Coach, upstairs or downstairs?

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mkeroad

Train Attendant
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Jan 24, 2014
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I've read about all I can in the archives and still don't know how this works.

I'm a senior but I'm also very active and will probably be all over the train and would like to mingle What's the lounge like and how long is it a social area? I also would like both seats if at all possible. I know I'm a spoiled brat. Can I shop around for two empty seats after the train has started or must I stay in my assigned seat? Can I ask to have a window seat? I"m very interested in watching as much scenery and will have a gps along, books, music etc.

You probable can't tell it's getting close to blast off!
 

MrFSS

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Tell us which train(s) you will be on. Might help with the answers.
 
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mkeroad

Train Attendant
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Jan 24, 2014
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CZ CHI-SAC, CS SJC-PDX, EB PDX-CHI

Thanks
 
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RalphCT

Service Attendant
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Jan 16, 2014
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EB PDX to CHI in the winter usually has plenty of double seats available sat least until you get to MSP.

A Montanan who enjoys train travel.
 

RalphCT

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Jan 16, 2014
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I prefer sitting upstairs for a better view and near the center of the car for less motion.

A Montanan who enjoys train travel.
 

oregon pioneer

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near Seneca, Oregon
Whether you can spread out on two seats or not is up to the car attendant. Some are really firm about where you sit, others just let you sit anywhere as long as it's not an area reserved for parties of two or more. You'll get an idea when you board what type of attendant you have. In most cases, the attendant will let you spread out a little at night with the understanding that, if they need the seats in the middle of the night, they might ask you to return to your assigned seat only. BTW, unless your reservation specifies lower level, you will be on the upper level.

They can tell which is your assigned seat by the "seat check" (a paper tag with the number of passengers and the destination written on it) that the conductor places above you when they pull or scan your ticket. The seat check also tells boarding passengers which seats are already occupied, so you can feel free to move about the train without losing your seat.

This time of year, there's a good chance you'll be able to spread out at night on most sections. It will be more crowded near weekends and holidays, and possibly during the daytime sections (like Denver to Glenwood Springs, a famously gorgeous section). Hey, you have a great trip planned! I am sure you will enjoy it!
 

IowaGirl

Train Attendant
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Dec 29, 2010
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If you sit in the middle of the car - avoid the area right around the stairs, if possible. And do sit up on the top level - best view!

CZ has been full when we get on in Omaha the last few years. If you have two seats then you will have to give one up if someone needs a seat, so keep that in mind. It will be 11 pm or later, so they might have to wake you up.

If you go onto the AMSNAG website - you can kind of get a feel for how full the train in by the ticket price. If the bucket price is at the highest - that train will be pretty full.
 

mkeroad

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 24, 2014
Messages
46
Thanks O P

I now have a much better picture.

MT, I've always wanted to ride the EB. I'll be on my way home with no time frame. I'm sure things will smooth out. Iowa girl thanks. How social is the dining and lounge car? can you linger in dining and is the lounge comfortable?
 
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the_traveler

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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
Even if you bought a lower level coach seat, if you can climb the stairs easily, you may be requested if you would mind sitting on the upper level. (I have been asked that.) The lower level seating area, is usually kept for those who have difficulty climbing stairs. Personally, I prefer the upper level anyway.

If you do get a seat in the middle of the car, try to avoid the seats directly opposite the stairs. The lights in the car are dimmed overnight, however they are not on the stairs. For safety reasons, those lights are on fully all night long!

The Sightseer Lounge car is open 24 hours a day. However, the café closes between midnight and 6 am for sales.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2012
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Spencer, MA
I am disabled so I sit downstairs, but believe me, if I could do the stairs I would be upstairs in a heart beat. You are able to sit in the lounge/observation car all day, but when the train is full, it is nice to go back to your seat for awhile so others can enjoy the observation car.

As far as lingering in the dining room, depends again on how full the train is. But they usually try to turn the tables pretty quickly. But if you end up chatting, you and whomever you are chatting with can always move to the lounge car.
 
Joined
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Spencer, MA
There are sometimes someone in the lower level that can do the stairs, not sure why they choose the lower level, but there are. The lower level only has 12 seats per car, so it is quieter at night, no one passing thru except those of us that are in the car. I usually ride end to end on the LD trains, and have to get assistance to the train, so I am usually lucky enough to get the back seat. that way , even if I have to share, no one is walking past us because the wall is there.

Because of my disabilities, sometimes I have to request both seats. I always have a doctor's note in case I need it when I book my seats. this way it is on the manifest along with the fact that I need in-seat meal service even on the single level trains. I tell the attendant when I get on if I am able to give up my second seat, but usually I travel in the spring or fall and have only once had to give it up. I guess one positive of being disabled.
 

George Harris

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now in California
Reno to Sacramento may fill up with people doing just that, or Reno - Emeryville. The ride is simply beautiful, os there are quite a few people that make just for the sightseeing.
 
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