follow the bouncing baggage cars...

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follow the bouncing baggage cars...
Posted by oltmannd on Monday, November 25, 2019 3:36 PM

Amtrak bought 50 new Viewliner baggage cars and completely retired their old heritage baggage cars - sort of.  The primary justification was the problem finding parts to keep the old ones going - or so they said.  Same thing for the old heritage diners.

Sounds like a plan.  Except, now they are bumping the new baggage cars with baggage-dorms on some trains.  So, what were all those new baggage cars for?  There have to be some just sitting around, now, with nothing to do.

And what of the old heritage cars that they couldn't keep running?  They ARE running - as track circuit shunts on some of the midwest trains per UP and CN rules.  Did parts suddenly materialize or what?

For a company that doesn't have any money to waste, they sure waste a lot of money.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Monday, November 25, 2019 3:39 PM

Don, you must be new around here!

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, November 25, 2019 4:46 PM

The new Viewliner order was a textbook example of dumb planning.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, November 25, 2019 5:41 PM

oltmannd

Amtrak bought 50 new Viewliner baggage cars and completely retired their old heritage baggage cars - sort of.  The primary justification was the problem finding parts to keep the old ones going - or so they said.  Same thing for the old heritage diners.

Sounds like a plan.  Except, now they are bumping the new baggage cars with baggage-dorms on some trains.  So, what were all those new baggage cars for?  There have to be some just sitting around, now, with nothing to do.

And what of the old heritage cars that they couldn't keep running?  They ARE running - as track circuit shunts on some of the midwest trains per UP and CN rules.  Did parts suddenly materialize or what?

For a company that doesn't have any money to waste, they sure waste a lot of money.

Well I agree they did not need so many of the baggage cars and part of the order could have been coaches.    They did need some of the baggage cars however as it gives them a newer frame.   The new cars offer items that the old ones did not, better lighting, newer body structure, configuration inside that can carry bicycles, guns and rifles.    True the old cars could have been upgraded but many would have been on like their 4th or 5th rebuild by then.   I think it was safer for the train consist to go with new.

What I don't understand is the Superliner Baggage,   Either use the damn thing or modify it to be a regular Superliner Coach.    Seems to be a complete avoidance of doing any structural modifications to the Superliner cars.   Perhaps it has something to do with uncertain structural integrity if modified.    If it was up to me I would get rid of the accessible bedroom in at least 50% of the Superliner Sleepers unless they are selling out to physically challenged individuals (I don't think they are).    Also, would increase the size of the bedrooms to be a little larger and possibly add some more amenities to charge more for them.    You could probably easily cover the loss of one full bedroom per sleeping car that way.

Definitely reconfig the Superliner Baggage to haul more passengers if your going to tow a single level baggage car anyway.    Seems to be quite a bit of wasted space on a Superliner LD train that adds to overhead costs of trailing it with each train.    Another example.   Why keep the bartenders station on the upper level of the lounge car if your not going to use it?    Rip it out and put in more seats.     Also pretty sure at this point with newer technology they do not need all that space on the first level for the HVAC and internal plumbing retention systems.    Could possibly use the space saving there for something else.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, November 25, 2019 10:32 PM

CMStPnP
Definitely reconfig the Superliner Baggage to haul more passengers if your going to tow a single level baggage car anyway.    Seems to be quite a bit of wasted space on a Superliner LD train that adds to overhead costs of trailing it with each train.    Another example.   Why keep the bartenders station on the upper level of the lounge car if your not going to use it?    Rip it out and put in more seats.     Also pretty sure at this point with newer technology they do not need all that space on the first level for the HVAC and internal plumbing retention systems.    Could possibly use the space saving there for something else.

Are we sure the Superliner baggage cars are not used.  IIRC they are the lower level of a superliner coach. Aren't the restrooms also on the lower level?  Maybe they need midtrain baggage space for short station platforms.  Also isn't the superliner's utility space over the wheel wells?  Too little hight for passenger accomodations.  Also the original retention tanks were apparently too small.  They would disperse at speed, or overflow.  I remember coming into Denver, they announced that the restrooms would be locked under a Denver City sanitary ordinance.  I presume they had to expand capacity as I understand the feds required full retention.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 6:42 AM

I've observed that the Superliner baggage-coach combine provides the only checked baggage space on the "City of New Orleans", so the space is getting used.  I'm pretty sure that the Portland section of the "Empire Builder" has a similar arrangement.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Eastrail11 on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 7:55 AM

Is it possible that the Superliner baggage cars could have had something to do with when Amtrak carried mail?

~Eastrail

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 8:01 AM

As to the Viewliner baggage cars, they are much cleaner inside than the heritage cars were. Once, as I was being taken out to my car, I asked my friend, who driving, how he liked the new cars, and he told me that the baggage is much cleaner than it was in the old cars.

Johnny

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 11:57 AM

You or your friend think it is necessary to build new cars for millions of dollars because the baggage cars are dirty?  Seriously?

