Posts Tagged ‘Viewliner baggage cars’

Two Section Cardinal

June 4, 2021

Amtrak’s Cardinal typically operates with one P42DC locomotive, three Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeper and Viewliner baggage-dorm.

But at least once a week it is used to ferry equipment from the Beech Grove shops to Chicago. The equipment being ferried is placed on the head end of No. 51 at Indianapolis Union Station and provides the appearance of two trains having been combined into one.

That was the case on Memorial Day this week when No. 51 passed through Brownsburg, an Indianapolis suburb, with one section consisting of two P42DC locomotives, two Viewliner baggage cars and a Superliner coach. The second section had the consist that No. 51 operated with from Washington to Indianapolis.

The train on this day was operating one hour, 50 minutes late out of Indianapolis.

Equipment bound for Beech Grove is ferried to Indianapolis in combination with Train 50 in the same manner.

Charging Through Arcola, Illinois

July 29, 2020

The massive grain elevator complex in Arcola, Illinois, has been a favorite backdrop that I’ve used over the years when photographing Amtrak trains on the Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans corridor.

The way the schedule works out, the complex best works as a backdrop for the northbound Saluki.

The southbound City of New Orleans would have to be really, really late to catch in daylight and the window for getting its northbound counterpart is very small.

The Illini in both directions passes through Arcola in daylight but by then the sun is behind the grain complex.

So that leaves the Saluki, which I’ve photographed here a few times.

My motivation for getting No. 390 this year has been to recreate an image I did years ago but with different motive power.

The P42DC units that were mainstays on the Chicago-Carbondale trains have given was to Siemens SC-44 Chargers.

Last Sunday No. 390 was about 10 to 15 minutes off its published schedule as it blasted through Arcola.

There is a restored Illinois Central depot here, but Arcola has never been a scheduled Amtrak stop.

This is the second time I’ve photographed No. 390 in Arcola this summer. Back in mid June the Saluki carried a Heritage baggage car.

That has since been replaced by a Viewliner baggage car. In both cases, the baggage car was in the consist to enable the train to meet a minimum axle count required by host railroad Canadian National.

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 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.

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.

Running in a Winter Wonderland

January 22, 2018

When the weather in the upper Midwest turns wintry, Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited often runs late.

Earlier this month Nos. 48 and 49 were running as much as six hours or more behind schedule due to the effects of winter conditions. Delays in turning the equipment in Chicago were given some of the blame, but winter operating conditions can also lead to frozen switches, broken rails and freight train emergencies that are not Amtrak’s fault.

If No. 48 leaves Chicago late, it likely will be even later as it rolls eastward toward New York and Boston.

On a sunny but frigid day last week when the early morning temperatures were in the low teens and the wind chill was sub zero, I braved the elements to photograph No. 48 at Geneva, Ohio, which was more than two hours off its schedule.

It was running a few minutes behind an eastbound CSX stack train. I can only speculate that the dispatcher put the intermodal train out ahead of Amtrak because it would not be stopping in Erie, Pennsylvania, but Amtrak would be.

Inside a Viewliner Baggage Car

May 16, 2016

The exterior of the Viewliner sleeper on display in Toledo at National Train Day.

The exterior of the Viewliner sleeper on display in Toledo at National Train Day.

Amtrak passengers seldom get an inside look of a baggage car. If you are riding in a coach or sleeper next to a baggage car you might be able to get a glimpse inside the baggage car through the door window of your car.

So it was a rare opportunity during the annual National Train Day festival in Toledo recently to be able to go inside one of the new Viewliner baggage car.

The car has racks to hold luggage but they were locked upright, probably to prevent children from climbing on them.

At one end of the car was a cabinet that can be locked. Someone on a railfan chat list suggested it is or could be used for storing firearms that have been checked as luggage.

The car has the familiar bowed sides of a Viewliner on the inside.

Looking down the middle of the interior.

Looking down the middle of the interior.

Getting a closer look at the luggage racks that were in the up position.

Getting a closer look at the luggage racks that were in the up position.

A locked cabinet sat at one end of the car.

A locked cabinet sat at one end of the car.

The current Amtrak logo on the side of the car.

The current Amtrak logo on the side of the car.

18 New Viewliner Baggage Cars Released

December 18, 2014

Amtrak is shipping 18 new Viewliner baggage cars from the CAF USA plant near Elmira, N.Y., to Amtrak’s Hialeah maintenance facility near Miami.

At Hialeah, the cars will undergo a final inspections before acceptance and placement in revenue service in early 2015.

The baggage cars are being conveyed in a special train that left Elmira on Wednesday and is expected to reach Hialeah on Friday.

The train is moving via Albany, N.Y. and thence over the Northeast Corridor to Washington, D.C.

Two Viewliner baggage cars that have been tested on the NEC will be added to the special at Philadelphia.

The baggage cars are part of a larger order for 130 single-level, long-distance passenger cars, including diner, sleeper, and baggage-dorm cars.

Amtrak is encouraging media and rail enthusiasts to take photos of the special as it travels. Photographers are asked to tag the images with the hashtag #AmtrakForward and share them on Amtrak’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.



Amtrak Begins Testing Viewliner Baggage Cars

June 19, 2014


Amtrak has begun field testing four Viewliner baggage cars that are part of an order of 55 new Viewliner baggage cars being built by CAF USA of Elmire, N.Y.

No. 61000 will travel on trains in the Northeast Corridor and see duty on runs to Chicago (Cardinal and Lake Shore Limited), New Orleans (Crescent) and Miami (Silver Star and Silver Meteor)

The baggage cars are expected to be assigned to trains on all of Amtrak’s 15 long-distance routes.

The baggage cars are part of a larger order for 130 single-level, long-distance Viewliner II passenger cars, which also include diners, sleepers, and baggage-crew dormitory cars.

“The updated design provides for improved reliability and maintenance, and better baggage loading/unloading procedures,” Amtrak said in a news release. “Also, the new built-in luggage racks can secure unboxed bicycles to support the growing demand by passengers to bring their bikes onboard an expanding number of routes.”

The field testing program includes compatibility tests to ensure that the baggage car couples cleanly, and can operate through a curve without interference, with numerous types of Amtrak cars and locomotives.

In addition, there also are tests for speed, stability, braking, noise, wheelset/rail interaction, as well as baggage handling. The field testing will continue through October.

Amtrak expects these cars to begin entering revenue service by late 2014.

“All four car types will modernize the Amtrak fleet, improve reliability and maintenance, upgrade passenger amenities, travel at speeds up to 125 mph, and replace units built as far back as the 1940s and 1950s,” Amtrak said. “The diner, sleeper and baggage-dorm cars will be used on eastern long-distance routes, with the first units of each expected to begin field testing this summer.”

“With the launch of the Viewliner II, Amtrak is also launching Amtrak America, a brand that will encompass all that is great about Amtrak’s long-haul trains, including those with sleeper class service,” said Amtrak spokeman Steve Kulm.

“Amtrak’s route brands will continue, and this brand will make overall service offerings clear to our customers and stakeholders,” he said. “Amtrak America will utilize our Phase Three striping on the Viewliner IIs as a tribute to our heritage. The first cars released from production will also carry Amtrak’s historic logo in honor of our past.”