Lake Shore Limited questions (Spring - Summer 2022)

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Lonnie

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On my last trip in the Boston sleeper last June there were no flex meals in the cafe. Lunch was offered for sleeper passengers boarding in Boston, Framingham, Worcester, and Springfield and was a choice of any item from the cafe. Sleeper Passengers boarding in Springfield (which is where I got on) had to go to the cafe soon after boarding as they cease offering this before arriving at Pittsfield. Dinner and next morning breakfast were of course flex dining in the dining car. Coming west there didn’t seem to be any dinner option after the train split (or at least nothing was offered and the cafe seemed pretty cleaned out by then.)
We just got off the LSL from Chicago at Springfield. The SCA took our dinner order at the same time he took our lunch order, around 10am. Lunch was in the dining car, dinner was brought to us in our rooms after Albany. And the train arrived on time!
 

Lonnie

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It was when I was on the LSL last month. And that service stop at Albany Rensselaer is a godsend; take the opportunity to stock up on snacks.
A couple days ago in the 448 headed for Springfield / Boston, there wasn't enough time for us to go all the way into the station. But at least we arrived in Springfield on time.
 
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We just got off the LSL from Chicago at Springfield. The SCA took our dinner order at the same time he took our lunch order, around 10am. Lunch was in the dining car, dinner was brought to us in our rooms after Albany. And the train arrived on time!

That’s good to know. For some reason They didn’t offer this when I was onboard last June. On my most recent trip a few weeks back I was in the New York sleeper because I wanted to be in a VL2 and I did business/coach both ways between Springfield and Albany so I didn’t see if they were offering dinner. I did business on my trip west from Springfield to Albany then got on sleeper 4912 to Chicago and coming home 4912 to Albany and then Coach to Springfield.
 
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In the past (not possible currently with the temporary platform arrangement) when MBTA had the platform track at WOR tied up, 448 would pull ahead then back in and unload at the old low level platform where the "Amshack" used to be, under I-290. That happened to me on my last trip on 448.

NB: Actually the Amshack is still there but boarded up.
I wonder what year that was. One of several horror shows on 448 was on May 23, 2017. We waited in the yard at Worcester for the MBTA train to clear. There was no attempt to pull ahead of it and back in. According to my notes we arrived at Framington at 11:36 p.m. (four hours and 22 minutes late). The Boston arrival time was never posted on the Amtrak website. I guess they were too embarrassed to post it.

The next year - on May 14, 2018 we arrived in Boston at 8:02 p.m. - The only time in years of riding 448 that it arrived at a decent time.

The next year we endured a remarkably unpleasant crowded bustitution from Albany to Boston. But we did receive a bag of peanuts and some candy in lieu of our sleeping class meal and I think my wife and I received a voucher for about $120 total.

Due to horribly late 448s, my wife and I have spent two nights on a bench in South Station with the jumbotron blaring all night and we are still married. I guess we could have searched Boston for a hotel at $200-400 a night due to Amtrak and Keolis incompetence. I don't mind taking 449 as we have never missed a connection in Chicago yet but instead of 448 we prefer to fly back.
 

billosborn

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Mar 6, 2022
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This member answered your question, but did not reply to your post, so you wouldn't have been notified. I'm just repeating it here in case you didn't see it:
Thanks for reposting. We are booked into 4911 which would be the VIewliner 1. Not sure if the addition of the toilet is much of a plus, since I have a travel companion who is a friend, and I probably wouldn't use it for my middle-of-the-night bathroom call! The trip is several months away, I could call and request to be assigned a roomette in 4912 (the Viewliner II) but not sure if that is worthwhile doing.
 
