NE Regional - Roanoke question

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BarbW

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Rode the branch of the Northeast Regional from RNK to MSS for the first time the other day. When the train backed into the station at Roanoke to start our journey I was surprised at the length of it. Several more coach cars than I expected. Is this maybe because they would use the same train to continue north out of WAS?
 

BarbW

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Thanks. Good to know. I booked business class but that one car got pretty full by the time we left Charlottesville. Next time I will do coach - not only cheaper but you have a lot of space to choose from if you prefer a little distance between you and the next person.
 

joelkfla

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Thanks. Good to know. I booked business class but that one car got pretty full by the time we left Charlottesville. Next time I will do coach - not only cheaper but you have a lot of space to choose from if you prefer a little distance between you and the next person.
:D Sort of just the opposite of one of the main justifications for upgrading.
 

daybeers

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Thanks. Good to know. I booked business class but that one car got pretty full by the time we left Charlottesville. Next time I will do coach - not only cheaper but you have a lot of space to choose from if you prefer a little distance between you and the next person.
Yes, unfortunately Amtrak is very inconsitent with its Business Class offerings. It could be 2x2 with 10 fewer seats than coach that recline a tad more, have some blue on them, curtains like on the Regionals, 2x1 leather seats but only 18 of them since the other half the car is the cafe, sometimes you get a free drink and have to go and get it, sometimes you need a paper voucher, sometimes they ask for your ticket, it's so stupid. If you feel inclined please tell Amtrak it's confusing.
 
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Yes, unfortunately Amtrak is very inconsitent with its Business Class offerings. It could be 2x2 with 10 fewer seats than coach that recline a tad more, have some blue on them, curtains like on the Regionals, 2x1 leather seats but only 18 of them since the other half the car is the cafe, sometimes you get a free drink and have to go and get it, sometimes you need a paper voucher, sometimes they ask for your ticket, it's so stupid. If you feel inclined please tell Amtrak it's confusing.
They removed the last seat from the Business Class cars in case someone is in a wheelchair, so we're down to 17 seats now. I really like Business Class on the few overnight routes that have it because of the space between the seats - it's just super weird as a woman to sleep next to whoever got on the train at the last stop, and those few inches give a decent buffer.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

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They removed the last seat from the Business Class cars in case someone is in a wheelchair, so we're down to 17 seats now. I really like Business Class on the few overnight routes that have it because of the space between the seats - it's just super weird as a woman to sleep next to whoever got on the train at the last stop, and those few inches give a decent buffer.
At least on the Downeaster the conductors were assigning the BC single seats to those traveling alone and the double seats for couples. I don't know if this is how they always did it or if it is just a COVID thing.
 
Joined
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Connecticut
At least on the Downeaster the conductors were assigning the BC single seats to those traveling alone and the double seats for couples. I don't know if this is how they always did it or if it is just a COVID thing.
On the Lake Shore Limited, usually nothing is assigned. Going westbound I always get the single seat because I'm moving from coach to business in Albany. So I'm on well before anyone boarding in Albany and can take my pick. Coming back from South Bend I may not get a single seat, but that big armrest is a nice buffer from the other passenger - I'm not saying any passengers ever did anything bad, it's just uncomfortable for me to sleep like 1 centimeter from a stranger :/

In coach, the smart thing is to check the seat tags and sit next to someone getting off at the next stop, so you might get both seats to yourself pretty soon. Also if other passengers are knowledgeable, a seat tag for the last station on the route can be armor against someone choosing the other seat! But I don't put bags on the other seat or pretend to sleep, that's just rude.
 
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Triley

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Yes, unfortunately Amtrak is very inconsitent with its Business Class offerings. It could be 2x2 with 10 fewer seats than coach that recline a tad more, have some blue on them, curtains like on the Regionals, 2x1 leather seats but only 18 of them since the other half the car is the cafe, sometimes you get a free drink and have to go and get it, sometimes you need a paper voucher, sometimes they ask for your ticket, it's so stupid. If you feel inclined please tell Amtrak it's confusing.
As far as the soft product goes, it’s not that inconsistent…. You will always have to go retrieve the unlimited beverages yourself, using your ticket, nothing else. This policy covers all of the NER (including Vermonter, Maple Leaf, Palmetto, etc.), Chicago hub services, and the Lake Shore Limited.

For those occasions where the LSA has brought drinks over in a split Business class/Cafe, this is the exact reason why the service manual exists and we are told to only do what the book says…because then when the next attendant doesn’t offer at-seat service, they use it as a complaint.

Only three exceptions I can think of…

Pacific Surfliners offer a dedicated attendant with various snacks and beverages (including a glass of wine) depending on the time of day, because this is a state supported service and this is what the state pays for.

The Cascades offers a $3 voucher for use in the Cafe, because this is state supported service and this is what the state pays for.

And the Starlight offers a $6 voucher for use in the Cafe (as well the diner again soon), and used to offer bottles of water and blankets. This is literally the only train who’s soft product “goes against the grain” that Amtrak actually has control over.
 

daybeers

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Regardless of the soft product, there is no way to tell that some business class seats are different than others when purchasing a ticket. The NEC BC is a waste of money while the LSL can be a good choice.
 

Triley

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Regardless of the soft product, there is no way to tell that some business class seats are different than others when purchasing a ticket. The NEC BC is a waste of money while the LSL can be a good choice.
On the flip side…I’d rather be in Business class on a Regional, where the other riders are generally quieter, as opposed to a split Cafe car where you get to hear doors slamming all day along with loud patrons sitting at the tables.
 

