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Car access (moving between cars on Superliner)?

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Apr 16, 2018
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Complete newbie question - I grew up taking commuter trains on the SAN-LA line where one could roam about the train at leisure. I now live in OK and took the heardland flyer to Ft. Worth last week and was confined to one of the 4 cars for the duration. I understand some of why that is, but was wondering what kind of cars you have access to on a longer distance train. I expect that we will travel sleeper class - possibly Texas Star or California Zephyr. Wondering if that gets us access to regular seats/observation car/etc or if we'll have to sit in our room for the duration.

Thanks
 

Thirdrail7

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You're free to move about the consist and use the common areas. Access to coach seating is tricky because the seats may be taken.
 

zephyr17

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Were the other cars locked off and unused? That happens, crews sometimes lock off cars when the train is well below capacity.

As a sleeper passenger, you have access to all cars that are open to passengers. You can sit in the lounge car, you do not have any right to sit in coach seats, but you can go into the coach cars. Note you should not go into the crew part of the trans-dorm.
 
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Lonestar648

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Sleeper passengers have. access to all passenger areas of the train while Coach passengers can go into any Coach, Lounge/Cafe, or Diner. Car to Car access on the western Superliners is on the the upper level. On the eastern single level trains (due to tunnel height) everything is on the same level.
 
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Copy, are the dome/observation cars considered public spaces or are those seats ticketed separately?
 

Maglev

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Copy, are the dome/observation cars considered public spaces or are those seats ticketed separately?
The "Sightseer Lounge" car is considered a public space. Seating is on a first-come basis.

Rarely, a train will be oversold, and the Conductor will reserve seats in the lounge car for passengers to use.
 

Lonestar648

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The lower level of the Sightseer Lounge cars are generally the Cafe where you can sit if you purchased from the Cafe. This may be closed off when the Cafe is closed like in the middle of the night. The upper level is always open except arriving the trains final destination or at the trains origin until the Conductors have scanned tickets so they don't have to hunt people down and Coach passengers have a hat check above their seat.
 

Dakota 400

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Coach passengers are discouraged from entering the Sleeping Cars, but Sleeping Car passengers may wander the train, except for crew only areas, as they desire.

Once, and I don't recall the train I was on, may have been the Cardinal leaving Chicago, I left my Roomette very soon after departure with the intent on getting to the Lounge/Cafe car for an adult beverage. Either the SCA or Conductor asked me to return to my accommodation until my "ticket had been lifted". That didn't take much time, however.
 

crescent-zephyr

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The Heartland Flyer has a cafe and it SHOULD have been advertised over the PA which should have included the Cafe' cars location and how to get there. Of course PA announcements could have been off in your car, or the Cafe' attendants mic wasn't working.. or many reasons. But you should have had access to the cafe car.
 

Walt

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Coach passengers are discouraged from entering the Sleeping Cars, but Sleeping Car passengers may wander the train, except for crew only areas, as they desire.
Though, I'll add, if you are a Sleeper Car passenger, and you wander into Coach, make sure you have your ticket (or equivalent) with you. That's because when you go to return, a crew member might only "see" a passenger originating from a coach car, trying to access the Sleeper Cars.
 

PVD

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On certain trains, or as a substitute for a bad ordered car, a "cross country cafe car" may be used, which is diner at one end, cafe at the other. If that cafe is in use instead of the one on the lower level of the SSL, the lower level cafe may be closed off. Haven't seen it too often, I have seen the CCC diner side used, with the cafe service still on the lower level of the SSL.
 

crescent-zephyr

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The last time I rode the Capitol, and the last several times I have ridden the City it has been seemingly standard operating procedure to use the CCC car as both Diner and Cafe (with only 1 LSA handling the money for both... which honestly is a super smart move for amtrak) and the SSL lower level being closed.
 

CAMISSY55

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Coach passengers are discouraged from entering the Sleeping Cars, but Sleeping Car passengers may wander the train, except for crew only areas, as they desire.

Once, and I don't recall the train I was on, may have been the Cardinal leaving Chicago, I left my Roomette very soon after departure with the intent on getting to the Lounge/Cafe car for an adult beverage. Either the SCA or Conductor asked me to return to my accommodation until my "ticket had been lifted". That didn't take much time, however.
A comment and a question.

Comment:I have been led to understand that coach passengers are not allowed to enter sleeping cars, not just discouraged. The exceptions being either invitated and accompanied by a sleeping car passenger with approval from SCA or Conductor OR in the seemingly rare occasion of a "tour" (to see sleeping accommodations), also with a SCA or Conductor.

That is the primary reason I feel safe as a woman who travels alone on Amtrak LD trains. It's also why my husband doesn't worry...as much!

Question: I have left my room soon after boarding when instructed by SCA to go to the DC because they are on their last seating. I leave the door open with curtain closed (because I think I'm safe from wanderers!) and leave my e-ticket in a conspicuous place for the Conductor to scan. Is that the wrong thing to do?
 

spinnaker

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I took the EB and the CL across country in a roomette. I passed through sleeper cars countless times on the way to and from the diner and the sight seeing car. Not once was I asked for my ticket. So so much for your peace of mind on security. In fact I don't recall being asked to show my ticket at all, even after boarding.
 

crescent-zephyr

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With e-tickets, the Conductor can "scan" your ticket without actually scanning your ticket. Since sleepers are assigned to an individual, the Conductor can just verify with the SCA that his / her passengers showed up, and then check them in.

