALL to get out of instead of 30 sleeper passengers all because of some horn noise. Sure it solved the problem with the diner's lack of vestibules, but it created another IMO far dangerous problem with the coach up front.
 
Joined
May 20, 2005
Messages
576
The safety issue could be solved by keeping everything as is, putting the baggage "behind" the sleepers and then the locomotives "behind" that thus making it the front and the vestibules all lining up properly. I still don't know why Amtrak decided to endanger 60 coach passengers by putting them behind the baggage and leaving them with one vestibule for them ALL to get out of instead of 30 sleeper passengers all because of some horn noise. Sure it solved the problem with the diner's lack of vestibules, but it created another IMO far dangerous problem with the coach up front.
I can't for the life of me understand this business of "Amtrak endangering 30 or 60 passengers" as you say. The last time I checked, Amtrak is in the business of transporting passengers, not in the business of "endangering their passengers!" Safety is a number one priority with the railroads, and Amtrak would not have reverted these single level consists back to their original positions for just some silly reason or two! I am sure no one just woke up one morning and said "gee, let's move the position of the railcars in the train consists back to the old way" without a thorough study as to whether it was prudent to do so.

This action Amtrak took with the single level equipment was to kill two birds with one stone in the least expensive manner for doing so! Amtrak was able to appease many of its employees' concerns (one of mine too during my tenure at Amtrak) of the placement of vestibule exit doors, and to appease a large number of "1st class" sleeper passengers (who pay more than coach usually) complaining about the horn noise. Also, with the galley portion of the diner on the same end as the sleepers provides the 1st class passengers a little more privacy from the rest of the train though some of the diners were turned the other way to begin with. There wasn't a trip that went by during my tenure at Amtrak that I didn't hear some kind of complain about the horn noise from some of the sleeper passengers. So why not return to the original way of the placement of the sleepers in the train consist?

Also, take note that this is the original order of most of the single level trains' consists from years past. The difference is back in the day, most of the consists of the single level trains had rolling stock fairly equal to each other in weight with a few exceptions unlike the Viewliners and Amfleet. Amtrak had the sleepers placed in front next to the locomotives for only about a a ten to twelve year period, and during the last year of my tenure there was talk for quite some time about restoring them back to their current placement. Three years later, it has been done with minimal effort (switching, turning equipment, time spent, etc).

So therefore, no dangerous situation has been created by having the coaches placed forwards of the sleepers, lounge, and diner as they are now in the train's current consist! The only thing that is really of concern to me (from a conductor standpoint), is that the Viewliners are much lighter weight than their older streamliner sleeper counterparts. And with them placed on the rear of the train they may in some cases have a possible negative effect when it comes to their ride quality! As previously stated, the Viewliners are lighter and most likely whip and bounce around a little more being on the rear of the train. Hmmm, a nice and heavy first class sleeper lounge may solve that problem, though (yeah I know, wishful thinking here)

I for one am happy to see the sleepers in the place where they belong in the train's consist these days. However, it would be nice if our single level long distance trains could use the older and heavier streamliner equipment for both the coaches and sleepers, and that there were the multitudes of mail cars between the locos and the baggage cars as they were on many trains back in the day (oops, more wishful thinking again).

OBS gone freight...
 

ExtonFlyer

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
91
Location
Exton, PA
1) Are the current Silver Service lines running the Viewliners in the rear of the train following the diner? 2) If so, are they planning on keeping it that way?

3) Do you think there are any disadvantages running a Viewliner at the rear of the train?

Thank you,

Happy New Year!
I have traveled on the Silver Meteor and Silver Star a total of 8 times in the past 7 months and each time the sleepers were in the rear of the train. I have heard that they will continue that consist.

I personally like the sleepers in the front of the train because the ride is smoother, but I understand that a safety issue warranted to switch.
I have traveled the Silver Star twice from Philadelphia to Tampa in 2008 & 2009 but both times were before the viewliners were switched to the rear. Is the ride really that much more worse in the rear? I am considering a repeat trip for 2010 and am curious to hear more details about this. Is the ride quality decrease really that noticeable? I can recall the horn noise up front being a bit of an annoyance...but it was nothing that a martini :) and a set of earplugs couldn't fix. Appreciate any perspective that riders can provide. Thanks!
 

