First NEC Sleeper Journey - A Huge Letdown

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I recieved an email from Amtrak this morning. Apologies for the formatting.
Thank you for your recent email contact.

Amtrak welcomes feedback from customers, as it helps us to focus our efforts to improve service. We hope that you will accept our sincere apologies for the lack of adequate service during your recent travel.

We have entered your concerns into our customer database. You can rest assured that information has been shared with the responsible managers for review and any necessary corrective action.

We would not want an unsatisfactory experience to be your last impression of our service and would like to win back your confidence and support. Therefore, upon creation of this correspondence, we have authorized a Transportation Voucher in the amount of $50.00.

...

Please accept our apologies for the problems you reported and we hope you will give us another opportunity to serve you by using the Transportation Voucher toward the purchase of your next ticket.

Once again, thank you for contacting us. We look forward to serving your travel needs in the future.

Sincerely,
Donna L.

Amtrak Center of Excellence
So that’s somewhat reasonable compensation for four breakfasts, two for each of us. I’m glad to know they’ll pass this along. The “Center for Excellence” is on it!

As I stated in my email to them, I really am hoping they fix these issues. We’re actually getting on the Silver Star on Friday, New York to Tampa.
 
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I took 67 BOS-WAS Tues27Apr21 in a Viewliner I roomette using Guest Reward pts. Stopped by the Lounge around 815p-all refreshments were put away but the attendant gladly got them out for my selection. He could not confirm what "meals" service would be available but did confirm there would be a Cafe car. Passengers boarded a little late but departed on time. My roomette was cleaner than I expected with the only a bad spot -- the overhead luggage storage had cookie crumbs and the 2 hangars (cleaners don't look/clean up there). The car attendant explained the roomette features (temp control, fan control, etc) and noted my desired turn-down and wake-up times. He handed me a snack box (same as used in Acela First) and explained how I should go to the Cafe car for my complimentary beverage (wine) and other free soft drinks. Confirmed the Cafe car would be open until shortly before NYC. I relaxed for about an hour, decided to take a shower while the bed was set up. The train makes 25 stops BOS-WAS and no announcements were made. He woke me up as I requested as the train left PHL and I ventured to the Cafe car for my breakfast. Discovered a new Cafe attendant who did not know that sleeper car passengers get a free breakfast item. Again, other beverages were free. Arrived WAS a bit ahead of schedule. Used the WAS lounge to grab some coffee. As this was about the 16th day of this new service, thought it was almost flawless; the sleeper car attendant knew what to do and was helpful by explaining the schedule, features, Cafe car, etc - obviously experienced. I would do this again. FYI... the sleeper car continues to Newport News but empty - no seats are sold (res sys shows Sold Out) - evidently Amtrak will not pay for a sleeper car attendant for the WAS-NPN segment.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I took 67 BOS-WAS Tues27Apr21 in a Viewliner I roomette using Guest Reward pts. Stopped by the Lounge around 815p-all refreshments were put away but the attendant gladly got them out for my selection. He could not confirm what "meals" service would be available but did confirm there would be a Cafe car. Passengers boarded a little late but departed on time. My roomette was cleaner than I expected with the only a bad spot -- the overhead luggage storage had cookie crumbs and the 2 hangars (cleaners don't look/clean up there). The car attendant explained the roomette features (temp control, fan control, etc) and noted my desired turn-down and wake-up times. He handed me a snack box (same as used in Acela First) and explained how I should go to the Cafe car for my complimentary beverage (wine) and other free soft drinks. Confirmed the Cafe car would be open until shortly before NYC. I relaxed for about an hour, decided to take a shower while the bed was set up. The train makes 25 stops BOS-WAS and no announcements were made. He woke me up as I requested as the train left PHL and I ventured to the Cafe car for my breakfast. Discovered a new Cafe attendant who did not know that sleeper car passengers get a free breakfast item. Again, other beverages were free. Arrived WAS a bit ahead of schedule. Used the WAS lounge to grab some coffee. As this was about the 16th day of this new service, thought it was almost flawless; the sleeper car attendant knew what to do and was helpful by explaining the schedule, features, Cafe car, etc - obviously experienced. I would do this again. FYI... the sleeper car continues to Newport News but empty - no seats are sold (res sys shows Sold Out) - evidently Amtrak will not pay for a sleeper car attendant for the WAS-NPN segment.
Or VA won't pay...
 

