Viewliner II - Part 1 - Initial Production and Delivery

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jis

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We'll know in a couple of months :)

More than likely the production cars will get the usual 5 digit numbers though.
 

battalion51

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Theoretically the Viewliner numbering should follow that of the Superliners, if we ever get a full Viewliner fleet. So you've got sleepers 62xxx, lounges 63xxx, coaches 64xxx, diners 68xxx, dorms 69xxx. The wild card is the baggage cars, which if you look to the Superliner scheme it'd probably be 61xxx.
 
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bgiaquin

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Theoretically the Viewliner numbering should follow that of the Superliners, if we ever get a full Viewliner fleet. So you've got sleepers 62xxx, lounges 63xxx, coaches 64xxx, diners 68xxx, dorms 69xxx. The wild card is the baggage cars, which if you look to the Superliner scheme it'd probably be 61xxx.
Thank you very much :) . As to an entire fleet, I think someday they might experiment with viewliner coaches & lounges, or they might just create Amfleet IIIs. We have to wait and see. I would be fine with both.
 

jis

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I think it is likely that Amtrak will claim that the Viewliner core is an example of the implementation of the PRIIA Single Level specification and run with it for all sorts of things based on that platform. As for others who have to acquire single level cars, they seem to each go their own way.

The problem with the single level passenger car market is that there are about 3 or 4 gorillas in the room in terms of car order volumes, and their volume requirements are such that they can actually negotiate prices with manufacturers to get whatever they like built at reasonable price. And the trend among them is to go with bi or multi levels even within the 14'6" height envelope, which is very different from what Amtrak and longer distance service providers consider to be ideal.
 

battalion51

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Theoretically the Viewliner numbering should follow that of the Superliners, if we ever get a full Viewliner fleet. So you've got sleepers 62xxx, lounges 63xxx, coaches 64xxx, diners 68xxx, dorms 69xxx. The wild card is the baggage cars, which if you look to the Superliner scheme it'd probably be 61xxx.
Thank you very much :) . As to an entire fleet, I think someday they might experiment with viewliner coaches & lounges, or they might just create Amfleet IIIs. We have to wait and see. I would be fine with both.
Personally I think it would be a huge mistake if the Viewliner platform wasn't used for the next generation of lounge cars. If there is one place where it makes total sense to have the Viewliner fleet applied it is in the lounge. Ideally you would see the seating of the Sightseer Lounge partially replicated.
 

bgiaquin

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Theoretically the Viewliner numbering should follow that of the Superliners, if we ever get a full Viewliner fleet. So you've got sleepers 62xxx, lounges 63xxx, coaches 64xxx, diners 68xxx, dorms 69xxx. The wild card is the baggage cars, which if you look to the Superliner scheme it'd probably be 61xxx.
Thank you very much :) . As to an entire fleet, I think someday they might experiment with viewliner coaches & lounges, or they might just create Amfleet IIIs. We have to wait and see. I would be fine with both.
Personally I think it would be a huge mistake if the Viewliner platform wasn't used for the next generation of lounge cars. If there is one place where it makes total sense to have the Viewliner fleet applied it is in the lounge. Ideally you would see the seating of the Sightseer Lounge partially replicated.
That is a very good idea. I think Viewliners would work well as coaches, too.
 

dlagrua

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In 2 1/2 months 2014 will be here. Does anyone know if CAF will start by delivering all Baggage and Dining cars first or will they be delivering a mix from the gitgo? At the way things are going it may be Q2 before delivery starts but we'll see. I was hoping to see at least a new diner on our coast to coast trip in June that begin in PHL on the CDL.
 

jis

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I suspect nothing will happen as long as Amtrak is in "preserve cash for any eventuality" mode of operation. Just my random guess.
 
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Nathanael

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"I suspect nothing will happen as long as Amtrak is in "preserve cash for any eventuality" mode of operation. Just my random guess."

I hope you're wrong, because that would be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

The new Viewliners are critically important for the future bottom line, and the future cash flow, of the Eastern long-distance trains! Every month they don't show up gets closer to wasting millions on overhauling clapped-out Heritage diners -- or simply suspending long-distance dining car service, which would be very bad for revenues. And they're being assigned to the profitable or close-to-profitable long-distance trains, in order to make them more profitable. Furthermore, the clapped-out Heritage dining cars probably have meaningful resale (==cash) value by selling them to less-intensive, lower-frequency tourist operations... once Amtrak stops using them.

