Coming Soon: New Long Distance Cars
You love taking the train (we're looking at you, our 31.6 million riders!) and we love working to improve your travel experience. That’s why we’re bringing 130 new single-level long distance cars to the rails by 2014.
Manufactured by CAF USA in Elmira, N.Y., these new passenger cars have a little bit of everything and a whole lot of improvements. We could talk about how cool these new cars are forever, but to keep it short and sweet, here are the 5 facts you need to know about our new long distance cars.
1. How Many Cars?
The new cars include 25 sleeper cars, 25 dining cars, 25 baggage/dormitory cars and 55 baggage cars. Yes, that's a lot of new equipment, and we can't wait!
2. Can You Say Upgrade?
We know it’s been awhile since we've added new equipment, that’s why we’re modernizing the look and feel of our interiors (All together now, "ooohh, aaahh").
3. Hot and Cold or Somewhere In Between
We ride our trains, too. So we know the temp can be, shall we say, fickle. That’s why our new cars have more efficient air conditioning and heating systems to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Did we mention more outlets? Yup, that's right! Now you'll be able to plug in ALL of your electronic devices.
4. A Place to Hang Your ... Bike
Our new baggage cars even have bike racks, which means no more bike boxes!
With the new design features, the cars traveling on the Northeast Corridor will have the ability to increase their top speeds to 125 mph.
Check back here soon for more information about the future of our new cars. We can't wait to have you experience them first-hand.
Got questions about the new cars? Let us know in the comments, and we will do our best to answer all of your questions in upcoming posts.
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How many cars will be used in the west, where we have real open country? I'll bet none for quite some time. The east coast always gets the new stuff first. Why?
The keys to any intercity rail service are both frequency and speed.
Where I live in Downingtown, PA to get to Philadelphia I have the choice between either Amtrak Keystone or SEPTA (my employer). From Philly to either DC or NYC the Acela is available. The USA is way behind the curve on implementing a true high speed rail service that business users need.
When more than one train per day goes up and down the I-85 corridor from Washington to Atlanta, maybe that service could actually be useful. I would like nothing more than to use the train from Greenville,SC going north and south but more frequency is essential.
Also, it would be very helpful if small pets could be accommodated on leisure trips.
Finally, it would be nice if a thoughtful, non automated reply could be sent.
RussianTourGuide.com / MyRomeTourGuide.com
The deadlines are slipping, after all, perhaps due to Congress messing with the money. Until passage of the Budget the other day, Amtrak didn't know which bill to pay first because it didn't know how much money it would have this year.
So the first batch of new cars have not even begun testing. Joe Boardman said recently that they will begin entering service in the late part of this year. And no one knows where the new cars will go, like, the Lake Shore Limited NYC-Chicago or the Florida trains or what. By this time 2015 you should probably see them on the Silver Service.
Use the Chase Amtrak Card! This will be our 3rd trip via a sleeper to 2 zones with ZERO out of pocket- minus the points that we earned. It's about $6K in Amtrak travel. Meals included and a place to relax during the day if you want to be alone is awesome. Wish there was more wifi on the long trains.
Please make sure you pay attention to the alarm buttons at the seats and restrooms esp in the disabled car where it can be critical-the bathroom light will go on that says there is someone in there but not that the person may be having a heart attack or other emergency. At the disabled seats same thing-my last trip a young guy was needlessly allowed to be in the disabled care and was under the influence of something. He was highly disruptive and it was after midnight , he was seated up front so he could block exit from the car-he had been making loud foul calls acknowledging that he was making all others angry. He started to threaten an elderly lady (70's) when whatever he was using finally took effect-none of us could stop him due to medical situations and most were elderly. The crew was in the dining car they had told us-no one could get up the stairs and passengers upstairs do not like to get involved. If he had not finally passed out-someone would have been seriously hurt. He threatened he would push those famously broken alarm buttons to get us all thrown off train-most laughed-they were repeat riders and they knew the buttons would not work-the stairs are too risky for most disabled-narrow and thin and kids run down them when others trying to get up. I have been ridding Amtrak TX Eagle since 1979 or so-sometimes with kids and now as disabled 66 y/o I ride alone round trip twice a year and see many problems that are never fixed despite repeated comments, complaints, emails to Amtrak, letters to you and any other means and yet nothing changed. Also put the menus in braille for the many blind or near blind passengers-it gives them their dignity and independence a real help-we had a mother-daughter both blind passengers who handled the entire train easily but had to ask someone to read the menu to them. I take notes of each trip and have tons of notes if you promise to read them and try to fix. Please acknowledge Martha at the Mineola, TX station for her being the friendliest station worker in Amtrak-she is 80 y/o and a volunteer for the station and it's museum-every crew member on the TX Eagle gets off to collect her famous hugs-if she meets you once-from then on your are her family and she is waiting to hug you again. Her station is immaculate and beautiful but her smiles and hugs are the best. Your company refuses to allow us to check luggage to her station which means I cannot bring my grandkids Christmas or other gifts even though my son and daughter and others always unload my stuff and there is never a problem. Longview can have checked property from LA, CA but is another longer trip and the freeway is always under construction and takes forever to get there. Anyway, please do something really nice for Martha before she can no longer keep working or enjoying all of her superextended family of Amtrak crews and passengers-should advertise her museum too! WE LOVE HER and Amtrak is my favorite transportation but it is declining in services and policies-will tell you more if you promise to act on the ideas esp the alarm buttons.
