Here's where I'm conflicted. Rail transportation itself is the public service.If Amtrak didn’t provide a public service that would be the end of it. But most people here want to see Amtrak provide a service to as many people as reasonably possible, myself included. If rates stay extremely high it’s time to take a serious look at increasing supply.
They got a lot of prime real estate to develop which bondholders found interesting. They just had to build a rail service in order to develop it.It's privately funded and operated. They got some tax relief on the bonds, but I'm pretty sure there is no taxpayer money involved.
Actually, it was Pullman. The entire pitch of the service was “luxury for the middle class” and the “height of luxury” for the wealthy.Who came up with the idea that wishing to have a bed to sleep in and some privacy was Luxurious service?
There is no premium charge to go from one place to another on Amtrak, either.We pay for the highways but there isn't a premium charge to drive somewhere on them.
Isn't that the point of the number-crunching with old fare tables and inflation calculators earlier in this thread? That you're right the coach-sleeper fare difference is bigger now, but it's because the sleeper fares then and now are roughly equivalent but the coach fares are cheaper now.Sure it was a step above coach in cost but nothing like the differences now
On many highways there is a premium charge. They're called toll roads and the tolls continue long after public bonds have been paid off.Who came up with the idea that wishing to have a bed to sleep in and some privacy was Luxurious service? Most all the Pullman ads from the streamliner era showed them as a place for granny and the kids to arrive rested and safe. Sure it was a step above coach in cost but nothing like the differences now and worse we have many in congress who think its something we shouldn't be pushing for. I wonder how many of them would ride three days in a coach and then say a place to lay down and sleep away from crowds was some outrageous privilege. As above I feel the public is already paying for the trains to operate, why do we think we have to charge such high fares on top of that. We pay for the highways but there isn't a premium charge to drive somewhere on them.
Yep. People seem to think if sleeping car fares were "affordable" (whatever that means), they would actually be available for booking when people actually want to book. I for one am glad sleeping cars are (relatively) expensive and use yield management and have different buckets. That way there are rooms available for me when I am ready to book them, rather then all being hoovered up at cheap fares the moment they appear in the reservation systems 11 months in advance of departure.Oddly, people attach different values to things and are willing to spend their money in different ways.
You might be surprised at how expensive rail fares were “back in the day.” Use an inflation calculator, and you’ll find Amtrak fares are usually lower.Thanks joelkfla for that info. It is true I cannot remember traveling in a drawing room on the Southern, only the Santa Fe Super Chief--but is still was a fabulous
sleeping car space. I know it is 50+ years later, but can you imagine those fares compared to today??
I believe the railroads always required the minimum rail fares for an accommodation. That wasn’t something new in the ‘70s. It’s a relic from the Pullman days when the railroad got the rail fare and Pullman the space charge. Railroads had skin in the game in seeing that single travelers weren’t taking up a drawing room.This is from the 1965 Burlington timetable:
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Their accommodations fare was higher for 2 passengers than for 1, but only the Drawing Room & Bedroom Suites required additional rail fares. D&RG was the same.
Southern RR (below) does not show a difference for 1 to 2 passengers, but does require 2 rail fares for a Bedroom Suite. (Looks like they didn't offer Drawing Rooms.)
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Timetable images copied from streamlinermemories.info
Southern didn’t have Slumbercoaches.I always liked riding the Crescent in a SlumberCoach Roomette, both Sourhern and Amtrak versions ,between Washington and Atlanta on my many trips to/from while visiting my dad.
It is still the best Sleeper Deal I've ever found on US LD Trains.
I'm not disputing that Brightline's business plan revolves around RE development, but I don't have a problem with that.They got a lot of prime real estate to develop which bondholders found interesting. They just had to build a rail service in order to develop it.
Also, at around 80 miles, it's a commuter rail service with intercity stop frequency. So--perhaps in that sense it's a new product.
I still hold that what is riding on the rails is not unique to the US in some new fundamental way as when the Auto Train, Pullman Cars or even the Vista Dome were introduced. Then again, just having a conference room on Brightline would probably fit my definition of a new product.
When/if they serve beyond the Miami Metropolitan Area, we can call it intercity rail. And to be clear: I do hope they make it all the way to Tampa and beyond and bring about a lot of new investment and interest in intercity-esque passenger rail.
Neither do I, I hope they succeed in Florida and go on to build between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and many other places. I hope other real estate developers copy their idea throughout the country. Whether Brightline, development the Los Angeles Metro has done, or the High Line, developing dormant rail properties is on the upswing. Granted, it's the cheapest way to acquire new land in urban metros. It's also probably the only way we'll get new passenger rail in this country.I'm not disputing that Brightline's business plan revolves around RE development, but I don't have a problem with that.
When it's operating. That's the part that scares me. The disadvantage to not being a public service or really regulated as far as service frequency is that they can shut down whenever they want and keep the RE holdings.You can reasonably say that the completed portion is in the distance range of commuter rail, but the character of their service is way above commuter rail.
Very glad I booked a roomette at $505 from Chi to Sea last March for early next month. When the railpass was $299 I booked my trip around that. I m on my pass now. My original itinerary included the CONO and the Crescent today and Tuesday. Ida stopped that portion.I took the EB in April. Had a fabulous trip. Looked into doing it again next April and the prices are a full thousand dollars more! I'm sure playing with dates might help but wow! To me besides the difference in years the only change is the food! I did not eat any flex meals on my trip, except for the tasty warm rolls! I dont eat frozen meals at home and didn't want to on vacation! Lol I ate enough in the 8 days in Seattle to make up for it! I hate to fly but could round trip 5 times for current prices on the EB. Sad, because it was an incredible trip.
I still think people should pay separately for sleeping car service and dining car meals. If the only way to fund diners is to force people to pay for meals they don't want, then maybe the diners really should be killed off, but I don't think that is what would happen. If fewer sleeping car passengers ate in the diners, that would presumably create room for coach passengers to use the diners again, and that would be a good thing. It would be nice to see some full accounting of dining car and sleeping car finances, but I suspect that when you transfer sleeping car revenues to the dining car account to pay for "complimentary" meals, both diners and sleepers end up losing money. That doesn't look good politically, because it makes both services like taxpayer-funded subsidies for the wealthy (especially when coach passengers are excluded from the diner). My guess is that if you end the cash transfer, the sleeper accounts would show a clear profit, and that's important if we want sleeping car service to continue. Diners would continue to show a loss, I assume, but that would be easier to justify politically, especially if the dining cars were for coach passengers too, because people have to eat.That would be a very efficient way of killing off what is left of the dining cars.
No reason to be amazed by that. Current Family Bedroom and Bedroom fares on the EB have ranges of $1038 and $1407, respectively. The range for Roomettes is a meager $547.I took the EB in April. Had a fabulous trip. Looked into doing it again next April and the prices are a full thousand dollars more! I'm sure playing with dates might help but wow!