Crescent Configuration

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

PaTrainFan

OBS Chief
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
506
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
I can accept the reasoning that the baggaage car is on the rear to reduce rocking. And I get with split consists the cars are gonna be mixed. I am just old school; when I was a kid, the coaches were first, the diner and sometimes the lounge was in the middle unless it was an observation car. First class passengers are supposed to have ready access to the railfan window. Amtrak is destroying what nature intended. ;-) ;-)
 

John Santos

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
209
The trains that split apart or join always have one segment with the sleepers at the front (hopefully behind a baggage car to reduce the noise) and the other segment with the sleepers at the back. This way, when joined up, none of the coach passengers have to walk through the sleepers to get to the diner, cafe or lounge car. If each segment has a baggage car, it has to be in front of the sleepers (right behind the engine) on one segment and at the very end (behind the last sleeper on the other) because if one ended up in the middle, passengers wouldn't be allowed to walk through it. This definitely applies to the LSL and the EB. It is possible they actually reverse the direction of the TE/SSL when they join them up, so the two separate trains have the sleepers at the front, but then the back of the TE joins to the back of the SSL and travels backwards to LA? Maybe? I was asleep when this happened and didn't notice the one time I took the TE from Chicago to Tucson, but I got this impression from some post here. Or maybe that was an odd thing that only happened once.

They could in theory rearrange the trains when they combine, but that would take a long time so they never would do that unless they had to remove a broken car from the consist. Then, I'm sure, they would do the minimum possible switching.
 

mediaman

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
60
Location
Georgia
Evidently, there are not enough passengers who wish to partake of the downgraded service on the Crescent to fill more than one sleeper. Sad indeed.
Traveling south on the Crescent in a few days and I’m booked in the 11 car, so that would indicate two sleepers.
 

cassie225

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
312
Location
Louisiana
Please give a report on your trip on the Crescent, I just had too many complaints to be fair and I want to know whether I’m just a complainer lol or expected more from Amtrak like my first couple of trips, did they spoil me then put me in the dungeon, I must say that there were 2 employees I met at the Atlanta station that were courteous and working very hard, didn’t get their names but a very tall man and a woman with pretty braids in her hair.
 

JRR

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
943
And the awful change in departure time northbound in Atlanta, the biggest number of patrons. Add that to those that USED to get on in Greenville, Clemson and Charlotte, the first two probably taking alternate transportation and the last, along with cities like Greensboro, now taking the daytime Carolinian.
AMEN!
 

JRR

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
943
I have driven to Baltimore twice this summer because it is inconvenient, expensive and impossible to get up and back in any reasonable time from Greenville SC. We used to take the always late Crescent before the pandemic cut back in service and amenities ( diner).
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,449
Location
Austin Texas
The trains that split apart or join always have one segment with the sleepers at the front (hopefully behind a baggage car to reduce the noise) and the other segment with the sleepers at the back. This way, when joined up, none of the coach passengers have to walk through the sleepers to get to the diner, cafe or lounge car. If each segment has a baggage car, it has to be in front of the sleepers (right behind the engine) on one segment and at the very end (behind the last sleeper on the other) because if one ended up in the middle, passengers wouldn't be allowed to walk through it. This definitely applies to the LSL and the EB. It is possible they actually reverse the direction of the TE/SSL when they join them up, so the two separate trains have the sleepers at the front, but then the back of the TE joins to the back of the SSL and travels backwards to LA? Maybe? I was asleep when this happened and didn't notice the one time I took the TE from Chicago to Tucson, but I got this impression from some post here. Or maybe that was an odd thing that only happened once.

They could in theory rearrange the trains when they combine, but that would take a long time so they never would do that unless they had to remove a broken car from the consist. Then, I'm sure, they would do the minimum possible switching.
You are correct about the #421/#422 Cutout Cars when the Switching is done in San Antonio with the Sunset Ltd.