The Amtrak staff does a pretty good job of remembering faces, and who belongs where. One time I walked across the hallway just to snap a photo (no one was assigned to the roomette across from me, and I didn't sit down... literally just snapped a photo out the window). A few moments later the SCA, when walking past the hallway asked me not to enter any rooms except my own. He wasn't "visible" when I walked across... but he saw, and noticed me. (and I told him I was just taking a photo and he understood and then encouraged me to use the "railfan" window... which of course I knew about ha.).
 

the_traveler

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With few exceptions, the Dining Car is between the sleeper and coach. The DC staff has good memory of what end you usually enter from, and may question those who they may think may not belong in the sleeper. I have been questioned.
 

Lonestar648

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If the Conductor doesn't scan your ticket getting on and need to see ytour ticket they will come to the DC since they know it is last call. I have my tickets on my cell using the Amtrak APP. I carry the phone since it is also my camera.
 
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cirdan

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The lower level of the Sightseer Lounge cars are generally the Cafe where you can sit if you purchased from the Cafe. This may be closed off when the Cafe is closed like in the middle of the night. The upper level is always open except arriving the trains final destination or at the trains origin until the Conductors have scanned tickets so they don't have to hunt people down and Coach passengers have a hat check above their seat.
I think you mileage may vary. The cafeteria counter itself is locked when it closes down at night, but depending on who is on duty, they may let you still sit there.

Not that it's an especially interesting place to be when it is closed, mind you.
 

Skyline

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As a sleeping car passenger who has paid mightily for the "privilege," I should have the right to invite and accompany a coach passenger to my room. Not to use a bed, but maybe to just sit and talk, share a drink, play cards, etc. Usually this is not an issue for a SCA; in fact often they are not even aware. A couple of times it has been an issue. I asked the SCA each time to go get a "supervisor" so we could resolve it. Both times, that request caused the SCA to let my guest pass. YMMV.

Sometimes you just have to stand up for what you believe to be your rights. There are plenty of SCAs who are not on ego trips. A few are.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I'm not really sure that's a "right"... I feel like it should be up to the crew to use a little common sense in that area. Meaning... if there are extended family members in both coach and sleeper, it certainly makes sense for family to be able to visit now and then, especially if the room is larger than a roomette. But inviting fellow passengers you have just met to your sleeper is a bit of grey area... I'm not sure what the "Rule" is.. but I'm pretty sure a Conductor could easily enforce a "only sleeping car ticketed passengers allowed."
 

Lonestar648

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Inviting a Coach passenger to your room may depend on what room you have and if it is just you. In other words, if there are two of you in a roomette, inviting another person or two doesn't work. There is also the showing someone you know what the sleeping car is like. Space is very limited in a Sleeping Car, so having people standing in your room's doorway could be obstructing the hallway. Most SCA I have been around would be cooperative in having a guest for a short period of time, though if the car is running at capacity, they might be reluctant.
 

cpotisch

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As a sleeper passenger, you have access to all of the train. The lounge is a public space, so just sit down and enjoy. Passengers are not allowed to reserve seats or booths, so if the car is full and no one is sitting somewhere, you can sit there. If someone isn't letting you sit somewhere that isn't occupied by a person, let a crew member know. Also, there is no train called the 'Texas Star'. Are you referring to the Texas Eagle?
 

Dakota 400

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Coach passengers are discouraged from entering the Sleeping Cars, but Sleeping Car passengers may wander the train, except for crew only areas, as they desire.

Once, and I don't recall the train I was on, may have been the Cardinal leaving Chicago, I left my Roomette very soon after departure with the intent on getting to the Lounge/Cafe car for an adult beverage. Either the SCA or Conductor asked me to return to my accommodation until my "ticket had been lifted". That didn't take much time, however.
A comment and a question.

Comment:I have been led to understand that coach passengers are not allowed to enter sleeping cars, not just discouraged. The exceptions being either invitated and accompanied by a sleeping car passenger with approval from SCA or Conductor OR in the seemingly rare occasion of a "tour" (to see sleeping accommodations), also with a SCA or Conductor.

That is the primary reason I feel safe as a woman who travels alone on Amtrak LD trains. It's also why my husband doesn't worry...as much!

Question: I have left my room soon after boarding when instructed by SCA to go to the DC because they are on their last seating. I leave the door open with curtain closed (because I think I'm safe from wanderers!) and leave my e-ticket in a conspicuous place for the Conductor to scan. Is that the wrong thing to do?
Leaving your accommodation door open and the curtain closed is a good idea. Personally, I would not leave my e-ticket in the room. I always carry it with me just in case I do need it.

Once after a late afternoon departure but before dinner service began, I went to the SSL for a pre-dinner libation. When it came for my dining seating to begin, I entered the Dining Car from its "Coach" end. I was seated in that end of the Car with others who were seated in a Coach. The LSA thought I was a Coach passenger and tried to charge me for my dinner. Having my e-ticket showed just who I was.
 

Ryan

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I'm not really sure that's a "right"... I feel like it should be up to the crew to use a little common sense in that area. Meaning... if there are extended family members in both coach and sleeper, it certainly makes sense for family to be able to visit now and then, especially if the room is larger than a roomette. But inviting fellow passengers you have just met to your sleeper is a bit of grey area... I'm not sure what the "Rule" is.. but I'm pretty sure a Conductor could easily enforce a "only sleeping car ticketed passengers allowed."
You are correct, there is no such “right”. Sleeping cars are for Selling Car Passengers only.

Want to visit with someone in coach? Do it in the lounge.
 
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