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Viewliner II Part 4: Sleeping Car Production, Delivery, Speculation

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Thirdrail7

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Here is the thread dealing with the initial start up, testing and ultimately, the delivery of the baggage cars:



There is still an outstanding dining car (for the next few weeks or so) so this we can keep an eye on this thread for information and usage:



Only 1 bag/dorm has emerged from the factory, meaning there are 9 more outstanding so, this thread will hopefully have some action in the future:





As such, it is time to talk about the last car in this order. The sleeping car.  First things first, though:



:ph34r:

Where would add additional sleepers as they trickle out in tiny batches? Would you use them to supplement the existing trains or remove the Viewliner Is for overhaul as they emerge? Perhaps you would wait until you had 5 on hand before you'd remove View Is for overhauls/mods?

Let's speculate!
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Depending on when they start to show up, and the amount on hand.

Never seen a operating plan for the new equipment (Sleeper or Bag Dorms).

The available date of the equipment would dictate the use.
 

lordsigma

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Maybe a combination of both? In the peak months it would seem beneficial to add capacity, but then in the slower months take as many V1s out as possible for overhaul. Guess a lot depends on if the V1 overhaul is funded.
 

GBNorman

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Are the previously "rumored" plans to standardize the single level Sleeping Car fleet to the 10RM-2BR-1H of the V-II still in "play"?
 

west point

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Maybe a combination of both? In the peak months it would seem beneficial to add capacity, but then in the slower months take as many V1s out as possible for overhaul. Guess a lot depends on if the V1 overhaul is funded.
2 diff@erent possibilities at opposite results.

1.  Take V-1 out of service as soon as V-2 available to reduce sudden revenue increase.

2.  Keep all V-1s in service until slow season then a sudden operating expense for overhaul that would make LD look worse?
 

cpotisch

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2 diff@erent possibilities at opposite results.

 1.  Take V-1 out of service as soon as V-2 available to reduce sudden revenue increase.

2.  Keep all V-1s in service until slow season then a sudden operating expense for overhaul that would make LD look worse?
And your point is...? :rolleyes:
 

Just-Thinking-51

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2 diff@erent possibilities at opposite results.

1.  Take V-1 out of service as soon as V-2 available to reduce sudden revenue increase.

2.  Keep all V-1s in service until slow season then a sudden operating expense for overhaul that would make LD look worse?
Your negativity is worse than my negativity.

Wish I could prove you wrong, but you did bring up the issue that everyone is concerned about.

More sleepers equal more passengers. Passenger that need to have a food option.  Which creates more expensive.  Sleep car attendant and possibly more Food Service personal. At the very least you need to stock more food products.

Don't forget the price bucket need to be adjusted to the extra capacity too.

Not sure what Amtrak going to do.
 

Dakota 400

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Where would add additional sleepers as they trickle out in tiny batches? Would you use them to supplement the existing trains or remove the Viewliner Is for overhaul as they emerge? Perhaps you would wait until you had 5 on hand before you'd remove View Is for overhauls/mods?
My suggestion would be to remove the Viewliner I's that are in service that are in need of a refreshing.  My sleeper on #97 had no interior signs of wear and tear.  The sleeper I had on #98:  its interior needed some cosmetic attention, if nothing else.  Both cars rode well and were comfortable.  Everything worked well that should have done so. 
 

bratkinson

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I think it depends on who is in the Amtrak presidents' chair. 

If it's Anderson, I wouldn't be surprised one iota if he simply stored all of them in Florida or wherever and pushed to make a deal with VIA to sell them V2 baggage, diner, and sleeper cars.  Do not lose sight of the fact he does NOT want to 'grow' the service or even revenue!  He only wants to cut costs!
 
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cpotisch

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Your negativity is worse than my negativity.

Wish I could prove you wrong, but you did bring up the issue that everyone is concerned about.

 More sleepers equal more passengers. Passenger that need to have a food option.  Which creates more expensive.  Sleep car attendant and possibly more Food Service personal. At the very least you need to stock more food products.

Don't forget the price bucket need to be adjusted to the extra capacity too.