The seats in the Coaches have to be turned to avoid riding " backwards", but it doesn't matter for the Sleepers since Roomettes have facing Seats and Bedrooms already have the Couches facing in each direction on every other Rooms.

One curious fact about ihe #421 Seeper is that it Always is @ the Front of the consist between Chicago and San Antonio, but the #422 Sleeper can be switched to the Front or Back of the consist between San Antonio and Chicago.

Currently the #21/#22 Texas Eagle is only running with 4 Car Consist between Chicago and San Antonio, No Transdorm, No Baggage Car and No Sightseer Lounge.
 

Seaboard92

Engineer
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
4,293
Location
South Carolina
I'm still mystified why some trains have sleepers on the front and others on the rear.
Historic precedence is that Pullmans/Sleepers are to be operated rearmost on the train as they had access to additional ammenties the coaches did not have such as the observation lounges.

Now also historically there were a few trains that had coaches rearmost which were mostly the Florida trains like the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Champion, and the other lesser known ones. This was because those started as all coach streamliners that had sleepers added later in their history.

Now why Amtrak insists on having half of the trains with them rearmost and half with them forward that's something I don't understand.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
91
Location
Greensboro (McLeansville0, NC
And the awful change in departure time northbound in Atlanta, the biggest number of patrons. Add that to those that USED to get on in Greenville, Clemson and Charlotte, the first two probably taking alternate transportation and the last, along with cities like Greensboro, now taking the daytime Carolinian.
I was on the Carolinian a few weeks ago to Richmond. The Carolinian was a bit late and he Crescent was still late and only boarded not much before the Carolinian did. The Crescent has better views with the mountains over the flat coastal plain after Raleigh, but the Crescent is not as compelling as it was with the later arrival.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,348
essentially with the pandemic (and after) they have done a flip flop between the crescent and Star. The split cafe/dinette went from the Star to the crescent and the diner and full cafe went from the crescent to the star. Originally it was because the silvers were operating as a standard consist during reduced service - With the return to daily service I’m sure ridership is a reason that they decided to keep diners on the Star and not put them back on the crescent. With diners on the meteor/star/lake shore they basically are using essentially the same amount of VL2 diners as pre pandemic.
 
Last edited:

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,348
So the 25 diners aren’t enough for the 4 eastern LD trains and backup?
In the last two years the five year plans have talked about converting the diners to single food service cars. I wouldn’t be surprised if the currently unused/underused diners end up getting modified to such a configuration for trains like the crescent and Cardinal - and I wouldn’t be surprised if someday the Cap also. Management seems to be favoring an Amfleet 2 replacement as the next big LD priority however as far as superliners there appears to be real interest in rebuilding if it’s concluded to be feasible especially as the Superliner 2s have quite a lot of life left. Swapping the cap over to single level would allow them to prioritize superliners on the auto train and western routes. Not sure if also switching the CONO to single level would be feasible but who knows. One thing they are looking forward to with the ALC 42 is that they will increase the max number of superliners on auto train.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,525
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Regarding some LD trips having sleepers in the front and others on the rear, I can think of some logical explanations although I can't confirm whether they are the actual reasons.

The LSL configuration makes sense with the Boston sleeper on the front and the New York sleepers on the rear, since the locomotives run through from Chicago to Boston and having the sleepers at the ends means that coach passengers do not have to walk through them. The other single-level long-distance trains all terminate in New York as well, so having the sleepers at the rear of those trains allows for a standardized configuration with the LSL.

