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How reliable is Air Conditioning in Bedroom cars

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Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,089
My experience is that while the Superliner heating control dial works, it works very slowly
I have sometimes have wondered if the dial works at all. This January on the Auto Train in my Roomette, the dial worked quite well. I like to sleep in a cool environment, so I tried to adjust the temperature to a lower setting. After a couple of hours, I was so cool that I had to use the thin blue blanket. Then, I re-adjusted the temperature and then the roomette became too warm.
 

SarahZ

Conductor
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,087
Location
KAL
Any updates? I would like to travel in a Superliner bedroom but I need it much cooler than the original poster. My ideal is 69-70F. More than 72F is too hot for me.
I'm like you. I have my apartment set to 68-70 during the day and 64-66 at night.

When are you traveling? The sleepers are often much too warm for me during the winter, even with the ceiling vent closed and the dial in the room turned all the way down. It's not too bad during the day since I can leave my door open and let the air circulate, but it turns into an oven at night. There have been times I've left the door open and closed the curtain while sleeping, just so I don't roast.

I haven't had any bad experiences during the summer. Once, I was on the CZ, and the sun turned my side of the train into a greenhouse. Our sleeper attendant couldn't adjust the A/C since those on the left side of the train were comfortable. As a compromise, he offered to let us sit in the empty rooms on the left side, provided we kept them clean.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
850
Location
Carolinas
We were in a bedroom on Auto Train at the end of last September. The room was cool for the first few hours. Then it got warmer and warmer. By bedtime it was roasting. Our excellent attendant, Ernest, moved all the roomette passengers to another car. A couple bedrooms at the end were ok and he moved us there. he earned his money that night as he insisted on moving all the passengers luggage for them. He had formerly worked for Marriott in Washington. I think he said their were two cooling units? and one died. In any event a good attendant can usually take care of his passengers regardless of the problems.
 

Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
148
I'm like you. I have my apartment set to 68-70 during the day and 64-66 at night.

When are you traveling? The sleepers are often much too warm for me during the winter, even with the ceiling vent closed and the dial in the room turned all the way down. It's not too bad during the day since I can leave my door open and let the air circulate, but it turns into an oven at night. There have been times I've left the door open and closed the curtain while sleeping, just so I don't roast.

I haven't had any bad experiences during the summer. Once, I was on the CZ, and the sun turned my side of the train into a greenhouse. Our sleeper attendant couldn't adjust the A/C since those on the left side of the train were comfortable. As a compromise, he offered to let us sit in the empty rooms on the left side, provided we kept them clean.
You are absolutely right. In winter it can be TERRIBLE, not just in sleepers but in coach. On a NE Corridor train, in business class, a couple of years ago the temperature was close to 90F. No kidding! I had difficulty breathing and had to get up and stand in the vestibule. It was bad in the coach next to us as well. Conductors invariably say that the temperature is set in the yards and they can't do a thing about it. About the Superliners, a couple of people on this site, one a former Amtrak on board employee, have said that the Superliner AC systems are shot whereas the Viewliners are OK.

When do you think is the best time to travel to avoid these problems?
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,266
Ever since traveling on Amtrak, even back to the early '80s, A/C and heating were always a problem. In fact on the first two LD trips with my wife and small children, we had A/C failure for the whole of the one-way trip (ABQ-CHI then second train with no A/C to Milwaukee followed by a year later ELP-Los Angeles. Return trips were fine.

Since then, whether Superliners or VL, there have been intermittent HVAC problems. One never knows. Not often but enough that we worry about it before each ride because there is little one can do if it happens and the discomfort is for so long a time.

But we took the train anyway because it was fun. However, the fun is not as good any more, the prices are so high, the services worse, the equipment worn out, the delays longer. So we sometimes fly, sometimes drive when in the past, we'd always take the train if at all possible.
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
668
Location
MI
Never had a bad night's sleep in either the Superliner or the Viewliner roomettes due to temps, summer or winter. It's not like a hotel room where you have more control over the AC or heat, I just either pull up the blanket, or not. I get cold easy so eventually always use the blanket.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
306
Never had an HVAC problem on the AutoTrain after Amtrak too over. Prior to that, the heritage sleepers were not dependable; always too hot or too cold.
With the regularity I take the AT (literally 10 r/t's last year) I find the ceiling vent on/off to work maybe 1-out-of-10 times. It blows hard & cold. I have always taken pizza box tops & duct tape to seal it shut!
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,159
Location
South Florida
Never had an HVAC problem on the AutoTrain after Amtrak too over. Prior to that, the heritage sleepers were not dependable; always too hot or too cold.
This was certainly the experience in Amtrak's inherited 10-6's as well.
As bad as it is now, it is still much better than it was in the late '70's, just prior to the HEP conversion and introduction of the then new, Superliner's...
I recall 14 car SFZ's arriving in Denver from Oakland, with half the car's having A/C malfunction's. The BN mechanical forces descended on the train, and made a heroic effort to get them working, but some of them were beyond help. Our harried station supervisor, Art Weber at the time, had his hands full, trying to reaccommodate as many passenger's into good cars as possible. For the times it wasn't....he chartered buses to carry the shorter distance traveler's, or bought them airline tickets for the longer distance traveler's. For those who wanted to try the next day's train, he put them in hotel's. Amtrak spent a fortune on this during that era. In the winter, it wasn't nearly as bad, but sometimes there were several frozen cars, hence more reaccommodating.

