Viewliner II Part 2: Dining Car Production, Delivery, Speculation

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Tracktwentynine

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In case anyone is wondering, 8400 - Indianapolis, is on 20(3) right now. I had dinner in it leaving Atlanta, and look forward to breakfast in the morning.
 

GaSteve

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In case anyone is wondering, 8400 - Indianapolis, is on 20(3) right now. I had dinner in it leaving Atlanta, and look forward to breakfast in the morning.
How was it? Anything different or special?
Having had several meal in the 8400, I can tell you the menu is the same, the crews are the same. The only difference is that the car is more spacious.
 

hermit

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In case anyone is wondering, 8400 - Indianapolis, is on 20(3) right now. I had dinner in it leaving Atlanta, and look forward to breakfast in the morning.
How was it? Anything different or special?
Having had several meal in the 8400, I can tell you the menu is the same, the crews are the same. The only difference is that the car is more spacious.
I was hoping they would put in a sushi bar :giggle:
 

Tracktwentynine

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Just transferred to 84 at Washington. The Crescent, with Indianapolis, is still here.

Annapolis - 68001, is parked on Track 30, attached to the FRA Safety car 221.

I post this, for anyone trying to keep track of the Viewdiners.

***

Yes, I realize the food is the same. The quality of service is the same. It's still nice to experience new equipment.
 

KnightRail

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Just transferred to 84 at Washington. The Crescent, with Indianapolis, is still here.

Annapolis - 68001, is parked on Track 30, attached to the FRA Safety car 221.
68001 will be in town through at least early next week. Shall we say it has a date with the paparazzi, getting ready for its close up, strike a pose, saying cheese...
 

WoodyinNYC

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... Annapolis - 68001, is parked on Track 30, attached to the FRA Safety car 221.
68001 will be in town through at least early next week. Shall we say it has a date with the paparazzi, getting ready for its close up, strike a pose, saying cheese...
Great news. They have to get that introduction done before they start accepting a bunch more from CAF. So maybe there will be more Viewdiners by the end of January after all.
 

keelhauled

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Seaboard92

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I would say the train to watch tonight is 97 south of Washington. Should have Annapolis
 

A Voice

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The new diners will run on the Silver Meteor, the Crescent and the Lake Shore Limited, although the diner restoration date on the Lake Shore is yet to be determined.
Diners will apparently return to the LSL but not the Star.
Disappointing news that the Star(vation) will remain diner-less. :(
In fairness, the referenced NARP source didn't say that. In fact, it didn't mention the Silver Star at all, and regardless, plans can change. I doubt anyone was expecting the Silver Star to get one of the new diners anytime soon, whatever the ultimate outcome.
 

jis

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The new diners will run on the Silver Meteor, the Crescent and the Lake Shore Limited, although the diner restoration date on the Lake Shore is yet to be determined.
Diners will apparently return to the LSL but not the Star.
Disappointing news that the Star(vation) will remain diner-less. :(
Yup. If that is true, then Amtrak needs to have their heads examined. Providing for a food non-inclusive fare does not imply removal of Diner, except in some Mica-ized accounting system. If they were truly innovative they could simultaneous offer a food non-inclusive fare to the Sleeper passengers and a food inclusive fare to Coach passengers and see if they can boost Diner revenues that way, while getting a little extra even on the general train revenue side, like they do with Sleepers on other trains that have a Diner or something that vaguely resembles a Diner.
 
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PVD

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What would you do with 26 single level diners? Unless an additional train is turned to single level, or the cars are converted into something else, they either get put back on the SS or sit idle. Amortization of the cost of the cars with no offsetting revenues might be worse than putting them back in service.
 

A Voice

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What would you do with 26 single level diners? Unless an additional train is turned to single level, or the cars are converted into something else, they either get put back on the SS or sit idle. Amortization of the cost of the cars with no offsetting revenues might be worse than putting them back in service.
Worse, how would you like to explain to a Congressional committee that while you cannot completely eliminate food service losses, you just spent millions to buy more new dining cars than you have any use for.
 

neroden

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What would you do with 26 single level diners? Unless an additional train is turned to single level
Single-level Capitol Limited? :) Resurrected Broadway Limited?
Otherwise, yes, there are exactly enough dining cars to supply Meteor, Crescent, LSL, Star, daily Cardinal, shop count, and 1 protect car at each terminal.

