A couple of questions

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junebug

Lead Service Attendant
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Jun 14, 2011
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Hi everyone!

Long time, no post! Usually I take the train alone. I usually sleep in the observation car. This time I am taking my sister along. She can't sleep on the floor or a bench. I want to find a way she will be comfortable sleeping in her seat. I remember hearing about something you can put on the leg rest so you are able to lay flat. But I forget what that was. Any ideas?

My sister and I are taking the Southwest Chief to San Jose. Then on the way back we will take the California Zephyr from Emeryville to Chicago. We will have a roomette on the Zephyr, but not on the Southwest Chief to San Jose.

Do you have any ideas for me to make my sister's trip more comfy?

Is a roomette so tiny that I won't be able to put a bag in there? Should I just put the stuff I need for the night into a small bag and put the rest of my stuff in the luggage rack?

Any and all tips, greatly appreciated!

Junebug
 
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the_traveler

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For one thing, the Southwest Chief does not go to San Jose. And there has not been an observation car on any Amtrak train I think ever. The last regularly scheduled American train with an observation car was back 50 or more years. And if you slept in the seat you purchased, and not in the Sightseer Lounge Car (where you did not purchase a ticket), you could answer that question yourself.
 
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zephyr17

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The seats recline a quite a bit, much more than airline seats, but they do not go flat. Setting up the leg rest does not affect the maximum angle of recline available.

I, too, am curious on how you are getting to San Jose, since the closest the Southwest Chief gets to San Jose is about 400 miles away.
 
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junebug

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Taking the Southwest Chief to LA then the Coast Starlight to San Jose... sorry! And I call it the Observation Car. Not sure what is the proper name.
 
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MrFSS

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Taking the Southwest Chief to LA then the Coast Starlight to San Jose... sorry! And I call it the Observation Car. Not sure what is the proper name.
Sightseer Lounge Car (SSL) and also on teh CS a Pacific Parlour Car (PPC for sleeping car passengers only).
 

junebug

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The seats recline a quite a bit, much more than airline seats, but they do not go flat. Setting up the leg rest does not affect the maximum angle of recline available.
I, too, am curious on how you are getting to San Jose, since the closest the Southwest Chief gets to San Jose is about 400 miles away.
Sorry, Coast Starlight from L.A. I would have liked to have taken the Zephyr to Emeryville from Chicago, then the Coast Starlight to the Southwest Chief on the way back from Emeryville to Chicago, but I would have had to stay in L.A. for a day.

Someone somewhere said you can put something on the leg rest to bring it up a bit --- maybe a phone book, LOL
 

junebug

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I did get into the Pacific Parlour Car one time for a wine & cheese tasting. It was before they stopped letting the coach passengers in. Loved it!
 

zephyr17

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Sometimes the locking mechanism on the leg rest that keeps in place does not work, so you'd have to put something under it to prop it up in that case. Forcing it above its maximum elevation sounds like a bad idea (and perhaps the reason the locking mechanism breaks). In any event, it would not affect the angle of recline of the seat back, which is NOT flat.
 

Eris

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(Lots of people call the lounge cars the "observation car"- not Train People, but people on the train...)

I don't think that making the leg rest higher would help- when it's all the way up it's pretty much straight across even with the seat bottom. The things which make me the most comfortable on the seats are a nice big pillow against the window and a big enough blanket that I don't keep popping out of it. Since you're travelling together and you're willing to brave the overnight in the sightseer lounge, she should have two seats across with no risk that she will be asked to move- that adds a lot of space, especially with both leg rests all the way up- you can't stretch out flat and straight, but if you're a side sleeper and able to curl at all it's not too bad.
 

junebug

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(Lots of people call the lounge cars the "observation car"- not Train People, but people on the train...)
I don't think that making the leg rest higher would help- when it's all the way up it's pretty much straight across even with the seat bottom. The things which make me the most comfortable on the seats are a nice big pillow against the window and a big enough blanket that I don't keep popping out of it. Since you're travelling together and you're willing to brave the overnight in the sightseer lounge, she should have two seats across with no risk that she will be asked to move- that adds a lot of space, especially with both leg rests all the way up- you can't stretch out flat and straight, but if you're a side sleeper and able to curl at all it's not too bad.
Thanks, Eris.

Good idea about a large blanket. My sister is "big"... a nice way to put it. I hope that the two seats will work for her. I'm bringing a sleeping bag for myself. Sometimes I sleep in the lounge car (the one downstairs, is that the correct name?) I'm just glad my son paid for a sleeper car on the way back!

It will be my first time in a sleeper car. What is a roomette like?
 
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junebug

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I've stuffed something behind my back when I do sleep on the seat -- it helps a bit. Maybe I will tell her to bring two pillows. I just saw that they stopped giving out those little pillows to people in coach.
 

