Amtrak Begins Testing Viewliner Baggage Cars


Amtrak has begun field testing four Viewliner baggage cars that are part of an order of 55 new Viewliner baggage cars being built by CAF USA of Elmire, N.Y.

No. 61000 will travel on trains in the Northeast Corridor and see duty on runs to Chicago (Cardinal and Lake Shore Limited), New Orleans (Crescent) and Miami (Silver Star and Silver Meteor)

The baggage cars are expected to be assigned to trains on all of Amtrak’s 15 long-distance routes.

The baggage cars are part of a larger order for 130 single-level, long-distance Viewliner II passenger cars, which also include diners, sleepers, and baggage-crew dormitory cars.

“The updated design provides for improved reliability and maintenance, and better baggage loading/unloading procedures,” Amtrak said in a news release. “Also, the new built-in luggage racks can secure unboxed bicycles to support the growing demand by passengers to bring their bikes onboard an expanding number of routes.”

The field testing program includes compatibility tests to ensure that the baggage car couples cleanly, and can operate through a curve without interference, with numerous types of Amtrak cars and locomotives.

In addition, there also are tests for speed, stability, braking, noise, wheelset/rail interaction, as well as baggage handling. The field testing will continue through October.

Amtrak expects these cars to begin entering revenue service by late 2014.

“All four car types will modernize the Amtrak fleet, improve reliability and maintenance, upgrade passenger amenities, travel at speeds up to 125 mph, and replace units built as far back as the 1940s and 1950s,” Amtrak said. “The diner, sleeper and baggage-dorm cars will be used on eastern long-distance routes, with the first units of each expected to begin field testing this summer.”

“With the launch of the Viewliner II, Amtrak is also launching Amtrak America, a brand that will encompass all that is great about Amtrak’s long-haul trains, including those with sleeper class service,” said Amtrak spokeman Steve Kulm.

“Amtrak’s route brands will continue, and this brand will make overall service offerings clear to our customers and stakeholders,” he said. “Amtrak America will utilize our Phase Three striping on the Viewliner IIs as a tribute to our heritage. The first cars released from production will also carry Amtrak’s historic logo in honor of our past.”

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