Future Amtrak Sleeper ideas

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jis

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I'm still not sure why trains have to be fully accessible for a wheelchair if airplanes don't. Obviously, seats and sleeping cars should be built so they are accessible, as is the current design, but other forms of transportation do not require the aisles to accommodate a full-size wheelchair.
There is as much logic to all this as there is to any other law arrived at as a result of multiple diverging forces pulling at things in different directions and how things fall in place to get enough votes to pass. Airlines are not governed by ADA. They are governed by ACAA. That is how the two laws and resulting regulations got enacted. FRA (via DOT) was directed by ADA to come up with regulations in accordance with the guidelines set by that law, for trains and this is what they gave us. And then of course all that is modulated by results of court cases.
 
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rs9

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It fits two people in the same space which accommodates four in Roomettes.
This is a bit of a misnomer, though. How many roomettes are purchased by solo travelers, as opposed to being occupied by two travelers?
 

jis

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This is a bit of a misnomer, though. How many roomettes are purchased by solo travelers, as opposed to being occupied by two travelers?
That is why classic Sections are more efficient than Roomettes and this particular brand of herringbone arrangement.

Oddly, it seems Americans would feel terribly uncomfortable sleeping in a berth fully enclosed in thick curtains but would be OK with an airline BC-like herringbone arrangement of lie flat seats. I suppose wonders never cease :D
 

rs9

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That is why classic Sections are more efficient than Roomettes and this particular brand of herringbone arrangement.

Oddly, it seems Americans would feel terribly uncomfortable sleeping in a berth fully enclosed in thick curtains but would be OK with an airline BC-like herringbone arrangement of lie flat seats. I suppose wonders never cease :D
I may be misunderstanding Sections (it's still a two-person berth in the end, right?) - but assuming I got it right, I think Americans would be leery of being in a compartment, even with a curtain instead of a door, with a complete stranger.

The herringbone lie-flat seats offer safety in numbers, if that makes sense.

I do think it's odd that Americans readily take night trains in Europe in 4 and 6-berth couchettes but wouldn't do the same in the U.S.
 

jis

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No. Not right! There is no compartment in Sections. Each berth is entirely enclosed by thick curtain and it does not share any common space with the berth below or above it. It is completely private. What is common is the seating area during daytime as the lower berth is folded up like in a Roomette.
 

crescent-zephyr

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This is a bit of a misnomer, though. How many roomettes are purchased by solo travelers, as opposed to being occupied by two travelers?
My data is of course just observational but I would guess around 50%? I'm sure it can go up and down depending on the time of the year and the specific train. If the lie-flat seats don't offer more capacity - to me they are only a disadvantage vs. roomettes. Roomettes and Bedrooms are really the ideal Amtrak sleeping car options.
 

rs9

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My data is of course just observational but I would guess around 50%? I'm sure it can go up and down depending on the time of the year and the specific train. If the lie-flat seats don't offer more capacity - to me they are only a disadvantage vs. roomettes. Roomettes and Bedrooms are really the ideal Amtrak sleeping car options.
I think "ideal" is in the eye of the beholder. As a solo traveler, the price point for a roomette would have to decline drastically before I can afford one, and I don't think I'm alone in that.
 
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That is why classic Sections are more efficient than Roomettes and this particular brand of herringbone arrangement.

Oddly, it seems Americans would feel terribly uncomfortable sleeping in a berth fully enclosed in thick curtains but would be OK with an airline BC-like herringbone arrangement of lie flat seats. I suppose wonders never cease :D
I considered getting a berth in the open sections on the Canadian; the main deal killers for me were that it didn't have an electrical outlet and there was no place to store carry-on bags. Also, I would only get a lower berth; after my experience on the Auto-Train, I'm a bit uncertain of my ability to climb into (and out of) upper berths, except maybe in Viewliner roomettes.
 
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I considered getting a berth in the open sections on the Canadian; the main deal killers for me were that it didn't have an electrical outlet and there was no place to store carry-on bags.
The last part surprises me: people didn't have so many electric gadgets when the open-section cars were designed and built, but they did have luggage. Does anyone know how this was this addressed when Pullman roamed the Earth? Check most of your luggage (which then was more like porter-hauled trunks and less like our roll-your-own 🙂 suitcases) and keep only a small bag for toiletries, one change of clothes, etc.?
 
