Lower priced Sleeper for single travelers

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

CCC1007

Customer Service Agent
Joined
Jan 2, 2015
Messages
1,846
Probably the best candidate for an all-sleeper train would be the Auto-train since all passengers go from endpoint to endpoint, and its schedule is perfect for it…
There is a reason that auto train runs with 4 coaches along with 7 sleepers, as of this last weekend. (I watched it pass the railcam at Folkston, GA.)
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
32,761
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I’m guessing they have 4 coaches worth of passengers who wish to ride in coach.

How many airplanes operate as “all first class” ? It’s a strange business model to suggest.
Unusual, but they do exist, or have existed.

I once flew on a Lufthansa flight operated by PrivatAir from Stuttgart to Newark which was all business class in a Boeing 737 BBJ. It was one of the most wonderful flights I have been on. The other was the Newark - Singapore nonstop by Singapore Airlines in its previous incarnation using a special performance Airbus 340-500. That was another out of this world flight for me.

Coming back to railroads, India has dozens of overnight trains that are Sleeper only, with no Coach style sitting accommodation and often they are 20+ cars, all Sleepers. So they do exist and are not really all that odd. Of course there are different classes of Sleepers in those trains.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,145
Unusual, but they do exist, or have existed.

I once flew on a Lufthansa flight operated by PrivatAir from Stuttgart to Newark which was all business class in a Boeing 737 BBJ. It was one of the most wonderful flights I have been on. The other was the Newark - Singapore nonstop by Singapore Airlines in its previous incarnation using a special performance Airbus 340-500. That was another out of this world flight for me.

Coming back to railroads, India has dozens of overnight trains that are Sleeper only, with no Coach style sitting accommodation and often they are 20+ cars, all Sleepers. So they do exist and are not really all that odd. Of course there are different classes of Sleepers in those trains.
Amtrak LD coach is luxurious compared to the lower class sleepers on the trains in India.

I’m not surprised that such airplanes exist, but I would still say they are extremely uncommon. I’d guess 95% of all commercial airplanes are either mixed classes or all coach.
 

joelkfla

Conductor
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
1,930
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Amtrak LD coach is luxurious compared to the lower class sleepers on the trains in India.

I’m not surprised that such airplanes exist, but I would still say they are extremely uncommon. I’d guess 95% of all commercial airplanes are either mixed classes or all coach.
I'd guess that that's a low guess. I'd guess more like 99.9%.
 

TheCrescent

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
363
I’m guessing they have 4 coaches worth of passengers who wish to ride in coach.

How many airplanes operate as “all first class” ? It’s a strange business model to suggest.
United and American have had transcontinental flights that have no coach seats, even recently: they’re all first class (fancier than regular domestic first class), business or premium economy.

I think that at least United added coach seats to its p.s. flights though.

What I’m seeing is fewer and fewer coach seats on planes, and more premium seats: first, business, premium economy, etc.

Amtrak is the one mass carrier (other than bus lines) that isn’t significantly upgrading and expanding its premium classes.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
32,761
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Amtrak LD coach is luxurious compared to the lower class sleepers on the trains in India.

I’m not surprised that such airplanes exist, but I would still say they are extremely uncommon. I’d guess 95% of all commercial airplanes are either mixed classes or all coach.
Hey I am not arguing for anything. I just got thinking if I have seen examples and listed some. It was not meant to irritate anyone. I don't think there is a need to rise up in defense of what is obviously the most prevalent operating mode these days. :D It is what it is.

But continuing on the theme of examples, In the past US has had Sleeper only trains too. As a matter of fact many of the train services that people seem to sing the glory of were Sleeper only trains (20th Century, Broadway, Super Chief etc.), and most devolved into Sleeper+Coach trains before disappearing. And if the quality of Indian Sleepers is the feeble argument then there are other Sleeper only train examples in the world which are way more luxurious than anything Amtrak has to offer in any class, and also sometimes for a lower fare. One example is the Moscow - St. Petersburg Krasnaya Strela. There are others. And some trains are predominantly Sleeper with a Coach or two thrown in for short turn passengers too (the Caledonian Sleeper comes to mind).

