Posts Tagged ‘CAF USA’

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.

Amtrak Expects Delivery of 1st CAF Viewliner Sleeper

February 16, 2019

Amtrak expects to take delivery of the first of its new CAF-built Viewliner sleepers during the week of Feb. 17.

The carrier has ordered 25 Viewliner sleepers whose manufacturing and building have been delayed for several years.

The sleepers are the last cars from a 125-car order and will supplement 50 existing Viewliner sleepers that are used on long-distance trains in the East and South.

Delivery of one CAF-built baggage-dorm has been completed along with 70 baggage cars and 24 of the 25 dining cars that Amtrak ordered.

Amtrak will test the new sleepers before pressing them into revenue service, perhaps by the end of this year.

One significant different between the new Viewliner sleepers and the existing fleet is the absence of a toilet in the roomettes.

Upon delivery, the new Viewliner sleepers will be sent to Amtrak’s Hialeah yard in Miami for installation of a few items, including Wi-Fi capability.

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 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.

Removal of Dining Cars From Lake Shore Limited Described by Amtrak as Temporary Measure

July 25, 2016

Amtrak has confirmed removing Heritage Fleet dining cars from the Lake Shore Limited and substituting Amfleet II café cars.

Although Amtrak said that table service on linen is being provided, one report from the train posted on a railfan chat list indicated that the silverware was plastic and the meals were pre-pared and merely heated by an attendant.

Amtrak logoAs a safety concern, the Heritage diners, which were built in the streamliner era following World War II, were sidelined due to cracks in their frames.

The National Association of Railroad Passengers reported that the removal of diners from Nos. 48/49 is temporary until new Viewliner diners enter service.

The Amfleet café cars are featuring a menu similar to that of the Cardinal and City of New Orleans, trains that have modified dining service.

NARP said it was told by Amtrak that repairing the cracks would require a major effort to repair. Currently, Amtrak has 12 Heritage diners in service.

The Lake Shore Limited was chosen to lose its Heritage diners because it has the fewest full meal periods of Amtrak’s single-level long- distance trains.

Viewliner dining cars are part of an order of new equipment being built for Amtrak by CAF in Elmira, New York.

Amtrak officials said the Viewliner diners are now in production and CAF is addressing a “punch list” of items that Amtrak has created.

NARP said Amtrak officials expect the new Viewliner diners to enter revenue service as early as late summer, which it defined as August or early September.

NARP said Amtrak has assured the passenger rail advocacy group that once new diners are available, a more conventional dining service would return to the Lake Shore Limited.

New Viewliner sleepers are expected to begin leaving the CAF plant during the fall.

A review of Amtrak’s CAF Viewliner order conducted by the Government Accountability Office found that the cars are three years overdue.

Amtrak ordered 130 cars for $300 million in 2010 and thus far the only cars to be placed into service have been baggage cars.

The order included 25 dining cars. The GAO report said the order won’t likely be completed until at least 2017.

Amtrak to Begin Testing New Viewliners

March 14, 2016

Amtrak expected to begin testing within the next month two new Viewliner dining cars, sleeping cars and baggage-dorm cars.

The new cars were constructed by CAF USA at its plant in Elmira Heights, New York.

The cars are expected to be placed into limited revenue service in the coming months.

Amtrak has been taking initial delivery of cars build by CAF at the Amtrak maintenance facility in Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

CAF Production Slowdown Behind Delays in Delivering New Viewliner Cars to Amtrak

March 9, 2016

Delivery of new Amtrak Viewliner cars being built by CAF USA have fallen behind schedule due in part to CAF’s decision to unilaterally slow production of the cars and mechanical defects found in the cars, a report from the Amtrak Office of Inspector General has found.

The report said that the delivery delays are likely to continue as well as increase the cost of the project beyond the original budget.

Amtrak logo“Through December 2015, the delays have resulted in an estimated $7 million increase in overall project costs and a deferral of about $3.7 million in benefits the company expected to accrue from having the cars in revenue service,” the report said. “Our analysis indicates that cost increases and benefit deferrals will continue as the project falls further behind its original schedule.”

The reduction in production at the CAF factory in Elmira, New York, has meant that delivery of the order of 130 cars will not be completed until March 2017, which is two years beyond the original due date. Even that due date is subject to further slippage.

Thus far only baggage cars have been completed and placed into revenue service. Among the key findings of the inspector general’s report are:

  • Weaknesses occurred in CAF’s process for identifying a variety of defects in the baggage cars.
  • Quality issues cropped up with the initial construction of the diner, baggage dormitory and sleeping cars, which are more technically difficult to produce than the baggage cars.
  • Amtrak has experienced project management challenges in addressing these issues. While actions taken by the mechanical department and procurement office resulted in improvements in the daily management of the project, other opportunities exist to improve project management and further mitigate risk by clarifying project accountability, enforcing contract terms and developing a risk mitigation plan.