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The last part surprises me: people didn't have so many electric gadgets when the open-section cars were designed and built, but they did have luggage. Does anyone know how this was this addressed when Pullman roamed the Earth? Check most of your luggage (which then was more like porter-hauled trunks and less like our roll-your-own 🙂 suitcases) and keep only a small bag for toiletries, one change of clothes, etc.?
While it's true that larger bags can be easily checked, I am a little concerned about the carry-ons. The Canadian, after all, is a 4-day trip from Toronto to Vancouver, so I will need to bring on board, 4 changes of underwear and socks, my toiletry case, a pair of shower flip-flops, and a bathrobe for trips to the shower. In an open section, I'd need that for trips to the toilet as well. Also, my prescription Rx's, plus electric gadgets, chargers, laptop, etc. Plus the CPAP. And I wonder how it was handled back in the day when people dressed up for dinner and in general wore more and bulkier clothing than they do today.
 

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I don't think passengers were expected to change for dinner in the dining car unlike on an ocean liner. Even on liners one never changed for dinner on the first night of a voyage (& only First Class passengers were expected to change st all.)
 

jis

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When I traveled by Sections in Canada I used the space under the seat, which is quite generous to stuff my baggage into.

In India in AC 2 Tier Sleepers, which is the closest to North American Sections, the primary baggage storage is also under the seat. I usually used to lock the bag handle using a bicycle chain lock to one of the seat supports making it hard to steal the bag. I would have a small bag with the most immediate needs and valuables with me in the berth. I do the same even on plane Sleeper pods. The carry on bag goes in the overhead bin while a small bag with valuables stays with me at the seat.
 
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Bob Dylan

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I considered getting a berth in the open sections on the Canadian; the main deal killers for me were that it didn't have an electrical outlet and there was no place to store carry-on bags. Also, I would only get a lower berth; after my experience on the Auto-Train, I'm a bit uncertain of my ability to climb into (and out of) upper berths, except maybe in Viewliner roomettes.
There is a Ladder just like in Amtrak Bedrooms to climb up to the Top Bunk on The Canadians Sections, and plenty of Room, but just like a a Superliner "Coffin", there is No Window.

I didn't carry lots of Electronics etc when I rode in Sections on the Canadian,( I have done both), but did have my necessities such as Bathroom Gear, Clothing ( layers)and Valuables in a Pack that I kept in my made up Section @ Night.

The Bedding, especially the Mattresses in the Sections, are the Most Comfortable I've ever had on a Train!
 

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It would be very easy to design a modern section car with upper berth windows and outlets galore. The big question is would ADA requirements be satisfied by a curtained wheelchair space/lie-flat seat or would it take an entire ensuite accessible bedroom?
 

jis

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It would be very easy to design a modern section car with upper berth windows and outlets galore. The big question is would ADA requirements be satisfied by a curtained wheelchair space/lie-flat seat or would it take an entire ensuite accessible bedroom?
Even if it requires an H Room, that at most takes two Section rows, so it is not necessarily a deal breaker. It does not take away any more space than it does in any ADA compliant Sleeping Car, or even a hypothetical full length Roomette Car, and it still has the advantages of providing individually bookable berths with privacy.
 
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This jumps over a lot of the discussion about what Amtrak is willing to do--which seems boring and unimaginative. I liked the Polish fast train passenger car arrangement of a series of compartments for max 8 on one side of the car, divided by a solid windowed panel with a door to an outside passageway along one side of the car (also windowed). And also the attendants who came by every hour or so with refreshments like tea and coffee and pastries.
 

John from RI

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Out of curiosity - I have zero expertise on this subject whatsoever - would would the additional costs look like in my made-up scenario? Obviously track storage, labor to change the cars, possible additional rolling stock. What else am I missing?

As has been noted many times on this board, Amtrak needs a product between coach and roomette. I am a bit skeptical Americans would go for the 4 to 6-person berths common in Europe. I'm not sure there's enough societal trust, and people's attitudes about shared spaces in the post-COVID world might be different, too.
You're exactly right to call for a car between a coach and a roomette. I have often thought an old fashioned open sleeper did this job well and I still like that idea. However, this couchette car also does it and would be a real improvement over what Amtrak now offers. The car would also carry more passengers than current sleeping cars and that is important. To keep fares at a minamum Amtrack should offer minamum service. Passengers get fresh lines but make their own beds. They eat in the diner but pay for their own meals. Transportation with low but profitable fares is what Amtrak should be about for most of us. Those willing to pay 1st class fares can have 1st class service.
 
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