It is currently Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:26 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 33 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1119
Location: Back in NE Ohio
The discussion of preserving a rare, pre-WWII Diesel switcher in NY state, and the stated policy of the Adirondack Scenic that they are not a preservation operation got me to thinking (I know, a dangerous thing, ha ha). I realize that FRA crash-worthiness rules prohibit the unmodified use of most foreign passenger rail equipment on the U. S. network. However, if a scenic tourist railroad is not connected to the national network, other than for the movement of equipment in or out, could modern, attractive, foreign power or rolling stock be used for live revenue operation? A number of folks here have complained that significant historic cars have been, or are being consumed in use on these operations, to later be scrapped after their useful lives are done.

It would seem to me that since we have determined that the vast majority of customers of these operations really don't seem to care about the heritage or age of the equipment they are riding in, but about where or what the train takes them through or to, perhaps modern glass-topped, reliably air-conditioned and heated cars, that are well-lit, very comfortable, and family-friendly might be a better choice for rolling stock and power. I saw some very, very nice equipment like this in Europe 10 years ago, especially the meter-gauge Glacier Express equipment (didn't ride, but passed it).

Now, I realize money is a big issue, really the major issue, but the CVSR just committed to spending over $1 million for four 70 year-old Budd stainless cars from the CZ. They had to finance that purchase against future income and donations, so it is possible to secure funding for many of these organizations. I realize that new equipment costs more than that, but calculated against the ongoing maintenance, refurbishment, and making replacement parts that can't be bought anymore costs, I have to believe that a strong case could be made, especially for a new(er) operation, to pursue acquiring new(er) equipment from Europe or other region that would be somewhat compatible with U. S. operations. I know that the acquisition of Swedish steam equipment a couple of decades ago for North America didn't work out very well, but I'm talking about modern equipment that I think most non-fans would find very attractive for a day out "taking a train ride". Acquiring new equipment probably buys an operation at least 20 years of fairly low-maintenance cost operation. This idea would be only for operations that do not consider themselves to be a primarily historic attraction. I think this discussion belongs in the Interchange section since it deals with preserving historic equipment by not using it up in daily tourist service.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5550
Location: southeastern USA
Is there a sustainable flow of resources to actually preserve those historic (or are they just old?) cars used on tourist and scenic lines? My immediate thought after reading your posting was that there's not enough to go around to preserve those cars - even though they are being used - than as revenue generators. Some scenic lines can make use of modern style equipment since the product is what's outside the windows - others sell the entire contextual experience including the style of the cars and their interiors.

_________________
Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1119
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Dave wrote:
Is there a sustainable flow of resources to actually preserve those historic (or are they just old?) cars used on tourist and scenic lines? My immediate thought after reading your posting was that there's not enough to go around to preserve those cars - even though they are being used - than as revenue generators. Some scenic lines can make use of modern style equipment since the product is what's outside the windows - others sell the entire contextual experience including the style of the cars and their interiors.


I said that as a given in my post. This is not an idea for probably most tourist operations. Certainly not Strasburg, or the Durango & Silverton, or Cass. But I could foresee a day when, say the UP declares the Moffat Tunnel route excess and it would then only be used by Amtrak once each-way-a-day. A modern tourist operation to Winter Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Grand Junction could be viable with modern equipment, and a waiver to have Amtrak share limited usage with the modern European equipment, especially if it could connect to Denver International Airport by either direct service, bus or light rail, and have multiple trips per day. There are some very nice and expensive ski chalets and condos in Winter Park that patrons could use that kind of service to get to and from.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:28 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 658
I think the FRA waives the crashworthyness rules if the trains aren't interacting with full-sized railroad equipment, so they might require a tourist operation to stop using all the heritage equipment. Imagine if one of those lightweight trains like TGV were to run into a steam engine pulling heavyweight cars, there wouldn't be much left afterwards. An option for building new equipment might be US Railcar, successor to Colorado Railcar nee Rader Railcar, which made the DMU cars that run about a mile from where I live on the Portland Tri-Met Beaverton-Tigard route, and built a bunch of dome cars for Alaska. US Railcar has never restarted production as far as I know but they have the rights to all of Colorado Railcar's designs.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 668
This brings about a question...how difficult would it be to fabricate "new" heavyweight or conventional equipment? I'm sure there are plans around for either. Why go to Europe when you already have the means right here?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8952
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
The completely legitimate issue arises: Who's going to build them?

Right now, the number of qualified steam repair shops in North America is probably on par with the number of car builders/assemblers extant--which has been a serious problem for Amtrak, VIA, and every transit agency in North America. And a lot of what is being "built" is being assembled from kits produced overseas in Japan, Korea, etc.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1119
Location: Back in NE Ohio
I don't think any of those projects to build "new" bi-level luxury cars are building from scratch. I think they are heavily modifying existing equipment. Like I originally said, this idea is not about any operation that relies on a historic framework for it's existence, but on the conceit of simply a scenic ride, or transportation to a popular tourist destination. I'm also not talking about an operation that already runs with older, U. S. built equipment, or maybe if they are looking to totally replace their aging and worn-out heritage equipment. And I suggested that motive power be included because Europe does nice things with DMU equipment. As for U. S. Railcar, have they actually built any new equipment in the last 7 or so years? They had moved to the Columbus, Ohio area several years ago, but I haven't heard of them building anything, even demonstrator equipment, since. I had hopes for them, especially for intrastate Ohio service, but of course nothing has come of it.