How about designing the upstairs windows so that if someone becomes ill and needs a stretcher to be used-make the windows so EMTs can slide the stretcher out the window-currently they have to try to get an unconscious or severely injured patient down those skinny narrow stairs and of course the kids will get in the way and make things harder. The cars are not designed for most people to walk up and down the stairs-elderly and disabled have a major problem and most cannot get to the dining or observer cars because of it. 3rd-please please please fix the alarm buttons-I have taken 15 round trips on TX Eagle and the buttons have never worked!. I watched some boys commit a felony by tearing up Amtrak fed law and other posters and tried the buttons-nothing. Even managed to get to the stairs-no employee in sight because they are too overworked with too many duties-those kids had no adult supervision from when they got on -they said FL but TX Eagle does not go there. all the way to NM and were totally undisciplined. They did get away with no penalties because of the alarms. Next-try a deal of allowing certain passengers such as EMTs, Paramedics etc with a deal of free or reducec fares in exchange for responding to emergencies so the time period between being sick and getting the ambulance is covered-train crew are not medics and have enough to do. Get us back to 3-4pm departures so kids will settle down and have time to settle in and not be so obnoxious and let all start boarding as soon as train arrives-the cattle car system usually used results in injuries and bad tempers. Waiting till 8 to get a seat assigned is stupid-my metrolink gets me to LA by 12:30 and sit around till 8 just to assign a seat is poor planning. Once I had my ticket I used to check out which track it would be on-head out there and get a seat so I was not part of the mixed up crowd holding everyone up-then tell the crew where I was settled-they reduced their concerns about seating others and my stuff was out of the way so it was easier to board. One trip the crew issuing the seats actually took part of our tickets-when we got to the train-the greeting crew took the other part which was weird. Once we got started the conductors came around to check tickets and all of us had to tell them what had happened and have no tickets to verify our right to be on the train-but they accepted our story and just tried to deal with it. I always keep several copies of my tickets to avoid problems like that. Give only the travelers in the disabled car keys to gain entry-the nasty kids on the train think it is hysterical to move the trash bins into the disabled bathroom and make it impossible for wheelchair bound to get in and despite being told by the conductors-all passengers kept using that restroom defeating the purpose and that includes poorly raised adults. There are no newspapers available at stations or on the train-would love that-and also not being FORCED to sit with others in the dining car-some of us like to read or just sit alone to eat rather than converse or watch the runny noses on the kids across from us who no one tells to wipe their nose-it was disgusting. That is a start-by the way the best employees are Andre, John, Lorna and Albert who left after a particularly witchy little female tormented and we wanted to stick In the dumpster-he was a total gentleman but thanks to her we lost the nicest and hardest worker ever.
I love the train especially because I do not fly but the tracks are very scary. You are saying that the trains are going to be faster on the long trains but it seems like they are ready to tip over at the speeds that they go now especially as you get down to the south. Will they be fixing the tracks. I think that is needed before anything else
My wife and I are looking forward to retirement and travelling by Amtrak. Want to try a long distance train with a sleeper.
Just like anything else, it is a Holiday, so it is more.
We are traveling from Montreal to Orlando in February, and it is almost half price than what we would have paid to fly. We already have our tickets.
Your best bet would be to purchase your tickets ahead of time and you may see a cheaper fare.
If only Amtrak were affordable! I just checked to see how much it would cost to go NYC to Boston round-trip for Thanksgiving and it was almost $400. I don't know how anyone ever affords to take it.