The report said that Amtrak management has agreed with the recommendations made by the inspector general to address the problems.

Amtrak signed a contract with CAF in 2010 to produce the cars, which were intended to replace equipment now assigned to long-distance trains.

Although most of the Viewliner order was intended for eastern single-level trains, the baggage cars have been assigned to trains throughout the country. The cars were originally scheduled to be completed in November 2014.

The budget for the new equipment was $343 million, which included $300 million to purchase the cars, $29 million for spare parts and $14 million in project management costs.

Amtrak had through December spent sent about $195 million on the project.

CAF and Amtrak agreed in June 2014 to change the order to include 70 baggage cars, 25 diners, 10 baggage-dormitory cars and 25 sleepers. The last cars in the order were given a new delivery due date of no later than April 2016.

A revised timetable negotiated in December 2015 and subject to re-negotiation this year has pushed the final delivery date to March 2017.

For its part, CAF contends that it will lose $41 million on the contract due to having to restructure a contract with a key supplier that is having financial difficulties. The complete report can be found at:

Click to access CAF%20Final%20Report%2020160201.pdf

4 Amtrak Viewliner II Cars Nearing Completion

October 29, 2013
Amtrak's Viewliner diner "Indianapolis" is the only such car in the fleet, but it will soon have company as new Viewliner II diners enter service within the next year. The Indianapolis is shown on the eastbound Lake Shore Limited at Cleveland in June 2012.

Amtrak’s Viewliner diner “Indianapolis” is the only such car in the fleet, but it will soon have company as new Viewliner II diners enter service within the next year. The Indianapolis is shown on the eastbound Lake Shore Limited at Cleveland in June 2012.

Amtrak recently offered the news media a glimpse at the new Viewliner II cars that are being built by CAF USA in Elmira, N.Y.

Four cars – a baggage car, diner, baggage dorm and sleeper – are nearing completion and are expected to be field tested this winter on the Northeast Corridor.

The $298.1 million order for 130 single-level long distance passenger rail cars includes 25 sleeper, 25 diners, 25 baggage/dormitory cars and 55 baggage cars. More than 120 suppliers in 25 states and 93 cities are providing parts for the new rail cars.

The new cars will be used on Eastern long-distance trains, including the Lake Shore Limited and Cardinal. The baggage cars will be used on long-distance trains nationwide.

The new long-distance cars will both replace and supplement the existing single-level fleet and allow Heritage fleet cars built in the 1940s and 1950s to be retired.

The first of the new cars is expected to begin service in summer 2014. Those are expected to be baggage and dining cars.

All 130 cars are expected to be delivered by the end of 2015 or early 2016.
Amtrak placed the first of its original order of 50 production Viewliner sleeping cars in service on the Lake Shore Limited in November 1996.

Those cars, built by Amerail, reequipped most of Amtrak’s single-level trains. Amtrak produced three prototype Viewliners, two sleepers and one diner, at its Beech Grove, Ind., shops in 1987.

The new Viewliners will feature modern interiors with better layouts, better lighting and more efficient air conditioning and heating systems, additional outlets to power personal electronic devices, improved accessibility for passengers with disabilities, and bicycle racks in the baggage cars.

The new cars also feature improvements for employees such as functional kitchen layouts that are easier to maintain, a more efficient process to stock food, and an improved baggage car for easier organization, including the addition of bike racks.

The baggage cars can accommodate up to 16 bicycles, baggage dorms up to eight. The baggage cars will have hinged doors that seal, which is designed to provide climate control.

They also will have good lighting, and two levels of pull-down racks (one near the floor) so that suitcases normally will be placed on racks instead of on the floor.

The dining cars have 12 tables, including one ADA table (seats on just one side).

Sleeping cars have 12 roomettes, two deluxe bedrooms (which can be sold as a single suite) and one ADA room, whose door is powered.

For roomette passengers, there are two public restrooms and one shower. There are still fold-down sinks in the roomettes.

For this fleet only, Amtrak is reintroducing its Phase III red white and blue stripes, and the company’s original logo.

Amtrak President Joe Boardman said a decision has not been made on the extent to which the new Viewliners will enhance capacity rather than simply replace older cars. He noted, however, that the order includes 25 diners whereas Amtrak has only 16 single-level diners today.

CAF USA, based in Washington, D.C., is the U.S. subsidiary of Spain’s Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A.