How do feel about riding "Coach" ?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,234
Those lounges, and the myriad other "private" nooks and crannies in some of the heritage cars, were one of the attractions of rail travel during my youth. Looking back, I wonder how we all survived, as it sometimes had a Woodstock vibe.
I was never able to experience the bar car heyday. The closest example for me was the Pacific Parlor Car. Some nights nothing happened but other times a rolling bar atmosphere would spawn organically. After the PPC was abandoned by Anderson the last vestige of the lounge car era was over. Now we're stuck with glorified gas station booths on wheels with tinted windows.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,361
Now we're stuck with glorified gas station booths on wheels with tinted windows.
The Sightseer Lounge cars are actually pretty great imho. While I would always prefer the charm of the parlor car, the ssl cars have bigger windows.

The ssl cars could be quite nice if they would decorate them and use the upstairs bar in a classy way.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,692
The Sightseer Lounge cars are actually pretty great imho. While I would always prefer the charm of the parlor car, the ssl cars have bigger windows.

The ssl cars could be quite nice if they would decorate them and use the upstairs bar in a classy way.
I know it would add an employee if they returned service to the upstairs bar, but I think it could improve the sales in that car. Trying to carry a Bloody Mary up those steps with one hand holding the drink and one hand holding the stair rails on a "rockin' an' rolling'" train....
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,361
I know it would add an employee if they returned service to the upstairs bar, but I think it could improve the sales in that car. Trying to carry a Bloody Mary up those steps with one hand holding the drink and one hand holding the stair rails on a "rockin' an' rolling'" train....
With 2 employees the car is always open for service as well. The employees would stagger the meal breaks.

There’s no reason the ssl couldn’t be used for wine tastings, happy hour, etc. with at-table service. If there was a second employee of course.

Lots of options, but Amtrak is mostly going the opposite direction.
 

Deni

Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
169
Those lounges, and the myriad other "private" nooks and crannies in some of the heritage cars, were one of the attractions of rail travel during my youth. Looking back, I wonder how we all survived, as it sometimes had a Woodstock vibe.
There were a couple of times it got ugly on the smoking car. But usually stayed pretty chill. There were always some colorful characters either way. And we were usually pretty well drunk and otherwise mind-altered. Unbelievable how much we got away with smoking pot in the open. The awful things I used to do to my body when I was younger. 😂
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
319
With 2 employees the car is always open for service as well. The employees would stagger the meal breaks.

There’s no reason the ssl couldn’t be used for wine tastings, happy hour, etc. with at-table service. If there was a second employee of course.

Lots of options, but Amtrak is mostly going the opposite direction.
I had the same thought when the PPC was yanked. If they weren't trying to kill the train, they would have staffed the upper level.
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
319
Most of my overnight travel in the U.S. has been in Superliners and I find the coach seats, and especially the Business Class seats, more comfortable than a Roomette. I'm tall enough to find the beds too short. For age and disability reasons I'm usually on the lower level, so there is no through traffic. I wear a hat with a brim or a visor and pull it down over my eyes against the lights.

One advantage of coach is having windows on both sides and waking up at just the right moment. This photo is from Spring Break 1967 on SP Train 12, running late, of course. In those days, coach was an economic necessity that brought a week in San Francisco within reach.

19Ak Mt.Shasta dawn.jpg
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,686
True windows on both sides, but aren't most of the windows covered by curtains overnight, and at dawn...?
 