When the Superliner's came, it was a blessing, for sure.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
306
Please use gaffers tape instead of duct tape. Duct tape leaves sticky residue that collects lint and dust.
Not my first train ride. I also take rubber door stops and WD-40 which is excellent for that residue if needed. I wish they'd clean like I do. Try wearing white socks in the room...look at them later!!! I wouldn't step on the carpet without shoes on. The tight confines on trains make for a great human petre dish. I think the HVAC just circulates your next door infections into your room. Haven't been back on the AT since the COVID hit!
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
182
Please use gaffers tape instead of duct tape. Duct tape leaves sticky residue that collects lint and dust.

Frequent rail travelers tend to mention duct tape and then complain about rooms looking "grimy" near the vents. :rolleyes:
Thanks for the tip. Never heard of it before.
 

Sauve850

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
548
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
Not my first train ride. I also take rubber door stops and WD-40 which is excellent for that residue if needed. I wish they'd clean like I do. Try wearing white socks in the room...look at them later!!! I wouldn't step on the carpet without shoes on. The tight confines on trains make for a great human petre dish. I think the HVAC just circulates your next door infections into your room. Haven't been back on the AT since the COVID hit!
I have carried a pizza box and other recommendations of yours for a long time. I feel like a hardware store when i board but it has served me well. Thanks for tips over the years.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,582
Location
Toronto area
Thanks for the tip. Never heard of it before.
Really good advice from @SarahZ. As a "tech" person I've used it all my life - you can even stick cables to carpet with it and pull it up without residue. The problem is that it costs 4x more than duct tape and you really need to go to a specialty store to buy it. A large quantity of what's sold as gaff tape on Amazon and others is often a cheap knock-off or just duct tape.
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
485
Please use gaffers tape instead of duct tape. Duct tape leaves sticky residue that collects lint and dust.

Frequent rail travelers tend to mention duct tape and then complain about rooms looking "grimy" near the vents. :rolleyes:
I haven't heard of gaffers tape until this forum. How would painter's tape or electrical tape do in this regard? I have painter's, electrical, and duct tape, but no gaffer tape.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,220
Location
Gator Country Florida
Painters tape is not designed to stick to things like carpet and cloth or non-smooth surfaces
Electric tape is not designed to hold weight not does it stick to cardboard very well
Duct tape, while it will stick to most surfaces and hold weight - it leaves a sticky residue behind

Gaffer Tape is designed to stick to most surfaces and has a release glue so it does not leave a residue behind
 

Charles785

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
86
Can what's called Gaffer tape be found at typical hardware stores. Or are there some specialty online sources? And to prevent buying cheap knock-offs are there some recommended brands?
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,818
Location
NYC/Queens
Any store that sells industrial packaging hdw (u-line or grainger type) amazon, large photo/video store (BH photo, Adorama) Home Depot... I used to get it at BH because I worked a few blocks away and walked over lunchtime. Last few times, I asked crew members working TV or movie shoots in my neighborhood if they had any "short rolls" they could spare.
 

PaulM

Conductor
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
2,273
Location
Quincy, IL
I sometimes think that the problem with the heater dial is the lack of feedback. You turn it and don't hear anything and don't notice an immediate change. But it seems to eventually change the temperature.

If I wake up and it's too hot and lower the temperature. nothing seems to happen. So I turn it even colder. Later on I wake up and it's too cold.
 

41bridge

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Messages
18
We're all aware of that.

My tip was more for those who don't realize the duct tape will leave residue, but you, too, could switch to gaffers tape and avoid the need for packing more stuff and having to clean up at the end of the trip.
Gaffer’s tape is hard to find and much more expensive. The point is that if Amtrak did it’s job, no tape would be necessary and HVAC would provide a consistent and temperate atmosphere, especially considering the prices they charge for a room with glorified TV dinners.
 
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PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,818
Location
NYC/Queens
It is more expensive, but I would disagree that it is hard to find. Aside from camera and video specialty places, Home Depot and Ace Hardware carry it.
 
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