Is it possible to bring back the Parlour Cars?

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ces Los Angeles

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Apr 13, 2021
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Los Angeles, California
Hello friends,
I've just recently discovered how awesome rail travel is, and I really wish I had figured it out years ago!

With that in mind, I was trying to think of a way to appeal to younger people so they can discover Amtrak - which will (hopefully) bring in more revenue and keep the company afloat for years to come.

So I was wondering if there is any chance Amtrak might consider bringing back the Parlour Cars - well, not the originals because I understand they sold them off - but maybe they can renovate some rail cars they already own to save money. Would it be possible to have the Parlour Cars sponsored (i.e. underwritten, paid for) by a company with deeper pockets than Amtrak - say, Jameson Whiskey or Red Bull, or, I don't know, maybe Johnnie Walker. . . This would keep expenses low, and drinks featuring the sponsor's products could be served on the train.

Selling craft beer and wine from breweries and wineries along the route would be a nice feature.
If there were also skilled, sharply-dressed mixologists making craft cocktails on board, it would make for some very "Instagrammable moments" and hopefully create a positive buzz about how genuinely cool it is to take the train!

Anyway, that's my 2-cents worth. Just wanted to throw the idea out there, because I'm genuinely worried that little-by-little, train service will continue disappearing unless something can be done to attract a new generation of fans.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
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Dec 31, 2014
Messages
4,153
Location
South Carolina
Hello friends,
I've just recently discovered how awesome rail travel is, and I really wish I had figured it out years ago!

With that in mind, I was trying to think of a way to appeal to younger people so they can discover Amtrak - which will (hopefully) bring in more revenue and keep the company afloat for years to come.

So I was wondering if there is any chance Amtrak might consider bringing back the Parlour Cars - well, not the originals because I understand they sold them off - but maybe they can renovate some rail cars they already own to save money. Would it be possible to have the Parlour Cars sponsored (i.e. underwritten, paid for) by a company with deeper pockets than Amtrak - say, Jameson Whiskey or Red Bull, or, I don't know, maybe Johnnie Walker. . . This would keep expenses low, and drinks featuring the sponsor's products could be served on the train.

Selling craft beer and wine from breweries and wineries along the route would be a nice feature.
If there were also skilled, sharply-dressed mixologists making craft cocktails on board, it would make for some very "Instagrammable moments" and hopefully create a positive buzz about how genuinely cool it is to take the train!

Anyway, that's my 2-cents worth. Just wanted to throw the idea out there, because I'm genuinely worried that little-by-little, train service will continue disappearing unless something can be done to attract a new generation of fans.
The old cars were sold off and I don't see Amtrak going to another brand to sponsor it. The person who came up with the Pacific Parlor Car's created one amazing product for the train. The problem I see that it had was that it used a captive fleet and wasn't available on all trains. While that is fine and dandy if you live on the one route it was a great example of unstandard products but not the worst offender that's business class.

Could Amtrak do something like it, yes they could Beech Grove is capable of a lot of things. And I believe they have made a mock up at Beech Grove in the distant past in one of the wrecked Superliners in the bone yard. But I honestly don't see it happening.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
879
Location
Denver
Hello friends,
I've just recently discovered how awesome rail travel is, and I really wish I had figured it out years ago!

With that in mind, I was trying to think of a way to appeal to younger people so they can discover Amtrak - which will (hopefully) bring in more revenue and keep the company afloat for years to come.

So I was wondering if there is any chance Amtrak might consider bringing back the Parlour Cars - well, not the originals because I understand they sold them off - but maybe they can renovate some rail cars they already own to save money. Would it be possible to have the Parlour Cars sponsored (i.e. underwritten, paid for) by a company with deeper pockets than Amtrak - say, Jameson Whiskey or Red Bull, or, I don't know, maybe Johnnie Walker. . . This would keep expenses low, and drinks featuring the sponsor's products could be served on the train.

Selling craft beer and wine from breweries and wineries along the route would be a nice feature.
If there were also skilled, sharply-dressed mixologists making craft cocktails on board, it would make for some very "Instagrammable moments" and hopefully create a positive buzz about how genuinely cool it is to take the train!