MattW

Conductor
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
1,729
Location
East of Atlanta, GA
Please, look at this pic: http://railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=308028&nseq=1

Notice, no vestibule at the front of the lead Amfleet II. That means, in a derailment, or other rapid-evac situation, 60 coach passengers are now trying to get out through one vestibule instead of 30 sleeper passengers. Would the same situation happen with the trailing coach and the locked end-door? Yes, but A. worst-case, there's a window, and B. once you're through the window/door, there's not a locked baggage car door further inhibiting you because I assume, the baggage car side-doors are locked.

I'm not saying go back and give the Diner no vestibules, I'm saying, flip the seats, stick the baggage in front of the Viewliners and prevent a potential disaster.

Also, if the horn noise is really an issue, then why do the Superliners run with the sleepers up front? They're even more exposed to the sound than the Viewliners which at least are inline with the Baggage and P42 (roughly) which provides some dampening.
 

Crescent ATN & TCL

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
691
Location
Tuscaloosa/Lincoln, AL
Please, look at this pic: http://railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=308028&nseq=1Notice, no vestibule at the front of the lead Amfleet II. That means, in a derailment, or other rapid-evac situation, 60 coach passengers are now trying to get out through one vestibule instead of 30 sleeper passengers. Would the same situation happen with the trailing coach and the locked end-door? Yes, but A. worst-case, there's a window, and B. once you're through the window/door, there's not a locked baggage car door further inhibiting you because I assume, the baggage car side-doors are locked.

I'm not saying go back and give the Diner no vestibules, I'm saying, flip the seats, stick the baggage in front of the Viewliners and prevent a potential disaster.

Also, if the horn noise is really an issue, then why do the Superliners run with the sleepers up front? They're even more exposed to the sound than the Viewliners which at least are inline with the Baggage and P42 (roughly) which provides some dampening.
I don't know if you've noticed but the coaches are opened on an as needed basis, for example coaches 3 and 4 are used all the time one the Crescent, with coaches 2 and 1 being opened as needed. The idea is to keep the majority of the passengers in the center of the train. So I am sure Amtrak has thought this over and made the decision they thought was best. Granted Amtrak doesn't always make the best decisions, but when it comes to safety they often do.
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
Location
Queens, New York
Please, look at this pic: http://railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=308028&nseq=1Notice, no vestibule at the front of the lead Amfleet II. That means, in a derailment, or other rapid-evac situation, 60 coach passengers are now trying to get out through one vestibule instead of 30 sleeper passengers. Would the same situation happen with the trailing coach and the locked end-door? Yes, but A. worst-case, there's a window, and B. once you're through the window/door, there's not a locked baggage car door further inhibiting you because I assume, the baggage car side-doors are locked.

I'm not saying go back and give the Diner no vestibules, I'm saying, flip the seats, stick the baggage in front of the Viewliners and prevent a potential disaster.

Also, if the horn noise is really an issue, then why do the Superliners run with the sleepers up front? They're even more exposed to the sound than the Viewliners which at least are inline with the Baggage and P42 (roughly) which provides some dampening.
Front or back there is no difference for the that Amfleet car. In fact, all things considered it's actually probably better the current way, as at least now passengers can evac to the baggage car. The old way, they had to make a 4 foot jump to the tracks, and that's after getting the locked door open. Now they just have to walk into the baggage car if that is the only avenue for escape.

Plus this is still better than having 48 people in the dining car, plus crew, all of whom now need to run through a sleeper with 30 other passengers or through the cafe car with still other passengers and crew to get out in an emergency.

And no, the baggage car doors don't lock, which is one of the major concerns that we've been talking about now that Congress has decided to force Amtrak to carry guns once again. Anyone can open those doors. In fact, in many cases the doors don't even close fully thanks to 60+ years of abuse.

As for the Superliners, except for the City of New Orleans and the Texas Eagle, there is actually less sound in the sleepers, unless one gets a room in the Trans/Dorm. On all other trains except the two mentioned above, you have a baggage car a Trans/Dorm and another engine (if not 2) between the lead engine's horn and the sleepers. With the single levels, there are no dorm cars so you are closer to the engines.
 