Under current circumstances, Amtrak would honestly be much better served by ending the Sunset Limited (which I don't recommend, of course) than it would be by cancelling or significantly delaying the Viewliner order!

At least for the diners. Amtrak really, really needs those diners, like, last year. According to the last version of the Fleet Strategy Plan, Amtrak was planning to have 13 already by now -- and it doesn't. This is very, very bad. The Heritage diners are a money pit, and one which Amtrak needs to get rid of ASAP.
 

afigg

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The new Viewliners are critically important for the future bottom line, and the future cash flow, of the Eastern long-distance trains! Every month they don't show up gets closer to wasting millions on overhauling clapped-out Heritage diners -- or simply suspending long-distance dining car service, which would be very bad for revenues.

...
I'm sure Boardman and Amtrak management want to start delivery of the CAF Viewliners. However, Amtrak is dealing with a unpredictable budget situation. No one knows when the shutdown will be over and what the final FY2014 appropriation amounts for Amtrak and transportation will be. We do not know what the cash balance situation is for Amtrak at present and when the progress payments to CAF are due.

All we can go by is the statement in the Amtrak 2013 preview news release, issued in January, that stated "The delivery of the first four of the eight test pilot cars are due late in 2013 with the first units expected to be placed into service late spring 2014.". There are still over 2-1/2 months to go in 2013.
 
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ACS-64

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Media event involving the Viewliner IIs October 24th at the NY plant...rumour has it.
 

afigg

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Media event involving the Viewliner IIs October 24th at the NY plant...rumour has it.
That is a good rumor to hear. Would ease some concerned posters if there is a roll-out of new shiny cars at the CAF plant.
 
G

Guest

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... what I think I'm seeing parallels what has happened to the IBM mainframes - in a desire to provide better performance super-web servers, yet still be able to run legacy software from the 1960s (s/360 days), they have produced an instruction set that is 5x the complexity of what has been there historically, and has actually raised the complexity to the point that few programmers will be able to grapple with it... sometimes one has to step away from the existing solutions/implementations and start afresh [understanding that the car-boundary interfaces can't be changed]. ... on one of our software products, some functions which were present in version 2, which became depreciated in version 3, in spite of the screams of their absolute necessity by some, simply eliminated them in version 4 [apologizing to those that "needed" them, suggested that they simply stay on ver 3... turns out that 80%+ upgraded to ver 4 anyway].... change can be difficult, but if managed properly can be made almost painless. ... this is all about the operating costs and trying to keep them as low a possible.
From my own parallels with IBM Mainframes, they were designed with numerous different power voltages. The thinking was that one would need multiple power supplies, to supply enough power (1,000's of amps) to all the logic. So, if they needed multiple power supplies anyway, they might as well design each supply to provide the perfect or optimum voltage needed for each Mainframe element.
 
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Nathanael

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All we can go by is the statement in the Amtrak 2013 preview news release, issued in January, that stated "The delivery of the first four of the eight test pilot cars are due late in 2013 with the first units expected to be placed into service late spring 2014.". There are still over 2-1/2 months to go in 2013.
Ah, I'd interpreted that one as meaning Fiscal Year 2013. If it means calendar year 2013... then things are on track. :)

Media event involving the Viewliner IIs October 24th at the NY plant...rumour has it.
That would be lovely. I could actually make that event (it's within easy driving distance) if Amtrak announced that it was happening. Sadly I probably don't qualify as media.
Seeing a pilot car or two come out would ease my fears a lot. :)
 

abcnews

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I heard from someone at Amtrak that the Viewliner fleet will one day replace every car in their system. I am not so sure that it will happen that way - since I do love the Superliners and the Sightseer lounge (Superliner). But he mentioned that the long term goal is all Viewliner equipment - and one plant making the cars, with a consistent buyer (Amtrak).

Then any equipment could be freely used on any train. One lounge, one coach, one Sleeper and one Diner - all a single level platform and with the Viewliner profile.

But just replacing the East Coast could take twenty or thirty years at the current pace of production. So I would not really worry for many years on the western trains, not to mention, their plans could change again.
 

