Quantcast

Amtrak’s own numbers show LD trains holding their own

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

AmtrakFlyer

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 27, 2016
Messages
92
I think roomettes are appropriate as the budget sleep choice they just have to be priced appropriately which they are not now. Down the road new build slumber coaches would be excellent. Pre covid I would have said a first class airline sleeper seat. There’s probably a market for both. I don’t ever see communal berths like in Europe happening here especially now.
 
Last edited:

Mailliw

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
87
Location
Northeast PA
OBB Nightjet's new couchette design has a mix of individual sleeping pods and 4 berth rooms for groups. I think it sounds like a nice setup, but there's no daytime configuration.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
357
Location
Brownsburg IN
I don’t think the daytime configuration is that important in Europe. I think the popular trips are strictly overnight- get on in the evening and off in the morning.

I did see a Deluxe Sleeper trip report on the “Wingin’ It” YouTube channel from Zurich to Hamburg where there were two chairs available at all times for seating even when the beds were made. It also had an en-suite with an enclosed shower. To me, that configuration would work - but I’m sure it’s pricey.

 
Last edited:

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
357
Location
Brownsburg IN
Here’s another configuration which appears to accommodate 3, with a “couch” and 3 bunks that pop out from the wall and a similar en-suite...

 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
581
Another couple things I have noticed that Europeans comment positively about Amtrak is that Amtrak gives you the room, not the bed. So privacy is something that they like here compared to European trains where even Deluxe accommodations don't guarantee you privacy. Another thing they seem to like is that our trains have water dispensers on them. And the last thing is that Business Class sometimes means you get snacks and drinks.

I do think a lie flat seat is something Amtrak needs to seriously investigate for its long distance trains, but we can't always do a 1 to 1 import of Europeans things. As pointed out, most overnight trains in Europe don't run during the day, but Amtrak does. But, this is also a part of Amtrak needs to take consistency of its offerings more seriously than it actually does.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,832
So privacy is something that they like here compared to European trains where even Deluxe accommodations don't guarantee you privacy.
Many trains in Europe offer private rooms, they just charge more $$$ for them.

I do think a lie flat seat is something Amtrak needs to seriously investigate for its long distance trains
I don’t. It would be as expensive as a roomette and not as nice. There’s really no point in it. I do think 2-1 reserved business class would be great for all trains but Amtrak seems to have abandoned BC on LD trains?
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
244
I've seen reports on YouTube that most European carriers are currently booking just one party per couchette compartment, even if just a single rider, during the pandemic. And pre-pandemic, that some carriers allowed a single rider to book an entire couchette for additional cost.

And the couchettes I've seen have fold-up upper (and middle, if triple-stacked) bunks, leaving a couch that easily seats 3 during non-sleeping times.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
573
Location
Denver
I used to think this, but it's not technically true.

Passenger trains reliably made money on fare revenue alone during the early years, 1828 through 1895 or so.

It became impossible for passenger trains to make money on fare revenue alone when two things happened:
(1) Motorcars were introduced
(2) Paved roads were subsidized heavily by all levels of government, starting in the 1890s and becoming a huge flood of funding in the 1920s. It got much more extreme in the 1950s.

Competing with horse-drawn carriages was easy. Passenger trains made lots of money.

Even with motorcars being sold by Ford and others, passenger trains made money as long as the motorcars had to drive on pitted dirt roads across the country.

Once the taxpayers started subsidizing lavishly paved rural highways, *that* is when it became impossible for passenger trains to make money on fare revenues alone.

This gives some perspective. Anthony's description is accurate for the post-1920 situation for passenger trains.

So my position has always been: give the passenger trains the same amount of government funding we give the roads. One calculation from 2007 said that $146 billion was spent by federal, state, and local government on roads THAT YEAR. So I'm comfortable with $146 billion in funding per year. Currently passenger trains of all sorts get much less than that.
Having studied it in Oregon and Colorado I've concluded that the highway program is a perpetual motion machine. I've never found a period in which they weren't projecting needs for a huge backlog of projects. When the big push started in WWI part of it was to get even with the railroad companies and that was built into the program. When one checks the names of who was behind the big highway programs of that era it was the big regional businesses.

They used to be more explicit about their intentions, as the second clipping below shows. The first clipping from the same date shows how people continued fighting the evil streetcar company even though it was already doomed. It also shows how the media turned it all into a personality feud and didn't explain the issue. This sort of thing continued until the late 1950's - early 1960's.