Not sure what Amtrak going to do.
Wait what? Yes there will be more passengers who need food, but they are paying (usually a hefty sum) for their ticket. I don't see any logical way in which MORE people paying for sleeper tickets is a net loss.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Wait what? Yes there will be more passengers who need food, but they are paying (usually a hefty sum) for their ticket. I don't see any logical way in which MORE people paying for sleeper tickets is a net loss.
If Amtrak thinks there losing money with each passenger, then adding more capacity will create more lost. (Per Amtrak). Simple adding a sleeping car required more employees to staff the train.  More cost, more lost.  When your goal is to cut expenses, add a employees to pay roll is not what you do.
 

cpotisch

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If Amtrak thinks there losing money with each passenger, then adding more capacity will create more lost. (Per Amtrak). Simple adding a sleeping car required more employees to staff the train.  More cost, more lost.  When your goal is to cut expenses, add a employees to pay roll is not what you do.
Has Amtrak said that they lose money on every sleeper passenger that rides?
 

Amtrakfflyer

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Amtrak’s current management doesn't speak and if they do it should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
 

neroden

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Where would add additional sleepers as they trickle out in tiny batches? Would you use them to supplement the existing trains or remove the Viewliner Is for overhaul as they emerge? Perhaps you would wait until you had 5 on hand before you'd remove View Is for overhauls/mods?

Let's speculate!
 
Depends on whether there's funding for the supposed full renovation of the Viewliner Is (to remove the in-room bathrooms and have a separate bathroom).  If there is funding for thta, I'd get the Viewliner Is out for that renovation ASAP.  But I'm going to assume that there is no funding for this.

Also depends on time of year.  We are at the trough of Eastern sleeper car demand in late January / early February.  As spring arrives, I would lengthen the consists of trains in the following order:

#1: Cardinal.  (Which should be daily, of course, but Amtrak is not currently competent enough to do this.)

#2: Lake Shore Limited, New York Section

#3: Sleeper on #66/#67, which should get a name back (the Night Owl or Twilight Shoreliner)... and should also go to Norfolk rather than NPN, IMHO.  Also the southbound should run two hours earlier and the northbound should run two hours later.  No dining car needed for this route.  Yeah, Amtrak is nowhere near competent or clever enough to do this.

This would use a bit less than half the new cars.

Upon receiving enough sleeper cars, I would assign separate pools of View-Is and View-IIs to allow use of the full capacity of View-Is without messing up Amtrak's antiquated capacity management system (which should be fixed, but good luck).  View-IIs are supposed to be better in the snow so I'd assign them permanently to the LSL (both sections) and Cardinal.  Also, last time I read a survey result (admittedly years ago), the Northern riders were more distressed by the in-room bathrooms than the Southern riders (I have no idea why; cultural differences I guess).

#4: Convert the Capitol Limited to single-level.  I don't think there are enough single-level coaches and cafe cars for that right now, but it eliminates a bunch of weird platform-height incompatibilities and eliminates a consistent capacity mismatch.  The bilevels all have about 1.5 times the capacity of the single-levels.  3 Superliner sleepers (including the transdorm) are too many; 2 are too few.  3 Viewliners would be about right for most of the year (2 for the low season).  The CL diner is seating overkill for the ridership; a Viewdiner would be about right.  3 Superliner coaches (including the coach/bag sometimes) is usually too many; 2 are too few; 3 single-level coaches would be about right.  The Superliners would relieve capacity constraints on the Western trains.

#5: Lift heaven and Earth and figure out how to get cutoff cars NY-Atlanta on the Crescent, and assign another sleeper there.

These go from "most no-brainer" to "most debatable".  It's clear an extra sleeper on the Cardinal would coin money, as would an extra NY sleeper on the LSL most of the year (though not Jan-Feb).  The others get more debatable.
 
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cpotisch

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Convert the Capitol Limited to single-level.  I don't think there are enough single-level coaches and cafe cars for that right now, but it eliminates a bunch of weird platform-height incompatibilities and eliminates a consistent capacity mismatch.  The bilevels all have about 1.5 times the capacity of the single-levels.  3 Superliner sleepers (including the transdorm) are too many; 2 are too few.  3 Viewliners would be about right for most of the year (2 for the low season).  The CL diner is seating overkill for the ridership; a Viewdiner would be about right.  3 Superliner coaches (including the coach/bag sometimes) is usually too many; 2 are too few; 3 single-level coaches would be about right.  The Superliners would relieve capacity constraints on the Western trains.
While we are making the Cap single-level, why not extend it up to NYP? I suggested this in another thread a while back, and they could market it as a sort of sister train to the Cardinal (since both would be NYP-CHI via WAS). I don’t think it would even require any extra equipment.
 

