How do feel about riding "Coach" ?

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caravanman

Conductor
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Mar 22, 2004
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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.
You have misunderstood my post. I was not saying that low bucket prices were not going to be available, I was responding to the query in post 94 as to whether the sleeper berths were ever sold at "sale prices", i.e. special lower than normally available prices.

Ed.
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 30, 2019
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319
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!
Some routes are great that way, it doesn't matter what part of the trip your train is on, it's scenic or interesting or both. More from SP12 below... those are stray Sunset cars shining on the tail, through the miracle of SP service cutbacks.

18Ak SP Train 12 in snow.jpg
 
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Willbridge

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Mar 30, 2019
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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!
It tends toward peaks and valleys of demand. When regular coach demand is high, it gets some customers who shift to BC. It also fills in a marketing problem, in that the regional trains on each end have BC and so business customers expect to find it. My dad - who rode PDX<>SEA monthly or more often for his 42 years with the Seattle Times thought that they should just call day roomettes "Business Class" and make them available LAX<>SLO and EUG<>SEA.

In 1976 my wife and I with our one-year old son took a Bedroom PDX>SEA thinking it would help with our infant. As it turned out, I had the flu and it helped with me! We were not well off, but as I recall the day room charge was reasonable back then.
 

Willbridge

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Mar 30, 2019
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True windows on both sides, but aren't most of the windows covered by curtains overnight, and at dawn...?
There's usually a patchwork. People get off in Dunsmuir or McCook or Sandpoint and leave the curtains open. Chow hounds or the coffee-crazed head to the lounge to be there at opening hour. It's dark when they leave and then the sun comes up. There are the sleepyheads who leave the curtains closed till lunch. I'm surprised that there isn't a math formula worked out forecasting this behavior!
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
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For me, I usually only travel coach for up to 3 - 4 hours. Anything longer than that would be a roomette if it's just a daytime trip (or overnight if just me travelling) or a bedroom if I'm with the wife. I prefer the isolation / comfort that the sleeper provides and, if you factor in meals, it can work out cheaper.

Last coach trip was probably Los Angeles - Santa Barbara which was $8 each way so an absolute bargain.

Back in the UK train carriages were originally designated 1st Class or 3rd Class. In 1966 3rd Class was renamed to 2nd Class and then in 1987 it was again rebranded as Standard Class. On most UK services 1st Class would be 2+1 seating as opposed to 2+2 and would usually includes complimentary food and drink as part of the service offering (although the F&B service has been withdrawn due to COVID-19).
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
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Jul 15, 2019
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if you factor in meals, it can work out cheaper.
Amtrak from JAX to NYP

Coach - $121
Roomette - $444
Bedroom - $817

Somehow, it does not seem that paying an extra $323-$696 "works out cheaper" no matter what type of meals they serve ... especially not with what they are currently serving.


Now, I can understand the "isolation and comfort" factor.
 

tricia

Conductor
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Aug 23, 2011
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The price difference between coach and sleeper is highly variable. I once bought tickets for two in a roomette on the Coast Starlight from Emeryville or Oakland to LA for $50 more than it would have cost us in coach. YMMV.
 

hlcteacher

Train Attendant
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Feb 17, 2020
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any sleeping accommodation is so high that (and i do the costing out) i returned to coach travel (even ld) and eating three meals in the dining car and a snack or two cuz it is/was cheaper
 

caravanman

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Mar 22, 2004
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I am always happy to bring a gallon bottle of water aboard on long distance trips, together with whatever foodstuff and snacks I fancy. I like a few coffee's and hot dogs from the café car just to have something hot. I find in coach that the dining car prices are silly for the standard of the fare available.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
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Jul 15, 2019
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If I am checking baggage - I have a small "cooler" that plugs into 110/120 and will keep food hot or cold. So, if I don't have a need for any additional carry-on, I could just take that and have hot food (I can usually get ice from the cafe car)
 

caravanman

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Mar 22, 2004
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Out of curiosity, what price would not be silly for say... 2 scrambled eggs, potatoes, and a croissant with table service.
I don't think for me the issue is just about price, but the quality of the food too. I understand that one is in a captive environment, like at the airport, but I would rather spend my $8.50 plus tip on food to bring aboard with me.
I accept that with the £ plunging to a very low exchange rate against the $, my estimation of silly prices might not be the same as a US resident.

Bon Appetite!
 