The stuff from Europe and Asia is proven and off-the-shelf, so it is more economical and has a ready parts supply. I think it would have a great deal of appeal to the average American traveler or tourist. Of course, like many Americans traveling in Europe for the first time, I was just blown away at how drastically better their passenger railroading is than ours, period. Even if it does look "funny". I was working for Amtrak in '92 and '93 when the Swedish and German high-speed equipment came over for the demonstration operations, and were generally very well received by the Amtrak passengers who rode on them. The Swedish X2000 was a little small for American tastes (and girth), but in terms of ride quality and features did quite well. I know that for Amtrak's purposes, the articulated consists and lighter construction wouldn't work, but for a stand-alone isolated tourist operation, would do just fine. Not the ICE stuff, but the conventional service stuff. I'll tell you, the Swiss stuff is just World-Class great. I mean, yeah it's Swiss scenery and all, but as railroad equipment, it's just superb. If you've been there, you know what I mean. I keep thinking if the rail-passenger advocate people could get enough money to take a bunch of the most influential politicians in this country over there for a week of riding, touring facilities and talking with their railroad officials, it might make a huge difference for the future of our service.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 215
If you wanted new equipment, why not get some from Bombardier? Would save on shipping and it meets FRA standards.

Even the railroads that do exactly what you are suggesting (Rocky Mountaineer, Alaska Railroad) still run heritage cars with a mix of newly built (by Colorado Railcar) first class bi-levels.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:07 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 491
In the late 70s/early 80s I believe Hawker built some 3rd class coaches for NdeM.

Very basic cars, they had electric lights and that was about it.

At the time I thought they would make great tourist railway cars.

(sorry for the crappy picture)

-Hudson


Attachments:
NdeM 3rd Coach.jpg
NdeM 3rd Coach.jpg [ 44.61 KiB | Viewed 1431 times ]
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 668
Who currently holds the patterns and prints for Pullman? For Budd? Bombardier might have the patterns for one of them. I kinda like the idea of new built heavyweights...


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1119
Location: Back in NE Ohio
I think my biggest issue with what I've seen of the available Bombardier equipment is that it is pretty much commuter equipment, with small windows not really geared to sightseeing. The one basic car pictured above looks like it could be either a rail version of a school bus or prisoner transport car. The European equipment I've seen has really large picture windows that open from the top, so you can't get caught in them like on heavyweight U. S. equipment when the catches fail, and they have some with dome car-like wrap-over windows to the roof. The floors are lower to the rails and don't require a lot of steps or really high platforms, and the ones in ski areas have places near the doors to store skis or baggage other than in overhead racks. In Switzerland quite a few stations are literally right at the slope, and one can ski or sled right off the station platform. There are also resorts and villages that can only be reached by rail, which just blows the minds of auto-dependent Americans like me.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:31 am
Posts: 112
Location: Northern Illinois
Txhighballer wrote:
Who currently holds the patterns and prints for Pullman? For Budd? Bombardier might have the patterns for one of them. I kinda like the idea of new built heavyweights...


Most of the Pullman and Budd manufacturing drawings are in the collection of the Pullman Library at the Illinois Railway Museum. However, under no circumstances may they be used to construct new equipment, per the "Bombardier Licensing Agreement" you must sign before getting copies of any drawings.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 668
Peter Nicholson wrote:
Txhighballer wrote:
Who currently holds the patterns and prints for Pullman? For Budd? Bombardier might have the patterns for one of them. I kinda like the idea of new built heavyweights...


Most of the Pullman and Budd manufacturing drawings are in the collection of the Pullman Library at the Illinois Railway Museum. However, under no circumstances may they be used to construct new equipment, per the "Bombardier Licensing Agreement" you must sign before getting copies of any drawings.


That does answer that question. However, they might be interested in perhaps assisting with assisting the excursion railroad industry with building some replica heavyweights? I would think that they would be inclined to assist since there would be no competitive harm in doing so. It's a limited market, but it's worth looking into.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 658
I think the point of the original question was: the people that ride tourist trains, by and large, couldn't care less about the equipment that they are riding on, and yet these trains are shortening the lives of the historic equipment they are currently using. Why not buy some cheap throw away (my words) equipment from Europe that looks like a Disney ride? I can definitely see that, and the rides could potentially support the maintenance of actual museum equipment if the organization has any. And we would all laugh at them. New build replicas is really a different issue.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Modern Equipment for "Scenic" Train Rides
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:12 pm
Posts: 104
I have ridden on the CZ cars many times, and know the owners. They have upgraded the cars and they are really nice.
i was going to take a short ride on their last run from Union Station in LA up to Ventura County. as a farewell.
Unfortunately, there was a fire in Oregon, and the Coast Starlight stopped short of the fire. They ended up having to hook the cars to the Southwest Chief to get to Chicago. I have no idea what the impact was for passengers who expected to go to Seattle..


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 33 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Exabot [Bot], Google [Bot], LeoA and 78 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: