Posts Tagged ‘Amfleet’

Amtrak Sets Deal to Buy New Trainsets

July 8, 2021

Amtrak will spend billions to buy new trainsets from Siemens Mobility that will replace Amfleet I equipment in the Northeast Corridor and state-supported corridor trains.

How much the deal is worth depends on whose news release you read. Siemens said the deal is worth $3.4 billion while Amtrak put it at $7.3 billion.

The Amtrak news release indicated that the contract also covers parts and service, facilities upgrades and other related expenses. The deal has an option for up to 140 additional trainsets and related maintenance agreements.

Siemens characterized the contract as its largest North American order in its history.

Back in April Amtrak had announced it had chosen Siemens to build replacement equipment for its corridor trains.

Corridor trains expected to get the new equipment include the Adirondack, Carolinian, Amtrak Cascades, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Hartford Line and Valley Flyer, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter and Virginia services.

The long-distance Palmetto between New York and Savannah, Georgia, also will receive the new trainsets.

Amtrak said the Siemens order will include dual-power and battery hybrid trains, therefore ending locomotive changes in Washington and New Haven, Connecticut.

Also displaced by the new equipment will be dual-mode locomotives now used on Empire Corridor trains.

The announcement did not say how the order is to be divided between dual-mode and hybrid equipment.

Trains will have individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard WiFi, a digital seat reservation system, and trip information and digital navigation displays.

Cars will have ADA accessible restrooms, vestibules, and food service cars, wheelchair lifts, and inductive hearing loops.

Few other details about the makeup of the trainsets were provided other than saying they will have predictive maintenance technology and real-time digital monitoring

Siemens plans to build the trainsets in Sacramento, California, with the first deliveries being made in 2024. Deliveries will be completed in 2030.

2 For Amtrak’s 50th Anniversary

May 3, 2021

I wanted to get out and photograph Amtrak on its 50th anniversary day last Saturday. I began my quest by setting next to the CSX Monon Subdivision south of Linden, Indiana, to capture the westbound Cardinal.

No. 51 was right on the money about 10 minutes past 5, having made a station stop, in Crawfordsville about 12 minutes earlier. It was about a half-hour after sunrise.

Next I motored over to east central Illinois to get the northbound Saluki, a corridor train funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation that originates in Carbondale and travels to Chicago.

No. 390 is shown above taking a signal at Humboldt, Illinois. It, too, was running on time.

None of the equipment seen in these photographs existed in 1971 and most of it had not been created yet as a concept.

The Amfleet coaches and food service car of the Cardinal come closest because Amfleet equipment was based on the design of the Budd Metroliners of the 1960s. Superliner equipment was inspired by the Hi-Level cars of the Santa Fe.

In 1971 EMD E and F units with a handful of passenger equipped geeps, U boats and SDs were the common motive power. It all wore the markings and liveries of its owners.

The Saluki does not normally operate with Superliner equipment, but has since Amtrak reduced the frequency of most long-distance trains last year to tri-weekly.

Starting May 24 Amtrak plans to begin to restore daily service to most long-distance trains — the Cardinal and Sunset Limited are exceptions — so the Superliners now on the Saluki probably will be replaced with Horizon and Amfleet equipment.

But not for long as Amtrak has begun taking delivery of and testing the new Siemens Venture cars and they are expected to begin revenue service later this year.

The long distance trains are also slated to begin receiving Charger locomotives similar to the SC-44 seen above pullking the Saluki albeit with a difference livery.

With Amtrak things are always changing even if it doesn’t always appear that way at first glance.

Early One Saturday Morning

August 13, 2020

It’s a sunny early Saturday morning in western Indiana. Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal was on time leaving Crawfordsville, but has lost about 12 minutes due to a CSX work zone.

Train 51 has its usual consist of a P42DC, two Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, Viewliner sleeper and Viewliner baggage-dorm car bringing up the rear.

The image was made from the U.S. Route 231 overpass just south of Linden.

The track No. 51 is traveling is the CSX Monon Subdivision, named for its former operator.

Early Generation Pennsylvanian

August 7, 2020

Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian has had a long and colorful history. It began on April 27, 1980, as a Pittsburgh-Philadelphia train funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

It was intended to replace, in part, the National Limited, which had been discontinued on Oct. 1, 1979, a move that ended intercity rail passenger service to Columbus and Dayton.

Extended to New York in October 1983, Nos. 46 and 47 got off to a slow start from a ridership perspective. But it took off and by 1994 had become part of Amtrak’s basic network.

This image was made near Lewistown, Pennsylvania, on June 27, 1988.

The Pennsylvanian looked then like any other eastern corridor service train pulled by an F40PH with a string of Amfleet coaches and a cafe car trailing.

The photographer was with Paul Woodring when he made this image. They were on their way back to Ohio after a weekend on the Blue Mountain & Reading chasing a steam locomotive.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Flapping Its Wings Westbound

June 1, 2020

Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Cardinal is on the money as it cruises northbound on the former Monon route about 10 miles north of Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Train No. 51, which operates here on Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning has two Amfleet II coaches, two Amfleet food service cars, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage dorm car.

It was the first time I’d seen, let along photographed, a Viewliner dorm-bag.

The train is on CSX tracks that in this location run next to Old U.S. Route 231.

A cloud shelf that was breaking up led to some dramatic light and sky conditions for this image.

Pennsylvanian Loses Amfleet II Coaches; Capitol Limited Consist Cut by 1 Sleeper, 1 Coach For The Winter

January 15, 2020

An online report indicates that Amfleet II coaches have been removed from the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian and replaced with Amfleet I cars.

The equipment change may have been motivated by a bid to increase capacity because Amfleet I coaches have 12 additional seats per car.

At times the Pennsylvanian has experienced standing room only conditions between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on weekends.

The typical Pennsylvanian consist until this week had been a business class car, Amfleet cafe car and lounge, three Amfleet II coaches and one Amfleet I coach. The train also has a Viewliner baggage car.

Reports also indicate that the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited is operating with its winter consist of one crew car, one sleeper, Cross Country Cafe for sleeper class passengers, Sightseer Lounge, two coaches and a Viewliner baggage car.

The crew cars has sleeping accommodations available for sale to the public.

Motive power can be one P42DC, but some recent sightings have shown two locomotives assigned to Nos. 29 and 30.

One online report from a passenger who rode on No. 30 earlier this month said the train was oversold leaving Chicago.

The report quoted two Amtrak onboard employees as saying that overselling had happened before and that the train is often sold out between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

The normal consist for the Capitol includes another sleeper and coach.

The online reports indicated that a computer glitch had allowed some passengers to buy sleeper space in the car that was dropped for the winter.

Amtrak typically reduces the consist of Nos. 29 and 30 in January as well as those of other long-distance Superliner-equipped trains.

The Cleveland Nighttime Shuffle

January 8, 2020

It’s 0 dark 30 at the Cleveland Amtrak station and passengers are coming and going from the eastbound Lake Shore Limited. I set my camera on a tripod and captured this seen with a telephoto lens.

The view is looking primarily at the Amfleet II coaches. No. 48 still carried a Heritage Fleet dining car and crew dorm in those days.

This image was made on Aug. 22, 1998, so the Heritage Fleet dining car that is partly visible is no longer assigned to Nos. 48 and 49.

But coach passengers are still riding in Amfleet II coaches as seen here.

Hanging With the Hoosier State in its Final Week

August 11, 2019

Boarding has begun for the Chicago-bound Hoosier State on June 25 at Indianapolis Union Station.

By the time I arrived in Indianapolis Amtrak’s Hoosier State had just one week left to live.

I would experience No. 851 three times before it made its final trip on June 30, riding it once and photographing it trackside twice.

I had ridden the Hoosier State several times but not since August 1991.

Interestingly, my purpose for riding the Hoosier State nearly 28 years later would be the same as why I rode it in 1991.

I was moving and needed to go back to my former hometown to pick up a car and drive it to my new hometown.

In 1991 I had driven from Indianapolis to State College, Pennsylvania. In 2019 I drove from Cleveland to Indianapolis.

Boarding of No. 851 began shortly after I arrived at Indianapolis Union Station on the morning of June 25.

I was the second passenger to board the Horizon fleet coach to which most Indy passengers were assigned. The car was about two-thirds full.

The consist also included an Amfleet coach, an Amfleet food service car and two P42DC locomotives, Nos. 77 and 55.

We departed on time but a few minutes later received a penalty application near CP Holt that required a conversation with the CSX PTC desk.

We would later encounter a delay between Crawfordsville and Lafayette due to signal issues.

Yet there was no freight train interference en route that I observed. We stopped briefly in Chicago so a Metra train could go around us.

That was probably because we were early. We halted at Chicago Union Station 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

I had heard the former Monon can be rough riding, but I didn’t think it was any worse than other Amtrak routes I’ve ridden.

There wasn’t any of the abrupt sideways jerking that I’ve experienced on other Amtrak trains.

The journey did seem to be slow going at times, particularly through the CSX yard in Lafayette; on the former Grand Trunk Western west of Munster, Indiana; through the Union Pacific yard on the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois; and within Chicago proper.

