Fantasy Design: The Night Owl II Sleeper

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Mind my horrible drawing skills. But due to a recent trend in overnight sleepers, I created this design for the Northeast Regional's overnight service in which I used the original name of the service, the "Night Owl."
The Night Owl II features special sleepers inspired by and based on Japanese capsule hotels and a work lounge for better posture and getting any work done before and after resting. The Night Owl II is meant for use on overnight trips below 12 hours, with 2 room types, MINI and MINI+

MINI Beds are stacked on top of each other and are most similar to capsules in Japan. They have a space for luggage on the sides and a dividable shoe area to avoid baggage crushing smaller items in that spot. There's a mini table and console with Outlets, HVAC, and Light controls on the side near the head of the bed. Both the entryway to the bed and the window have curtains.
MINI+ Beds are not stacked and have a higher ceiling, great for those who feel cramped. They also have space for luggage on the sides and dividable shoe areas, but there are pull-up drawer spaces in the bigger table for fitting smaller bags. There's a console with Outlets, HVAC, and Light controls near the table at the head of the bed. The head of the bed now has a mini table as well allowing you to work privately in your room if you please.

The Night Owl sets also come with the Night Owl Lounge. The Night Owl Lounge is a work and hangout lounge for better posture and light. It features a self-serve drink station with coffee, water, and juice which is included in your ticket. The Night Owl Lounge can also be used as an eastern version of a Sightseer if needed, but that's just another idea.
I have plans on redrawing these designs sometime in the future. This was a fun fantasy project to work on and I'm happy to hear any suggestions and comments. Enjoy the ride!
 

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Anderson

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Congratulations, you have just envisioned a Slumbercoach mated with a Japanese sleeper car.

Edit: The lounge idea isn't a bad one, if I'm being honest. I might fiddle with it a bit, but I like the general idea. I'd probably adjust the design so that it could be run attended or unattended, but I like it.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Sorry not sold on the pod concept of a sleeper berth. I agree with Anderson about the cafe car attendant option.
 

Mailliw

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Loving it. It's basically an American version of Nightjet's new couchette cars (also conveniently made by Siemens). These could also be used on any future Euro style night trains (eg NYC-Montreal or LA-Bay Area). I do think the lounge should have a cafe area. I don't think that much passenger space is necessary and you could easily fit crew and/or luggage compartments
 
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west point

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It "may" be that a small percentage of potential passengers do not want to stay in an overnight hotel and would prefer the train.? Just speculation but it would only take less than a percentage to overwhelm sleeper service space both here and in the EU ?
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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Sleepers are a niche service, but still popular. They have there limitations, but also have a plus side.
 

jis

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Sleepers are a niche service, but still popular. They have there limitations, but also have a plus side.
That is certainly true in this and several other countries. But in places like India and Russia, I would hardly characterize Sleepers as a niche service on long distance trains when there are multitudes of almost entire long trains consisting of just Sleeping Cars of various shades running every day of the year.

Part of the problem in the US as I see it is that the attempt to make Sleepers as a gold plated product to the complete exclusion of any reasonably priced version of it, forces it to be a niche product even more so than if there were a reasonable non-gold plated product available. To add to the wound, the so called gold plated service is not even that gold plated when push comes to shove, except for the fare charged for it.
 

John from RI

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One alternative would be to return of to the open sleepers American railroads ran so successfully for so many years. VIA Rail in Canada still runs them; why not Amtrak. I do agree that 3 stacked berths would yield more revenue than 2 stacked berths. If that can work I am all for it and I would ride in a 3 berth car curtained off from the corridor. But I suspect 2 stacked births would be more acceptable to Americans.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Couchette 6 berth compartment.

6 people who never met before, and will never see each other again. Spending the night together, hoping that one of them not a axle murder. :p
 
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west point

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Yes the present Amtrak sleeper service is gold plated. Until the complete demand for gold plating is met why expand service into unknow demand ?. My suspicion is that despite the present C-19 crew shortages that every present available sleeper could be filled once enough personnel are in service. Then Amtrak will first try to see if more of the same gold plating will finally meet demand. IMO until that demand is met Amtrak will not expand sleeper service into other less certain services. It is a real chicken and egg problem. That does follow the apparent cash rewards programs for reducing expenses instead of increasing revenue vs. expenses to senior management ?
 
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Mailliw

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If Amtrak get away open section cars having a wheelchair space space adjacent to an accessible bathroom instead of an ensuite accessible bedroom I'm sure we'd seem them. Sure roomettes would go away, we'd get a mid-tier option in between economy coach seating and first class sleeping compartments. Some overnight routes (like the Night Owl) would do just fine with seated coaches and section cars.
 

sttom

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Amtrak really does need a different version of business class for its overnight trains. One historical note is that the older tourist sleepers carried 24 people on the low end and 32 on the high end. When Budd designed it's replacement for the tourist sleeper after World War 2, it was a 32 seat coach that was just a whole car of single slumbercoach rooms. Pullman's answer was a 24 duplex roomette car. Given that you could cram 32 lie flat seats in a single level coach, a better business class is viable. Not only that, but old sleepers had to cram a smoking lounge and 2 full sized bathrooms in them. So, Amtrak could do this and it would make sense for them. Will everyone want a lie flat seat/tourist sleeper or whatever it gets called? No. But, a lot of people do want this.
 

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Like the cafe car, the hand rail in the seat area is a plus.

The sleeper chair I don’t get it. There not flat, and why would this work for anyone. These pictures show high quality bedding which is weird for a open space sleeping area.

This just seem to be a attempt to provide a overnight train service on the cheap. Oh look we got wine served by a host, with high quality bedding.

Yes I get that some people may think this is a low cost option for overnight trains, but I will not be traveling this way.
 

Mailliw

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It's worth mentioning that a section sleeper version of a Venture coach would be easy to make, not require additional plumbing, and could be converted to a traditional seated coach without much difficulty. It's not as risky an experiment as other options.
 
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sttom

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It's worth mentioning that a section sleeper version of a Venture coach would be easy to make, not require additional plumbing, and could be converted to a traditional seated coach without much difficulty. It's not as risky an experiment as other options.
The risk would be the cost. The cost to convert a Horizon car would start at $1.9 million just for the seats. Converting all of the Horizons would start at $165 million and given how...I would say risk averse, but Amtrak management seems to think that is too risky. That much money would be too thick for their blood. Add in the cost of other things like if the plumbing needs or AC needs work and that would make someone squint suspiciously.
 

Cal

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The "Spirit of Queensland" that runs from Brisbane to Cairns in Australia is the equivalent to the Silvers. A few years ago they replaced the classic sleepers with a seat similar to long-haul airline business class. Pics here Spirit of Queensland (queenslandrailtravel.com.au). It's a potential model for what you are thinking of?
I like it, but I don’t love it. I prefer private rooms
 

west point

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Gentlemen : We have a real problem here at Amtrak. Once the C-19 personnel shortages are fixed then it becomes that Amtrak will have a real equipment shortage. Even Amtrak now grudgingly admits it did not anticipate the demand for LD nd shorts on LD trains. Even OCT which is a very low demand time has instead kept trains full though with shorter trains. It will become that all in service cars will fill up. That is not even considering possible new service that is being proposed and some follow up already.

To take say 8 Horizon cars out of service for modifications removes one or 2 train sets from any revenue service. That is the equivalent of on or 2 train sets for Gulf coast service. What new service do you propose to forgo ? Plus + you reduce a 60 - 70 person capacity to maybe 30 later is counter productive. Changing 8 or so cars would cost the same as buying what 3 more cars ? More capacity.

Now just who is going to do these modifications ? Most likely only Beech and maybe Bear could do these. But do you want to take maintenance personnel to do these or for probably lesser times repairing out of service cars. Remember hiring unlimited personnel for these locations is not a immediate possible result. Many new hires will have to go thru apprenticeship to become journeymen.
 
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Tlcooper93

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I'm not sure Americans would be receptive to some kind of Japanese pod hotel accommodations. Sleeping in a compartment with five strangers would also not be wildly popular.
I once said something similar on this forum and got rather rudely chewed out by some people passionately in disagreement.

I stand by what I said before in believing multiple berth sleeper compartments won’t sell well in America.
 

Mailliw

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I'm not suggesting taking existing coaches out of service* to convert open sections; I think it should be considered when ordering new rolling stock. New rolling stock that would be easy to convert to conventional seating if the concept doesn't pan out.

*Though maybe some experiments could be done with decommissioned Amfleet Is.
 

John819

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Gentlemen : We have a real problem here at Amtrak. Once the C-19 personnel shortages are fixed then it becomes that Amtrak will have a real equipment shortage. Even Amtrak now grudgingly admits it did not anticipate the demand for LD nd shorts on LD trains. Even OCT which is a very low demand time has instead kept trains full though with shorter trains. It will become that all in service cars will fill up. That is not even considering possible new service that is being proposed and some follow up already.

To take say 8 Horizon cars out of service for modifications removes one or 2 train sets from any revenue service. That is the equivalent of on or 2 train sets for Gulf coast service. What new service do you propose to forgo ? Plus + you reduce a 60 - 70 person capacity to maybe 30 later is counter productive. Changing 8 or so cars would cost the same as buying what 3 more cars ? More capacity.

Now just who is going to do these modifications ? Most likely only Beech and maybe Bear could do these. But do you want to take maintenance personnel to do these or for probably lesser times repairing out of service cars. Remember hiring unlimited personnel for these locations is not a immediate possible result. Many new hires will have to go thru apprenticeship to become journeymen.
The Superliner Is are nearing the end of their lifespan (perhaps 5-7 years left). The backlog on new car orders is several years. So the big crunch is coming, and there is not much Amtrak can do about it because they lost time over the last 10 years.
 
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