MARC Rider

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What is consistent about business class is that the seats, whatever the size and configuration, are always roomier than the corresponding coach seats on the same train. The only exceptions are the Palmetto and the Pennsylvanian, which have Amfleet 2 long distance coaches, which have similar legroom and similar curtains to the Amfleet 1 business class cars. However, coach in the Palmetto can be an overcrowded zoo, and the Amfleet 2s on the Pennsylvanian can fill up, forcing you into the cramped Amfleet 1 coach, so in those cases, business class is still an upgrade. On the regular regionals, business clas is definitely an upgrade relative to coach.

I wonder what the differences between coach and business class will be like in the new Siemens cars?
 
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daybeers

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I haven't spent much time in the split BC/cafe cars so cannot comment on the noise, though I do imagine it's different overnight.

I respectfully disagree regarding the Pennsy and the Regionals. I'd definitely rather be in one of six coach cars on a Regional instead of squeezed into one smaller car with the rest of the BC passengers yapping loudly about their business. It's also not guaranteed the BC passengers are regulars that know not to block the aisles for too long or stand up too early. The Amfleet IIs have leg rests, don't they? As for the noise in coach, I for one don't tolerate people playing things out loud anymore and confront them when I see it. If it happens again, coach attendant or conductor gets involved. Absolutely no reason for that. Kids I can deal with, but if it gets bad usually I can find anther seat. I learned a long time ago it's often better to save the 50%+ and just ride coach for those trains.
 

MARC Rider

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I haven't spent much time in the split BC/cafe cars so cannot comment on the noise, though I do imagine it's different overnight.

I respectfully disagree regarding the Pennsy and the Regionals. I'd definitely rather be in one of six coach cars on a Regional instead of squeezed into one smaller car with the rest of the BC passengers yapping loudly about their business. It's also not guaranteed the BC passengers are regulars that know not to block the aisles for too long or stand up too early. The Amfleet IIs have leg rests, don't they? As for the noise in coach, I for one don't tolerate people playing things out loud anymore and confront them when I see it. If it happens again, coach attendant or conductor gets involved. Absolutely no reason for that. Kids I can deal with, but if it gets bad usually I can find anther seat. I learned a long time ago it's often better to save the 50%+ and just ride coach for those trains.
My experience riding the NEC is that there's really no difference between coach, business class (regional or Acela), or Acela First Class in the probability that you will run into some loudmouth knucklehead using his or her Amtrak seat as a rent-free conference space to loudly share sensitive and confidential business with 50+ random travelers in the car. If quiet is important, it's true that the only choice is the Quiet Car, which is coach class. But generally, most trips don't have those sorts of disruptions.

As far as the leg rests on the Amfleet two coaches and the split cafe 2x1 business class, I find them pretty useless.

I've ridden the spit 2x1 business class overnight on 67, and it wasn't too bad as far as noise was concerned. The main problem was keeping the curtain door closed to keep the place dark. But then I finally got a pair of eyeshades, which also helped me with sleeping during my early-morning commute on MARC.
 

me_little_me

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Yes, unfortunately Amtrak is very inconsitent with its Business Class offerings. It could be 2x2 with 10 fewer seats than coach that recline a tad more, have some blue on them, curtains like on the Regionals, 2x1 leather seats but only 18 of them since the other half the car is the cafe, sometimes you get a free drink and have to go and get it, sometimes you need a paper voucher, sometimes they ask for your ticket, it's so stupid. If you feel inclined please tell Amtrak it's confusing.
I have one more to add:
It could be that because so few people are in the 1/2 car with the cafe that the conductors sitting around taking up cafe seats will go the other way to check tickets in coach then come back and sit down again, ignoring the fact that there are two new people in B.C. Not a big deal except that those two people had a follow-on LD bedroom which would have been canceled. This happened to me. when I realized that the conductor was not coming our way but, after a few minutes, was getting up to head back to coach, I had to follow him and hunt him down to explain why his negligence was so important to me. He then recorded our presence. I did not thank him for the way he forgot about his higher paying customers.
 

Cal

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Pacific Surfliners offer a dedicated attendant with various snacks and beverages (including a glass of wine) depending on the time of day, because this is a state supported service and this is what the state pays for.
Sometimes two attendants as well! Back in Spring when I was on 774 for the whole journey we had one attendant who was on the previous day's 777, and at LAX another attendant joined.

And the Starlight offers a $6 voucher for use in the Cafe (as well the diner again soon), and used to offer bottles of water and blankets.
About the diner, will business class passengers have to pay? I'm hoping to use a 48 hour upgrade coupon in December for it and am really hoping business is allowed in the diner by then. (And if schedules work out it'd be neat to say a very quick hi to you in Seattle or even Portland)
 

Triley

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Sometimes two attendants as well! Back in Spring when I was on 774 for the whole journey we had one attendant who was on the previous day's 777, and at LAX another attendant joined.


About the diner, will business class passengers have to pay? I'm hoping to use a 48 hour upgrade coupon in December for it and am really hoping business is allowed in the diner by then. (And if schedules work out it'd be neat to say a very quick hi to you in Seattle or even Portland)
I’m not sure how their jobs work down there. It’s possible one of them may have been “assisting” AKA deadheading to pickup another train.

They’d almost certainly have to pay, assuming that they continue getting the $6 voucher, as it used to be accepted in either the diner or Cafe. And unfortunately with the current schedules on the Cascades, the only time I’m ever in a station with the Starlight anymore is when 14 is extremely late. But Canada trains should be back by December, and we’ll see what we come up with scheduling for LSAs. I’ll watch for your trip date in the member trips forum, and see where I line up when your travelling.
 
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