Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Viewliners’

Amtrak Previews Coming On-Board Service Changes

January 9, 2020

A service advisory posted on the Amtrak website on Wednesday formally announced the return of dining service for sleeping car passengers on the Silver Star as well as briefly described other coming changes including the inauguration of Viewliner II sleeping car service on eastern long-distance trains.

Amtrak did not give a date for when the Viewliner II sleepers will begin revenue service other than it would be “in the coming months.” Nor did it say which trains would get the new sleepers.

The announcement merely said they would be assigned to “trains on the East Coast” and would be the first addition to the Amtrak sleeping car fleet in more than 25 years.

The passenger carrier said sleeping car passengers will begin using upgraded bedding, towels and linens at an unspecified date.

This change will initially be made on the Auto Train that operates between the Washington area and Florida.

Also coming is the completion of renovations to Amfleet II coaches with new seating cushions, carpets, curtains and LED reading lights.

Since 2015 sleeping car passengers on the Silver Star have not received meals as part of their fare as is the case on all other Amtrak overnight trains with sleeper service.

The dining service being inaugurated on the Silver Star on May 1 will be the same as that provided on the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited and Silver Meteor.

Nos. 91 and 92 will receive a dining car reserved for the exclusive use of sleeping car passengers.

Amtrak said traditional dining service will continue to be offered on the California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle and for sleeping car customers aboard the Auto Train.

Headed for Chicago

November 12, 2019

With it’s station work at Waterloo, Indiana, compete, Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited is now headed for Chicago.

But first there will be intermediate stops in Elkhart and South Bend, Indiana,to make.

Train No. 49 is running about an hour late so there is no time to waste. It is also following traffic, including the Capitol Limited so opportunities to pick up time might be limited.

As usual, a Viewliner baggage car is bringing up the markers on No. 49.

Milepost 367, measured from Buffalo, New York, is located just beyond the western edge of the Amtrak station platform.

Amtrak Receives Last of Viewliner Dorm-Baggage Cars

November 6, 2019

Amtrak took delivery last week of the last of the 10 Viewliner baggage-dorm cars that it ordered from CAF USA.

The carrier also received the second car of an order of 25 new Viewliner sleepers from CAF.

All of the cars were taken to Amtrak’s Hialeah, Florida, maintenance facility for acceptance inspection and testing.

Some Viewliner baggage-dorm cars have already been placed into revenue service on the New York-Miami Silver Meteor in recent weeks.

In a related development, the first Siemens passenger car that is part of an order to be used on corridor trains in the Midwest and California has been sent to Canada for cold weather testing.

Two other prototype Siemens cars have been sent to the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado, for operational testing.

Last Outbound Amtrak Train of the Day

October 9, 2019

Boarding of the outbound Lake Shore Limited has begun on Track 26 at Chicago Union Station.

The sleeper class passengers are the first to board and I was near the head of the line in that group.

Actually, I wasn’t riding in a sleeper. But if you buy a day pass to the lounge at Union Station you get to board your train along with the sleeper passengers.

Train No. 48 will be the last Amtrak train to depart from the South concourse of Union Station today.

But other trains will be arriving over the next couple of hours including a Wolverine Service train, the Illini, a Lincoln Service train, the Carl Sanburg and an extraordinarily late California Zephyr.

These platforms won’t be empty for long.

Amtrak Takes Delivery of 2 More Viewliners

August 31, 2019

Amtrak took delivery this week of two more Viewliner II baggage-dorm cars from CAF USA this week, the Rail Passengers Association reported.

The delivery of Viewliner II sleeping cars is expected to get underway this fall.

Viewliner equipment is used on eastern long-distance trains, including the Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Crescent, Silver Meteor and Silver Star.

Delivery of the new equipment has been a long time coming and been delayed by production issues at CAF’s New York plant.

Amtrak Tests Viewliners on Western Route

July 21, 2019

Amtrak took delivery last week of more new Viewliner equipment and operated a test train of Viewliner equipment on the route of the Southwest Chief in a move that may signal the carrier’s intent to assign the equipment to Western long-distance routes.

The test train had two new Charger locomotives, two Viewliner II diners, a Viewliner II baggage-dorm and three Viewliner II baggage cars and went west on the route of the Chicago-Los Angeles Chief.

The test train might return to Chicago over the route of the California Zephyr.

Amtrak management in the past has hinted that it might assign new Viewliner equipment to a Western train as a way of upgrading it with all-new equipment.

In the meantime, Amtrak took possession of two new Viewliner baggage-dormitory cars built at the CAF USA plant in Elmira Heights, New York, and sent them to Amtrak’s Hialeah, Florida, maintenance facility for final acceptance inspections.

Amtrak has ordered 10 baggage-dorm cars from CAF but has not said when they will enter revenue service.

Generally, Amtrak wants to accept and test one complete train before pressing the new cars into revenue service.

Not Much Breakfast to be had in Diner Dover

May 27, 2019

Amtrak began putting Viewliner dining cars built by CAF USA into service not longer before it stopped offering full service dining aboard the Lake Shore Limited in favor of what it termed “fresh and contemporary” meal service.

At the time that service launched in June 2018, no hot meal offerings were offered. Everything served was prepared off the train.

Since then hot food had made a sort of comeback on the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited.

Breakfast now includes a breakfast sandwich of ham, egg and cheddar cheese served on a ciabatta roll that an attendant can heat for you in a microwave oven.

I imagine that one or more passengers were having that sandwich as the westbound Lake Shore passed through Olmsted Falls, Ohio, near Cleveland on the morning I made this image.

It wasn’t a hot, freshly prepared meal created by a chef aboard the train, but I suppose it was better than the alternative of breakfast bars.

Dover, like most of the Viewliner diners, is named after a state capitol city. Like many of those capitols, Dover is not on the Amtrak route map.

In Its Customary Position

May 21, 2019

An Amtrak Viewliner baggage car brings up the rear of the westbound Lake Shore Limited as it cruises through Olmsted Fall, Ohio, en route to Chicago.

The next stop for Train 49 will be Elyria, Ohio.

The typical operation of Nos. 48 and 49 has the Boston section at the front of the train. Only the New York section still has a baggage car and it is always on the rear.

And that’s for good reason, too. You would not want passengers walking through a baggage going to and from the Boston and New York sections.

Ahead of the baggage cars are a pair of Viewliner sleepers and Viewliner dining car Dover.

Bound for Miami

May 19, 2019

Amtrak’s Silver Meteor rushes past the Newark Liberty Airport station without even slowing down.

No. 97 is bound for Miami and assuming it doesn’t lose any significant time en route will be halting at its destination in more than 24 hours.

Rounding the Bend in Berea

May 10, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited passes through Berea, Ohio, Thursday morning, passing BE Tower, which has long been closed.

No. 48 was running 2.5 hours late. It had been three hours late when it arrived in South Bend, Indiana, earlier in the day.

The Amtrak website reported that the train got out of Chicago Union Station 2 hours and 56 minutes late at 12:26 a.m. I don’t know the reason(s) for the delayed departure.

Whatever the case, it was a rare opportunity to photograph Amtrak in daylight in Cleveland.

Aside from the two P42 locomotives, No. 48 had its normal summer consist.

The Boston section upfront had a Viewliner sleeper, cafe car and two Amfleet coaches. The New York section had Amfleet coaches, two Viewliner sleepers, Viewliner dining car Dover, and a Viewliner baggage car.

Viewliner dining car Springfield was apparently deadheading on the rear of the train.