Viewliners and Superliners ... what would you change?

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zephyr17

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I am actually pretty dumbfounded with the reaction to 12 car single level trains. That was a pretty normal train length back in the day, 8-12 cars being very common. It isn't that long.

I am of the opinion that if Amtrak does make a long distance car order, it will be single level. The contortions required to make bilevels fully ADA compliant are just too much, and the discussion here does not make me any more confident of it. In any case, Amtrak will almost certainly apply the KISS principle and keeping it simple points towards single level, single fleet.

With that said, I do think there should be dedicated lounge space that is not a table car. Wraparound windows are not a function of height. Something akin to the Seaboard Air Line's Sun Lounges could servce as a model. I know I am dreaming wildly, but I actually think in terms of non-revenue cars, a single level long distance train should have a diner, lounge, and cafe as separate cars. That is very analagous to pre-Amtrak operations, where name trains tended to have both diners and coffee shop/counter service cars as well as lounge cars.

While I think coach passengers should have access to the diner, I don't really consider that terribly germane to the equipment discussion. Running a diner versus who has access to it are two different things. At this point, I still think the restriction is more of a function of the staffing shortages and am still hopeful it is temporary.

We are seeing the result ADA requirements in the Venture cars, with narrower seats with wider aisles. I do not know if they will pass a wheelchair, but they are ADA compliant. They have to be, they are not grandfathered as virtually all current Amtrak equipment is. I imagine in a new generation of sleeping cars, we will likewise see wider aisles. In sleepers, that may force all accommodations to be transverse to direction of travel with a side aisle as required aisle width may preclude reasonable sleeper accommodations being available on either side of a center aisle.

Dining cars are toward the center of trains that don't split. The Builder, even a full pre-COVID consist Builder, is not the longest walk to the diner from a sleeper. That honor goes to the Boston sleeper on the Lake Shore.
 
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zephyr17

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Aren’t the diners fully staffed? I saw 2 servers and a LSA on the starlights.
I think with a train the size of the Starlight, even today, it would require 3 servers if coach passengers were allowed. Also, bear in mind that the Starlight allows Business Class passengers in the diner.

In my trip in November, the Builder and the Chief both had just an LSA and one server.

In any case, access to the diner and dining car equipment are two separate things.
 
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We are seeing the result ADA requirements in the Venture cars, with narrower seats with wider aisles. I do not know if they will pass a wheelchair, but they are ADA compliant.
They are wide enough for a wheelchair, at least on the Brightline version. I believe they are even designed to allow wheelchairs to roll between cars.
 

Cal

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Another thing to be addressed if the single level coach cars are going to have observation abilities the overhead bins for small luggage items
is going to be a problem.
I don't see a conflict here. The Ventures have enough room to store small luggage items, and if there was going to be an observation car I would think that it would be a separate car. Where's the conflict?
 

railiner

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With that said, I do think there should be dedicated lounge space that is not a table car. Wraparound windows are not a function of height. Something akin to the Seaboard Air Line's Sun Lounges could servce as a model. I know I am dreaming wildly, but I actually think in terms of non-revenue cars, a single level long distance train should have a diner, lounge, and cafe as separate cars. That is very analagous to pre-Amtrak operations, where name trains tended to have both diners and coffee shop/counter service cars as well as lounge cars.
Like these? Although, without 360 degree viewing, I would not quite call them a "dome"...
 

John819

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Remember that the ADA only "requires" access to common spaces such as food service cars and observation cars, and "reasonable" access to other cars.

My proposal would be to have core unit consisting of (a) a fully ADA compliant coach, (b) a fully ADA compliant cafe car, (c) a fully ADA compliant observation car, (d) a fully ADA compliant dining car, and (e) a fully ADA compliant sleeper car. The core unit would have open gangways to allow for wheelchair access. Additional coach cars and/or sleeper cars could then be added to the core.
 

zephyr17

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Like these? Although, without 360 degree viewing, I would not quite call them a "dome"...
Those are Panorama cars, and yeah, something like that, but configured as lounges. VIA's Panorama's are configured with fairly tight coach style seating even though, at least on the Canadian, they are non-revenue cars and serve Sleeper Plus and Prestige passengers as additional sightseeing space in addition to the domes.

And, yeah, they aren't domes.
 

MARC Rider

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Those are Panorama cars, and yeah, something like that, but configured as lounges. VIA's Panorama's are configured with fairly tight coach style seating even though, at least on the Canadian, they are non-revenue cars and serve Sleeper Plus and Prestige passengers as additional sightseeing space in addition to the domes.

And, yeah, they aren't domes.
Neither are the Amtrak Sightseer Lounges.
Domes would be nice, but these look perfectly good.
 

zephyr17

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Neither are the Amtrak Sightseer Lounges.
Domes would be nice, but these look perfectly good.
I know and I cringe whenever I hear people call Sightseers domes.

I agree that they are perfectly good shells for single level lounges (however, IIRC they were Colorado Rail Car products, so there's that). The interiors would need to be configured as lounges, though. VIA's have cramped and uncomfortable coach style seating even though they are operated a non-rev sightseeing cars for sleeper passengers.
 
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zephyr17

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Remember that the ADA only "requires" access to common spaces such as food service cars and observation cars, and "reasonable" access to other cars.