1920 05 19 - Car Fare Attack.jpg

1920 05 19 - Good Roads.jpg
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
573
Location
Denver
I don’t think the daytime configuration is that important in Europe. I think the popular trips are strictly overnight- get on in the evening and off in the morning.

I did see a Deluxe Sleeper trip report on the “Wingin’ It” YouTube channel from Zurich to Hamburg where there were two chairs available at all times for seating even when the beds were made. It also had an en-suite with an enclosed shower. To me, that configuration would work - but I’m sure it’s pricey.

I've enjoyed that room Berlin > Basel and Freiburg > Berlin. It's well laid out and feels bigger than it actually is. Eastbound we were on the time slot of the 1969 U.S. Army train that I worked on (6-berth liegewagen rooms anyone?) and it felt good to watch the foggy morning sunrise out of the upper window on what once was called The Main Line of the Cold War. I heard lots of good compliments about these ex-DB CIty NightLine cars from less nostalgic customers.
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
663
A 4 person couchette is pretty nice even if there are just two of you. One person per couchette would be luxe! I took the Trans-Siberian from Beijing to Moscow twice and both times once we got past Ulaan Baatar there were just two of us in the regular 4 person couchette. Not great, but fairly good. The only problem was the horrendous condition of the toilets. If I could have had a couchette to myself with no extra fee I would have been a happy camper.
Hearing about about overnight trains in Europe is good news. It seems like a lot of the longer distance sleeper trains went away for a few years, or so my searches seemed to indicate. I think I took a single IC from Berlin to London (though in retrospect I think I may have switched trains in Brussels) back in the day. But it really seems like it was a single train all the way to London. I think most of the longer rail trips in Europe are now 2 or 3 segments. Or so my searches on The Man in Seat 61 seem to indicate. Great site for planning international rail travel.



I've seen reports on YouTube that most European carriers are currently booking just one party per couchette compartment, even if just a single rider, during the pandemic. And pre-pandemic, that some carriers allowed a single rider to book an entire couchette for additional cost.

And the couchettes I've seen have fold-up upper (and middle, if triple-stacked) bunks, leaving a couch that easily seats 3 during non-sleeping times.
 
Last edited:

Mailliw

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
87
Location
Northeast PA
...I do think a lie flat seat is something Amtrak needs to seriously investigate for its long distance trains, but we can't always do a 1 to 1 import of Europeans things. As pointed out, most overnight trains in Europe don't run during the day, but Amtrak does...
The problem with airline style lay flat seats is they waste the space above the seat. In passenger coachs, especially single level, stacking is the most efficient use of space. Ideally Amtrak should try to make an updated version of the Slumbercoach.
Personally I'm partial to the 4 berth couchette setup because it allows the same space to be sold at different accommodation levels, but roomettes probably a better option in North America. There just need to be more if them at lower prices. Maybe all roomette sleepers on so.e routes to complement traditional ones?
 
  • Like
Reactions: jis

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
581
The problem with airline style lay flat seats is they waste the space above the seat. In passenger coachs, especially single level, stacking is the most efficient use of space. Ideally Amtrak should try to make an updated version of the Slumbercoach.
Personally I'm partial to the 4 berth couchette setup because it allows the same space to be sold at different accommodation levels, but roomettes probably a better option in North America. There just need to be more if them at lower prices. Maybe all roomette sleepers on so.e routes to complement traditional ones?
The problem with doing a couchette would be ADA. Which means losing at least 1 room (probably 2 so you don't lose public bathroom capacity) to have an Accessible Bedroom to be compliant with the law. Which is about 32 people in 8 four person rooms. Lie Flat seats according to (I'm forgetting who did the math originally, its on a thread somewhere) would get us 30 seats in a single level car or 2 people less than an ADA compliant couchette. An open section car would be 34 at the most, but might get knocked down to 30 beds plus an ADA seat depending on how the regulations get interpreted.

A Superliner is a different story since you have the upper level to work with. An open section variant would have 40 beds on the upper level, 7 lie flat seats on the lower level (or 8 more beds and a family room depending on what Amtrak would want to do) and an Accessible Bedroom. A lie flat seat style train would be 37 seats and the Accessible Bedroom.