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Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,209
Location
NJ
I don't know if you've noticed but the coaches are opened on an as needed basis, for example coaches 3 and 4 are used all the time one the Crescent, with coaches 2 and 1 being opened as needed. The idea is to keep the majority of the passengers in the center of the train. So I am sure Amtrak has thought this over and made the decision they thought was best. Granted Amtrak doesn't always make the best decisions, but when it comes to safety they often do.
I think the Crescent is the only LD single level in which that is consciously done.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
277
I way prefer the sleepers on the rear. Hated when they moved them to the front. You pay $300 a night for a room you don't want to hear that blaring horn every five minutes.
 

pennyk

Conductor
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I way prefer the sleepers on the rear. Hated when they moved them to the front. You pay $300 a night for a room you don't want to hear that blaring horn every five minutes.
I like the horn and would rather hear the horn and have a smooth ride than not hear the horn as much and have a rough ride. But I am not making the decisions and I will still continue ride the Silvers in a sleeper.
 

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
730
Nice pic, why does the Silver and Crescent use two GEs? The land profile is relatively flat isn't it? The Eagle's single locomotive pulls 7 to 8 Superliner cars which are heavier.
 

Big Iron

Conductor
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
1,027
Location
Virginia
Nice pic, why does the Silver and Crescent use two GEs? The land profile is relatively flat isn't it? The Eagle's single locomotive pulls 7 to 8 Superliner cars which are heavier.
I believe that some host railroads require 2 locomotives for breakdown reasons. Allows the train to keep moving and get out of the way of thier freight trains.
 

wrjensen

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
150
Location
On the Metro Platform At ALX
1) Are the current Silver Service lines running the Viewliners in the rear of the train following the diner? 2) If so, are they planning on keeping it that way?

3) Do you think there are any disadvantages running a Viewliner at the rear of the train?

Thank you,

Happy New Year!
I see the trains 3-4 time a week at ALX. The Viewliners are always behind the dinner.
 
T

Tony

Guest
I find the rear Viewliners tend to sway sideways a bit ("tail wag").

I find the engine horn just about as loud as it was before. It is not like the Silver trains are 1/2 mile long, and being in the rear most car puts you so far away from the engine, you can't hear the horn anymore.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
277
I find the rear Viewliners tend to sway sideways a bit ("tail wag").
I find the engine horn just about as loud as it was before. It is not like the Silver trains are 1/2 mile long, and being in the rear most car puts you so far away from the engine, you can't hear the horn anymore.
Well for me the horn is way louder when the sleepers are up front. Big difference. As far as the sway I don't even notice it. But it seems if sleeping car passengers are complaining about the horn then it's an issue having the Viewliners up front.
 

frugalist

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 18, 2009
Messages
352
Location
Central Florida, USA
1) Are the current Silver Service lines running the Viewliners in the rear of the train following the diner? 2) If so, are they planning on keeping it that way?

3) Do you think there are any disadvantages running a Viewliner at the rear of the train?

Thank you,

Happy New Year!
I see the trains 3-4 time a week at ALX. The Viewliners are always behind the dinner.
Mrs. Frugalist and I rode the Silver Meteor today (#98 and 97) and the lineup on both trains was baggage car > coaches > cafe/lounge > diner > sleepers.
 

battalion51

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
7,193
Location
USA
Nice pic, why does the Silver and Crescent use two GEs? The land profile is relatively flat isn't it? The Eagle's single locomotive pulls 7 to 8 Superliner cars which are heavier.
I believe that some host railroads require 2 locomotives for breakdown reasons. Allows the train to keep moving and get out of the way of thier freight trains.
On the Crescent you actually go through some decent grades. Not many people realize it but, IIRC, of the cities Major League Baseball is in Atlanta is the third highest at around 1,000 feet above sea level. You do a decent amount of ascending and descending going through the hills on the south side of the Appalachians (just keep an eye out for Mark Sanford when you're going through South Carolina, you never know where he'll be hiking next). As for Silver Service, you can make it over the road with one motor, but you make much better time with two (obviously). CSX has stipulated though that they want two motors on the train for reliability reasons. This only applies to the Meteor and the Star though. The Carolinian, Palmetto bug, and Regionals continue to generally operate with one motor.
 
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