Cardinal discussion

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BlackDiamond

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporting Member
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Location
The Slate Belt
My wife and I are thinking of a fall circle trip BOS (Worcester MA actually) - CHI via LSL, then Cardinal to Staunton VA then rent a car and spend a few days in West Virginia mostly to see and ride the Cass operation, then return to STA to pick up the Cardinal to WAS then the Federal (as I call it) overnight back to BOS.

Questions about the Cardinal portions. We would get a roomette, even for the daytime leg STA - WAS.
Are the Viewliners V1 or V2?
Flex dining of course, but is it a real diner or a cross country cafe? Do you eat in the CCC or do you take it back to your room?
 
Questions about the Cardinal portions. We would get a roomette, even for the daytime leg STA - WAS.
Are the Viewliners V1 or V2?
Flex dining of course, but is it a real diner or a cross country cafe? Do you eat in the CCC or do you take it back to your room?
There is one Viewliner 1 sleeper. The diner is neither a "real" diner or cross country cafe. It is more or less a cafe car with seating on both sides. When I last traveled in October, all the tables on the sleeper side were "reserved" for crew and there was limited seating on the coach side. The crew strongly encouraged passengers to eat in their rooms (except breakfast so that the rooms could be made up). I was quite disappointed in the manner in which the dining was handled. I understand a lot depends on the crew.
 
There is one Viewliner 1 sleeper. The diner is neither a "real" diner or cross country cafe. It is more or less a cafe car with seating on both sides. When I last traveled in October, all the tables on the sleeper side were "reserved" for crew and there was limited seating on the coach side. The crew strongly encouraged passengers to eat in their rooms (except breakfast so that the rooms could be made up). I was quite disappointed in the manner in which the dining was handled. I understand a lot depends on the crew.
Was that the way it used ti be before COVID? Or can we hope it might change back to something better once we're over the pandemic? (I will be taking the Cardinal in mid-April.)
 
Was that the way it used ti be before COVID? Or can we hope it might change back to something better once we're over the pandemic? (I will be taking the Cardinal in mid-April.)
My pre-pandemic experience was different, but it was a long time ago. A regular Cardinal rider will have to answer what it was like in 2019 compared to now.
 
The Cardinal has had the glorified cafe care masquerading as a dining car for sleeper passengers for many years. It was already that way when I rode it in 2004, though it was a recent development at the time.
 
Another thought I had was whether to do the trip in reverse order BOS - WAS - STA then STA - CHI - WOR. Reason being concern if 50 is very late missing the connection to 66 at WAS whereas I figure it is less likely that 67 would be late enough to miss the connection to 51. Also I thought I read somewhere the better scenery in daylight going Westbound?
 
I was just on Amtrak's Web site looking at room options on the Cardinal.

What surprised me is that, no matter which day I picked including going all the way out next April (2024), the only room option that ever comes up is a roomette, never a bedroom or family bedroom. This occurs whether I'm logged into their site or not.

I read the Cardinal is getting its VL1s replaced by VL2s but VL2s have bedrooms so does anyone have any idea why they aren't they being made available for booking?

Thanks for any enlightenment.
 

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I just tried a random test booking — July 16 from Alexandria, Virginia to Chicago—and the same thing happened to me. Roomettes showed up but no bedrooms. Very odd.

The Cardinal doesn’t have family bedrooms because it’s Viewliner equipment rather than Superliner equipment. But it certainly should have regular bedrooms.
 
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I was just on Amtrak's Web site looking at room options on the Cardinal.

What surprised me is that, no matter which day I picked including going all
the way out next April (2024), the only room option that ever comes up is
a roomette, never a bedroom or family bedroom. This occurs whether I'm
logged into their site or not.

I read the Cardinal is getting its VL1s replaced by VL2s but VL2s have
bedrooms so does anyone have any idea why they aren't they being
made available for booking?

Thanks for any enlightenment.
I just did an 8 passenger dummy reservation for 11 months out. It looks like they are only selling 6 roomettes on the for dates in April 2024.

This would suggest that at some point they might only run a bag-dorm car. Those cars have 9 roomettes. If 6 are for sale, that leaves the other three for crew (one for the car attendant, one for the coach attendant, and one for the cafe car attendant).

I hope this is just an error. This would be very surprsing if they were going to just run a dorm car (and not even one full sleeper car).

BTW, even during normal times, the Cardinal only runs with one full sleeper car, which only has 3 bedrooms (one of which is designated as an accessible room). Therefore bedroom space on the Cardinal can be hard to find.
 
Both generations of Viewliners only have 2 Bedrooms. The Cardinal only carries one standard Viewliner sleeper so the entire train had just 2 Bedrooms.

It might be that for some reason they are only selling space in the Viewliner bag/dorm for the moment for some reason, possibly because they have to adjust inventory for a switch to V IIs. The V IIs physically have one less roomette and another must be blocked for use as linen storage, since the geniuses at Amtrak didn't include one. Note that is just speculation on my part.
 
