Posts Tagged ‘new Amtrak equipment’

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 Describes Plans for Superliner Fleet

March 27, 2019

Amtrak recently released a five-year fleet plan that envisions replacement and rehabilitation of the passenger carriers Superliner fleet that is used on some long-distance trains.

The carrier envisions spending $405 million to rehab the Superliner fleet and %1.55 billion to replacement the oldest Superliner cars. Replacement is projected to begin in 2022.

The plan said the Superliner replacement and rehabilitation is contingent upon Amtrak receiving a congressional reauthorization in 2020 that provide direction as to what type of service Congress wants Amtrak to provide.

The fleet plan also describes how 130 new Viewliner cars are to be deployed. Amtrak envisions restoring sleeping car service to overnight trains 65 and 66/67 in the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak last issued a fleet plan in 2012.

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.

Richard Anderson

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.