Eliminating open-plan seating and having all cars be compartments

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NYP2NFL01

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I think about The Beatles in "A Hard Day's Night". They shared a compartment with that little old man they "adopted" as their GrandDad 😀
 

toddinde

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With Covid, I don’t want to be in a train car with air circulating among dozens of people. And I never liked the handful of cell phone loudmouths on any train.

For these reasons, why not eliminate open-plan seating and make all coaches into cars with compartments?

European railroads have long done this. I recall Belgian commuter trains even having this in the early 1990s.

Plus couldn’t compartments be transformed into couchette cars at night? Surely that’s more appealing than seats at night.

Thanks for letting me stand on my soapbox for a bit.
Compartments have been disappearing in Europe for years. You didn’t have them to yourself. There could be five other people joining you, any of which could be a carrier of something, so now you’re in a little room sharing the concentrated air with five others. An open coach seems better from that standpoint. I love compartments, and love it when I get a European train that has them. Maybe we’ll see them someday, but they’re kind of an anachronism in Europe.
 

SarahZ

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So maybe the solution for my concerns is to have a few compartments in first-class cars, for cell phone users, and to have the rest of the car as open seating, as quiet zone?
Or, rather than retrofitting all of the coaches to accommodate a few annoying people, you could book a Quiet Car (if available), let the conductor know someone is being disruptive, or wear headphones.

I'm sympathetic, as I hate loud cell phone talkers too, but I really don't see how creating compartments is going to help anything. You can't force loud people to purchase them.
 
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TheCrescent

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Or, rather than retrofitting all of the coaches to accommodate a few annoying people, you could book a Quiet Car (if available), let the conductor know someone is being disruptive, or wear headphones.

I'm sympathetic, as I hate loud cell phone talkers too, but I really don't see how creating compartments is going to help anything. You can't force loud people to purchase them.
Having a quiet portion of the first class car would be good business for Amtrak.

When I think that I can pay more for first class on the Acela but there will be at least one cell phone loudmouth, I often decide that I can pay less and go in the quiet car.
 
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nferr

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Let's be real. These are basically longer distance commuter trains. I think some people here have never ridden on them. They get packed between some of the cities in the NE. These ideas are close to ridiculous IMO.
 
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TheCrescent

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nferr, I hope that your post was directed at others. I'm a regular rider in the Northeast, mostly on the Acela but sometimes on Regionals and even sometimes on long-distance trains. I also used to be a pretty regular rider on European commuter trains in the Low Countries/Rhineland areas, which had compartments. I've also taken commuter trains with compartments around London.
 

Mailliw

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Including one or two seating compartments as a premium upgrade for groups might be worth considering for the new Amfleet replacements.
 
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Exvalley

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Including one or two seating compartments as a premium upgrade for groups might be worth considering for the new Amfleet replacements.
That’s exactly what LimoLiner offered between Boston and New York. I also seem to recall that at least one European train offers a private room.
 

Cal

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Why not it not be a reserved seating, but just an area where people can go to if they wish to have a phone call or two people need to conduct private business?
 

jis

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Why not it not be a reserved seating, but just an area where people can go to if they wish to have a phone call or two people need to conduct private business?
You really expect that to be something workable on an SRO train as is common in non-COVID times on the NEC? My recollection is that in rush hours on a Regional, I could very seldom find a so called "reserved" seat on an all reserved train when I boarded at Metropark, and inevitably had to gravitate to the Cafe to get somewhere to sit or at least stand pleasantly.

In other hours walking to the last Coach car usually led to a seat. After the Frankford Jct. derailment crumpled up a Business Class Car up front, they moved the Business Class car to the rear of the train.
 

Exvalley

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I found the European train with a conference room that I was thinking of. It's Trenitalia's Frecciarossa.

 

Cal

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You really expect that to be something workable on an SRO train as is common in non-COVID times on the NEC? My recollection is that in rush hours on a Regional, I could very seldom find a so called "reserved" seat on an all reserved train when I boarded at Metropark, and inevitably had to gravitate to the Cafe to get somewhere to sit or at least stand pleasantly.

In other hours walking to the last Coach car usually led to a seat. After the Frankford Jct. derailment crumpled up a Business Class Car up front, they moved the Business Class car to the rear of the train.
🤷‍♂️
 

Qapla

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Reserved seating on LD trains with intermediate stops where many do not ride from beginning to end and reserved seating requests would "overlap" would be problematic at best, difficult to keep the passengers happy and a nightmare to administrate
 

Exvalley

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Reserved seating on LD trains with intermediate stops where many do not ride from beginning to end and reserved seating requests would "overlap" would be problematic at best, difficult to keep the passengers happy and a nightmare to administrate
It worked quite well for me in England, but the carriage I rode in had indicators to show if a seat was available.
 

