Entertainment on the train

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crescent-zephyr

Engineer
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Oct 21, 2015
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This issue has been discussed ad nauseum, but totally agree. Even when I go to the lounge I intentionally limit my time there so as to allow others to enjoy the opportunity.
The only time I’ve seen every seat taken in SSL was on the Zephyr through the Rockies. And no offense but I’m not going to limit my time during the most scenic portion of a train ride I spent lots of money for. Right after breakfast I’ll grab my spot and I will be there until Lunch!
 

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,104
It would be nice if there was a movie every night in the dining car for sleeper passengers. Even better would be TVs in every room like cruise ships. It could show progress along with shows and movies.
They have them, pre-loaded with entertainment, in the Prestige Class on VIA Rail--and in four days, we weren't even tempted to fire it up, even once. I think on cruises, there is a recognition that one patch of ocean looks pretty much like all the other patches of ocean, and if you have cruised before, you've already seen enough open ocean for a lifetime. Thus, the thought that entertainment units are needed.

On Amtrak, there's almost always something of interest to see right out the window. But if the scenery doesn't float your boat--bad metaphor apology--you can always download your entertainment of choice to your electronic device of preference before boarding and get to watch whatever you like.

I can think of lots of amenities that I'd rather Amtrak spend money on before putting entertainment units in the bedrooms. As always, YMMV, of course.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
963
Location
QB 101
I just had a 1 of a kind 'entertainment' aboard Acela 2153 today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and entourage got on at NYP in what I presume was the last car as all the cops (NYC and Amtrak), dogs, secret service, Amtrak higher ups, and maybe 5 photogs with more press. The PM et all rode in the last car as they likely would have overflowed the First Class car. I was in the quiet car for the $71 trip compliments of the Flash Sale a couple weeks ago.

I got on at NHV and wondered why the longer than normal pause between those that got off and the flood of boarding passengers. They must have come down the elevator on the east side of the new station, so they walked the length of the train.

Just before we passed New Carrolton, an announcement was made that the doors won't be opened until a 'dignitary' gets off. So we sat for about 15 minutes waiting for WAS security and Amtrak staff to hustle down the platform, then 5 minutes later, the entourage came trickling by, then a group with Boris Johnson on the far side of the platform with a number of secret service agents. I made sure everyone in the quiet car was aware that the dignitary was the PM which caused a number of people to move to the windows on the left side of the train. After he was gone, we were allowed to deboard but they held everyone at the ramp down for a couple minutes, probably to make sure he got all the way through the station and out the door.
 

denmarks

Train Travel Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
618
Location
Chico, CA
They have them, pre-loaded with entertainment, in the Prestige Class on VIA Rail--and in four days, we weren't even tempted to fire it up, even once. I think on cruises, there is a recognition that one patch of ocean looks pretty much like all the other patches of ocean, and if you have cruised before, you've already seen enough open ocean for a lifetime. Thus, the thought that entertainment units are needed.

On Amtrak, there's almost always something of interest to see right out the window. But if the scenery doesn't float your boat--bad metaphor apology--you can always download your entertainment of choice to your electronic device of preference before boarding and get to watch whatever you like.

I can think of lots of amenities that I'd rather Amtrak spend money on before putting entertainment units in the bedrooms. As always, YMMV, of course.
I would only need it at night when there is nothing to see outside the window. I would never use it during the day. I go on Amtrak to see the scenery, not to look at a book or TV.
 

Qapla

Engineer
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
2,185
Location
Gator Country Florida
Our Public Library has a very nice catalog of audio books that can be checked out free of charge. Some are on a device you actually carry with you, some are on CD (they even still have some on cassette tape) and then there are the ones you d/l directly to your device and you can just listen with your phone, tablet of whatever device you put it on.
 

Dakota 400

Engineer
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,237
Wow! And of course you can participate in a parallel landing at SFO (although just this morning I saw a video of a triple parallel landing at O'hare)
On one flight, my plane was landing at ORD while another plane was landing on a parallel runway. That was quite a sight for me!
 