Lacunacoil

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
19
I've been poor since 15 lol so 30 years of poor. All I know is just regular seat. I'm on train long distance often. I actually drive back from Florida to ny last month due to coronavirus and every truck was on my rear end as I was doing cruise 70 in slow lane but trucks want to do 80 to 110 and only want to do it in the slow lane to avoid tickets. Anyway, train always has some poor people, as in, one city shipping homeless person off to his hometown. They generally have no money and spend trip asking for food money. 80% are normal quiet, theres usually 1 bad drunk, or just bad attitude person per car, well not usually... maybe 40% of the time. You also get the phone people, I talk 100 minutes a month on the phone. Some people on a 20 hour train ride will be on the phone 17 hours. And they talk loud. Some people wont have head phones and if u ask conductor to enforce that rule at bedtime they look at you like maybe we should throw him off the train. I've had my bag cut open when I walked away from seat for ten minutes. I've seen others thrown off for stealing phones, fighting cursing smoking taking pants off for moment, looking at porn and selling stuff...seen slot people thrown off. I sleep good if nobody is next to me. I bring hoodie, blanket pillow exercise mat. Also alot people smell bad. My sense smell was always low but as I get older I get bothered by smell. Some dont believe in deodorant if certain groups of people. Most men without deodorant will smell in hour or 2 after showering.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
316
Most of my overnight travel in the U.S. has been in Superliners and I find the coach seats, and especially the Business Class seats, more comfortable than a Roomette...
I have never been on a Superliner (that I recall) offered BC. Which routes have offered it?
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,686
I have never been on a Superliner (that I recall) offered BC. Which routes have offered it?
I believe the Coast Starlight does, or did when I rode it....
I don't think it's at all "worth it", as the seats are the same as any of the other Superliner coaches...and neither did other's on my trip during the Tehachapi detour...it was in fact, empty!
 

jimmrl

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
49
Going back to the original post:

My first ride on Amtrak was from Denver to Chicago in coach about 15 years ago. I did not care for the overnight in coach.

Over the last eight or nine years I have switched to roomettes for over night travel and I love it. I have and will do coach for day trips like I did last year from Williamsburg VA to NY/NY.
 

NYP2NFL01

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
22
The "last" time I rode coach overnight was in 2014 onboard LSL from NYP to DET (via Thruway bus at TOL). I so wanted a sleeper but finances at the time dictated coach. The first 6 to 8 hours were okay. After that those coach seat cushions really became a pain in the "butt"! I was SO uncomfortable. And forget about trying to sleep. The same was true on the return trip. My body suffered for weeks after that ordeal. Since then I've vowed never to travel overnight in coach again. I just save up, watch Amtrak for sales/discounts, and travel in a Roomette at a minimum.
 

NEPATrainTraveler

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
64
I road overnight coach back in 2018 on the LSL from NYP to CHI. My experience wasn't that great. Looking back I should have brought a travel pillow and Dramamine. It was late October and the heat was cranked up, so that didn't help matters. I should have brought a t-shirt and shorts to change into. I was able to sit without a seatmate the whole trip. The car I was in was only half full. I couldn't recline as far back as I wanted to because the guy behind me had his tray down the whole trip. I should've moved seats. The food in the cafe car was good though and I enjoyed the scenery.

Would I ride overnight in coach again? Maybe, but if I can afford a roomette/bedroom I will most likely do that instead. Wish there was an option to take your meals from the cafe car instead of the diner though. I looked up the cafe and diner menus awhile back and I like the cafe car menus better than most of the diner ones. Might try overnight business class on the LD trains that have it.
 

greatwestern

Train Attendant
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
54
The only time I have travelled coach overnight was 2 years ago when my late arrival into Chicago on the Empire Builder from Seattle resulted in me missing my connection to the Capitol Ltd (and therefore missing my bedroom). Travelling onward the next day was out of the question as I would have risked missing my flight from Washington back to the UK so I ended up being put in coach on the Lake Shore Ltd (and then on a Regional from New York to Washington).

The experience was not particularly pleasant - although I had a double seat to myself I only slept fitfully and was both uncomfortable and cold.

The situation was not helped by the fact that an elderly gentleman (even older than me) sat opposite should obviously never have been travelling on his own. He was in a permanent state of confusion, did not know what his destination was (Boston was his ticketed stop) and when he very unsteadily left his seat had a tendency not to know what he wanted to do or where his seat was. I spent my waking hours worrying about that poor gentleman and wondering how anyone could have let him travel alone in his condition (I do not think he would ever have been competent enough to have arranged his own travel).

I should not really dismiss overnight coach travel on that one experience as, had I known I was going to be a coach traveller, I could have prepared better. However, as my rail travels in the USA are the prime purpose of my vacation(s), sleeper accommodation is vital to me (inclusive meals are not important). If I was simply looking to get from A to B, I might have a different view particularly as I see long distance coach fares as very reasonably priced (compared to rail fares in the UK).
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,563
I did overnight in coach...once. I was 19 and it was my first overnight train trip (Richmond to Deland and back). I've also done BC on 67 twice (NHV-WBG and PHL-NPN, respectively): One trip was when I was in college, the other a few years back when I did a bar crawl with some friends in Philly and then muddled through a few hours at 30th Street. On none of the occasions can I say I slept particularly well.