Similar to the LSL, the EB has sleepers at both ends so that coach passengers don't have to walk through them. While it seems like the 421/422 cars are somewhat dynamic in their location and I am not as familiar with that setup, the rest of the Superliner LD trains generally operate with the sleepers at the front, which makes sense since it allows the transition car to provide access to the baggage car and the baggage car to provide access to a locomotive. Aesthetically, it also looks better to have the single-level baggage car next to the relatively low locomotives rather than at the rear of a Superliner train.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,754
Will adding Superliners to the Auto Train exceed the CSX published limit of 50 total cars ?
 

mediaman

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
60
Location
Georgia
Just returned from a trip on the Crescent. There were two coach cars followed by a cafe car, two sleepers, and a bag dorm. I boarded from the Moynihan Train Hall and the train started its run with only one sleeping car attendant, the second attendant did not board until Baltimore. The sleepers were full and both attendants were very visible and busy throughout the trip. Both also assisted passengers with luggage when leaving the train in Atlanta. We were were able to eat our Flex dining meals in the Cafe car, but they were served as if being delivered to our room, everything packaged up in a plastic bag. The cafe car attendant was very friendly and attentive. Coffee was available in the morning in the sleeper car, self serve from the coffee station, no juices but you could walk to the cafe car and get whatever you wanted.
 

PVD

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
5,839
Location
NYC/Queens
The Baltimore thing for the second attendant was likely do to some unusual event, since that is not a place they would usually start.
 

George Harris

Engineer
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,130
Location
now in California
I find this unreal, considering that the Crescent would be upwards of 10 cars consistently in the 1970's, and usually full north of Atlanta. Quite the normal at that time would be approximately doubling the train in size for Atlanta northward.
 

Oreius

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Messages
533
I take it Atlanta is like Orlando is on the Silvers. It seemed like everyone and their brother gets on/off at Orlando. I wonder how many ride all the way to New Orleans?
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,377
I take it Atlanta is like Orlando is on the Silvers. It seemed like everyone and their brother gets on/off at Orlando. I wonder how many ride all the way to New Orleans?
A lot fewer in my experience - especially in the sleepers. Probably 15 to 20 years ago, you could get a roomette from Atlanta to NOL or a return for $50 more than the coach fare and thus two people would get 6 diner meals (although arriving in NOL, the meal was limited to things like the half-chicken with no steak) including the steak before Atlanta arrival.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,754
Back when : NOL - ATL 4 coaches 2 AM-1s blocked off and 2 AM-2s less than enough for one full coach even with a group of 30 onboard. Out of ATL all 4 coaches open about 75% full. Out of CLT could hardly find a seat Slept rest of way.
 

NativeSon5859

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
990
Location
NOLA
Back when it was 4, on a typical day, one whole coach was filled with NOL-BHM traffic. It would empty in BHM. It’s a big market for the train. The other was used for ATL local traffic and long haul passengers. They generally used two out of NOL, sometimes a third during busy periods, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, holidays etc. One coach was held for ATL originating passengers only. Typically the train left NOL with 100 or so, half would empty in BHM, and then another 100 would board in ATL.
It’d usually be sold out or close to it overnight in N.C.

As for sleepers, you’d always have 20 or so sleeper pax boarding in NOL but they were always spread between the two cars. A few more would hop on before ATL and then you’d have another 20 or so board in ATL to mostly fill up both cars. I worked on this train frequently. This is how it operated.

Now with only two coaches , who knows. Hope at least a third comes back soon.
 
Last edited:

River in Sight

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
16
Just returned from a trip on the Crescent. There were two coach cars followed by a cafe car, two sleepers, and a bag dorm.
Just rode Greensboro to Charlottesville this morning. The train showed 90% full and was this same consist. I was surprised there were only two coaches; anyway, the conductor was great about assigning seats and we were able to get seats together for my family. The new departure time worked great for me, I never would’ve done this trip with the old times. Very easy trip overall.
 

Seaboard92

Engineer
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
4,293
Location
South Carolina
I just saw the Crescent while on Taxi in Charlotte the other day returning from Flint, MI. Here is the consist I saw.

Locomotive
Locomotive
Two Amfleet II Coacehs
One Amfleet II Diner-Lite
Two Viewliner I Sleepers
One Viewliner II Baggage Dorm
 
Top