Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Superliners’

Amtrak Head Acknowledges Need for New Equipment

November 15, 2017

Amtrak needs to replace or overhaul the rail car fleet that serves its long-distance trains, its co-CEO told the National Association of Railroad Passengers earlier this month.

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Co-CEO Richard Anderson said rebuilding or replacing aging Superliners and Amfleet cars will receive a “first priority.”

He also said the diesel locomotive fleet used to pull that equipment also needs replacement and/or rebuilding

Anderson said that the first up will be renovations of  Amfleet I and Amfleet II cars followed by new Acela Express trainsets.

New diesel locomotives are being placed into service on corridor routes in the Midwest and West.

Amtrak also expects CAF USA to complete soon an order for 25 new Viewliner II diners to be completed. Last on the list that Anderson ticked off was overhauling the current Acela fleet.

Despite saying it is a priority, Anderson did not describe a plan to replace or rebuild the Superliner fleet.

Amfleet II coaches are used on single-level long-distance trains such as the Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Crescent and Silver Service.

Anderson did, though, describe the importance of long-distance trains by emphasizing their role in “connecting small and large communities and bringing the most utility to the most Americans across the country.”

He said Amtrak’s 15 long-distance trains serve a series of markets with just 6 percent of riders traveling from endpoint to endpoint.

Many of those markets have lost or seen their level of intercity bus and airline service greatly diminished.

Anderson said Amtrak faces “risk points” with host railroads delaying Amtrak trains, the Trump administration’s efforts to end funding of long-distance trains and a dire need for capital.

The latter is most acute in the Northeast Corridor although some might say capital is desperately needed to buy new rolling stock and locomotives.

The former airline executive also said Amtrak needs to become more customer-focused.

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Sunset Ltd. Equipment Moved from NOLA

August 30, 2017

Amtrak has moved equipment assigned to the Sunset Limited out of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Harvey curtaining operation of the train.

An online report said that the equipment was moved to Chicago on the City of New Orleans. No. 58 had its usual consist plus the cars being ferried from New Orleans.

The Sunset equipment included P43DC Nos. 60, 68 and 4.

Also evacuated were Superline cars 39008, 32053, 37016, 33024, 31012, 34005, 34138, 31018, 34090, 33049, 38062, 32019 and 39017, and Viewliner baggage car 61063.

Coming and Going in Harpers Ferry

August 22, 2017

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited has just finished its station stop and is leaving the station. No. 29 is about 45 minutes late and can’t afford to tarry.

The Capitol was not out of sight of the station when an eastbound CSX manifest freight came barrelling along, its lead locomotive pouring out smoke as it throttles up.

Had the CSX train come along a couple of minutes earlier, it would have blocked my view of the Amtrak train. But it didn’t and instead I got some good images.

Capitol Limited at Harpers Ferry

August 8, 2017

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited is shown crossing the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, on July 25, 2017.

Nearly a week later, the Nos. 29 and 30 began operating only between Chicago and Pittsburgh after a CSX freight train derailment on Aug. 2  closed the Keystone Subdivision at Hyndman, Pennsylvania, for several days.

Rail traffic began moving through the area on Sunday, Aug. 6. The Capitol resumed serving Harpers Ferry and other points east of Pittsburgh that day.

In the interim, passengers had been accommodated by a bus.

Night Visit to Winona

January 28, 2017

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Winona, Minnesota, is one of many typical stations served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder. And yet it isn’t because it is a crew change point.

The crew that boards to go eastbound always goes on duty in the daylight because No. 8 is scheduled into Winona in late morning.

Depending on the time of year, the crew that boards No. 7 to take it further westward, may or may not see daylight.

In this series of images, it is May 2014 and the new operating crew is getting on in darkness.

At the invitation of my sleeping car attendant, I decided to step off in Winona and make a few images to capture a nighttime station stop.

Empire Builder in Milwaukee

January 24, 2017

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The Milwaukee Amtrak station is larger than it needs to be given the level of service that it has. I’m speaking of the train shed, not the waiting room.

It’s not that Milwaukee sees just two trains a day as is the case in many cities. No, it has seven Hiawatha Service roundtrips plus the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Still, there appear to be more track in the station than what Amtrak uses. Shown are three views of the Milwaukee station during the station stop of the westbound Empire Builder in May 2014.

Time for Breakfast on No. 29

January 10, 2017

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The morning ritual is playing out again aboard Amtrak train No. 29. The dining car on the westbound Capitol Limited is full as passengers have breakfast while chatting and watching the northern Indiana countryside roll by.

What will it be today? Pancakes? French toast? Eggs and bacon? The chef’s special?

Most of those having breakfast are sleeper class passengers for whom meals are included in their ticket. If they boarded in Washington, this will be their second meal aboard No. 29.

Just 11 Miles Away from Journey’s End

January 9, 2017

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Passengers aboard the inbound California Zephyr are just 11 miles away from the end of their journey to Chicago Union Station as train No. 6 rushes through Riverside, Illinois, on the BNSF Raceway.

Those who know the route might already be gathering their belongings and thinking ahead to what they are going to be doing once they disembark at CUS.

Others, though, might be watching a suburban landscape that must must appear to be one Metra station after another.

Whatever the passengers are doing, the end of their trip aboard this train will arrive soon.

Taking Out the Trash in Denver

January 7, 2017

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It’s late October 1981 at Denver Union Station. Amtrak’s westbound San Francisco Zephyr has backed into the station and servicing of the train has begun.

Superliner equipment has been a mainstay on the route for less than two years. The dining car crew has quite a bit of trash to discard that it has left on the platform.

Once the F40PH locomotives are refueled, the train cleaned and water put into the tanks, No. 6 will depart.

At the time that this image was made, Nos. 5/6 used the Union Pacific mainline through Wyoming. Through cars for Los Angeles will be detached at Ogden to be forwarded on the Desert Wind.

Your Sleeping Car Awaits

January 4, 2017

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If you are holding a sleeper class ticket on Amtrak this is your first view of your train as you board at Chicago Union Station.

You’ve probably been sitting in the Metropolitan Lounge a good hour or more. Perhaps you had a few hours between trains and did some sightseeing or went out to lunch. After all, the Berghoff is within easy walking distance of the station, just a few blocks down Adams Street.

But all that is behind you and the gate agent has led passengers out of the lounge and directed them to their train.

This happens to be No. 7, the westbound Empire Builder. It will have three sleepers as it departs Chicago today. Two are bound for Seattle and one is going to Portland.

There is a bit of rush every time I approach my train when I have sleeping accommodations. I stow away my luggage, settle into my seat and then watch the scene unfold as other Amtrak and Metra trains board and then depart or arrive. My journey is about to begin.