Am I the only person who likes to travel long distances in coach?

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Amtrak Apple

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I did the $299 Rail Pass this summer and will be doing the Rail Pass again next summer (I'm going to make the time off work one way or another; I wasn't working this summer). I stayed with some friends along the route and hostels the rest of the time, but sleeping on the train wasn't too bad and since I'd researched and planned so much, I really wasn't lacking in anything. I got food a couple of times from the café car, but brought snacks and Pepsi otherwise. I dressed in layers, and showered right before I got on for a leg, plus I had deodorant, dry shampoo, and extra undergarments if I started feeling funky, but I never did. It didn't seem to me to be any different that if you'd go camping in the woods for a couple of weeks (and at least there are toilets on the train!) so I guess I'm not sure why it seems to be panned. I've ridden in a roommette once, and it didn't seem like I slept any better or worse than in my coach seat. Perhaps it's because I'm still relatively young, though I am in my 40s, so not quite as young as I used to be.

Anyone else?
 

yyy

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Sep 4, 2021
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Ann Arbor
Before the pandemic, I am totally cool with the long-distance coaches. But I hate wearing a mask for such a long time so I would not bother any long-distance coach...
 

Sidney

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Before the pandemic, I am totally cool with the long-distance coaches. But I hate wearing a mask for such a long time so I would not bother any long-distance coach...
If I can be assured I can have both seats overnight,Coach would be palatable. On my recent railpass I only had a seatmate one night out of seven. Thankfully,one night my seatmate slept in the sightseer car. Years ago I could handle Coach overnight. These days it 's very hard to get a decent sleep and the next day I'm not quite up to snuff. Too bad roomettes,even for eight hours overnight are so pricey.
 

NW cannonball

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I've done the Empire Builder to Seattle from MSP and back in coach a few times. Mostly OK. Done the same in roomette with and without roommate. Also mostly OK.
This all only applies to the Western Long-Distance Superliner trains.
And the Coast Starlight once LAX-SEA.
On the trip LAX to SEA my assigned coach seatmate was annoyingly piggish about taking both electrical outlets.
So I learned that on long-distance Superliner double-decker trains there's sometimes a coach car that's called a coach-baggage car.
And that the "coach-bag" is often little-used for baggage.
So at bedtime, I didn't want to sleep near my offensive seatmate, so I went downstairs and slept in the lay-flat bed = the carpeted floor of of the baggage space. There was nobody down there then.
When I woke up , there was five of us sleeping down there. Free upgrade. At least five feet apart. Better than airline "BIZ class"
But don't tell anybody. :)
 

Triley

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Somewhere between VAC and EUG
I've done the Empire Builder to Seattle from MSP and back in coach a few times. Mostly OK. Done the same in roomette with and without roommate. Also mostly OK.
This all only applies to the Western Long-Distance Superliner trains.
And the Coast Starlight once LAX-SEA.
On the trip LAX to SEA my assigned coach seatmate was annoyingly piggish about taking both electrical outlets.
So I learned that on long-distance Superliner double-decker trains there's sometimes a coach car that's called a coach-baggage car.
And that the "coach-bag" is often little-used for baggage.
So at bedtime, I didn't want to sleep near my offensive seatmate, so I went downstairs and slept in the lay-flat bed = the carpeted floor of of the baggage space. There was nobody down there then.
When I woke up , there was five of us sleeping down there. Free upgrade. At least five feet apart. Better than airline "BIZ class"
But don't tell anybody. :)
A typically bag coach is completely enclosed (no windows), locked, and has no outlets nor carpeting.

Either way, if it works, it works.
 

caravanman

Engineer
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Mar 22, 2004
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Nottingham, England.
I agree that there seem to be too many "ewww" comments made about coach seat travel. It's not for everyone, but neither is it so dire, in my opinion.
I used the old style unlimited railpass several times, clocking up over 12,000 miles each time over 15 days in coach. Admittedly, mostly I had two seats to myself, but not always. Yes, I was a "lounge lizard" at times too.
A decent nights sleep is the hard bit for me, I can happily manage a quick wash to freshen up, and bringing food aboard to suppliment the Amtrak fare. The lack of quality sleep can induce a sort of brain fog, which may stop one getting the most out of what is intended to be an enjoyable little adventure.
 