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September 2021. Not possible now as the old station track has been ripped up and the temporary station is on the main so the old low level platform is no longer accessible.
That is interesting. Perhaps the level of frustration with delays at Worcester finally caused Amtrak and Keolis to come with this solution which worked at the time.
 

billosborn

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I and a friend will be taking the Westbound LSL from Buffalo to Chicago this summer - boarding time, if they aren't even later is 12.45am. We have a roomette in 4911, the Viewliner I. Not sure if this question can be answered in advance, but does anyone know if the sleeper car attendant will automatically have our beds set up since we are getting on so late, or will he wait until we get on to ask us? We will have spent a full day at Niagara Falls, an Uber ride down the Buffalo-Dewey and an undetermined amount of time in the station. - would be great to just crawl into bed :)
 

jis

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I and a friend will be taking the Westbound LSL from Buffalo to Chicago this summer - boarding time, if they aren't even later is 12.45am. We have a roomette in 4911, the Viewliner I. Not sure if this question can be answered in advance, but does anyone know if the sleeper car attendant will automatically have our beds set up since we are getting on so late, or will he wait until we get on to ask us? We will have spent a full day at Niagara Falls, an Uber ride down the Buffalo-Dewey and an undetermined amount of time in the station. - would be great to just crawl into bed :)
In my experience your bed would already be made up, unless your room was used by someone who disembarked at Buffalo. Then it might take the SCA a few minutes to make up your room.
 

Kramerica

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I'm about to book our trip, and I guess the Business Class upgrade is a moot point since it isn't offered anymore. We're planning on taking Coach from MKE to BOS. Stay 6 nights in Boston. Then take a regional to NYP. Stay two nights in NYC. Then I think we're going to splurge and upgrade to Roomettes from NYC to MKE. $2105 for three to accommodate the five of us. Question: the Amtrak website seems to indicate that the price for three roomettes is the same as the price for three bedrooms. That can't be right. Would you recommend calling Amtrak to book or just booking on the website?
 

niemi24s

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Question: the Amtrak website seems to indicate that the price for three roomettes is the same as the price for three bedrooms. That can't be right.
If Roomettes are at high bucket ($740 each) and Bedrooms are at low bucket (perhaps $685 each) that can indeed be right.
 

zephyr17

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If Roomettes are at high bucket ($740 each) and Bedrooms are at low bucket (perhaps $685 each) that can indeed be right.
Yeah, but there are only 2 bedrooms on the Boston section of the Lake Shore to begin with. Both being at low bucket when roomettes are high seems unusual. I have seen such upside down pricing occasionally before, but usually with trains with more bedroom inventory (like 10 for Superliner trains with 2 sleepers). Still, anything is possible at Amtrak (cue the thousand monkeys).

I do want to know where the third bedroom was conjured up from, though.
 

niemi24s

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I do want to know where the third bedroom was conjured up from, though.
I believe it was in reference to the return trip from NYP on the LSL. Could also be from NYP to CHI on the Cardinal but don't know how many sleepers either train has.
 
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JP1822

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Cardinal has ONE full Viewliner Sleeper (currently a V1, supposed to be getting a V2). Cardinal will also be selling its ”available” roomettes in the Bagg-Dorm Viewliner, but they are all roomettes.

Lake Shore Limited has ONE full Viewliner Sleeper for its Boston section (V1), and then TWO full Viewliner Sleepers for its NYC section (a V1 and V2).

I typically always check the prices now between bedrooms and roomettes on the Viewliners as the price differential used to be double that of a roomette, but NOT always…. Sometimes a few hundred more….. Still ridiculous in the pricing of sleeper class for what you get, if one really thinks about it!!!
 

Sidney

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Cardinal has ONE full Viewliner Sleeper (currently a V1, supposed to be getting a V2). Cardinal will also be selling its ”available” roomettes in the Bagg-Dorm Viewliner, but they are all roomettes.

Lake Shore Limited has ONE full Viewliner Sleeper for its Boston section (V1), and then TWO full Viewliner Sleepers for its NYC section (a V1 and V2).

I typically always check the prices now between bedrooms and roomettes on the Viewliners as the price differential used to be double that of a roomette, but NOT always…. Sometimes a few hundred more….. Still ridiculous in the pricing of sleeper class for what you get, if one really thinks about it!!!
Smallest price difference between a roomette and a bedroom is on The City of New Orleans from CHI-NOL. When both are low bucket $305 for a roomette $371 for a bedroom. $66 difference.
 

niemi24s

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Lake Shore Limited has ONE full Viewliner Sleeper for its Boston section (V1), and then TWO full Viewliner Sleepers for its NYC section (a V1 and V2).
Does this mean the LSL may have three sleepers between ALB and CHI?
 

jis

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Does this mean the LSL may have three sleepers between ALB and CHI?
LSL does have three Sleepers between ALB and CHI, two VL-1s and one VL-2 usually.

