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

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IndyLions

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…and on this evening’s (10/16) Cardinal #50 they were using a VLII as a crew dorm. I guess that frees up a few rooms in the VLI for revenue service - and from what I could tell our VLI was pretty full leaving CHI.

Now if they would just permanently allocate this car and another VLII for the Card’s 2nd set this would double sleeper capacity on the route.
 

AmtrakBlue

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…and on this evening’s (10/16) Cardinal #50 they were using a VLII as a crew dorm. I guess that frees up a few rooms in the VLI for revenue service - and from what I could tell our VLI was pretty full leaving CHI.

Now if they would just permanently allocate this car and another VLII for the Card’s 2nd set this would double sleeper capacity on the route.
It has had the new bagdorm since those came out a year or two ago.
 

Exvalley

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I have a trip on the LSL coming up in a couple of days. As a solo traveler, I was REALLY debating between whether or not to switch my reservation to the 4912 car in the hope of getting a roomette in a Viewliner II. I am currently booked in an odd number roomette in 4911. Since I am solo, I liked the idea of having the toilet in the room - and the odd number roomettes have the toilet toward the front, which means that I can sit in the seat that doesn't abut the toilet and face forward. The major downside is that my roomette is not on the Hudson river side of the train. I was planning on spending some time in the dining car in order to get those views.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and ask for an even number roomette in the 4912 car. The agent checked, but they are all sold out. I'm not terribly upset, since I was really on the fence to begin with.

One question: How much more spacious is the shower in the Viewliner II? I don't really have a problem with the shower in the Viewliner I, but I thought that I might be interesting to check out the shower in the Viewliner II.
 
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IndyLions

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One question: How much more spacious is the shower in the Viewliner II? I don't really have a problem with the shower in the Viewliner I, but I thought that I might be interesting to check out the shower in the Viewliner II.
It’s not a comparere’s my complete review of the shower with a bunch of pictures:


…and here’s a sketch of the inside of the shower with dimensions.

...and for those interested in the dimensions of the Public Shower itself - here is a drawing

View attachment 21422
 

PVD

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It is still a single module space, so if you make the shower a bit larger by changing the shape, there is likely a bit less "standing/changing room. That being said, the appearance and overall utilization of the space seems much nicer...
 
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joelkfla

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It’s not a comparere’s my complete review of the shower with a bunch of pictures:


…and here’s a sketch of the inside of the shower with dimensions.
It would be nice if the dressing seat were available as a seat rather than a towel rack. Some of us oldsters have a hard time getting dressed without a seat.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I finally decided to bite the bullet and ask for an odd number roomette in the 4912 car. The agent checked, but they are all sold out. I'm not terribly upset, since I was really on the fence to begin with.
Why wouldn't you ask for an even number on the 4912 so you're on the Hudson River side?
 

IndyLions

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It would be nice if the dressing seat were available as a seat rather than a towel rack. Some of us oldsters have a hard time getting dressed without a seat.
1634909336994.jpeg
It would also be nice if the towel rack were used as say… a towel rack. Instead, its current function seems to be that of a micro dust collector.
 

JP1822

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Amtrak has been exchanging a V2 Sleeper for a V1 Sleeper, thus not putting forth any "net gain" in the Viewliner Sleepers running in single level LD consists. The "plan" that Boardman rolled out when putting forth this order, does not seem like the "plan" that current Amgrak management is embracing - perhaps it is crew/staff related, not sure. But the facts are the fact as of now. The Viewliner I Sleepers have not aged well at all, and all need serious refurb. There had been an announcement that the Viewliner I Sleeper would receive an overhaul, but not the major overhaul as originally intended that would have "matched" them to a V2 Sleeper. Not sure why Amtrak couldn't de-commission the roomette toilets, and then install the two communal bathrooms that's now the attendant's room in the Viewliner I's. They are modular units, so couldn't that at least work? Those two changes alone, with an overhaul, would bring it close to what a V2 Sleeper looks like. A total re-model to match the V2 is a bit more complexing.

What I find MOST concerning is that current Amtrak management has made absolutely NO mention of how the V2 Sleepers and V1 Sleepers would be deployed to maximum use. Again, except for the two Viewliner sleepers restored to overnight NEC service, its just been a one for one exchange, meaning more Viewliner 1 Sleepers heading to storage. Lets be honest. They have not been getting any refurb to date, and typically Amtrak would only refurb about 3 (maybe 5 max at a time). With 75 Viewliner Sleepers between V1 and V2, there's PLENTY for spares AND for adding/augmenting additional single level LD consists. I truly think that if Amtrak could EASILY find six low density single level coaches (via an Amfleet II or adjustments to a Amfleet I) that they would convert the Capitol Limited BACK to a single level consist so as to have more Superliners for the Western Long Hauls. That would likely get six more Viewliner Sleepers deployed.