This is why I've said they need 5 more. One wreck and they have a shortage again.
 

pennyk

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I would say the train to watch tonight is 97 south of Washington. Should have Annapolis
I saw 97 pass through Orlando while I was waiting for 98. Annapolis was deadheaded and not in service.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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The new diners will run on the Silver Meteor, the Crescent and the Lake Shore Limited, although the diner restoration date on the Lake Shore is yet to be determined.
Diners will apparently return to the LSL but not the Star.
Disappointing news that the Star(vation) will remain diner-less. :(
In fairness, the referenced NARP source didn't say that. In fact, it didn't mention the Silver Star at all, and regardless, plans can change. I doubt anyone was expecting the Silver Star to get one of the new diners anytime soon, whatever the ultimate outcome.
The source lists all the trains that are getting a new diner. The fact that they didn't mention the Star(vation) at all in that list, does mean it will not be getting one.

Of course, we could all agree that the NARP is a totally unreliable source for Amtrak info.
 
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Gentlemen, I have been following this fascinating trail for some time and this is my first post. I work for a Class 1 and have certain contacts here and there that provide information from time to time.

First, a recap on 8400. When rebuilt 2010-2012 with stimulus funding the project was "tagged" for the Lake Shore. I suspect this was just for "accounting purposes" (about that time Lake Shore was running without diners as the Heritage cars were getting their "last" heavy overhaul. Of note 6 of the Superliner sleeper stimulus rebuilds were "allocated" to be added to the Empire Builder (4th sleeper), and I do not think that ever happened.

As you probably know 8400 was in fact gutted to the shell and rebuilt with all new interior and operating equipment to serve again as a "prototype" for the new Viewliner II diners using current available equipment. This included body bolster modifications to be able to use the current version of the GS-21 trucks used by Amtrak. 8400 was withdrawn again from service in July 2015 after 30 or so months on the road and sent to Beech Grove. This was for a general overhaul, and revision to the interior equipment to bring it in line with the new cars as finalized. You may recall that Albany 68000 was run down to Philadelphia in the summer of 2014 in a more or less complete state, so the interior equipment has been set for some time. As for 8400, given that Amtrak's fiscal year runs October to September it is likely the changes were specked out from July through August, plans then made and parts ordered for delivery and use after the 2016 fiscal year began in October 2015. The car was restored to service in January 2016, ran on the gulf coast inspection trip, and then went back into general service.

Of note, that withdrawal coincided with the start of the Silver Star "experiment". While we all know some of the political reasons for this, I suspect that going from 21 to 20 diners, and the condition of those 20 Heritage cars, was another reason for the downgrade. In May of 2014 I was on a PV in Hialeah for one night and talked with some of the Amtrak personnel. I heard from them that in April of 2014 there was a time where only 16 of the 21 were in service; in short they had no spares, and were biting their nails. The main issue with the Heritage diners then were the antiquated refrigeration systems.

As for diner requirements, some 20 heritage diners covered the Meteor, the Star, Crescent and Lake Shore for about a decade. 16 were required in service daily leaving 4 "spares". I believe some aggressive turning and switching in New York can reduce this to 15. 8400 added some extra margin. With 26 Viewliner I and II diners in service later this year (let's hope), the current assignments would require 12 cars (4 for each of the three trains), leaving 14 spares! I have heard from one source that the Star may get a diner back. I am not holding my breath on that, but unless you missed it, Mr. Mica is now a private citizen again, having lost to a Democrat in November, so who knows. If that were to happen it would require 4 cars leaving 10 spares.

Beyond that I can say that "several years ago" (about 2012/2013) I saw from a reliable source some consideration for using some of the new cars to single level the Capitol, which would use 3-4 of those "spares". Certainly using them on the Cardinal would be a great idea. I was lucky to ride the Superliner lounge equipped Cardinal twice. Also, there is still some possibility of a reroute of the Meteor over the FEC in 1-3 years which would require the Palmetto becoming the Silver Palm again. There is certainly no shortage of ideas from us on the outside of where to use them!

For now let's hope they get the diners, and sleepers, delivered and in service this year.

Walter
 

WoodyinNYC

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Gentlemen, I have been following this fascinating trail for some time and this is my first post. I work for a Class 1 and have certain contacts here and there that provide information from time to time.
Congratulations on your first post! It was a good recap and chock full of information.

Keep up the good work.
 

Bob Dylan

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Ditto!

Keep the info coming, this is a very popular thread for several years on AU!
 
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