Amtrak Viewliner II article

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Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby GP30M4216 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:26 pm

http://www.stargazette.com/article/20120128/NEWS01/201280361/Made-in-the-Twin-Tiers-Wheels-rolling-at-CAF-USA?odyssey=tab%7Cmostpopular%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

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This rail car being manufactured at the CAF USA production plant in Elmira Heights is almost ready to have the roof assembly added to its shell. / JEFF RICHARDS / STAFF PHOTO

Made in the Twin Tiers: Wheels rolling at CAF USA
Work force could exceed 300 at Elmira Heights facility


ELMIRA HEIGHTS

Sometime during the first quarter of 2013, Amtrak — the interstate passenger train service company based in Washington, D.C. — expects to receive its first allotment of new stainless steel rail cars from CAF USA's sprawling manufacturing facility in Elmira Heights.

And when the new train cars are put into service, they will represent one more product that's made in Chemung County, but seen and used by people traveling by rail up and down the East Coast.

Over the next several years, CAF USA's welders, electricians and assemblers will crank out about seven rail cars for Amtrak each month, as the company works to complete a five-year $298 million contact signed in June 2011. The deal calls for CAF USA to provide Amtrak with 130 train cars — 25 sleepers, 25 diners, 55 baggage cars and 25 baggage/dormitory cars.

The contract breaks new ground for the Elmira Heights manufacturer because it requires the new cars to be built from scratch. In previous contracts, CAF USA's workers refurbished older subway cars for its customers, which over the past decade have included transit companies in Washington D.C., Pittsburgh and Sacramento.

"The early cars will go to Philadelphia, where they'll be checked and inspected by Amtrak to prove they will perform at the designated speeds," said Mark Smith, CAF USA's operations vice president. "The remainder will go to Hialeah, Fla., for commissioning."

At the same time the Amtrak contract work is taking place, CAF USA's employees will also be working on a $153 million contract for 39 light rail vehicles for Houston METRO. Unlike the Amtrak contract, the car shells for the Houston contract are being made by an outside company and will be shipped to Elmira Heights for final assembly, which includes installing propulsion systems, wheels flooring, door and all of the auxiliary equipment. The vehicles are part of a new fleet that will service the new light rail lines Houston METRO plans to build. The completed vehicles will be delivered by special truck carriers to Texas.

"The Houston contract is smaller and will be done before the Amtrak contract," said LeRoy Paige, CAF USA's operations manager. "The Houston work should be done by 2015 and the first car shell is due here in November."

With the heavy overhead cranes left over from its days as a steel fabricator and its large buildings with ample floor space, the former American Bridge plant on East 18th Street in Elmira Heights was transformed to its current use in 1986.

Over the past 26 years, the end product coming out of the 400,000- square-foot facility has remained constant, even if the companies that have operated the facility have not.CAF USA, the American affiliate of Spain's Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles SA, isn't the first company to make rail cars there. In July of 1986, Sumirail, a subsidiary of Japan's Sumitomo, leased space at the facility to handle a $150 million subway car refurbishing contract for New York City's Transit Authority. The company worked on the transit cars for three years but closed in September of 1989 when it failed to win any new contracts. Some 500 workers were idled.

The following month, Sumirail and ABB Traction Inc. of Lawrenceville, N.J., created a joint venture to satisfy contracts with public transit companies in New Jersey and Baltimore. Production, which later included work for Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, resumed at the Elmira Heights location. Employment peaked at about 630 workers until 1994, when work at the facility slowed and layoffs were again implemented.

Sumirail, a junior partner in the joint venture, dropped out of the partnership, and in 1995, ABB Traction merged with Diamler-Benz to form ABB Diamler-Benz. The new company, which changed its name to Adtranz, then went to work on a $328 million contract to build 220 subway cars for Philadelphia's transit system.