The trend today in the US is more towards Coach only trains than Sleeper only trains. But usually it is a mix. Currently there are no new Sleepers on order, and it is unlikely that any will be ordered before the second half of this decade.
 
Last edited:

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,145
What I’m seeing is fewer and fewer coach seats on planes, and more premium seats: first, business, premium economy, etc.

Amtrak is the one mass carrier (other than bus lines) that isn’t significantly upgrading and expanding its premium classes.
Amtrak has been trying out a “business class” product on long distance trains so that is something.

I think the roomette is a great “economy” sleeper - it’s just they are in demand now and there aren’t enough sleepers on trains. That was a great benefit of the trans-dorms - it added quite a few available roomettes to each train. Without the dorm, now the obs crew is taking away from the limited number of roomettes.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
32,761
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Amtrak has been trying out a “business class” product on long distance trains so that is something.

I think the roomette is a great “economy” sleeper - it’s just they are in demand now and there aren’t enough sleepers on trains. That was a great benefit of the trans-dorms - it added quite a few available roomettes to each train. Without the dorm, now the obs crew is taking away from the limited number of roomettes.
Amtrak really needs to acquire some new dedicated Business Class equipment for LD service. All its current attempts at doing LD Business Class has been feeble and spotty at best, with little expectation of reliable continuity.

Rumor has it that the Trans Dorms will evolve from their mothballs over the next two years or so and be restored to all LD service from which they were withdrawn. But of course we will see what actually happens. Anyhow, if that comes to pass, we will have a significant infusion of Roomettes on the Western trains.
 

TheCrescent

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
363
Amtrak has been trying out a “business class” product on long distance trains so that is something.

I think the roomette is a great “economy” sleeper - it’s just they are in demand now and there aren’t enough sleepers on trains. That was a great benefit of the trans-dorms - it added quite a few available roomettes to each train. Without the dorm, now the obs crew is taking away from the limited number of roomettes.
True although Amtrak got rid of business class on the Crescent. It seemed as though business class was a regular Amfleet II coach- any wonder why few people bothered to pay more for it?
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,145
I do think a business class that included meals, soft drinks, blanket and pillow would do well in LD even with current equipment.

I agree the trial of BC on LD trains has been inconsistent. Even now on the coast starlight they may or may not allow you to purchase a meal from the diner.

Question! Are there extra Trans dorms? I wonder if they could try a transdorm out as an “economy sleeper” with the unrefurbished roomettes? Try it out on one particular train and see how it goes.
 

jebr

Enthusiastic Transit Rider
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
4,759
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
Comparing apples to apples, Via Toronto to Vancouver takes four nights (about 86 hours or over 3-1/2 days on one train. Amtrak WAS to SEA takes three nights and a train change (CL a tad over 20 hours and EB 58 hours for a total of 78 hours or 3-1/4 days, longer if you factor in CHI transfer time). Taking into account VIA's single train experience, plus extra night meals and accommodation, plus (IMHO) significantly superior meals and onboard amenities, VIA is very competitive. Of course, it all depends on what prices you can snag for your desired travel dates. And we haven't even tried to factor in on-time performance.

VIA's up to 4 full days on the train (Toronto - Vancouver is 4 days 1 hour 15 min.) The Canadian is a wonderful on-board experience, but it's terrible as a transportation method. Pre-COVID Amtrak did the entire trip as well, albeit with transfers, and it ran daily and took less time than VIA did/does. Even today you could catch the afternoon GO Train to Niagara Falls, do local transfers down to Depew (taxi probably best, though appears to be basically possible via walking/bus,) and then take Amtrak to Vancouver from there. That would still be a later departure on the first day, you'd arrive earlier (evening of day 4 instead of morning of day 5,) and you don't have to worry about the day of the week (except perhaps for the GO Train - though I think they do a bus service daily as well if the train doesn't run.) IMO, the Canadian government should be ashamed at how far they've let their passenger rail network fall, even with the Canadian. I'd much rather have Amtrak's frequencies and service levels than what's available north of the border.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
32,761
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Question! Are there extra Trans dorms? I wonder if they could try a transdorm out as an “economy sleeper” with the unrefurbished roomettes? Try it out on one particular train and see how it goes.