SarahZ

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I like being on the upper level, but I've always thought it would be nice to have a window for the top bunk. I wouldn't mind if they replaced the Superliners if it meant a window bunk instead of a coffin.
 

abcnews

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The Viewliner is a bit more like the look and feel of a classic rail car. So that aspect is nice.

The only drawback is probably the current Sightseer lounge. I heard the Viewliner lounge has a more solid rooftop - so less sky, etc... And it rides a few feet lower. But the diner would be an improvement as well as the rooms. Coaches would be about the same - but lower to the ground. But again, more like a classic train.

It would also free up more equipment.
 

sitzplatz17

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This seems unlikely as the fleet plan i've seen mention the desire to make a Superliner III order sometime. Besides, there's a huge order of bi-level corridor cars being worked on as well. First one of those will be delivered 2016 i think?
 

jis

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I heard from someone at Amtrak that the Viewliner fleet will one day replace every car in their system. I am not so sure that it will happen that way - since I do love the Superliners and the Sightseer lounge (Superliner). But he mentioned that the long term goal is all Viewliner equipment - and one plant making the cars, with a consistent buyer (Amtrak).
Perhaps someone is just pulling your legs or you misinterpreted what said someone told you. I don't know who told you that, but the guy who manages Amtrak's Capital Program does not believe so. :) Yes, all single level equipment will eventually be replaced by something like Viewliners. But bi-level equipment will be replaced by bi-level if and when they are replaced.
 

SarahZ

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Rats. No window bunk for me. -_- Guess I'll just have to take a trip on a Viewliner someday. :)
 
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rickycourtney

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Besides, there's a huge order of bi-level corridor cars being worked on as well. First one of those will be delivered 2016 i think?
The first cars are scheduled to be delivered in late 2015, with the final car to be delivered by early 2018.
 

afigg

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I heard from someone at Amtrak that the Viewliner fleet will one day replace every car in their system. I am not so sure that it will happen that way - since I do love the Superliners and the Sightseer lounge (Superliner). But he mentioned that the long term goal is all Viewliner equipment - and one plant making the cars, with a consistent buyer (Amtrak).
I think you either mis-understood or misheard him or her. The east will get single-level cars, which could well be all Viewliners for the Regionals, Keystones, off-NEC corridor cars. The Mid-west and west Coast, however, will be the domain of the bi-level or Superliner cars. There is an order with Nippon-Sharyo for 130 corridor bi-level cars for IL, MI, MO, and CA with options for 300 more bi-levels. The Amtrak Fleet Strategy Plan calls for Superliner replacements for the western LD trains and the Capitol Limited.

Your source is also likely thinking of the earlier fleet strategy plans which called for steady stream of single level and bi-level orders. Version 3.1 changed that for more concentrated orders over circa 5-6 year periods with long gaps of no orders between them.
 

abcnews

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Actually I hope you are right. Maybe he was way off. It just seemed odd when he mentioned that they really wanted to keep one plant continually at work, yaer after year - making the same type of cars, which does have a bit of long term logic. And I know in the past - the Viewliner company had gone bust from the feast/famine supply of orders coming in from Amtrak.

I think the Superliner design is by far the most perfect rail car ever made. It's by far the best use of space in a moving rail car.

However - he mentioned that the feedback from crews is dramatically different, and he said Amtrak really took that into consideration... that the crews can not get disabled folks up and down the stairs, smokers can hide out in lower levels, open windows, etc, etc.. The crews prefer the ease of walking car to car with no hidden levels and they like having everything in clear view. There is tremendous liability in keeping the train safe and secure....The Superliners are just harder on the crews...

Add to that - NYC and the Northeast is the real hub of Amtrak, and Superliners can not go through the tunnels. The trains that generate the bulk of the revenue are NEC trains.

I was not too concerned with any of this, because even though I do like the new Viewliner designs, and I do trust Amtrak to make the right decisions, but deep down, I know all of this would take decades to enact. So in the mean time I will enjoy trips on Superliner equipment and I will continue to spend my train trips in the Sightseer lounge.
 

NE933

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Your fears are justified. Good trains make for healthy living and travel, and not having them causes great harm, which hurts.
 
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