Yes, and yes. And if they ever do replace the passenger coach cars, also, just more comfy seats, especially when they're reclined. Individual car temperature controls would be great, so we don't freeze and/or swelter. And not sure it's possible, but some kind of noise/bump insulation over the wheels. That's my wish list, anyway.And maybe automatic flush toilets or something to improve the bathrooms on the long distance trains (because they get really disgusting).
Just throwing it out there....
As noted by Markbeardsley, the bulk of these new cars are to replace 50 to 60 year old dining cars and baggage cars. The Superliners that are used in the west are much newer than that.
That said, the west will actually see the new baggage cars on its trains. The new dining cars and extra sleeping cars will only be found in the east.
Get Congress to provide some more funding and Amtrak will be happy to buy more Superliners for the west. They've had a plan ready to do just that for the last 4 years now, as directed by Congress. But in typical fashion, Congress seems to take those plans that they asked for and do nothing but order a new plan the next year.
@ChuckFarina Chuck, I think that the bi-level superliners are a lot newer than the older cars out east. A lot of the cars here are heritage cars from before Amtrak days.
Or so I believe, based on what I have read at the Amtrak Forum.
But, like you, I would like to see the new Superliner II's get purchased soon, too.
@ChuckFarina Single level cars are used in the east due to height limitations i.e. tunnels and bridges.
@MyRomeTourGuide This is a non-automated reply. But it is not an official reply. I don't have anything to do with Amtrak, except rarely as a customer.
You probably know that the Carolinian train runs NYC-D.C.-Richmond-Raleigh-Greensboro-Charlotte every day. The State of North Carolina pays a small subsidy to Amtrak to operate this train.
In this way, Raleigh gets northbound service twice a day, once from the Carolinian, and once from the Amtrak's Silver Star running Miami-NYC.
And Charlotte gets service twice a day, once from the Carolinian, and once from Amtrak's Crescent, New Orleans-Birmingham-Atlanta-Greenville-Spartanburg-Charlotte-Greensboro-Lynchburg-Charlottesville, D.C.-NYC.
The Carolinian does not extend to Spartanburg, Greenville, or Atlanta because South Carolina and Georgia refuse to spend any money to support passenger rail.
In North Carolina, however, the State also sponsors the Piedmont trains running twice daily Charlotte-Raleigh. Hundred of millions from the Stimulus is being invested in upgrading the tracks on this route, especially the section Charlotte-Greensboro. And in a couple of years, more runs will be added to the Piedmont schedule.
Nothing is being invested in South Carolina due to the bad attitude and bad decisions of the politicians in that state. Maybe you need to sack a bunch of them.
@MaryStephens 1 Much of the older equipment is hopeless. Diners are over 50 years old, and it's like each one came from a different railroad, making maintenance costs ridiculous. Some baggage cars are even older. So they got to go. Maybe railroad museums will grab a few of these antiques, but their time has passed.
The crew dorms/baggage combo cars will be additions to the fleet, flexibly allowing half a baggage car, and half a car worth of added roomettes (by moving the crew out of the sleepers), to be attached to current trains..
The 25 new sleepers will be additions to the fleet as well. And the plan is to give all the old Viewliner I sleepers a complete make-over, using modules, so they will be like-new.
We all see the need for more equipment. We hope Amtrak will be able to exercise an option it has for 70 more cars at the same price as those in this order, or less. That option order would allow some added service, like taking the Cardinal daily for sure.
But Amtrak needs much more than another 70 cars. And states can't add corridor services due to the shortage of affordable used equipment.
@Traingirl The new cars will let the long distance trains go faster on the electrified NorthEast Corridor, in most cases that's NYC-D.C. There the LD trains change locomotives to diesels, as they do now. So your further south problem will not get worse.
I don't like a scary experience either -- haven't been on a roller coaster twice in my life. LOL. But I can't recall when a train tipped over in the U.S.. We're in much greater danger just trying to walk across a street, alas.
I have always found the Viewliners to feel safe and ride comfortably even in the south. The only time I was scared on a train was leaving Chicago on the California Zephyr. We rocked and rolled and alarmingly slammed through switches violently with a loud bang. It was horrible. But even with the double-decker cars and the rough track we didn't tip over.
We were however in the Superliner Family Room which is located in the lower level close to the tracks and next to the wheels which probably heightened the sensations.