Dakota 400

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Having been a passenger on the Crescent from New York to New Orleans and one on the Silver Meteor to and from Washington and Fort Lauderdale, I see no reason to remove the in-room commode/lavatory in the Roomettes in the Viewliners I.  For my first trip, which was on the Crescent, such an arrangement does take a bit of an adjustment for the guest with their first time in a Roomette.  Having the commode within my space during the night during my recent Silver Meteor trip was something that I really appreciated.  I had learned the "logistics" of how to use the facility without the issues that I first experienced on the Crescent.  Experience is a great thing!  My suggestion, has I previously have posted, is that at least some of the Viewliner 1 need to be renovated in the interior because of cosmetic details.  For example:  the space holding the toilet paper showed signs of glue around the container to hold it in place and surfaces on the doors and elsewhere showed much wear.  Very minor in my opinion, to be sure.

If the in-room commode/lavatory is removed from the Roomette, installing only one will not be adequate as a replacement.  Even on the Superliner Sleepers, I have found all of the restrooms to be occupied when I wanted to use one.
 

cpotisch

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If the in-room commode/lavatory is removed from the Roomette, installing only one will not be adequate as a replacement.
The V-II sleepers have two shared toilets in each car, which take up the space of one Roomette (so each car now has 11 revenue). I agree though that it really doesn't make sense to to take cars out of service, remove the in-room toilets, and reduce the capacity by one Roomette, just for consistency between the V-Is and V-IIs.

The Viewliner Is definitely could use some refurbishment, since they are looking a bit tired, but I just don't see the point in taking out the toilets.
 

zephyr17

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The V-II sleepers have two shared toilets in each car, which take up the space of one Roomette (so each car now has 11 revenue). I agree though that it really doesn't make sense to to take cars out of service, remove the in-room toilets, and reduce the capacity by one Roomette, just for consistency between the V-Is and V-IIs.

The Viewliner Is definitely could use some refurbishment, since they are looking a bit tired, but I just don't see the point in taking out the
They want to be able to move cars between trains and not have to keep the different types captive to specific trains, since the cars different capacities.  Otherwise they'd have trouble knowing what the inventory was.
 

cpotisch

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They want to be able to move cars between trains and not have to keep the different types captive to specific trains, since the cars different capacities.  Otherwise they'd have trouble knowing what the inventory was.
Then why not just take one of the 12 Roomettes out of inventory, but not physically replace it?

Or if that doesn't make sense, they could replace the room with those two shared toilets, but not bother taking the in-room toilets out of each Roomette. That would still be less of a hassle than taking those toilets out, and now passengers would have the option to either use the one in their room or a shared one. I mean, are there any actual benefits of taking the toilets out of the Roomettes, in and of itself?
 

neroden

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Roomette plumbing in Viewliners has been reported to be one of the biggest maintenance nightmares of the otherwise-pretty-good Viewliner I designs, so there *are* savings to removing them.
 

CSXfoamer1997

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The Viewliner II sleepers are designed to reach 125 MPH. The original Viewliner sleepers were originally designed to reach 110 MPH. Is there any telling as to when they'll be rebuilt to reach 125 MPH so that the rest of the long distance trains can reach 125 MPH?
 

PVD

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I sort of recall they were designed for 125 but never certified past 110. Were that to be the case, the upgrade in max speed would not be a major project. If my memory is incorrect I'm sure the correct story will emerge in the next few posts.
 

cpotisch

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I sort of recall they were designed for 125 but never certified past 110. Were that to be the case, the upgrade in max speed would not be a major project. If my memory is incorrect I'm sure the correct story will emerge in the next few posts.
I'm pretty sure they were designed for AND are certified for 125. I do wonder what they will have to do to the V-Is to get them up to 125...
 
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Acela150

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The Viewliner II sleepers are designed to reach 125 MPH. The original Viewliner sleepers were originally designed to reach 110 MPH. Is there any telling as to when they'll be rebuilt to reach 125 MPH so that the rest of the long distance trains can reach 125 MPH?
Why does everyone make such a big deal out of this? It's not going to save much time. A couple of seconds at best. And the only place they'd hit 125 is on the corridor. Unless there are some other sections of Railroad that Amtrak Long Distance Trains use that reach 125 mph. 

I'm pretty sure they were designed for AND certified for 125. I do wonder what they will have to do to the V-Is to get them up to 125...
If they were certified for 125 mph they would already be running 125 mph. ;)  
 
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