Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak passenger cars’

Amtrak Offering 99 Cars for Sale or Donation

November 29, 2018

Amtrak plans to offer another 99 passenger and baggage cars for sale, although some might end up being donated to museums or preservation groups.

The cars have been deemed surplus by the passenger carrier include 19 heritage dining cars, which Amtrak began retiring in 2015.

Also up for sale or donation are 51 baggage cars, seven refrigerated express cars, four Hi-level coaches and 18 crew dormitory cars.

The baggage cars were built between 1946 and 1962 while the Hi-level coaches date to 1956 when they were built by Budd for use on Santa Fe’s El Capitan.

The crew dorms are former Union Pacific 10-roomette, six bedrooms sleepers while the express cars were used by ExpressTrak in the late 1990s during a time when Amtrak was actively seeking to boost its mail and express business.

Amtrak said it will consider donating some of the cars to museums or preservation groups that submit a letter “stating the reason for the donation request and the intended use of the equipment should the donation be granted.”

Trains magazine reported that Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the “donation requests will be evaluated within the finance department.”

Magliari would not say what criteria will be used to decide what donation proposals will be accepted or rejected, particularly when there are competing proposals.

The cars will be available for inspection starting next week at the Beech Grove Heavy Maintenance Facility near Indianapolis.

However, the refrigerated express cars and one crew dormitory are being stored elsewhere.

All cars are being sold or donated in an “as is-where is” basis with Amtrak saying it will off no performance guarantees nor will it agree to  perform any work required to make the cars acceptable for interchange by a freight carrier.

Amtrak also said the equipment may not leave the property in Amtrak service and must be removed or scrapped on site within 90 days of the transfer of ownership.

The closing date for bids or requests for donations is Jan. 4, 2019.

Amtrak Selling Passenger Cars, Locomotives

October 19, 2018

Amtrak has placed for sale 48 pieces of equipment, including locomotives and passenger cars that it has deemed surplus.

The passenger cars for sale include five former Pacific Parlour cars once used on the Coast Starlight, seven Horizon fleet cars, three material handling cars, eight 1700 series baggage cars and two former U.S. Army flat cars.

Locomotives for sale include 12 P40s, eight F40s, and three P42DCs.

Amtrak is soliciting bids for the equipment with the closing date set for Nov. 14.

The equipment is being stored at Amtrak shops in Beech Grove, Indiana; Bear Delaware; and Wilmington, Delaware.

The Horizon fleet cars being sold include one club dinette, one full dinette and five coaches.

Boarding in Durand

August 12, 2018

Passengers board Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, with most of them en route to Chicago.

The tracks used by Amtrak here are owned by Canadian National but their ancestry is Grand Trunk Western.

GTW’s trains to Chicago were discontinued with the coming of Amtrak in 1971, but later revived with funding from the State of Michigan.

Boarding CONO in New Orleans

March 16, 2018

The first call for boarding of Amtrak No. 58, the City of New Orleans, has been made at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal and the sleeper class passengers are the first allowed onto the platform to board their train.

They will shortly be in their assigned rooms, which are in the last car on the train today.

Further down the platform, station workers are stocking the dining and lounge cars. The first meal to be served will be dinner with initial seating coming somewhere in Mississippi. Passengers will watch the Illinois prairie roll by as they have breakfast the next morning.

New Midwest Passenger Cars 2-3 Years Away

December 6, 2017

New passenger cars for Amtrak’s Midwest corridor routes are at least two to three years away.

“The order is in but I don’t expect to see the cars out here for two to three years  . . . it’s a big order,” said Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari. “So we are not going to be able to re-equip all four of the Lincoln Service roundtrips with new cars I don’t think certainly in 2018, maybe in 2019, pretty confidently in 2020.”

The cars had been expected to go into service earlier, but the delays have been caused by a change in vendors.

A consortium of states, including Illinois and California, had awarded a contract to Nippon Sharyo to build the cars in Rochelle, Illinois.

But a prototype car failed to pass federal safety rule tests. That prompted the consortium to instead contract with Siemens to build the cars at its plant in Sacramento, California.

Siemens to Complete Passenger Car Order

November 10, 2017

Siemens will replace Nippon Sharyo as the builder of new passenger cars for the departments of transportation of California and Illinois, the agencies have confirmed.

Caltrans said in a news release that it has amended its $371 million contract for new passenger cars so that Siemen and Sumitomo Corporation of American will complete the long delayed multi-state order.

Under the new contract, the order will include 137 single-level passenger railcars – 49 to Caltrans and 88 to IDOT.

The original contract called for bi-level cars with Sumitomo subcontracting construction of the cars to Nippon Sharyo. The revision designates Siemens as a subcontractor.