Cal

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Socal
And that the "coach-bag" is often little-used for baggage.
Except when there is no actual baggage car on the train (like most trains right now), or on the the TE from Chicago to LA which has no baggage car assigned to it, or on the Portland section of the EB.
 

Everydaymatters

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May 15, 2006
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Just North of Normal, Illinois
I recently completed an overnight coach on the TE. Most of my 81,000+ Amtrak miles have been in a room, but now that I don't use my AGR card, and considering the high cost of rooms, my last two trips have been in coach. Yes, sleeping is difficult and the food isn't as good as the food served to sleeper passenger. However, the camaraderie has been excellent. I will probably do it again for a one night trip, but more than that...I just don't know. I'm pretty sure I'm the oldest person on this forum and I use oxygen, so if I can do it, anyone can.
 
Joined
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Dayton, OH
I did the $299 Rail Pass this summer and will be doing the Rail Pass again next summer (I'm going to make the time off work one way or another; I wasn't working this summer). I stayed with some friends along the route and hostels the rest of the time, but sleeping on the train wasn't too bad and since I'd researched and planned so much, I really wasn't lacking in anything. I got food a couple of times from the café car, but brought snacks and Pepsi otherwise. I dressed in layers, and showered right before I got on for a leg, plus I had deodorant, dry shampoo, and extra undergarments if I started feeling funky, but I never did. It didn't seem to me to be any different that if you'd go camping in the woods for a couple of weeks (and at least there are toilets on the train!) so I guess I'm not sure why it seems to be panned. I've ridden in a roommette once, and it didn't seem like I slept any better or worse than in my coach seat. Perhaps it's because I'm still relatively young, though I am in my 40s, so not quite as young as I used to be.

Anyone else?
Thanks for your post. I leave for Reno in the wee hours tomorrow and am riding in coach from Chicago. I, too, have done tons of research and feel quite prepared. I have trouble sleeping everywhere, so that's not an issue. I'm vegan, so bringing my own food for the trip is a no-brainer. I'm 57 and excited about the adventure.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Dayton, OH
I've done the Empire Builder to Seattle from MSP and back in coach a few times. Mostly OK. Done the same in roomette with and without roommate. Also mostly OK.
This all only applies to the Western Long-Distance Superliner trains.
And the Coast Starlight once LAX-SEA.
On the trip LAX to SEA my assigned coach seatmate was annoyingly piggish about taking both electrical outlets.
So I learned that on long-distance Superliner double-decker trains there's sometimes a coach car that's called a coach-baggage car.
And that the "coach-bag" is often little-used for baggage.
So at bedtime, I didn't want to sleep near my offensive seatmate, so I went downstairs and slept in the lay-flat bed = the carpeted floor of of the baggage space. There was nobody down there then.
When I woke up , there was five of us sleeping down there. Free upgrade. At least five feet apart. Better than airline "BIZ class"
But don't tell anybody. :)
Ha! So clever.
 

joelkfla

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12 miles from Walt Disney World
Thanks for your post. I leave for Reno in the wee hours tomorrow and am riding in coach from Chicago. I, too, have done tons of research and feel quite prepared. I have trouble sleeping everywhere, so that's not an issue. I'm vegan, so bringing my own food for the trip is a no-brainer. I'm 57 and excited about the adventure.
Sounds like you have the proper attitude. Enjoy your trip!
 

LookingGlassTie

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Portsmouth, VA
No you're not the only one.

I traveled long-distance as a coach passenger on the Silver Meteor (between RVR and ORL) in July 2017. Returned on the Silver Star in coach also. I have said that I would more likely get a room if a one-way trip is two nights or more, but riding in coach is not necessarily out of the question. 😁
 

dwebarts

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Aug 27, 2021
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Bethesda MD
I could probably do it more easily now than when I was younger and couldn't sleep sitting up. It took having 4 broken ribs a few years ago to cure me of that problem.

The primary reason I'd prefer a room is so I could elevate my legs every once in a while. The footrests are fine for trips of less than 6 hours, but my leg veins insist on being inverted every once in a while and I don't like to argue with them about it.
 

MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
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Baltimore. MD
I've done a number of 12 hour daytime trips, and it's been fine. I can see as I'm getting older that sleeping in coach might be more of a problem, especially if I was traveling along and had to deal with a seatmate. My last overnight coach trip (in 2012) was a bit uncomfortable, because I had the window seat and a seatmate, and I was really reluctant to disturb her in the middle of the night to get up and use the bathroom. It also seemed like the seat cushion had turned into concrete at some point after I started falling asleep. :) I find the leg rests and footrests useless, and because I use a CPAP, I have to have the tray table down in front of me, which does kind of make me feel a bit confined.

But last June I took an 8-hour ride on the Capitol in coach, and it was great (except for the lack of SSL), and also a 6 hour ride on the Boston Section of the Lake Shore Limited, and that was a very nice ride, too. OK, so the ride on the Lake Shore Limited was Business class, but that's not all that different from coach, except that I has a single seat and free drinks.
 
Joined
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Is there a usual time of year they put the $500 rail pass on sale? We are planning a trip in July, and if I can get the tickets cheaper....that's a huge win!
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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Austin Texas
Is there a usual time of year they put the $500 rail pass on sale? We are planning a trip in July, and if I can get the tickets cheaper....that's a huge win!
The Regular Rail Pass is on Sale Year around and is good for Upgrades to BC or Sleepers.

The Special Half Price one Sold this year was just for Coach, I've only seen this Once in the past 20 years!
 

Amtrak Apple

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Sep 1, 2021
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The Apple Capitol of the World
Thanks for your post. I leave for Reno in the wee hours tomorrow and am riding in coach from Chicago. I, too, have done tons of research and feel quite prepared. I have trouble sleeping everywhere, so that's not an issue. I'm vegan, so bringing my own food for the trip is a no-brainer. I'm 57 and excited about the adventure.
I'm so happy to hear it! Have a great time. ☺
 

sttom

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Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
762
I'm not against traveling overnight in coach, I just don't think I'd prefer it. I did manage to sleep for 2 hours in British Airways Cattle Class back in 2017. A Superliner coach seat would feel like a real bed by comparison. My dad is planning on being near Portland sometime this year, so I'll probably take the train and stay in coach. I can just pack a burrito and take it with me for food.
 
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danasgoodstuff

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Jun 23, 2021
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PDX
I took VIA rail from Saskatoon to Vancouver in coach a few years ago and it must have been ok because I remember very little of it, probably because the train was way late and I'd neglected to check before going to the station at the edge of town so I was way sleep deprived to start. I plan to do a victory lap of America sometime soon and that won't be in coach.
 
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happycamper

Train Attendant
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Oct 11, 2017
Messages
62
So far only traveled coach and not sure about roomettes but should try one I guess. As a couple coach is more of a concern to get 2 seats together for sleeping. So far the train attendents and people onboard have been accommadating. :) :) If long distance for 2 nights for example Chi to seattle they put the long distance coach people in the same car so you dont have the people getting on and off to bother you in the night. Also since all going long distance you get to know the people in your car as you are together for 2 nights. I find the second night is easier to sleep as there is more comraderie. So far we have done 3 nights in coach at one time from Seattle to TX. Really enjoy the comraderie and being able to have such incredible views in coach. Woke up off Empire Builder and one side of the train was a beautiful incredible red sunrise over lakes and the full moon was on the other side. In a sleeper you wouldnt have been able to see both unless ran to lounge car....
 

caravanman

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Is there a usual time of year they put the $500 rail pass on sale? We are planning a trip in July, and if I can get the tickets cheaper....that's a huge win!
I confess to being a bit confused with the rail pass offers just now. I think the $500 pass is now the only one available for nationwide, valid for 10 rides, over a 30 day period. One can buy the pass at any time, but must then use it within 120 days. No option to upgrade. Don't take this as gospel... ;)
 

Sidney

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I confess to being a bit confused with the rail pass offers just now. I think the $500 pass is now the only one available for nationwide, valid for 10 rides, over a 30 day period. One can buy the pass at any time, but must then use it within 120 days. No option to upgrade. Don't take this as gospel... ;)
As far as I know, no uogrades are allowed on the railpass. On my recent pass I bought two roomettes in addition to the pass. Everything was done within the 30 day time limit.
 
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