The Viewliners have their rooms located much higher and further away from the track and wheels. I would think these new versions will be much better insulated and isolated and should provide a quieter more comfortable ride.
Over the years most of the host railroads have improved their ROW and you hopefully should find the ride much improved. Our last trip hit 127 mph through Massachusetts and it was smooth as glass. I feel safer in a train going 100mph than in a plane going 500mph.
@BigUglyMike1 In February, my husband and I are traveling from Ottawa to Montreal on VIA Rail, then from Montreal to NYC by Amtrak, then from NYC to Orlando by Amtrak in a sleeper. This will be our first time in a sleeper, but have traveled with Amtrak in the past. If either one of you is handicap, make sure to tell them when you order your sleeper. Also, you get a 15% discount as a companion for a handicap person.
@BigUglyMike1 It's worth EVERY NICKEL!
@AlineAlarieCarley The airfare could be even higher if Amtrak weren't competing in that market.
When the state of Virginia subsidized new trains from D.C. to Lynchburg and Norfolk, the fares were lower than the air fares, and the airlines had to cut their prices.
@LoudintheHouse The pricing varies greatly depending on how early you get your tickets, and also on the demand. I just checked for a roundtrip in mid-January and total is $98.
@LoudintheHouse I am going from Los Angeles to Mineola, TX on 22 Nov and return on 18 Dec and it will only cost me 247.00 round trip up from 239.00. I buy early and use my VeteransAdvantage discount and find it very easy to get the reservation-I totally ignore Juli-she has to much trouble understanding complicated words like Yes from no, numbers, words etc-if you need help-as soon as phone is picked up either hit 0 or keep yelling agent till you get one-they are very pleasant and helpful-Juli is a lost cause. Senior citizens get a 15% discount too and current military gets 10%. The chicken meal is the best but the price keeps going up-not too badly but 17.95 is high for me on soc sec. Love NY-that is home no matter where I an-BROOKLYN RULES!!!
@LoudintheHouse I just went from Providence, RI to Kissimmee, Fl for about $268.00 in October. It must be because of Thanksgiving.
@LoudintheHouseHow much is an Amtrak ticket with advanced purchase? Amtrak sells out on peak dates, around holidays, spring break, sometimes Friday or Sunday evening.
You are right to see that Amtrak doesn't have enuff equipment to run enuff trains to meet peak demand. So pricing becomes 'what the traffic will bear'. As it should, so Amtrak can make hay while the sun is shining to offset its loses other times and places.
Amtrak has been talking about ordering new Acelas, to allow two trips per hour D.C.-NYC and double capacity.
It's also talking about running two Regional trains per hour. But until it can spend billions for new equipment, it can't add much capacity anywhere.
And upgrades to the route are needed: new tunnels, new bridges, new overhead catenary, etc. Amtrak needs billions to do it.
So tell your Congresscritter to invest in a better Northeast Corridor, and to support Amtrak with an order for new traincars by appropriate a few billions or more to get that job done.
No, and no new lounge cars either. At least not yet for either one althoughthere has been onestory of Amtrak taking one of the prototype sleepers and making a protoype coach out of it.
@wilton_woods @MaryStephens 1 Speaking of the Cardinal, it needs to be daily, but run from St. Louis. The Chicago to Indianapolis line needs to be improved to allow for normal speeds, preferable 110 mph, but I'm not going to be greedy. Car equivalent times between Indy and Chicago with at least twice daily service, one of which connected to the Cardinal would increase ridership exponentially. I don't understand why Amtrak can't see that the market from St. Louis east through Indy and Cincinnati would open up a tremendous number of new options including connections at Effingham south. The track is good enough to host Amtrak right now. This is a no brainer, easy win that improves service and increases ridership.
Except that the State of Virginia didn't end up subsidizing that service. Yes, they contracted with Amtrak to provide that service and set aside enough funding to subsidize a 3 year test. However, the service was so successful that Virginia ended up making a profit off of the train.
Virginia estimated a first year ridership of just under 60K. By the end of the first 6 months of service, they had already bested that. They ended the first year with more than 126,000 rides taken and the train turned a $2.1 Million operating profit. VA used its portion of the profit to help pay the bill owed for some of the other Amtrak services in the state. And the train continues to do well since that first year with both ridership and the operating profits increasing.
By the way, both flying & driving are subsidized too. In fact, it was Governments decision to intefere in the Free Market by subsidizing flying & driving that led to the freight RR's wanting out of the passenger business and Amtrak's creation.