It really ought to get a third NYP - CHI Sleeper, which might happen in a while when they manage to extract the requisite number of VL-1 Sleepers from their Mothball cocoons. Apparently they are eventually going to come out with the superficial upgrades applied to them.
 
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JP1822

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Lets just say this though:

V1 Sleeper Fleet - 50 Cars
V2 Sleeper Fleet - 25 Cars

Total of 75 Viewliner Sleepers in inventory

Even with a supersized Silver Star (cause it includes the three sleepers of the Meteor), current requirements are as follows:

Lake Shore Limited - 9
Cardinal - 2
Crescent - 8
Star/Meteor - 20

Total of 39 Viewliner Sleepers needed daily

Total of 36 Viewliners are not being used

Now, I say that lightly because Amtrak has to reserve for bad-ordered cars, shopped cars, etc. But typically this has only been 25% of the sleepers needed daily, or in present terms, 10 cars. So if 39 are required for daily service, Amtrak has 10 Viewliner sleepers in reserve. For a while one Viewliner 1 had been in wreck-repair status, but that has seemingly come off the wreck-repair list.

All in all Amtrak has not increased capacity on any of its train lines that carry Viewliner Sleepers since the Viewliner II’s have been received/deployed. Why, how come, what’s going on?

Current assignments could be handled with just the Viewliner I Sleeper Fleet. When it was just the Viewliner I Sleepers, they had 50 in inventory, 10 are in “reserve” status, and 39 were kept active, a 25% reserve applied. The math has always worked. It’s been like this since David Gunn’s administration. Prior in Warrington’s regime - he put everything on the road and I think just prayed every day.

The ONLY thing one could say is that the overnight sleeper service on the NEC was restored, but that only required 2 Viewliner Sleepers, and quite easy to swap them for the reserves if needed, as nearly all the reserves are kept in NYC or Hialeah, FL (Miami). So the 39 went to 41 active Viewliner Sleepers deployed in service for a brief period.

This whole term of “mothballed” cars is a new term brought on by Anderson‘s regime and COVID to save costs. Amtrak lets inspections or repairs lapse on a given Viewliner sleeper and it gets “stored” (mothballed), as opposed to fixing it and leaving it in the fleet for rotation.

But lets be clear, there are presently 36 Viewliner sleeper (combo of V1 and V2) in inventory that are not assigned to daily service (75 minus 39 = 36).

Full potential, after applying a 25% reserve (15 cars), is to have 60 Viewliners in daily service. But of 75 Viewliners in total inventory, Amtrak has only have 39 in active duty. That means 21 Viewliner Sleepers are idle or moth-balled. That’s a lot of sleepers to be mothballed (and not all are V1’s).

The demand is there for sleeper car space. So why isn’t Amtrak adding Viewliner sleepers to its single level LD fleet? Main and only reason I have heard of is - lack of labor (or lack of sleeper car attendants). Plus they need labor to get any Viewliner they let go idle or mothballed serviced so it can go back into the active fleet status.
 
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Main and only reason I have heard of is - LACK OF LABOR (or lack of sleeper car attendants). Plus they need labor to get any Viewliner they let go idle or mothballed serviced so it can go back into the active fleet status.
This is real and not an excuse. And Amtrak is not alone; airlines are facing staffing shortages as well.
 

JP1822

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I have no reason or evidence to dispute that it is not real….. Just stating facts.
 

west point

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One item that is mandatory is the hard 5-year brake system complete overhaul. It is called COT&S Clean oil test & stencil. You can see the stencil on the brake cylinders. Probably the easiest way to accomplish it to remove the complete brake operating hardware and replace it with newly overhauled brake cylinder parts. Overhauls are probably done on bench worktables. But that brings up the question do parts rotate or return to same car.
 
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