Adtranz hit a peak of about 700 workers in 1998 before layoffs hit as the company neared completion of the Philadelphia contract. With no new work on the horizon, the company in September of 1999 announced it was closing the facility and putting it up for sale.

CAF USA purchased the property in December 2000. Its work for Washington, Pittsburgh and Sacramento, with subcontracting job with Siemens for Boston, lasted through 2009.

"Between 2009 and 2010, things here were very quiet," said Smith. "Our work force dropped down to about 10, just a core group to keep the facility open. Then in August 2010, we were awarded the Amtrak contract, and it should take us to 2018."

A shiny future
In order to make the Amtrak cars, particularly the stainless steel shells, CAF USA has installed additional overhead cranes, CNC metal cutting and robotic welding equipment — one reason for the time lag between the company getting the contract and the actual start of the production work. About 100 employees, welders, quality assurance and purchasing staffers, have also been hired.

By the end of the year, said Smith, that number is expected to reach between 250 and 300, with the peak number for the project expected to be about 350 employees.

The sides of the Amtrak cars, the shiny exteriors the public will see as the cars travel on the train tracks, are being made in-house and welded to the interior frames and floor rails of the cars. The end caps and the stainless steel roofs, also made at the Elmira Heights facility, are then attached. After spray foam insulation and sound dampening materials are applied, the completed shells are then tested in a high-power water spray booth to ensure they won't leak.

Currently, Smith said, a team from CAF's headquarters is teaching their American counterparts how to put the car shells together. But as time progresses, the Spanish trainers will return home and their trainees will be responsible for instructing the new workers the company will hire.

The completed shells will then be moved to another building at the factory, large enough to hold 14 car shells — be they Amtrak or Houston cars — on stands. In addition to this final assembly building, CAF USA is also installing an electrical shop where wiring harnesses, consoles and module equipment will be put together.

The final assembly building is where workers will install the electrical wiring, upholstered seating, beds, and cooking and dining facilities. The completed cars will then be attached to the wheel assemblies, which are provided by an outside vendor.

The final step involves a static testing of all the systems — air conditioning, electrical, lighting and communications.

In order to get the finished cars to Amtrak, CAF USA and Norfolk Southern are working on a deal to transfer about a mile of unused rail spur to get them to the Norfolk Southern rail yard off Woodlawn Avenue in Elmira.

"We'll use our own equipment to push the cars to the yard," said Smith. "They'll be completed cars and will be running on their own wheels."

----------------

I'm glad to see Amtrak is continuing the use of corrugated stainless on the exterior of their new fleet of cars. It's a much classier look than the smooth-side Horizon coach look. I can't wait for this new equipment to go into service!
Last edited by GP30M4216 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby YpsiAmtrakBoy » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:22 pm

they look good, was that a viewliner diner?
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby PerRock » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:26 pm

That's taken to be a Sleeper, due to the upper row of windows just left of the plug.

This one is believed to the Diner:
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby YpsiAmtrakBoy » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:41 pm

PerRock wrote:That's taken to be a Sleeper, due to the upper row of windows just left of the plug.

This one is believed to the Diner:
Image

peter


Looks like the opposite side of the first pic... It has widows to the right of the door
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby PerRock » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:55 am

YpsiAmtrakBoy wrote:
PerRock wrote:That's taken to be a Sleeper, due to the upper row of windows just left of the plug.

This one is believed to the Diner:

peter


Looks like the opposite side of the first pic... It has widows to the right of the door


All viewliners have them, and they aren't windows; they're holes for HVAC vents.

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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby YpsiAmtrakBoy » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:13 pm

[/quote]

All viewliners have them, and they aren't windows; they're holes for HVAC vents.

peter[/quote]
so it's not a door to put supplies in the kitchen of a viewliner diner?
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby PerRock » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:22 pm

YpsiAmtrakBoy wrote:
PerRock wrote:
All viewliners have them, and they aren't windows; they're holes for HVAC vents.

peter

so it's not a door to put supplies in the kitchen of a viewliner diner?