@Traingirl@LoudintheHouse consider the price and the aggravation of the airlines and its' restriction on you during flight and even before. Do you know that once you are finally done being searched and your liquids taken away from you-if you bring an empty container and refill It with their water-you can have it taken away and searched again and you just paid over 2.00 for it? On the flight you are mainly not free to walk and there is only 1-2 toilets with a long line. If you are paralyzed or wheelchair bound you cannot get into the bathrooms. You need to get your own food, no cellphones, pay for their crappy movies, absolutely obnoxious seat partners you cannot escape, no room to do much but read or sleep. On Amtrak if you have your own wifi-or even not-you can use your computer, cell phone (but you also have to hear more ignorant rude passengers on Amtrak who like to yell their messages into it for long periods of time despite quiet hour and dirty looks,. You can walk the length of the train, go to the snackbar, or the diner with good food, play cards in the view cars, plenty of room to just chat in the view cards, there are at least 5 bathrooms along with the disabled restroom-, you can buy souvenires and if disabled, they can bring your meals to you. The are rooms you can rent and sleep, dine, read the paper, and they are various sites-they are expensive but you have privacy. I use VeteransAdvantage.com and get a 15% discount which saves me about 50.00 round trip. I could use my senior discount of the same amount and there are several other discounts-did not even mention the having to deal with TSA so no matter what Traingirl-you are ahead of the game using Amtrak over the airlines-over 3 million people jumped ship from the airlines this year alone. Amtrak has its problems but better than flying.
@wilton_woods@LoudintheHouse try to make your reservation months in advance if you can-you can do a year in advance. Try different dates and depart and arrive stations. I use TX Eagle from Los Angeles to Mineola, TX round trip and pay about 247.00. When it seemed I would have to go back early I saw changes of up to 400 for 1 way. Sometimes the nice folks that man the phones will find a way to just change the date or train and keep your fare the same or just pay a slight difference esp if an emergency. I use senior or my veteran deduction -both are 15% and they always accept it. Amtrak is especially bad at holidays or so called events and they always overbook-you pay enough that you should be able to be comfortable but they keep pushing other people all around you and luggage and at Christmas it was particularly disgusting-way too many people and way too few seats-esp disabled-they have wheelchairs, crutches, oxyen equipment and CPAPS along with canes and other medical supplies-they need either an entire car or a 2nd car should be added to each train because disabled people sometimes need a caretaker or they are bringing kids with them who are minors so they have to keep them nearby-that reduces seating for other disabled. 14-16 seats are not enough and many are post surgical and like my leg surgery before the trip-I was supposed to keep the leg elevated to avoid DVTs. When then stick another passenger there-it causes considerable pain and if I try to sleep -it is very difficult to keep the leg from being hit or moved by fellow passenger. If I buy 2 tickets to ensure room on my trip-if as usual, Amtrak over books-can they force me to give up one seat-it seem selfish but necessary since overbooking is Amtrak's fault not mine. Most passengers do not know to tell Amtrak they are disabled till on train and everyone is unnecessarily esp on holidays crowded. We are the largest generation and there are milions of us-and that includes our disabled vets-Amtrak needs to look into that and have more seats for all disabled.
I can confirm that as of a year ago the original proto-type sleeper was sitting in the Wilmington Shops being used as a mock-up to look at a coach version of the Viewliner car.
Interesting . . . If this happens, Amtrak, please pay attention to placement of the seats so that none are placed without windows as in some Amfleet cars.
Also make the luggage racks see-through "glass" like on the new Talgos to take full advantage of those great upper windows.
And lastly, but above all, please avoid the trend to make half the car seats face backwards. Oh do I hate that!
It's not the cars, but rather the tracks. Yes, the new cars might ride a tiny bit better than the older ones, but it won't be a big difference. And one shouldn't worry about the cars tipping over. While the ride may feel a bit rough to you, the simple reality is that the tracks would be downgraded in terms of maximum speed long before things got bad enough to cause problems.
What feels rough to those of us on the train is still well within safety limits.
You only see half & half arrangements in cars that run on routes where the train isn't turned around. For example, the Keystones. They have an engine on one end and a cab car on the other end.
So when the train arrives in Harrisburg, it's not turned around, they just change ends and go the other way. There is no time to turn all the seats manually, so they just leave the car in half & half mode as it were.
But on Regionals, because the entire train is turned around at the end of the run, all seats face forward except the end row.