My proposal would be to have core unit consisting of (a) a fully ADA compliant coach, (b) a fully ADA compliant cafe car, (c) a fully ADA compliant observation car, (d) a fully ADA compliant dining car, and (e) a fully ADA compliant sleeper car. The core unit would have open gangways to allow for wheelchair access. Additional coach cars and/or sleeper cars could then be added to the core.
Having different car configurations, ADA compliant and non-compliant, would complicate consist building and multiple subtypes would add expense. While what you propose would be ADA compliant, it creates needless complications and expense and Amtrak is unlikely to do it (assuming they do anything at all for LD equipment acquisition).
 

railiner

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Having different car configurations, ADA compliant and non-compliant, would complicate consist building and multiple subtypes would add expense. While what you propose would be ADA compliant, it creates needless complications and expense and Amtrak is unlikely to do it (assuming they do anything at all for LD equipment acquisition).
Correct me if I got it wrong, but my understanding of ADA rules require each car on a train as being accessible in itself. Having just a section of a train accessible, even if it offered all the various functions (sleeper, diner, lounge, and coach would not be acceptable, if other cars on the same train were not accessible…. Not sure…
 

zephyr17

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I
Correct me if I got it wrong, but my understanding of ADA rules require each car on a train as being accessible in itself. Having just a section of a train accessible, even if it offered all the various functions (sleeper, diner, lounge, and coach would not be acceptable, if other cars on the same train were not accessible…. Not sure…
I don't know either, but was responding to @John819 assertion that as long as all amenities were accessible, the whole train didn't have to be.
 

MisterUptempo

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Correct me if I got it wrong, but my understanding of ADA rules require each car on a train as being accessible in itself. Having just a section of a train accessible, even if it offered all the various functions (sleeper, diner, lounge, and coach would not be acceptable, if other cars on the same train were not accessible…. Not sure…
I believe that is correct, certainly as far as new intercity rolling stock is concerned. Every car must be accessible, with its own section for mobility devices, with the ability for anyone in such a device to access every car in the consist. That does not necessarily mean all access to every square inch of the train. In a consist with bi-level or multi-level cars, there is no guarantee one would have unfettered access to every level.

I believe in the case of commuter rolling stock, there is no guarantee to be able to roll from one end of the train to the other, just that every car has ADA entries and seating areas. The new multi-level Coradia cars Metra is purchasing from Alstom provides for low floor entry, with ADA seating on that lowest level and appears to have no provided ADA access to the mid and upper levels at all.

In Europe, multiple units usually designate only one or two areas for mobility devices within the entire trainset, and almost always immediately adjacent to an accessible restroom.
 

crescent-zephyr

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The brand new viewliner II cars can’t accommodate wheelchairs past the accessible rooms.

Perhaps only new superliner diners and lounges would need lifts?
 

MisterUptempo

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The brand new viewliner II cars can’t accommodate wheelchairs past the accessible rooms.

Perhaps only new superliner diners and lounges would need lifts?
Then, I'm just wondering, if there is a consist of multiple VLII sleeper cars, how does someone in a mobility device get to the diner from their car? I'm not doubting you, just curious as to how that would work. Does the food just get sent to the room? Unfortunate if true.

My experience with Amtrak has all been on corridor and NEC only. No long distance/sleeper to speak of.
 
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Then, I'm just wondering, if there is a consist of multiple VLII sleeper cars, how does someone in a mobility device get to the diner from their car? I'm not doubting you, just curious as to how that would work. Does the food just get sent to the room? Unfortunate if true.

My experience with Amtrak has all been on corridor and NEC only. No long distance/sleeper to speak of.
The wheelchair table in the diner is at the rear of the car. The H-room is at the front of the sleeper. It should be possible for a wheelchair to move from the H-room in the first sleeper into the wheelchair area in the diner.

I don't think there is wheelchair access to the diner from additional sleepers. I'm pretty sure the corridor is too narrow and the corners too tight for a wheelchair to pass. Chair-bound occupants would need to have the SCA deliver their food for consumption in their room, the same as in Superliners.
 

crescent-zephyr

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The option is to move from sleeper to diner at station stops. This can also happen on superliners if the passenger wishes to visit the cafe.
 

MARC Rider

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Having different car configurations, ADA compliant and non-compliant, would complicate consist building and multiple subtypes would add expense. While what you propose would be ADA compliant, it creates needless complications and expense and Amtrak is unlikely to do it (assuming they do anything at all for LD equipment acquisition).
o
Those only have one seat on each side of the aisle? Must be a bit narrow, or they are intended for a higher fare class?
This is, indeed their upper class service, but it should also be kept in mind that the Glacier Express runs on a narrow gauge (1 meter) track, so, of course, the cars are not as wide as standard gauge.
 

Willbridge

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I am actually pretty dumbfounded with the reaction to 12 car single level trains. That was a pretty normal train length back in the day, 8-12 cars being very common. It isn't that long.
It may have been from the 1941 Guide reprint, I calculated from the equipment listings that the standard ideal Pennsy train was 13 cars, including a baggage car.

Looking at long-distance trains of some other old schedules one finds that there usually was a cafe-lounge or coffee shop car in the middle of the coach section and a lounge or sleeper-lounge at the end of the first class section. This would have cut down on the walking (x-ref the classic CPR Canadian).

Of course, that does require more intelligence in loading procedures so that where platforms are long enough the passengers are organized -- not always the case with Amtrak. Waiting for stray passengers to run a half-dozen car lengths delays departures.
 

west point

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It may have been from the 1941 Guide reprint, I calculated from the equipment listings that the standard ideal Pennsy train was 13 cars, including a baggage car.
Were most heavy weight cars just 60 feet long instesd of today's 80+feet long? Today's cars just have 2 aels per truck as the old ones had 3 axels per car But then the REX, some RPOs and storage mail were even shorter.

Mayb the number was more what one loco could pull on flatter track and the helpers on steepe locations?
 
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