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,104
Having Amtrak supply video equipment and content to the bedrooms would be a big expense. First, there's the cost of the equipment itself, and the inevitable servicing needs due to misuse and breakage--not to mention the issue of theft that apparently occurred when this was done years ago on the Viewliners. Then there is the not insignificant cost of the licensing of the content--which would be a continuing cost as the crop of movies and television shows got stale. And consumers would demand a lot of content, which would translate into a lot of licensing fees. (Airlines have learned this to their sorrow, and it is one of the things pushing towards the elimination of airline-provided entertainment systems. Then there is the matter of SCA time spent troubleshooting equipment, teaching folks how to use it, etc. (Ask a flight attendant what the number one use of call buttons is on international flights and they will confirm, it's problems and issues with the entertainment systems.) And, if they were to be retrofitted into the Superliners, where would you put them? Maybe in the space above the chair? But that would mean you'd lose a prime storage area--which the bedrooms are not richly supplied with to begin with. With all that attendant expense, wouldn't bedroom prices have to be increased to cover it? Or would coach fares go up to subsidize the entertainment systems in the bedrooms?

Seriously, there is a simple solution--and one which ensures that each passenger gets exactly the kind and amount of entertainment that they prefer--download your desired entertainment before you board. I would guess that just about every person who can afford traveling in a bedroom already has devices like smartphones, tablets, or laptop capable of serving their entertainment needs. And I would not want to pay extra for my bedroom to subsidize the entertainment needs of those unable or unwilling to supply their own. Rather than spend the money on that, I think a better upgrade is to make the HVAC system work more efficiently, or in some instances, just plain work.
 
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BCL

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Joined
Nov 16, 2012
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San Francisco Bay Area
Having Amtrak supply video equipment and content to the bedrooms would be a big expense. First, there's the cost of the equipment itself, and the inevitable servicing needs due to misuse and breakage--not to mention the issue of theft that apparently occurred when this was done years ago on the Viewliners. Then there is the not insignificant cost of the licensing of the content--which would be a continuing cost as the crop of movies and television shows got stale. And consumers would demand a lot of content, which would translate into a lot of licensing fees. (Airlines have learned this to their sorrow, and it is one of the things pushing towards the elimination of airline-provided entertainment systems. Then there is the matter of SCA time spent troubleshooting equipment, teaching folks how to use it, etc. (Ask a flight attendant what the number one use of call buttons is on international flights and they will confirm, it's problems and issues with the entertainment systems.) And, if they were to be retrofitted into the Superliners, where would you put them? Maybe in the space above the chair? But that would mean you'd lose a prime storage area--which the bedrooms are not richly supplied with to begin with. With all that attendant expense, wouldn't bedroom prices have to be increased to cover it? Or would coach fares go up to subsidize the entertainment systems in the bedrooms?

Seriously, there is a simple solution--and one which ensures that each passenger gets exactly the kind and amount entertainment that they prefer--download your desired entertainment before you board. I would guess that just about every person who can afford traveling in a bedroom already has devices like smartphones, tablets, or laptop capable of serving their entertainment needs. And I would not want to pay extra for my bedroom to subsidize the entertainment needs of those unable or unwilling to supply their own. Rather than spend the money on that, I think a better upgrade is to make the HVAC system work more efficiently, or in some instances, just plain work.
Some devices have limited storage. I had an iPad Mini 2 with only 16 GB and it was really limiting. After it was damaged (I had it fixed) I replaced it with a 32 GB version pretty cheap, and that was a bit better but not ideal. Of course Apple devices don't have any means to expand with something like an SD card, which can be really cheap compared to paying for more built-in storage. However, that doesn't necessarily work for all apps.

What some airlines are doing now is providing an on demand entertainment library available via Wi-Fi, like Gogo Inflight. There might be internet access for a fee, as well as free access to the airline's website or certain live TV. I guess by going to specific live channels they would reduce the need for accessing limited satellite or ground communications bandwidth. The live TV might even be a broadcast that's going to multiple aircraft in the sky at any given time. The entertainment library would be stored onboard so it doesn't have to go to the internet to access that content. The Wi-Fi part has a lot of bandwidth, but any connection to the internet is going to be the bottleneck.

Not sure it's that practical for Amtrak, but I could see something like an entertainment library. The only issue I could see is that there would have to be at least one transceiver in each car, and how to link them to a single point (or if it would make more sense to make each car independent).
 

crescent-zephyr

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Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
Having Amtrak supply video equipment and content to the bedrooms would be a big expense.
Amtrak had video equipment and content in coaches back in the early 90’s and also when the Talgos first appeared. And of course the viewliners as well. I remember the TVs lasting on the viewliners for several years, they weren’t instantly broken or stolen.

With personal devices it’s not really a big issue now but it would be fairly easy in the grand scheme of things to offer.
 

Bembidion

Train Attendant
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Aug 9, 2021
Messages
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Location
Meriden, CT
Maybe am I dull one, but I never get bored looking out of the window of changing landscapes, small towns, big cities, golden fields, rushing mountain streams, and grabbing ever so brief brief glimpses of people going about their lives, anticipating the next vista around the upcoming bend. This is why I ride trains.
I'm with you on that. It's hard to read books and do other stuff with an ever changing landscape unless its soybean fields ad infinitum outside of Chicago. I would like to go way out west and see some of that spectacular scenery. The farthest west we've ever been on a train is Oklahoma City.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
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Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,623
Maybe am I dull one, but I never get bored looking out of the window of changing landscapes, small towns, big cities, golden fields, rushing mountain streams, and grabbing ever so brief brief glimpses of people going about their lives, anticipating the next vista around the upcoming bend. This is why I ride trains.
And especially when it gets dark in the weeks before Christmas. There's nothing like going through a town or city with lots of houses decorated for the season.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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Mar 30, 2019
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Denver
I like looking out the window at night... with all the lights off in my room... it makes for surreal entertainment fueled by dreams of past railroad adventures gone by 😊
View attachment 24503
Locomotive 94 1538, a 1914 Prussian freight engine, was assigned to the West German Deutsche Bundesbahn in 1949. It finished its career working in the Ruhr industrial areas. It has been restored after sitting as a static display from 1972 to 1997. Its top speed was rated at 60 km/h. 😉

94 1538 (eisenbahn-museumsfahrzeuge.de)

 
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Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
964
Location
Albuquerque, NM
I just had a 1 of a kind 'entertainment' aboard Acela 2153 today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and entourage got on at NYP in what I presume was the last car as all the cops (NYC and Amtrak), dogs, secret service, Amtrak higher ups, and maybe 5 photogs with more press. The PM et all rode in the last car as they likely would have overflowed the First Class car. I was in the quiet car for the $71 trip compliments of the Flash Sale a couple weeks ago.

I got on at NHV and wondered why the longer than normal pause between those that got off and the flood of boarding passengers. They must have come down the elevator on the east side of the new station, so they walked the length of the train.

Just before we passed New Carrolton, an announcement was made that the doors won't be opened until a 'dignitary' gets off. So we sat for about 15 minutes waiting for WAS security and Amtrak staff to hustle down the platform, then 5 minutes later, the entourage came trickling by, then a group with Boris Johnson on the far side of the platform with a number of secret service agents. I made sure everyone in the quiet car was aware that the dignitary was the PM which caused a number of people to move to the windows on the left side of the train. After he was gone, we were allowed to deboard but they held everyone at the ramp down for a couple minutes, probably to make sure he got all the way through the station and out the door.
Someone on one of the Facebook Amtrak fans page mentioned that there was a whole lot of Amtrak police presence on the train and station she was on/at yesterday or the day before (someplace on the east coast). I wonder if that was the same situation.
 

Trollopian

Service Attendant
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Sep 19, 2014
Messages
191
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Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
Times have changed. This sounds quaint, but I used to prepare for long overseas trips by going to the library's 25-cent shelf and stocking up on 6 or 8 "throwaway" paperbacks for my journey. Sure, I spent daytime sightseeing and evenings at the opera or symphony, but that still left hours to fill on the flight and at bedtime. I'd finish a book and leave it behind. I like to think that hotel staff who were learning English picked them up and read them. Maybe Central Europe has a curious number of ex-chambermaids who talk like characters in P.G. Wodehouse or Anthony Trollope.
 

basketmaker

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
241
Location
Brighton, CO (DEN but FMG-Preferred)
Me too. As an avgeek, seeing the wing and engine(s) is a huge bonus too.
I agree. For me it is the next to the last row window either side. The seats recline (at least on carriers that still have reclining seats *hello Frontier:mad:*) and usually the safest area in case of an "incident". Dad worked many incidents in his 30 years with the FAA and taught me that early. Also, love the engine sounds right outside the window particularly on DC-9, MD-80, ERJ, etc.. Other than small single-engined (Cessna 172, Piper Cherokee, etc.) rear-engined twin jets are the only thing I can sleep on? After 48 years in the aviation industry I much prefer Amtrak!
 

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