TC_NYC

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FYI... the sleeper car continues to Newport News but empty - no seats are sold (res sys shows Sold Out) - evidently Amtrak will not pay for a sleeper car attendant for the WAS-NPN segment.
This is so crazy. They're really leaving money on the table with this move and could sell so many more tickets from Virginia to Boston. For instance RVR-BOS departing RVR at 6:30 and getting into BOS at 8am. Much better than spending all day on a regional train.
 

Cal

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I took 67 BOS-WAS Tues27Apr21 in a Viewliner I roomette using Guest Reward pts. Stopped by the Lounge around 815p-all refreshments were put away but the attendant gladly got them out for my selection. He could not confirm what "meals" service would be available but did confirm there would be a Cafe car. Passengers boarded a little late but departed on time. My roomette was cleaner than I expected with the only a bad spot -- the overhead luggage storage had cookie crumbs and the 2 hangars (cleaners don't look/clean up there). The car attendant explained the roomette features (temp control, fan control, etc) and noted my desired turn-down and wake-up times. He handed me a snack box (same as used in Acela First) and explained how I should go to the Cafe car for my complimentary beverage (wine) and other free soft drinks. Confirmed the Cafe car would be open until shortly before NYC. I relaxed for about an hour, decided to take a shower while the bed was set up. The train makes 25 stops BOS-WAS and no announcements were made. He woke me up as I requested as the train left PHL and I ventured to the Cafe car for my breakfast. Discovered a new Cafe attendant who did not know that sleeper car passengers get a free breakfast item. Again, other beverages were free. Arrived WAS a bit ahead of schedule. Used the WAS lounge to grab some coffee. As this was about the 16th day of this new service, thought it was almost flawless; the sleeper car attendant knew what to do and was helpful by explaining the schedule, features, Cafe car, etc - obviously experienced. I would do this again. FYI... the sleeper car continues to Newport News but empty - no seats are sold (res sys shows Sold Out) - evidently Amtrak will not pay for a sleeper car attendant for the WAS-NPN segment.
After hearing so many bad and okay experiences, I'm glad yours was so good!
 

Just-Thinking-51

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I ventured to the Cafe car for my breakfast. Discovered a new Cafe attendant who did not know that sleeper car passengers get a free breakfast item. Again, other beverages were free.
Do we/you get a breakfast item? Or was the snack pack supposed to be it?
 
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Do we/you get a breakfast item? Or was the snack pack supposed to be it?
Snack box was given upon arrival in the roommette. Went to Cafe car for the 'free' breakfast item. New attendent (since NY) did not know that sleeper pax get one breakfast item included but sleeper car attendent corrected him. Believe that Busn Cl pax get free beverages (not food) so that may have the reason for confusion.
 

NES28

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I imagine that the reason the sleepers are closed off south of WAS is that segment of the route is treated as a "state-supported service". None of these have sleepers. Certainly Virginia is not going to pay for this; Amtrak probably wouldn't even ask. Amtrak is required to operate the Corridor on a commercial basis. Amtrak probably can't figure out how the accounting would work to have a piece of NEC operation that is, actually off the Corridor whether or not the additional fares for trips to/from NEC stations would pay for the marginal cost of the operation. They may have looked at the old data to see how many riders there were. It does appear that this is another case where these artificial categories work against providing useful service.
 

Tlcooper93

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I imagine that the reason the sleepers are closed off south of WAS is that segment of the route is treated as a "state-supported service". None of these have sleepers. Certainly Virginia is not going to pay for this; Amtrak probably wouldn't even ask. Amtrak is required to operate the Corridor on a commercial basis. Amtrak probably can't figure out how the accounting would work to have a piece of NEC operation that is, actually off the Corridor whether or not the additional fares for trips to/from NEC stations would pay for the marginal cost of the operation. They may have looked at the old data to see how many riders there were. It does appear that this is another case where these artificial categories work against providing useful service.
the sleeper ran south of WAS back in 2003. How did they negotiate it back then?
 
