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

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neroden

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Based on length of trip bothe the crescent and cardinal merit the use of a full service diner imho.
The main issue with the Cardinal is that it's too short (not enough cars) to have enough patronage to make reasonable use of a full diner. The main reason it's too short is that the three-a-week service suppresses ridership. The solution is, of course, clear... daily service and a longer train... and there are now enough Viewliners to do it. CSX will have to be browbeat at the STB to make it happen, of course. Amtrak is laying the groundwork for browbeating CSX at the STB right now, so it might be possible.
 

MARC Rider

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Westbound, if you ride from the NEC to Chicago, the meals are Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast. Eastbound, the meals are Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

The pre-flex Diner-Lite offerings, to my taste, had enough variety for the trip length. At least I didn't have to repeat any entrees. It also helped that they had a Lunch menu that was separate from the Dinner menu. On the other hand, the flex experience eastbound forced me to repeat one of the dinner/lunch entrees. Fortunately, they didn't run out of anything on that trip, so I had some flexibility.

I do hope that when they finally upgrade the food service on the eastern trains, they will pay some attention to the poor Cardinal. At least restore the Diner-Lite menu.
 

west point

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do not expect any increasing of service as there are openings for LAX , NOL, CHI for OBS. Also food specialists openings CHI and SEA
 

joelkfla

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Based on length of trip bothe the crescent and cardinal merit the use of a full service diner imho.
The main issue with the Cardinal is that it's too short (not enough cars) to have enough patronage to make reasonable use of a full diner
That makes a lot of sense. The variety of menu selections should depend on the length of the trip, but the capacity of the dining facility should depend on the number of passengers eligible and likely to use it.
 

me_little_me

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The main issue with the Cardinal is that it's too short (not enough cars) to have enough patronage to make reasonable use of a full diner. The main reason it's too short is that the three-a-week service suppresses ridership. The solution is, of course, clear... daily service and a longer train... and there are now enough Viewliners to do it. CSX will have to be browbeat at the STB to make it happen, of course. Amtrak is laying the groundwork for browbeating CSX at the STB right now, so it might be possible.
I have found days where you can't get a sleeper room at all so it's not just 3 days a week that suppresses travel. It's management.
 

west point

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MIA positions can only be addressed by speculation.
1. All filled or most were recalled however with large amount of C-19 Delta highly unlikely.
3. Some positions covered by WASH and NY ?
4. Training classes are full for western trains first ?
5. Only checking employment openings the next few weeks can we have any idea at all . Then we have the NOL openings that may be changing as we read this.
 

neroden

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I have found days where you can't get a sleeper room at all so it's not just 3 days a week that suppresses travel. It's management.
Well, until recently there was also a shortage of sleeper cars. Why the new Viewliner sleepers have not been used to lengthen the Cardinal, the Lake Shore Limited, and the Crescent... well, I'm not sure but rumor has it that it's a staff shortage. :sigh:
 

nti1094

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I would imagine that the engineers that have actual knowledge of the structure how it failed would be a better source of how hard engineering a fix would be than a random person on the internet that doesn't have that knowledge.
Well three previous manufacturers had no problem doing it with the same basic car shell.
 

PVD

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It isn't usually whether or not you can fix a problem, it is whether you can fix it and still meet the design requirements as well as the time and monetary constraints of a given project/contract.
 

jis

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Well three previous manufacturers had no problem doing it with the same basic car shell.
Actually the problem this time around was the new lower weight requirments imposed by the new car standard together with the lack of experience of NS in building center sill-less cars.

Eventually all manufacturers will be able to build cars to the new standard and indeed one could speculate that had Alstom gotten that contract they might have fared better due to their extensive experience in building sill-less cars.
 

20th Century Rider

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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.
So true! And with the general use commode, sanitation becomes an issue if the attendant does not keep it clean. What you said means everything to many of us... convenience and cleanliness!
 

PVD

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It is two units for the roomettes in the VL2. a one to six ratio is more than reasonable. I personally like the in room toilet, but am almost always traveling solo. It has been discussed to death on this forum, with very deep divisions. surveys before building as well as maintenance issues came out in favor of not having them. I'll miss them, but I don't think I'm in the majority.
 

jis

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Interestingly, AFAIR the old 10-6s, which are the closest in layout philosophy to the current 12-3 or 11-3 Viewliners still had a common facility in each car. So in that sense the new 3-11s are more aligned with the 10-6s, though I suppose facility in each room and a common facility may have been the past norm. I don;t recall if the 10-6s were all uniform in that respect.