George Harris

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Since the observation car or whatever else you want to call it is not your seat, don't count on being able to occupy it for the night. The couple of pillows each and a blanket sound like a good idea. Might want to think about blow up air pillows to reduce the volume you have to lug on and off.
 

junebug

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Since the observation car or whatever else you want to call it is not your seat, don't count on being able to occupy it for the night. The couple of pillows each and a blanket sound like a good idea. Might want to think about blow up air pillows to reduce the volume you have to lug on and off.
Air pillows are a fantastic idea! Thanks. I've not had problems with it before. I sleep on the 3 connected seats usually. The only time I had a problem was once at 6 a.m. I got asked to leave.
 
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junebug

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For one thing, the Southwest Chief does not go to San Jose. And there has not been an observation car on any Amtrak train I think ever. The last regularly scheduled American train with an observation car was back 50 or more years. And if you slept in the seat you purchased, and not in the Sightseer Lounge Car (where you did not purchase a ticket), you could answer that question yourself.
Just one comment. I am mod on a few different forums and Facebook groups. I try to be patient, and not critical with people.
 

gswager

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In roommette, there is room for two small travel bags under each seat. Anything larger can put on luggage track on lower level. There is a page on Amtrak website that shows the size of sleeper rooms. Make a measurement on your floor to give you an idea. Hardest part is getting up on upper bunk! There is safety belts to prevent you rolling off the bed.
 

junebug

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In roommette, there is room for two small travel bags under each seat. Anything larger can put on luggage track on lower level. There is a page on Amtrak website that shows the size of sleeper rooms. Make a measurement on your floor to give you an idea. Hardest part is getting up on upper bunk! There is safety belts to prevent you rolling off the bed.
Thanks! I did look at the page that shows the size. I will measure, thanks. I need to measure from the floor to the seat. Guess who gets the upper bunk? ;) I hope I can climb up there with my 60 year old legs!!! My sister is 71, so that's not an option for her.
 

Eris

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If you can sleep on a train, you can sleep in the upper bunk. You'll be fine.

Have you looked at the roomette prices for your Westbound trip? Recall that the single price includes meals for both of you, and consider whether you might be able to afford it. Life's short, enjoy it!

I hope you have a great trip.
 

Eris

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(Also, in coach, I use a Pillow Pet- they're a remarkably good size, are kind of stupid-adorable, and they smush down pretty well in my suitcase)
 

junebug

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HAHAHAHA, Pillow Pets!!! What a great idea ;)

:lol:And I was going to put my daughters 1980's Turtle Tots on eBay



 

the_traveler

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For one thing, the Southwest Chief does not go to San Jose. And there has not been an observation car on any Amtrak train I think ever. The last regularly scheduled American train with an observation car was back 50 or more years. And if you slept in the seat you purchased, and not in the Sightseer Lounge Car (where you did not purchase a ticket), you could answer that question yourself.
Just one comment. I am mod on a few different forums and Facebook groups. I try to be patient, and not critical with people.
I did not make that comment as a moderator, but as an AU member. I promise not to be critical, if you can show me where you can buy a seat in the Sightseer Lounge Car for sleeping. The only choices I've seen on the website are "Reserved Seat", ”Lower Level (Coach) Seat" or "Chose a Room". Those choices are also where you sleep at night. Until I see an option to buy a ticket in the Sightseer Lounge Car, I will continue to say it's not meant for sleeping at night!
 

chakk

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n the superliner coaches, the leg rest can certainly be folded up beyond the horizontal position. The coach attendant at times will pull the leg rests up so high as to fold them over the seat cushion, as a means to "reserve" that seat for a particular party (or pair of people) boarding farther down the line. If the detent that holds the leg rest horizontal is broken, then putting a suitcase edge-wise under the leg rest sometimes helps.

Bring a couple of pillows and a blanket for sleeping in coach, as it can get quite cold at night. Also, a sleep mask for the eyes and some foam earplugs can help.

A roomette is better for sleep comfort, however.
 

junebug

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A couple of days ago I looked at a sleeping car option. Sadly, a roomette is almost $600, a little out of our budget :(

Thanks for the suggestions Chakk! I don't think I've encountered a broken footrest yet, thank goodness.
 
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Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
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I agree with checking on a Roomette for at least One Night on the SWC (I suggest from Albuqurque-LAX) if you can snag a Good Price! Remember your Rail Fare is Paid so One Price will cover Both of you in a Roomette which will get you Meals in the Diner and all the associated Sleeper Perks! (ie Water, Juice, Coffee, Shower etc.) One of our Members , Paul M., developed amsnag.net, it's really a cool tool for finding fares and Sleeper Prices for up to 30 Days @ a Time and up to 11 months in Advance! Check it out! ;)
 
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