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Just wanted to share a few thoughts and pictures from my overnight journey from BOS - WAS on the inaugural return of sleeper cars to the NE Regional 65-67.
I would put this in the trip reports, but I thought it might spark additional conversation.
Miles in Transit (who had a roomette next to mine booked only from BOS to BBY) has a video out.

Arriving at South Station and being able to wait in the lounge is a plus. Amtrak lounges are great, and often staffed by wonderful people. This was no exception.
They offered to check my bags, but I did not have any luggage aside from my instrument and backpack.

The sleeper car was the first car at the front of the train, so it was quite a walk, especially since tracks have been shortened at SS due to construction. I must admit, the cars are old, but from the outside, they look great!
View attachment 21534View attachment 21539View attachment 21533

I am sorry to report the my roomette was dirty when I arrived. The floor had not been thoroughly vacuumed, and while the seats were clean, the table and all other surfaces had to be wiped down. This was different from my November trip aboard the Cal Zephyr, which was overall a well cleaned room and pleasant trip.
The train departed and arrived on time, and station stops were exactly as planned, with the exception of New Haven, which lasted longer than scheduled. I was genuinely surprised how well patronized the train was, especially at the Providence stop. About 50 people boarded the train there.

In the morning, the "continental breakfast" they offered was abysmal. It was a cracker, a muffin, with a bottle of Fiji water (the best thing in the box) with a Kind Breakfast bar. The box they offer is identical on the outside to the Acela First Class "snack box," just much worse.

My experience at Union Station was positive, though the Acela Lounge there is quite a letdown. I expected cleaner seats (crumbs were all over some of them) and cleaner bathrooms (someone left the men's room a mess in more ways than one).

My Acela return journey after brief business in DC was great. The train was on time every step of the way, and Amtrak's Acela product is obviously fine tuned and very good. I would say business class offers the best value, as first class really is not much different with the exception of food (but during covid times, there's basically no difference). It was especially fun to take advantage of the 20 minute NYP stop and check out the new station.
View attachment 21540View attachment 21541View attachment 21542

By far the biggest let down of the sleeper train however, is the full volume diatribes the took place at every single major stop throughout the journey (the worst was NYP; that announcement lasted 2 minutes).
How is anyone in the sleeper car supposed to get consistent sleep. I doubt anyone who books a sleeper car is getting out at any of the intermediate destinations (especially NYP).
Doesn't Amtrak have a moratorium on announcements after 9 p.m.? I know that this train is technically a corridor train, but when I last road the sleeper version in 2001, there were no announcements after New London.

Overall a big disappointment, despite this being a much desired service. Will I take it again? Definitely. Will I recommend it? Maybe not to everyone.
Thoughts on the announcements and food service?
Isn't there a way to turn down or 'off' the sound system from inside 'your private' cabin? (I guess not?)
 

Cal

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Isn't there a way to turn down or 'off' the sound system from inside 'your private' cabin? (I guess not?)
Apparently not in the Viewliner's. Only in Superliner II's, correct me if I'm wrong.

Some SCAs, those who are good and are properly trained on the Viewliner, will turn off the announcements so it doesn't disturb anyone
 

Tlcooper93

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Isn't there a way to turn down or 'off' the sound system from inside 'your private' cabin? (I guess not?)
There was not.
This problem has been rectified, according to subsequent trips taken by other members here. The sleeper attendant has turned off sound in the car.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Of course it too much work to pull off the sleeper at Washington DC with/while the engines change. So deadheading to Virginia it is.
 
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Palmetto

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Of course it too much work to pull off the sleeper at Washington DC with/while the engines change. So deadheading to Virginia it is.
If it's right behind the engine, it's not. They add/drop equipment from 79/80 that way, don't they?
 

William W.

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Seems rather silly to put unnecessary mileage on equipment, but that's government for you I suppose.

I'm doing WAS-BOS in a few weeks to see what it's like. Used points on a roomette. I'll let y'all know how it goes.
 
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neroden

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Since the result of selling tickets on a car which is *already travelling to NPN*, even with the extra cost of the attendant, is going to be a profit, PRIIA's "states must pay costs" silliness should not apply and Amtrak should just do it. If someone's giving them guff about this, it's a good reason to go to Congress and demand total revocation of the PRIIA rule.
 
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