Overall, the experience was much the same as riding any other Amtrak Midwest corridor train although it featured an entrance into Chicago that I had not experienced before in daylight.

The crew said nothing about it being the last week of operation for Nos. 850 and 851.

My next encounter with the Hoosier State came in Lafayette on June 28.

No. 851 arrived on time with a more typical consist that included cars being ferried from Beach Grove shops to Chicago.

These included a Superliner sleeping car, a Viewliner baggage car, a Horizon food service car, and a Heritage baggage car. There also was the standard Hoosier State consist of three cars. On the point was P42DC No. 99.

I was positioned next to the former Big Four station at Riehle Plaza so I could photograph above the train.

Although a sunny morning, the tracks were more in shadows than I would have liked. Nonetheless I was pleased, overall, with what I came away with.

After No 851 departed – it operated on CSX as P317, an original Hoosier State number – I went over to Fifth Street to photograph it sans railroad tracks.

One stretch of rails has been left in the street in front of the former Monon passenger station.

My last encounter with the Hoosier State would be my briefest.

I drove to Linden to photograph the last northbound run at the railroad museum at the former joint Monon-Nickel Plate depot.

No. 851 was 24 minutes late leaving Indianapolis Union Station and about that late at Crawfordsville.

It had a consist similar to what I had seen in Lafayette two days earlier. P42DC No. 160 had a battered nose with some of its silver paint peeling away.

I wasn’t aware until I saw them that two former Pennsylvania Railroad cars had been chartered to operate on the rear of the last Hoosier State.

They were Colonial Crafts and Frank Thomson. The latter carried a Pennsy keystone tail sign on its observation end emblazoned with the Hoosier State name.

It was a nice touch and after those cars charged past the Hoosier State was gone in more ways than one.

 

That’s my Horizon coach reflected in the lower level of the Lafayette station.

 

Watching the countryside slide by west of Monon, Indiana.

The Hoosier State has come to a halt on Track 16 at Chicago Union Station. That’s the inbound City of New Orleans to the left.

A crowd lines the platform in Lafayette as the Hoosier State arrives en route to Chicago.

The former Big Four station in Lafayette was moved to its current location to serve Amtrak. At one time it also served intercity buses.

Pulling out of Lafayette on the penultimate northbound trip to Chicago.

P42DC No. 160, which pulled the last northbound Amtrak Train No. 851 had a well-worn nose.

Two former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars brought up the rear of the last northbound Hoosier State.

Morning Contrast

June 12, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited was running more than two hours late which would put it through Berea not long after sunrise.

I had plans for how I wanted to capture it. I would use my longest telephoto lens and get the train passing the former BE tower while standing on the Front Street bridge over the tracks.

Immediately over the tracks is a fence with small link chain fencing. I would have to shoot through it.

Although it was 7:30 a.m. and the sun had been up for an hour and a half, the bridge and other structures were still casting some massive shadows.

But there was enough light on the rails to get some open views.

The image you see above is not something I had planned to make. It was strictly an impromptu thing that I wasn’t sure how it would pan out.

It turns out it produced maybe my favorite image of the group.

What I liked was how there was direct early morning light on the nose, flanks and tops of the locomotive and how that contrasted nicely with the shadows on each side of the train.

Somehow the shadows didn’t creep up the side of the train.

Sometimes things turn out well in ways you never expected.

Amtrak Takes Step Toward Replacing Amfleet

June 28, 2018

Amtrak this week issued a request for information that is the first step toward replacement of its Amfleet I passenger cars.

The notice posted on the carrier’s website said that once the information received is reviewed that it expects to issue in 2019 a request for proposals to interested companies.

The information Amtrak is seeking is due by Oct. 11 and may pertain to propelled or non-propelled cars.

In the meantime, Amtrak is hold meetings with would-be bidders at its headquarters in Washington to discuss the request for information.

In a news release posted on its website, Amtrak said the new equipment is intended to replace Amfleet I cars used primarily east of the Mississippi River and cited such routes as the Keystones, Illinois corridor routes, the Carolinian and the Northeast Corridor.

Although the cars recently have had their interiors refurbished with new carpets, seats and lighting, Amtrak said in the news release that its Amfleet equipment is 40 years old and has reached the point where replacement is more cost efficient than maintenance.

The Amfleet cars were built by Budd between 1975 and 1977 and their curved design was based on the Metroliners developed by the same company in the 1960s.

“New equipment will provide our customers with a more modern experience, while improving ride quality and reliability,” said Amtrak Vice President of Corporate Planning Byron Comati said in a statement.