I was just on Amtrak's Web site looking at room options on the Cardinal.

What surprised me is that, no matter which day I picked including going all the way out next April (2024), the only room option that ever comes up is a roomette, never a bedroom or family bedroom. This occurs whether I'm logged into their site or not.

I read the Cardinal is getting its VL1s replaced by VL2s but VL2s have bedrooms so does anyone have any idea why they aren't they being made available for booking?

Thanks for any enlightenment.
There 3 bedrooms in the sleeper car - 1 for handicap mobility impaired - and 2 just before getting to the roomettes (aft end of the car)
Booking would seem to be impossible unless booking more than several months out in advance.

The spectacular New River Gorge is between Charleston and Hinton.
Yes the spectacular scenery is definitely between Hinton and Charleston - the Cardinal traveling on one side of the New River for a while
and then the other side (south west side from Huntington to about half way between Charleston and Hinton (crossing near Hawks Nest Dam)
then on the east north side of the river.


Due to the heavy coal train traffic the railway roadbed leaves much to be desired for a smooth comfortable ride - especially the segment from
Huntington to Chicago.
 
I was just on Amtrak's Web site looking at room options on the Cardinal.

What surprised me is that, no matter which day I picked including going all the way out next April (2024), the only room option that ever comes up is a roomette, never a bedroom or family bedroom. This occurs whether I'm logged into their site or not.

I read the Cardinal is getting its VL1s replaced by VL2s but VL2s have bedrooms so does anyone have any idea why they aren't they being made available for booking?

Thanks for any enlightenment.
I just did a couple of test bookings and, for #51 (westbound) I, too, only see roomettes. However, I do see bedrooms for eastbound (#50).
I just sent a "contact us" email to Amtrak to let them know there may be a computer glitch and asked them to check it out.

VL1s have the same number of bedrooms as the VL2s, so that's not the issue.
 
There 3 bedrooms in the sleeper car - 1 for handicap mobility impaired - and 2 just before getting to the roomettes (aft end of the car)
Booking would seem to be impossible unless booking more than several months out in advance.
I deliberately omitted the handicapped bedroom since that is a different accommodation type from the bedroom. There are not 3 Bedrooms in a Viewliner, there are 2 Bedrooms and 1 Handicapped Bedroom. Moreover, that accommodation is restricted to sale only to mobility impaired passengers and not available for general sale until two weeks before departure.
 
It might be that for some reason they are only selling space in the Viewliner bag/dorm for the moment for some reason, possibly because they have to adjust inventory for a switch to V IIs. The V IIs physically have one less roomette and another must be blocked for use as linen storage, since the geniuses at Amtrak didn't include one. Note that is just speculation on my part.
The Cardinal has been running VL2's for several months now. Every YouTube I've seen of it this year has had a VL2 sleeper + a VL2 bag/dorm.

I don't think they would run just a bag/dorm. That would leave the train with no accessible bedroom.
 
The lack of bedrooms in Viewliners vs. the various predecessors on on this route usually results in sell-outs months before travel. In 2016 there were none in February for August travel. With Amtrak's current equipment shortage it seems unlikely, but they have been known to add an extra sleeper to the Cardinal on fairly short notice during peak travel periods. I don't think they waitlist for this anymore but it doesn't hurt to ask or at least keep checking back for changes.
 
The addition of the Viewliner Bagg/Dorm to this train helps to add some capacity and place the crew in that car, as opposed to the Viewliner II revenue based sleeper. Overall, a “net gain“ by having the Viewliner Bagg/Dorm and Viewliner II Sleeper, but in peak periods, this train certainly could use an additional Viewliner Sleeper. That’s what had been planned with original receipt of the 25 Viewliner II Sleepers. But somehow that got thwarted with COVID and the storing of cars, including the Viewliner fleet. Now to get them ALL back in service…...and assigned out to single level trains, along with the Viewliner II Diners, of which the Crescent and Cardinal need desperately. Of 25 Viewliner II Diners, only 11 are required for current consists (Lake Shore, Silver Star, Silver Meteor). Crescent and Cardinal would put 6 more in service, bringing it to 17 and more than enough in spare (8 total). The Viewliner I Diner prototype couled also pinch hit IF absolutely needed for a spare. Amtrak still needs to restore its full inventory of Viewliner sleeper and diner cars to service — let alone perform an overhaul/refresh on the Viewliner I Sleepers. You don’t leave your newest and best cars parked or mothballed in Hialeah.….
 
Will be traveling on the Cardinal on June 15ish with the wife and 2 Grandchildren (2 Roomettes). We will be going from Manassas, Va. to Chicago.

Anyone know the current consist of that train and what the current dining is like?

Thanks
 
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