Amtrak Changes Viewliner Order

Amtrak has altered its new car order, deciding to cut the number of Viewliner II baggage-dormitory cars from 25 to 10 while increasing by 15 the number of baggage cars that it wants. The cars are being built by CAF USA at Elmira Heights, N.Y. The original order for 25 dining cars and 25 sleeping cars is unchanged.

Amtrak declined to explain why the Viewliner order had changed other than to specifiy that it was done “to address business needs.” The current single-level fleet requires about 17 train sets to operate the Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Crescent, and Lake Shore Limited daily and the Cardinal tri-weekly.

The change in the Viewliner order means that baggage-dormitory cars will not operate consistently on every train. Crew members will therefore need to be accommodated in space in regular Viewliner sleepers.

Increasing the number of baggage cars being built will mean that checked baggage and bicycle carriage will be able to be extended to additional trains in the Northeast Corridor and on state-supported routes.

Viewliner II baggage cars will replace cars that are more than 50 years old.

In a related development, California and three Midwest states plan to acquire an additional 45 bi-level cars from Nippon Sharyo.

The states had ordered 130 cars that are being assembled in Rochelle, Ill. That contract provided an add-on options at a slightly increased cost, depending upon car type.

The order will now include 122 cars to be used in Midwest corridor service and 175 cars to be used in California. The first of these cars are expected to enter service by 2016.

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