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First Viewliner II diner on the move NEWSWIRE

By Bob Johnston | November 23, 2016

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Viewliner II dining car Annapolis deadheads on the rear of the southbound Silver Meteor at Kissimmee, Fla., on Nov. 18.
Scott A. Hartley
MIAMI — Amtrak employees will soon train in the newest dining cars on the continent now that the first of 25 new Viewliner II dining cars has arrived at Amtrak’s Hialeah Maintenance Facility north of Miami. Production problems at the CAF USA plant in Elmira, N.Y., delayed the cars more than two years after they were scheduled for delivery.

As was the case with the 70 Viewliner II baggage cars now operating, maintenance protocols have to be developed and subsequent employee familiarization must take place before the new fleet is deployed throughout the system.

Hialeah shop forces maintain all single-level long-distance equipment that runs on the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Palmetto, Crescent, and Lake Shore Limited, but workers at other servicing terminals in Chicago, New Orleans, and New York’s Sunnyside Yard must also learn how all systems work. Once that occurs and more dining cars are shipped from Elmira, new Viewliners can replace Amtrak’s dwindling fleet of heritage dining cars.

In 2015, the aging relics were removed from the Silver Star as part of an initiative to test sleeping car pricing that doesn’t include meals. Earlier this year, Amtrak substituted Amfleet II lounge cars for diners on the Lake Shore Limited after four cars were found to be structurally unsound. That means only the Crescent and Silver Meteor currently operate with full-service dining cars in the East.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari tells Trains News Wire that once a sufficient number of new dining cars are accepted, they will be deployed on routes throughout the country.

14 thoughts on “First Viewliner II diner on the move NEWSWIRE

  1. Maybe Amtrak could take a look at how airlines train on board and maintenance personnel when putting new type equipment into service. Yes, these dining cars are not like anything else on the planet so predelivery training might not be so easy but for the cost of hauling all to Hialeah it would seem a training and predelivery/delivery inspection facility could be established at the factory which would allow new equipment introduction to service very soon following delivery.

  2. So, how long should it take to “familiarize the employees” with the new dining cars? The Indianapolis V1 prototype car has been out on the road in regular use for 3 or 4 years, on and off, on both the Florida Silvers and the Lake Shore. Certainly, the on-board kitchen and wait staff should be up to speed or close to it, since the interior of the VII cars should be as close to the V1 prototype as anything on the new VIIs. There are probably significant differences in the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems on the VIIs, but the running gear should be at least similar to the V1 and maybe nearly identical to the VII bags. So, it will probably take longer for the mechanical people, but how long? You could maybe get a clue from how long it took the VI to get up and running, but that saga is no doubt buried deep in some thread in the “Blogs and Forums”.


  3. The cry to go down to CAF industries with our torches at midnight because of slow production and unexpected problems is silly. It is par for the course with any new limited production product to have unexpected problems..
    The same outcry was aimed at Boeing for problems with the Dreamliner and Airbus with the giant 380 airliner.
    The mistake in the order in my mind is Amtrak’s for not ordering all baggage dorms with a few baggage dorm; generator cars. The latter for the Texas Eagle and City of New Orleans that I guess are saving tons of cash per year by not having a second P unit.
    I just do not see a need for full baggage cars since the REA went out of business..
    A whole lot of bags and bikes can be carried in a half a car or even a third of a car.
    And please Wick stop them being trimmed in the garish disco wide stripes from the 60’s.
    Amtrak trains have looked very good over the last few years with the broad blue and narrow red and white stripes and the red band at grade crossing level. And yes I do forget what phase this is 64B or something like that.
    I wonder If Amtrak’s new prez would have taken the job if he knew the makeup of the nation’s new prez and congress.
    I imagine congress along with Train’s web guru Trinity River Boomer will be bearing those torches and balancing the budget by killing Amtrak. Yikes:

  4. A few years ago during National Train Day, several new AMTRAK baggage cars were available for inspection here in Chicago. None of them had dormitory facilities for the crew.

  5. The logic behind putting the baggage cars at the top of the list was that they are “baggage dorm” cars. Having employee dorms in the baggage car freed up saleable rooms in the sleepers, thus adding revenue.

  6. I just read at International Railway Journal that CAF is bidding against Talgo for the contract to build high speed train sets for RENFE. Bet if CAF wins RENFE won’t see delays of this magnitude in the delivery schedule.

    As for Amtrak’s prioritizing what types of equipment to buy, yes absolutely coaches both long and medium distance are needed. But while the automakers are churning out new cars, mostly SUVs and pickups, by the score (in part thanks to the Obama administration coming to their rescue 8 years ago) Amtrak only had a the $$$ for a pathetic 130 cars. Wonder how long it takes a Ford or GM plant to finish 130 cars of any class.

    Assuming the LDs survive, no sure thing for sure, a mere 25 cars, even if that number will allow restoring full diner service to Silver Star and the Lake Shore, plus replace the cars on the trains that never lost service, it won’t be enough for adding more trains (assuming the freight railroads would allow it). And so we are left with Amtrak being the only transport mode that stands still, and sometimes even retrenches, while the fly/drive option continues to grow. This cannot go on.

    This nation has to make a decision do we want intercity passenger rail or not. And if we do, and I hope we do, then the mode has to be, one way or another, given the means to GROW! As for the LDs, Once a Day at 3a Is No Way Gonna Stay. And same for the medium distance operations like Vermonter, Ethan Allen, and Adirondack. Ya’ just cain’t give travelers one chance in 24 hours as these trains through populous territories do. Not when it’s so easy to jump in your car and off on a rail line-paralleling interstate.

  7. Instead of seventy baggage cars being built
    first, Amtrak should have given priority to passengers with new sleeping cars, diners, AND at least thirty-five matching coaches. The Budd baggage cars being replaced were sturdy and durable to last a few more years had new baggage cars been built last.

    The Amfleet cars are now the older cars of the 21st century as heavyweight passenger cars were gradually replaced with new lightweight cars in the middle 20th century.

  8. If we can just replace those “jet fuselage inspired” Amfleet coaches we might finally get an attractive matching consist making for good looking eastern Amtrak trains!

  9. With only one in service, and given the number of potential trainees and their locations, plus the snail’s pace at which Amtrak works, it will be a year or two until we see these in service. Pathetic!

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