The Slumber coaches "high density" also partially came from it having 8 double occupancy rooms along with 24 single rooms which brought the total capacity up to 40. One thing I found in my digging into the history of the Slumber coach was that it had a predecessor. Which had 32 duplex rooms, which was the stacked section of Slumber coach, it was designed in 1946. None of these were built sadly since the railroads didn't seem to care about the "tourist" market at this point and some railroads even bought new streamlined Tourist Sleepers (open sections) that had a similar capacity to the Slumber Coach predecessor and no privacy. But, if you can get up to 30 lie flat seats and be ADA compliant, that frankly isn't a huge loss compared to stacked non ADA compliant cars designed in the late 1940s.
 

Attachments

Mailliw

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
87
Location
Northeast PA
Thanks for the diagrams. I would wonder if it'd make more sense to have the lie flat seats on the lower level of the Superliner seated coaches instead of in the sleepers. There'd be no need for other passengers to pass thru that area and you could even put a door in front of it.
 

TRoberts

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
19
Location
Chattanooga TN
Those diagrams are very interesting to see. The Open Sections are the same space as roomettes correct? The advantage with open sections is you could sell the berths, vs. a private room so you could fill every bed.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
581
Thanks for the diagrams. I would wonder if it'd make more sense to have the lie flat seats on the lower level of the Superliner seated coaches instead of in the sleepers. There'd be no need for other passengers to pass thru that area and you could even put a door in front of it.
ADA laws would probably beg to differ about that if it was done on every coach. If it was done on 1 car per consist, maybe. But then what happens when that car decides to throw a rod and you don't have a replacement? Amtrak is already in a car shortage as it is.

Those diagrams are very interesting to see. The Open Sections are the same space as roomettes correct? The advantage with open sections is you could sell the berths, vs. a private room so you could fill every bed.
Amtrak's Roomettes are basically enclosed sections. So an open section would basically be a Roomette with a heavy curtain instead of a door. Amtrak could sell every bed individually which would be the point. And if sold at the right price, would get some people to upgrade from Coach.
 

Mailliw

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
87
Location
Northeast PA
I'm not sure how what you mean about ADA laws; in Superliners aren't the accessible seats already on the lower level along with the ADA restroom?
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,764
Location
South Carolina
Or if you want to have some real fun we could get Платскартный or in english Platskartny cars. They manage to sleep 54 passengers in the same space of an 85 foot car. On one side of the aisle you have two facing benches which seats a total of four passengers in the day. At night those make into two bunk beds for four passengers. Then against the aisle are two facing seats, that also become a bunk bed at night.
 

Mailliw

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
87
Location
Northeast PA
I've seen pictures of them and would pick one over a coach seat, especially if it was one of the new ones with privacy curtains. I doubt they'd in fly the US though.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,391
Location
Gator Country Florida
I'm not sure how what you mean about ADA laws; in Superliners aren't the accessible seats already on the lower level along with the ADA restroom?
Current superliner cars are built that way. You never know how the ADA laws will be interpreted/applied to "new" cars or even when existing stock is "fully renovated". It could be argued/interpreted that ADA access "must" be available to upper and lower levels - that ADA rooms and restroom would have to be made "fully accessible". After all, why should someone in a wheelchair not be able to sleep in the upper level if they want to?
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
581
I've seen pictures of them and would pick one over a coach seat, especially if it was one of the new ones with privacy curtains. I doubt they'd in fly the US though.
The point of ADA was to make sure that people have access to roughly equivalent accomodations. Converting all of the coach cars to have beds on the lower level wouldn't be a roughly equivalent. A spot for a wheel chair or a standard coach seat in the section isn't the same as the bed. That would violate ADA.
 

Mailliw

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
87
Location
Northeast PA
On the other hand there are accessible equivalents of bedrooms, but not roomettes; even in the 21st century VIIs. I think Superliners could be so modified without looking their grandfathered status, but it would be a major issue with any bilevel replacement.
Are ADA regulations different for intercity vs commuter rail? There doesn't seem to be an issue with new bilevel cars that are only accessible on the lower or mezzanine levels?.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,413
Location
Chicago, Illinois
On the other hand there are accessible equivalents of bedrooms, but not roomettes; even in the 21st century VIIs. I think Superliners could be so modified without looking their grandfathered status, but it would be a major issue with any bilevel replacement.
Are ADA regulations different for intercity vs commuter rail? There doesn't seem to be an issue with new bilevel cars that are only accessible on the lower or mezzanine levels?.
I don't know about the actual reservations, but upper level access is much more important on a Superliner than commuter car since that is the only way to access the dining and lounge cars.
 
Top