Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Viewliner diners’

Not Open for Meals

August 1, 2018

Bringing up the rear of Amtrak’s northbound Saluki is Viewliner diner Indianapolis.

But the diner is not open to serve meals to passengers. Instead, it’s purpose is to help Train 390 meet an axle count requirement mandated by host railroad Canadian National.

It’s a safety measure to ensure that the train triggers grade crossing warning devices. Any Amtrak train using a CN route must have a minimum number of axles.

The Indianapolis is the not the only dining car on the Saluki. Ahead of the baggage car is Heritage diner No. 8505, a former Northern Pacific car built by Budd in 1957.

Amtrak may have retired its Heritage diners from their intended purpose, but some of those cars continue to run up miles in a different type of revenue service.

The Saluki is shown departing Effingham, Illinois.

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Frigid Outside, Warm Inside

January 25, 2018

Outside the temperature was in the low teens and the wind chill was below zero. A friend and I were waiting to photograph Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited roaring through Geneva, Ohio. No. 48 was running two hours late. It also was running a few minutes behind a CSX stack train.

The usual consist of the eastbound Lake Shore Limited has the Boston cars toward the front and the New York cars on the rear. Typically, No. 48 has two Viewliner sleepers for New York.

This day was no exception. Shown above is the first of the two New York sleepers. Some passengers in those rooms might just now be getting up and about while others might be watching the wintry countryside of Northeast Ohio fly by. Still others might be having breakfast in the “dining car” just ahead of the first New York sleeper.

I placed the phrase “dining car” in quotations because it is not the same as the dining cars that used to run on this train. With Viewliner diners, presumably, being readied for revenue service, the Lake Shore Limited might get a full dining car some day.

More Empire Corridor Track Work Planned

December 6, 2017

More track work is planned for Amtrak’s Empire Corridor rail officials said this week.

Speaking at a ceremony to make the 50th anniversary of the New York-Buffalo, New York, route, Amtrak’s Joe McHugh, vice president of state supported services and business development, said work is planned for the Empire Connector, which leads into New York’s Penn Station.

The ceremony was held at the Capital District Transportation Authority rail station in Rensselaer.

McHugh and other officials wouldn’t provide any specifics, but the Albany Times-Union reported that sources with knowledge of the plans said Empire Service trains would have to be temporarily redirected to Grand Central Terminal next summer.

Amtrak apparently still needs to reach an agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to use GCT.

The event was held to look back on the history of the Empire Corridor, which was developed in 1967 by the New York Central Railroad.

McHugh said that in the middle 1960s it wasn’t clear whether there was a future for passenger rail.

“The people who rethought the roles that trains could fill are the people who saved the railroad,” he said.

In recent years, Amtrak has rebuilt some tracks used by Empire Service trains, added a fourth track at the Albany-Rensselaer station, and installed a second track between Albany and Schenectady.

A new station for Schenectady is currently under construction.

Amtrak is still awaiting delivery of new dining cars and sleeping cars for its long-distance trains, including the Lake Shore Limited.

McHugh said the diners that have been delivered have received positive comments from passengers, and that refurbishment of the interiors of the carrier’s Amfleet I cars should be completed by March 2018.

Another Viewliner II Diner Expected in March

January 7, 2017

The National Association of Railroad Passengers reported this week that Amtrak officials have said that the first Viewliner II diner has been performing satisfactorily in its trial revenue service.

Amtrak logoThe diner, built by CAF USA in Elmira, New York, has been operating on the New York-Miami Silver Meteor since late November.

Amtrak will place another Viewliner II diner in service in March with the remaining 23 diners that Amtrak ordered being delivered by late spring.

The diners are slated to be assigned to eastern long-distance trains. NARP said no date has been set for restoration of full dining service to the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited.

The Viewliner diners also are slated to be assigned to the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

Once the diners are delivered, CAF will focus on finishing the baggage-dorm cars and sleepers that Amtrak ordered.

NARP noted that Amtrak said adding the baggage-dorm cars to the Chicago-New York Cardinal will enable it make more sleeper space available to the public.

At present, the on-board crew of Nos. 50 and 51 are housed in revenue space and the availability of rooms on the Cardinal for the public is tight.

Amtrak’s Viewliner order was placed in 2010. When finished, CAF will have built 70 baggage cars, 25 diners, 10 baggage-dormitory cars and 25 sleepers.

Viewliner Diner in Revenue Service Testing

December 13, 2016

Revenue service testing began last week of the first Viewliner dining car built by CAF USA.

Amtrak logoNo. 68001, the Annapolis, ran northbound from Miami to New York on the Silver Meteor on Dec. 5.

The testing is part of an Amtrak acceptance program for new cars. If No. 68001 passes the testing program, Amtrak will begin taking delivery of additional Viewliners in January.

Amtrak has one other Viewliner diner, No. 8400, the Indianapolis, which was a prototype diner built in 1988.

The Viewliner diners will be assigned to Eastern single-level long-distance train. Amtrak has ordered 25 Viewliner diners from CAF.

Viewliner Diner Training May Start Soon

November 25, 2016

Amtrak’s first Viewliner II diner will be ready for crew training once it completes a testing program in Florida.

Amtrak logoThe dining car is at the Hialeah Maintenance Facility near Miami.

Amtrak has ordered 25 Viewliner II diners for assignment to single-level long-distance trains, including the Lake Shore Limited and the Cardinal.

The cars were originally scheduled to be delivered two years ago but have been delayed by production issues.

The Viewliner diners will replace Heritage Fleet dining cars, some of which have in the past several months been replaced by Amfleet food service cars.

Only the New York-New Orleans Crescent and the New York-Miami Silver Meteor are operating with Heritage dining cars.

The testing is being done at Hialeah because it maintains single-level long-distance equipment.

Viewliner II Diner Released for Testing

November 5, 2016

The first new Viewliner II dining car left the CAF USA assembly plant in Elmira, New York, this week for testing on Amtrak.

Amtrak logoThe car, No. 68001, was to be moved to Hialeah, Floridia, near Miami on the Silver Meteor.

Known as Annapolis, the diner will under testing and inspections to ensure that there are no problems with the Viewliner diners.

The National Association of Railroad Passengers cited an Amtrak source as saying the passenger carrier is confident that the problems that have hindered production of the Viewliner II cars have been resolved.

Amtrak expects CAF to release cars at a rate of two or three per month and that all 25 dining cars being built will be delivered in the first half of 2017.

The next batch of Viewliners to be released will be sleepers.