The cars are to be delivered in 24 to 34 months after production begins next year.

The original cars were being built in Rochelle, Illinois. A prototype car was completed, but failed to pass federal crashworthy tests.

The single-level cars will be constructed at a Siemens plant in Sacramento, California. All components will come from U.S.-based suppliers.

California plans to use the new passenger cars on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains. The equipment will also be used on Midwest corridor trains.

Pacific Parlour Car En Route to LA

October 24, 2017

An online report indicated that Pacific Parlour Car Sonoma Valley (AMTK 39974) has been released by the Beech Grove Shops near Indianapolis and was sent to Chicago on Sunday in the consist of the Hoosier State.

The refurbishment of the car included rebuilding the trucks and cleaning the lower carbody.

In Chicago, No. 39974 was sent westbound on the Southwest Chief that departed on Monday.

Amtrak to Give Amfleet Interiors New Look

September 7, 2017

An Amtrak rendering of what the interiors of its Amfleet coaches will look like after being refurbished.

Amtrak said this week that it plans to overhaul the interiors of the cars used in corridor service in the Midwest and Northeast.

In a news release, Amtrak said the cars will received new seat cushions, carpeting, LED lighting, flooring and upgraded wainscoting and bulkheads.

Business class cars will receive new curtains while café cars will get redesigned galleys. Amtrak said it plans to spend more than $16 million on the renovations.

Much of the work will affect Amtrak’s Amfleet I cars of which more than 450 are coaches.

It will done in stages and take nine months to complete. This fall Amtrak plans to install business class carpets and cushions, coach class carpets and cushions, LED lighting and upgrade the restrooms.

During the winter, work will continue on installation of carpets, cushions, and LED lighting, plus the installation of business class curtains, refreshed wainscoting and bulkheads, and renovating the café cars.

The project is expected to wrap up during next spring and summer.

“Amtrak is committed to offering a premium customer experience and these modernized interior features are a marked improvement in the overall ambience on board,” said co-Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman. “The upgrades offer customers what they told us they want more of during their travels – a more comfortable, refreshed look and feel.”

From the Vestibule Aboard the National Limited

May 31, 2017

In the early days of Amtrak, crew members often said little to nothing if you made photographs from the windows of the vestibule doors.

I’m sure there were crew members who would chase you out of the vestibule if they saw you standing there, but I had some good luck in being able to make images while the crew either looked the other way or gave their tacit approval.

The conductor of Amtrak’s westbound National Limited fell into the latter category along with the rear brakeman. In fact the brakeman talked to myself and another passenger at length and even led us to the vestibule window at the rear of the train.

In the photograph above, No. 31 is arriving at Indianapolis Union Station on a Saturday morning in April 1977. Those Amtrak passenger cars on the other tracks might be waiting to go to the Beech Grove shops. At the time Nos. 30 and 31 were the only Amtrak trains serving Indianapolis.

The bottom photograph was made as No. 31 was going around a curve in East St. Louis, Illinois, to cross the Mississippi River over MacArthur Bridge and enter St. Louis.

On the point of No. 31 are a pair of freight diesels, Penn Central SD35 No. 6029 and Conrail SD40 No. 6319, both former Pennsylvania Railroad locomotives. That seemed appropriate given that much of the route of the National Limited across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois was former PRR trackage. The exception was the track between Indianapolis and Terre Haute, Indiana, which was former New York Central.

I do not know where these freight units were put on. They were on  the train when it rolled in Dayton, Ohio, where I boarded. I can only guess that Amtrak E8A No. 477 had mechanical problems en route. By coincidence, No. 477 was also a former PRR diesel, No. 5790.

There were limits to the crew’s tolerance. After we crossed the Mississippi, the conductor came back and shooed us into the coach. I remember him saying, “I let  you ride [in the vestibule] across the river.”

Indeed he had and I was grateful for that. I returned to my seat where I remained for the rest of the journey to Kirkwood, Missouri.

That Seventies Look

March 13, 2017

If you rode Amtrak in its early years this is what you would have seen. The interiors of its passenger cars received blue carpet that extended up the sides to window level.

The seats were blue with head rest covers in paisley print. From an appearance standpoint, it was a scheme of cool colors and I don’t mean cool as in hip or popular.

By the late 1970s Amtrak had switched to an earth colors look emphasizing browns rather than blues.

The early Amtrak appearance continues to live at railroad museums and on tourist trains that use former Amtrak passenger cars.

Such is the case with this coach, which at the time this image was made on Oct. 16, 2005, was owned by the Bluewater Michigan chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and used on its excursions.

This high-capacity coach was built in 1947 by the Budd Company for the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac where it had roster number 856. It became Amtrak No. 5220 and later No. 6031 before being retired by Amtrak in October 1981.