If I'm on a daylight trip, I can work with Business Class or LD coach. Regional coach is just a bit cramped for my tastes.
 

Lacunacoil

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
19
Do the rooms go on sale when amtrak has those big sales? For instance last time I went cross country, with a sale a yway, in November it was around 40% off on regular seat. I'm seeing room for about 600 in 2 weeks chi to lax. I could do regular seat for. Ny to chi. Does that 600 price ever drop much? I would never consider except the coronavirus makes me think maybe I'll do it I think 450 would be my price to say yes regular seats like 160,140 depending on when I do it
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,630
Roomettes and other sleeper options tend not to be offered at low sale prices. They can rise very steeply in cost, but usually don't drop below a minimum price.
I don't know how the Corona Virus will impact prices, I am guessing that more passengers than usual would prefer the "isolation" of a room to themselves, so can't imagine many cheap rooms being available...
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
596
There is so much to balance, in terms of the price between coach and room prices. And that of course assumes that we will have a safe society to travel around in. With job losses and the price of food increasing, it's more tempting to set aside as much as possible rather than spend extra on a sleeper. Many of us don't know if our paychecks are secure long term, many more have stopped getting one. On the other hand, it's easier to avoid virus transmission in your own enclosed space, although the air being circulated around the cars probably isn't filtered.
Would love to see the people being paid huge salaries address these issues, and maybe even, get paid less until said issues are addressed.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,206
Roomettes and other sleeper options tend not to be offered at low sale prices. They can rise very steeply in cost, but usually don't drop below a minimum price.
I don't know how the Corona Virus will impact prices, I am guessing that more passengers than usual would prefer the "isolation" of a room to themselves, so can't imagine many cheap rooms being available...
While your logic sounds good it's not borne out by the facts, at least for Roomettes. For the next 30 days you'll find low bucket (the cheapest possible) Roomettes available on 359 of the 400 travel dates - or 90% of the time. But I've no reason to think Bedrooms or Family Bedrooms would show a similar pattern.

Sampling was of one direction for each of the 16 long distance trains.
 
Last edited:

Everydaymatters

Conductor
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,213
Now that I am not playing the points game anymore, I did an overnight in coach from CHI to WAS in October. Oh yes! It was uncomfortable! But I really, really love the camaraderie of the people in coach. I can easily forget the overnights in sleepers, but the good memories of conversations and people I met in coach will always be with me.
 

Lacunacoil

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
19
Now that I am not playing the points game anymore, I did an overnight in coach from CHI to WAS in October. Oh yes! It was uncomfortable! But I really, really love the camaraderie of the people in coach. I can easily forget the overnights in sleepers, but the good memories of conversations and people I met in coach will always be with me.
Yes I agree I've met fun people, it's also interesting to see how everyone interacts, it's like high school, the smokers become best friends, the drug users become best friends, theres always the woman who are lonely they will have a temporary boyfriend, if he gets off before her, she will get a new boyfriend, even if she has a other boyfriend at her stop waiting. I've had woman buying me beers, just to drink with them,...that's never happened off the train, another cute woman wanted to sit next to me just so I could hold her all night, i had barely talked to her. The most interesting time was after 2 days we had a 2 hour break in el paso, 7 of us walking around on a sunday looking like some random motley cruel looking for a bar. Almost the whole city was closed but we did find a restaurant at least.
 
Joined
May 19, 2019
Messages
5
Most of my overnight travel in the U.S. has been in Superliners and I find the coach seats, and especially the Business Class seats, more comfortable than a Roomette. I'm tall enough to find the beds too short. For age and disability reasons I'm usually on the lower level, so there is no through traffic. I wear a hat with a brim or a visor and pull it down over my eyes against the lights.

One advantage of coach is having windows on both sides and waking up at just the right moment. This photo is from Spring Break 1967 on SP Train 12, running late, of course. In those days, coach was an economic necessity that brought a week in San Francisco within reach.

View attachment 17467
Wow -- 1967!! I remember riding the train from Wichita, Kansas to Kentucky when I was in college that year: SantaFe to KC; Missouri Pacific to St. Louis; B&O to Cincinnati; Southern to Lexington. But, your photo caught my attention because I took a similar one a couple years ago when we were running late!
 

Attachments

Last edited:
2
Top