Anyway, that's my 2-cents worth. Just wanted to throw the idea out there, because I'm genuinely worried that little-by-little, train service will continue disappearing unless something can be done to attract a new generation of fans.
You'll find that there are quite a few fans of similar ideas, particularly on the Coast Starlight. (In the early 1940's it was claimed that the lounge car on the Coast Daylight generated as much revenue per train mile as the coaches did.)

My suggestion on this is that first they should staff the upstairs bar in the Superliner observation cars.
 

Mailliw

Lead Service Attendant
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Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
381
Location
Scranton, PA
I think the modern version of parlor car service would just be a premium offering with reserved 2:1 seating and at seat food & beverage service (& station loung access where applicable).
 

JermyZP

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 18, 2021
Messages
25
Location
Anaheim
It would be great if the Coast Starlight had 2 sightseer lounge cars. One for coach class and one for sleeper and business class. If Amtrak has the money and the time they should also do renovations in the sleeper & business class sightseer lounge to be more like the old parlor car.
 
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Cal

Conductor
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Jan 23, 2021
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1,341
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Socal
I think almost everyone here would love for something like it to come back.

Realistically speaking, it will never happen.

Unfortunately I was only able to ride one. There is nothing like cruising through the Cascades while sitting in one of those large and comfy arm chairs...
 

Bob Dylan

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Location
Austin Texas
I think almost everyone here would love for something like it to come back.

Realistically speaking, it will never happen.

Unfortunately I was only able to ride one. There is nothing like cruising through the Cascades while sitting in one of those large and comfy arm chairs...
Not that it applies here, but sipping on a Irish Coffee or other Adult Beverage prepared by the LSA made it even better!😍
 
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railiner

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Palm Beach County
When I think of "parlor cars", I think of the old Pullman style parlors, that had 1 & 1 individual, rotating and reclining 'Sleepy Hollow' winged seats, with drop tables at each seat attached to the walls, and a call button to summon the attendant for beverage service....sometimes a mini galley in each car, and sometimes a drawing room for private conferences....:cool:
 

zephyr17

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Jul 22, 2009
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Washington State
Well, railiner, you've got the actual definition of parlor car right. First Class revenue car for daytime travel with deluxe seating, often offered by Pullman but not always.

The PPC was a non rev sleeper lounge. Many railroads offered trains with lounge cars exclusively for their Pullman passengers. They didn't ever call them "parlors" (or "parlours"). Amtrak just picked a named that sounded railroady without regard for the traditional definition.

Personally, I think all overnight trains should offer lounge space for sleeper passengers. The PPCs should have been the beginning of something, not a dead end.

BTW, by the classic definition, Acela First Class is a parlor service.
 

railiner

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The last true Parlor Car in the traditional style were the 1 and 1 MU Metroclub cars on the original Metroliner's...

When Amtrak introduced the Amclub's, they were degraded into 2 and 1 seating...
 

Seaboard92

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When I think of "parlor cars", I think of the old Pullman style parlors, that had 1 & 1 individual, rotating and reclining 'Sleepy Hollow' winged seats, with drop tables at each seat attached to the walls, and a call button to summon the attendant for beverage service....sometimes a mini galley in each car, and sometimes a drawing room for private conferences....:cool:
You aren't the only one who thinks that way. I do as well. But then again I've worked a few of them.
 
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Palmetto

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Miami
When I think of "parlor cars", I think of the old Pullman style parlors, that had 1 & 1 individual, rotating and reclining 'Sleepy Hollow' winged seats, with drop tables at each seat attached to the walls, and a call button to summon the attendant for beverage service....sometimes a mini galley in each car, and sometimes a drawing room for private conferences....:cool:

The New Haven had day roomettes as well as a drawing room in their parlor cars. I used them both back in the late 60s, and the ride was rough because they were over the wheels.
 

railiner

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The New Haven had day roomettes as well as a drawing room in their parlor cars. I used them both back in the late 60s, and the ride was rough because they were over the wheels.
More likely, the ride was rough because of the neglected tracks and maybe car mechanicals....on good railways, being at the end of the car only makes a slight difference in ride.
 
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