So yet again, the utilization and deployment of the Viewliner Sleepers remain a complete mystery on a go-forward basis - or as of now. And the V2's are brand new cars. All 25 should be deployed. If they need to "shop" one, replace it with a Viewliner I. It would not make a difference, as the Viewliner I's actually have one additional roomette in the inventory pool for sale (over a V2).

The Viewliner Baggage/Dorm cars - 2 are on the Cardinal, and I think the Crescent consists have them - so that's a total of 6 being utilized out of the 10. On one of my Lake Shore journeys, a Viewliner Bagg/Dorm had been put on the NYC section, and had they been deployed to all Lake Shore Limited consists, that would have made sense with 9 out of 10 deployed. Leaving one of these BRAND NEW cars for substituting at NYP where all Viewliners intersect would not be that terrible, and if needed - a Viewliner I could sub.

So again, the Viewliner Sleeper deployment doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Amtrak recently had a graduating class of onboard service attendants. I know labor is tough right now. But the fact that management has also been tight lipped about future plans of Viewliner Sleepers - odd.......at best. The plan could be to leave the current Viewliner utilization in place, and retire those Viewliner I's that Amtrak feels are in the worst condition. But that'd be a tragedy considering current demand for high-priced sleepers.
 

Steve4031

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Maybe the plan going forward is fleet standardization with Siemens coaches, diners and sleepers. For all long distance trains.
 

John819

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I suspect that the plan will be to convert all trains to single level Siemens equipment. Of course, the LD conversions could not start until the corridor train sets are completed, which means 2025 or so.
 

jis

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Western LD conversion to new equipment will be well after 2025, perhaps starting around 2028 (orders placed in 2025). Eastern Single Level LDs OTOH, just require new LD Coaches, which could happen as a quick add-on to the Amfleet I replacement order currently in progress. Of course for LD trains they will be single individual cars and not train sets, and the furnishing will be different. So conversion of Eastern Single Level LD trains could be pretty much in place by 2030.
 
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neroden

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Western LD conversion to new equipment will be well after 2025, perhaps starting around 2028 (orders placed in 2025). Eastern Single Level LDs OTOH, just require new LD Coaches, which could happen as a quick add-on to the Amfleet I replacement order currently in progress. Of course for LD trains they will be single individual cars and not train sets, and the furnishing will be different. So conversion of Eastern Single Level LD trains could be pretty much in place by 2030.
New cafe / lounge cars are also needed for the eastern trains. (Have been needed for a long time.) Could also be added on to the same order for the Amfleet I replacement, of course. And frankly more sleeping cars are needed for the eastern trains, based on demand.
 

PVD

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Keep in mind that modular is not as easy as it sounds, since the modules can only be removed through one plug, which means removing a whole slew of modules before you could replace one further up the line.
 

NES28

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I suspect that the plan will be to convert all trains to single level Siemens equipment. Of course, the LD conversions could not start until the corridor train sets are completed, which means 2025 or so.
I agree that this is likely to happen, due to the need to meet ADA. The upside is that there will be the potential to have the same fleet serve all LD trains in the east and west for the first time since before the Santa Fe El Cap cars. But there need to be "feature cars", some sort of sightseer dome car to add zest to rail travel.
 

neroden

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I agree that this is likely to happen, due to the need to meet ADA. The upside is that there will be the potential to have the same fleet serve all LD trains in the east and west for the first time since before the Santa Fe El Cap cars. But there need to be "feature cars", some sort of sightseer dome car to add zest to rail travel.
It really would not be that hard to design a single-level glasstop, with a top similar to the Superliner lounge cars.
 
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JP1822

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Rocky Mountaineer already has single level "viewing cars" dubbed Silver Leaf Class. VIA Rail Canada also has the "Panorama Cars" that were made by Colorado Rail Car that could also be duplicated to some degree. So the model is there for a good single level "viewing car" that could also double as a cafe car (cafe up near one of the vestibules).

I don't doubt that Amtrak could potentially move back to all single level consists - corridor and long distance - replacing the bi-level Superliner cars with single level consists. But I really can't see how the single level cars are more "ADA friendly" than the Superliners, and that's coming from someone who struggles with mobility. The bi-level cars are more "efficient" with space being used though........
 
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