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RPC

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This drawing is actually not typical of the Amtrak 10-6s I rode. Those had the two-chair bedrooms alternating with the couch bedrooms so they could be combined into a suite. Also, some did have a separate toilet for the roomettes and some had an extended length handicapped roomette instead.
 

jis

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I guess I was not so much worried about specific details of the 6. I was wondering if all had at least one common facility in them. I know there were many variations in the details of the individual rooms. That is not new information. Each railroad had slight variations to suite their taste, and some railroads didn;t even use standard 10-6s too much, the Southern being one of them. The Southern also did not use Slumbercoaches of any sort as far as I can tell, while others had many variations of Slumbercoaches.
 

me_little_me

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So true! And with the general use commode, sanitation becomes an issue if the attendant does not keep it clean. What you said means everything to many of us... convenience and cleanliness!
That's a management issue, much more easily fixed if management ever decides to enforce standards on their trains. The SLA is required to keep them clean. That doesn't men they are cleaned but it does mean that management can make them clean it or hire cleaners for trains.
Here are some alternatives:
  • SLAs are required to clean the shared bathrooms and showers on a regular basis and document their work (ala fast food places that make the cleaner sign and note time). A phone number is posted in the room for a passenger to call if the room is not clean.
  • Same as above but frequent and random inspections by inspectors who may board at any station and check all bathrooms and showers for cleanliness unannounced in lieu of writing date/time and having phone number posted then documenting issues. This is similar to gas stations in the past where paid inspectors would stop at company's stations and inspect them as they drove around.
  • At periodic stops, someone comes aboard to clean the bathrooms and departs at the next station (to possibly return via cab/uber) thus taking the majority of the cleaning work off the SLA. In turn, the SLA must perform other actions on board.
  • A person who is designated "Train Services Manager" rides the train as crew member and has comparable power to the conductor but only for customer services only i.e. they are a manager with the capability of making management decisions about service, compensation for issues, arranging alternatives for potential missed connections, customer complaint resolution, etc.
Of course, Amtrak management has to care enough to do something so this is probably a lost cause.
 

PVD

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Maybe I've been lucky, but on my many Superliner trips I have rarely encountered bad bathrooms, except occasionally the upstairs one in the middle of the night. But it was always cleaned first thing in the AM. Coaches I've ridden in regionals have been a different story.
 
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me_little_me

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Maybe I've been lucky, but on my many Superliner trips I have rarely encountered bad bathrooms, except occasionally the upstairs one in the middle of the night. But it was always cleaned first thing in the AM. Coaches I've ridden in regionals have been a different story.
That has been our experience. Difference between a few people using 3 bathrooms vs a lot of people using only two as well as the attitude of the car attendant. If I found a bathroom dirty in the sleeper more than once, that would DRAMATICALLY affect my tip for the SCA. I can accept once because it is possible that some pig used it just after it was cleaned.

Coach on LD is as bad as coach on regionals as far as dirty bathrooms are concerned.
 

Cal

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Coach on LD is as bad as coach on regionals as far as dirty bathrooms are concerned.
Yep. On my ride on the Cardinal the bathroom in the coach wasn't great, however not terrible. From my experience on the Cardinal, I find the general atmosphere on Western trains better. Of course I've only ever had one ride on an Eastern train and it probably varies by crew, but that's just my limited experience.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Modern Travel Plaza “Loves” has a three button rate our bathroom display. The employees have a set of buttons that will log them into and out of cleaning of the restroom. Management can see the conditions before and after the employees clean the restroom. Is it perfect no, but it a way to keep tabs on the restroom from afar.
 

MARC Rider

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On my 2012 coach trip on the Silver Star, they had cleaning logs posted on the restroom foors. Cleanest restrooms I ever saw on Amtrak, even in the middle of the night.

On the other hand, a sold-out southbound trip in 2010 on the Vermonter, after we left New York, the reek from the redtrooms was noticeable halway up the coach. They really should hire a cleaning crew in New Haven to do a quick swabbing of the restrooms while they're changing the engines.
 
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