I think after one accounts for Protect, PM/BO and Overhaul, there is just about enough to equip every Superliner train with one, and not much more.

The problem with the most popular Western trains is that you require 4 to 6 cars (+ requisite protects) to equip the train with any additional service. That many cars are not easy to come by.
 

ehbowen

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,560
Location
Houston, Texas
Agreed in that an all-sleeping car train would mean at least 6 sleeping cars (given typical 8-car Amtrak consists).

The only reason I can think of to have an all-sleeper train is because the railroad gets so much sleeping car business that there’s not enough space in the consist for a coach.

If Amtrak could generate enough business to fill that many sleeping cars, that would be great.
A significant number of all-Pullman trains operated 'teamed' with all-Coach trains. I'm thinking the Super Chief and El Capitan, the City of Los Angeles and the Challenger, the Spirit of St. Louis and the Jeffersonian. Even if not a premium all-coach train, there was virtually always a coach-and-Pullman alternative within an hour of the train's time slot. So, in essence, we're talking about a single two-section train operating under two separate identities.
 

ehbowen

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,560
Location
Houston, Texas
United and American have had transcontinental flights that have no coach seats, even recently: they’re all first class (fancier than regular domestic first class), business or premium economy.

I think that at least United added coach seats to its p.s. flights though.

What I’m seeing is fewer and fewer coach seats on planes, and more premium seats: first, business, premium economy, etc.

Amtrak is the one mass carrier (other than bus lines) that isn’t significantly upgrading and expanding its premium classes.
It wasn't used in scheduled revenue service, but I know that Northwest had at least one 727 fitted for all first class at extended seat spacing in the 1997-98 time frame. I went aboard it while I was working at Hobby Airport. It was mainly used for charters for professional sports teams (especially basketball).
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,577
the Super Chief and El Capitan, the City of Los Angeles and the Challenger,

I remember those and saw brochures that described the trains. The City of Los Angeles and the Super Chief were definitely advertised as a First Class product. The El Capitan and the Challenger, if I recall correctly, was advertised as a "classier" coach product.

Before the arrival of the jets, some airlines used their newest model planes as an all First Class product. I remember a SAS ad that promoted their DC-7C that way. There were even berths available. Even before that, the Boeing Stratocruisers of Pan Am had those and I am pretty certain there was no Economy Class available.
 

ehbowen

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,560
Location
Houston, Texas
Asking for some direction: I know that Amtrak used to offer an "accessible Roomette" in a converted Heritage sleeping car on the Broadway Limited/Three Rivers near the end of its run. I'd like to see the floor plan and footprint of this accommodation; would it be possible to shoehorn it into a Slumbercoach-type floor plan passenger car? Just curious.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
3,468
Location
SW ATL airport
The new service types I mention ought to be done with additional equipment. They would not displace any current cars.
There is ample demand for additional seats and rooms on long-distance trains.
As I vaguely remember original plan was an option that would have increase the number of V-2 sleepers to 75 for a total car buy of 130 V-2s of various configurations. Believe money was a problem?.
 
Last edited:

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,145
The Canadian is a tourist land cruise that pays the bare minimum of lip service to being a transportation method linking ruralcommunities. There's stuff VIA does well, but it's not a good model for Amtrak to emulate.
I met many Canadians traveling for non-tourist related reasons. (Work, going back to school, visiting family).

But I also agree, I would rather have a coach only Amtrak train running daily vs. the Canadian style of 2 days a week with crazy amounts of padding built in to the schedule.
 

ehbowen

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,560
Location
Houston, Texas
Asking for some direction: I know that Amtrak used to offer an "accessible Roomette" in a converted Heritage sleeping car on the Broadway Limited/Three Rivers near the end of its run. I'd like to see the floor plan and footprint of this accommodation; would it be possible to shoehorn it into a Slumbercoach-type floor plan passenger car? Just curious.
Never mind, found one here. Not very detailed, but close enough to answer my question. It would require reconfiguring the Slumbercoach floor plan, but I think you could do it if you really wanted to. Might have to sacrifice a single room or two. Best done as a new build! (Hint, hint!)
 
Top