WASHINGTON – As the last two of the 25 Viewliner II sleeping cars left automaker CAF USA’s Elmira Heights, NY plant this week, an Amtrak official confirmed that some of the new cars will replace the Viewliners at originated on the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited after labor day.
“I’m happy to share that the Viewliner II deliveries made earlier this year allowed us to take a new route and bring this new car to our Chicago hub,” said Larry Chestler, vice president of Amtrak’s long-distance service line.
The new sleepers, n ° 62523, Wabash River, and n ° 62524, Westfield River, arrived at the company’s maintenance facility in Hialeah on Thursday, behind the Silver meteor. Chestler tells The trains News Wire, “This concludes the delivery of the berth set as well as the larger CAF order for a new long distance fleet. As the next step in the process, our maintenance team in Miami will spend time preparing the V-IIs for commercial service, just like we did for the previous 23 cars.
He adds, “Since their debut last year, Viewliner II sleeping cars have been an exclusive part of our Silver service, with at least one car on each Silver Meteor and Silver Star departure. In the case of Meteor, there are currently two Viewliner IIs (out of three in total) as part of the roster. The Silver Star is normally assigned to two sleeping cars.
Amtrak placed an order for 130 cars for baggage vans, baggage dormitories, dining cars and Viewliner II sleeping cars in 2010. In 2013, the Passenger Railroad said it expected that the full order be completed by 2015, but due to CAF production issues the first dining car was not delivered until the end of 2016 [see “First Viewliner II diner on the move,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 23, 2016], and the first sleeper arrived in February 2019.
“Overall,” says Chestler, “we are delighted that the new additions to our fleet are nearing completion. And although constraints on our equipment remain due to strategic decisions “- to reduce equipment and personnel costs -” taken during the pandemic, we are very confident that this step, as well as the upcoming refresh of the Superliner cars and Viewliner I, will enable us to deliver a much more modern experience to our long distance customers in the years to come.
Differences between types
The original Viewliners were built by Morrison Knudsen and his successor Amerail in the same workshop in Hornell, NY, a former Erie Railroad locomotive workshop – the locomotive workshop where Alstom currently assembles Acela II trainsets. They and the Viewliner II both have two bedrooms and one accessible bedroom. Standard rooms have a separate annex for a toilet and a private shower. Each version also has a shower at the end of the car for the use of alcove passengers, although the Viewliner II shower room is more spacious.
But there are 12 Viewliner I alcoves, and all have an in-room toilet on a seat under a drop-down sink, while the Viewliner IIs have 11 chargeable alcoves and two communal-use toilets replacing one alcove. This means that when a Viewliner II is assigned, the available inventory is slightly reduced.
the Lake Shore Limited carries three sleeping cars: two on the New York section and one on the Boston section, which combine in Albany-Renselaer, NY The Boston section will continue to be equipped with Viewliner I equipment. These cars will also operate on the Boston-New York overnight sleeper service introduced earlier this year.
The trains News Wire asked if the completion of the Viewliner II order meant additional car lines would add capacity to existing trains, but no plans to do so were revealed.
Chicago-Washington-New York Cardinal continues to operate with a Viewliner I sleeper that runs out on most trips, although a second car was added regularly before 2019 in the spring, summer and fall. New Orleans-New York Crescent was also reduced to a sleeping car; both trains have a sleeping baggage car for on-board service.