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 2:59 PM

charlie hebdo

You or your friend think it is necessary to build new cars for millions of dollars because the baggage cars are dirty?  Seriously?

 

I do not at all think that was the reason; the new cars replaced worn-out equipment. That the new cars are more air-tight is an extra. .

Johnny

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Posted by PJS1 on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 11:01 PM
Prior to the arrival of the “new” baggage cars, checked baggage on the Texas Eagle was carried in a coach baggage car. 
 
I don’t know the exact date when the new baggage cars were added to the Eagle’s consist.  But they were pulled off the train at least three or four months ago.  Checked baggage is again being carried in a coach baggage car.
 
I saw the Eagle in Austin a week or so ago.  The transition sleeper was positioned immediately behind the locomotive.  The first third of the car appeared to be covered by a black, oily film.  Presumably it came from the locomotive. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 11:21 PM

PJS1
I saw the Eagle in Austin a week or so ago.  The transition sleeper was positioned immediately behind the locomotive.  The first third of the car appeared to be covered by a black, oily film.  Presumably it came from the locomotive. 

I hope Amtrak has some very powerful washracks, that stuff is a major pain to get off!

If you get a chance, take a look at the underside of bridges or the roof of tunnels on busy mainlines.  They have the same black, sooty, oily buildup. 

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 7:04 AM

SD70Dude
If you get a chance, take a look at the underside of bridges or the roof of tunnels on busy mainlines.  They have the same black, sooty, oily buildup. 

Don't forget the century+ that steam engines also added to the build up - it wasn't only used steam that came out the stack.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 9:49 AM

SD70Dude
I hope Amtrak has some very powerful washracks, that stuff is a major pain to get off! If you get a chance, take a look at the underside of bridges or the roof of tunnels on busy mainlines.  They have the same black, sooty, oily buildup. 

The Army has the same problem in that when you take an armored personnel carrier to the washrack the Detroit Diesels in them (City Bus sized engines) would leak oil and it would seep all over underneath the false floor.    You had to remove the false floor at the washrack and clean that area because that is where the bilge pumps are for amphibious crossings of rivers and so it really needed to be cleaned regularly of oil, dirt and other crap that got down there.   I imagine in Diesel Locomotives they just let the funk accumulate in the bottom well of the carbodies.

Can't do that in the Army because it is looked at during inspections and it has to be that ugly auqa colored paint they use inside both APC's and locomotives.....can't have any black down there.    At any rate the Germans would get PO'd because that gunk would all go into their precious water reclaimation facility at their washracks and mess up the filters (almost all NATO washracks return the water used back to the environment cleaned of contaminants.....at least back in 1980's they did.   So they watched what went into the reclaimation reservoir like hawks).   

That was back in the 1980's.   Now they have a special Oil release detergent that breaks down the oil and is environmentally friendly.    I don't know what it is called though.   Amtrak should use it but I doubt they do.   It's made by 3M and also returns the stainless steel back to it's shiny former complextion.    It is also used in restaurants because it is edible safe as well.    I used it to clean the griddle in my sub shop.    Just spray on a griddle no matter how dirty and it releases everything right down to the shiny stainless steel again.....with just one wipe of a sponge.    All the former scrubbing, over and over again with brillo pads is gone.    Then you just need to re-season with soybean oil and your ready to cook again.     I always rinsed with vinegar and water  and regular soap solution after the 3M stuff as I did not trust it was edible after seeing what a powerful cleaner it was.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 10:00 AM

Deggesty
As to the Viewliner baggage cars, they are much cleaner inside than the heritage cars were. Once, as I was being taken out to my car, I asked my friend, who driving, how he liked the new cars, and he told me that the baggage is much cleaner than it was in the old cars.

A lot of those former Heritage Cars are converted from coaches and I think the structural integrity was designed for passengers vs cargo.    Read that somewhere, could have been in the Trains Forums long ago.     Some of the Amtrak baggage cars donated to railway museums, you can't even get the sliding door to close all the way where there is a weather seal.   They had affixed straps and chains to keep the door slid closed in transit from the inside.   Not sure how legal that is but apparently Amtrak got away with it.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 10:06 AM

PJS1
The transition sleeper was positioned immediately behind the locomotive.  The first third of the car appeared to be covered by a black, oily film.  Presumably it came from the locomotive. 

With the Army diesel engines they had what was called a sludge cup to capture most of that exhaust oil.    It was a stainless steel cup with a sponge in the bottom on the engine right next to the driver.   It was at an elbow joint in the exhaust manifold so the oil in the exhaust would accumulate there.    You had to remove the service door to the engine and empty that sucker every so often or the exhaust would spit up oil all over the camoflage painted tracked vehicle.   I imagine that railroad locomotives have the same kind of device but it is probably never serviced as it is not critical to the operation of the engine only in keeping the outside skin of the locomotive clean. 

In the Army we kept it clean because as stated earlier, cleaning oil from a painted surface without damaging the paint is not easy and requires a lot of detergent.   Some of the lazy drivers didn't and they had oil stained polka dots all over their vehicles that had to later be scrubbed off.

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