HenryK

Service Attendant
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Jul 12, 2015
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For me the issue is traveling with a service dog. Folks in coach, especially youngsters, want to interact with him, and that is not good, for it distracts him from his job: alerting me to certain sounds. It's hard to get any sleep because passersby in the aisle often speak to the dog, waking him (and me) up. So we travel in a roomette and, if there are sufficient AGR points, a bedroom.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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I don't think for me the issue is just about price, but the quality of the food too. I understand that one is in a captive environment, like at the airport, but I would rather spend my $8.50 plus tip on food to bring aboard with me.
I accept that with the £ plunging to a very low exchange rate against the $, my estimation of silly prices might not be the same as a US resident.

Bon Appetite!
Obviously you get to make that decision, but I’m still wondering what price is not “silly” for a breakfast plate?
 

sttom

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Jan 23, 2019
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$8.50 for a breakfast plate isn't that bad. I spend $6 on a breakfast burrito on a fairly regular basis. Even fast food quality food can cost up to $10 for a meal and some Amtrak food isn't that much better than a Jack in the Box breakfast bowl.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
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Jul 15, 2019
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Not sure what an exact price that "is not silly" would be ... but, taking the actual price of the ride from JAX to NYP and subtracting the cost of the "ticket" (based on the coach price) and, figuring a hotel room runs about $100 for a night at many chains (let's face it, a roomette on a train if not a luxury room) and, since the train from JAX to NYP covers two meals ... that makes the meals cost about $111 each :eek: for a roomette and . even if we double the room rate for a bedroom, the meals would run about $248 each .... unless you think a roomette and/or bedroom on a train is that much better than those found in chain hotels.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
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Feb 11, 2015
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A long as we're into Mickey Mouse accounting procedures (where the cost per meal is simply the sleeper upcharge divided by the number of meals) the champion seems to be the SWC for one adult in a high bucket Bedroom at $433 per meal [($1964 - 232) ÷ 4 = $433] on the Westbound train.

The cheapest would be on the CONO at $229 per meal.

Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?. . . .♫ :)

But for a low bucket Roomette on the CONO the cost per meal drops to $69 using this method!!!
 
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Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
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At a local small restaurant, a breakfast of 2 eggs, potatoes, and biscuit or toast (croissants would not be available at such an establishment) and coffee, would be about $8.50. That's quite reasonable, I think. Do I mind paying more having "Breakfast in the Diner"? If the food quality and service meet my expectations, I am willing to pay more just because of the experience of doing so.

Dining in the Diner is not something that is routine for me. I am willing to pay more for such a "special experience".
 

tricia

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Aug 23, 2011
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Breakfast is IMHO the Amtrak diners' most reasonably priced and satisfactory meal, for what you get. Dinner, on the other hand....
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
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Good to see I stirred quite a few people from their slumber with my comment about food making the sleeper more cost effective :)

As Tricia mentioned above, depending on the fare bucket it's possible to find sleepers that are not significantly much more than the price of a coach ticket for the journey being taken and if you then factor in what it might cost for lunch or dinner (or both) in the diner then it's value for money.

The other thing I'd emphasise is that it's all very well saying "I'll bring my own food" but if you're doing a multi-day trip then that's not always feasible or desirable. I'd like to have a decent sit-down meal on occasion rather than an endless repeating self-curated menu of cookies, or a stale sandwich or trail mix etc.

Plus dining is fun! You never know who will be sat opposite you :)
 

Devil's Advocate

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May 24, 2010
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Out of curiosity, what price would not be silly for say... 2 scrambled eggs, potatoes, and a croissant with table service.
Spending a tenner on breakfast sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Unfortunately this isn't a typical restaurant breakfast. Nothing is made to order and the eggs are scrambled en mass. Portions are random, potatoes are precooked and shriveled, the croissant is stale, temperature is barely above ambient, coffee is bitter, and the juice is boxed. Amtrak breakfast would be right at home in a grade school cafeteria or retirement community, and that makes it hard to spend almost anything without feeling gypped.

While I agree with you, bear in mind that some posters here shudder in horror at the mere thought of sitting opposite (or worse yet, next to) a total stranger.
Get a lot of strangers out where you live?
 
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crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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Spending a tenner on breakfast sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Unfortunately this isn't a typical restaurant breakfast. Nothing is made to order and the eggs are scrambled en mass. Portions are random, potatoes are precooked and shriveled, the croissant is stale, temperature is barely above ambient, coffee is bitter, and the juice is boxed. Amtrak breakfast would be right at home in a grade school cafeteria or retirement community, and that makes it hard to spend almost anything without feeling gypped.


Get a lot of strangers out where you live?
I’ve paid more for worse quality breakfasts at hotels that’s for sure.

The quality is inconsistent on Amtrak, but the majority of breakfasts have been very good. Including the croissant and potatoes.
 
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