TheCrescent

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You really expect that to be something workable on an SRO train as is common in non-COVID times on the NEC? My recollection is that in rush hours on a Regional, I could very seldom find a so called "reserved" seat on an all reserved train when I boarded at Metropark, and inevitably had to gravitate to the Cafe to get somewhere to sit or at least stand pleasantly.

In other hours walking to the last Coach car usually led to a seat. After the Frankford Jct. derailment crumpled up a Business Class Car up front, they moved the Business Class car to the rear of the train.
I think it's workable.

Reserving a portion of a few cars for the cell phone loudmouths is a good idea. Even if it's just a Plexiglass partition midway through a car and a few signs saying "Reserved for Cell Phone Users", it would be a lifesaver for people like me.
 

MARC Rider

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I think it's workable.

Reserving a portion of a few cars for the cell phone loudmouths is a good idea. Even if it's just a Plexiglass partition midway through a car and a few signs saying "Reserved for Cell Phone Users", it would be a lifesaver for people like me.
Right now, at this very moment, Amtrak has something called a "Quiet Car" on the Northeast regional, Acela, and maybe a few other services. It works very well, except that it is the rearmost coach car on the train, so when the train loads in Washington, where all of the passengers enter the boarding platform from the rear of the train, it fills up pretty quickly, because it's the shortest walk down the platform. It's possible that not all of the passengers in the Quiet car really care whether they're in it or not, which means that Quiet Car availability might be limited further up the line.

There's no Quiet car for Regional business class or Acela First class, but the Acela First class does have a little secluded "phone booth" type nook on the end that somebody could use for more privacy. I'll admit that I once participated in a conference call while riding Acela First, but I wasn't the main participant of the conference, so I was mostly listening and not yapping my head off.
 

MARC Rider

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You really expect that to be something workable on an SRO train as is common in non-COVID times on the NEC? My recollection is that in rush hours on a Regional, I could very seldom find a so called "reserved" seat on an all reserved train when I boarded at Metropark, and inevitably had to gravitate to the Cafe to get somewhere to sit or at least stand pleasantly.
I think that in the last few years, even pre-Covid, the SRO crowds on the Northeast Regionals were a thing of the past. I've looked at photos of Northeast Regional and Northeast Direct consists from the 1990s and early 2000s and quite frequently the trains were only 5 cars long. My recollections over the past 10-15 years is that Northeast regional consists are typically at least 8 cars long -- 6 coaches, a business class and a cafe car. During busy periods, I've seen 9 and 10 car Northeast Regionals. Obviously, with 6 coaches instead of 3 or 4, there's a lot more capacity and the chances of being forced to stand are reduced.
 

railiner

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Including one or two seating compartments as a premium upgrade for groups might be worth considering for the new Amfleet replacements.
Some PRR Parlor cars used to have drawing rooms that could accommodate 5 to 7 passengers for conferences...
Amtrak does have that converted Metroliner car, number 9800, with parlor seats, a cafe, and several different sized private rooms that can be chartered for conferences...
 

ehbowen

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I think it's workable.

Reserving a portion of a few cars for the cell phone loudmouths is a good idea. Even if it's just a Plexiglass partition midway through a car and a few signs saying "Reserved for Cell Phone Users", it would be a lifesaver for people like me.
You do know what would happen, right? The cell phone users would chafe at sharing that space behind the partition with others like themselves, and would move out into the general seating area to make their calls. SEE ALSO: History of "smoking sections" on Amtrak trains...
 

Deni

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It's actually from the instruction page for DB's "How to book" page. I quickly Googled DB seating plan for an illustration that their high-speed trains indeed have compartments. That said, Mark (Seat 61) Smith is a great resource. Although I was a fairly experienced British rail traveller when we decided to try out German trains for the first time, I found his web pages incredibly complete and informative. I even reached out to him via email with a few unanswered questions and he graciously responded. When we returned for our rail tour of the Netherlands and other parts of Germany a couple of years ago I was an "old pro";), although much more credit goes to DB's easy-to-use English website.
I'm also a fan of this site for seating plans and consists for several countries. (Which I found, of course, through Mark's Seat 61 site)
 

TheCrescent

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You do know what would happen, right? The cell phone users would chafe at sharing that space behind the partition with others like themselves, and would move out into the general seating area to make their calls. SEE ALSO: History of "smoking sections" on Amtrak trains...
You're right.

The issue that I have is that I can either (1) go in first class on the Acela OR (2) go in peace and quiet in the quiet car.

I'd like to be able to (1) go in first class on the Acela AND (2) have peace and quiet.

But it's not possible due to the cell phone loudmouths.

I thought that having a reserved part of the car just for the cell phone loudmouths would help, but you're right: anyone who is rude enough to yell into a cell phone (or watch movies, without a headset, on his/her phone, which I saw recently in Acela First Class) isn't going to think about other people.
 
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