Image

A little more on the plug. The Viewliner is built in modulus. There is the frame & then a bunch of inserts, like Bedrooms & roomettes, or Table sets, etc. The Plug is the large hole in the side that is normally sealed up but is there to allow the insertion & removal of the modulus. (so they could feasibly make an all bedroom Viewliner). Because the plug is it's own separate unit from the rest of the car it makes it easier to make bigger changes to it then the car side. So it gets a pedestrian door in it on the Diner, Windows on the Sleeper, a baggage door on the baggage car.

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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby YpsiAmtrakBoy » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:14 pm

ok, thanks for clairfiying peter! :)
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby GP30M4216 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:45 am

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From the Amtrak.com traveler's blog:
Coming Soon: New Long Distance Cars

October 24, 2013
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 2015.

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!

5. Speedier
With the new design features, the cars traveling on the Northeast Corridor will have the ability to increase their top speeds to 125 mph.

See more photos at the blog entry:
http://blog.amtrak.com/2013/10/coming-soon-new-long-distance-cars/

Wait, is Amtrak going back to Phase III?
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby YpsiAmtrakBoy » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:29 pm

Looks like a viewliner with now windows.. Funky and in phase 3 8)

Based on the shape looks like walthers will have to start using and modifying the viewliner mold again :lol: all modeling and complements aside

Looks very interesting, I wonder if the base top speed for all cars is 110mph? Article mentions being able to upgrade for 125mph service, but did not say that was the "standard". Would allow for a baggage car to be added to a wolverine set if Amtrak wanted to deal with checked baggage again (maybe 352/351 set could get a baggage, but still is a pretty big hassle for short distance trains). And it would be I treating to see if Amtrak goes to a "retro paint" for phase V (this would be phase 5 for coaches, engines are on Vb right now) for the new cars, and the next order of engines (if the ACS-66 is an indication engines should remain in a phase 5/ acela paint, but what a better time to do a system makeover then when you're getting new trains). My main thought on the phase III paint is the first set to be out into in public might be "retro" and then the rest in phase IVb.

Will be interesting to see what te rest of the cars look like, that baggage car defiantly resembles a viewliner, might be in a position to have 5-6 cars in a row in that shape then Tubeliners. Looking good so far Amtrak :)
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby MagnumForce » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:01 am

It is a viewliner, of course it resembles one. The 125 mph too speed is so the long distance trains that operate on the corridor will be able to move at track speed so it will be standard.
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby GP30M4216 » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:34 pm

Nice post on the Amtrak History blog about the new Viewliner II order in production and the history of Viewliner development in the 80's and 90's:

Image

Welcoming the Next Generation: Viewliner II and the history of the Viewliners
http://history.amtrak.com/blogs/blog/welcoming-the-next-generation-viewliner-II
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby dmitzel » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:27 am

Wait, is Amtrak going back to Phase III?
Image


Awesome!!! (the phase III paint, that is) 8)

Personally I've always favored the phase III stripes, and IMO "America's Railroad" shouldn't be afraid to fly the national colors on its equipment. I - for one - hope Amtrak returns to the phase III (and then my HO Kato P-S Superliner I set will no longer be "retro") :wink:
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby GP30M4216 » Fri May 23, 2014 10:53 pm

I found this recently posted on RailPictures:
Image

The first Viewliner II released from CAF USA in Elmira, NY rolls into Rensselaer, NY after an all day trip from Elmira. The Special Amtrak train consisting of AMTK 203, an Amfleet Café, the new baggage car and AMTK 520 was routed NS-CP-Amtrak via Binghamton and Schenectady.
FULL versionhttp://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=481743
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Re: Amtrak Viewliner II article

Unread postby dmitzel » Sat May 24, 2014 10:52 am

Cool - thanks for posting the in-service photo.

It will be interesting to see if this marks a return to the Phase III paint and headless arrow logo at Amtrak.
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