No bedrooms available on Empire Builder

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ms garrison

Train Attendant
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Oct 26, 2018
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Hi, I'm looking to book a sleeper on EB from Chicago to Seattle in late summer or early to mid fall. I'm finding lots of roomettes available but all the other options, are grayed out. I tried a sample booking a year ahead-same thing. I'll be traveling alone so a roomette is fine, but bedrooms are more comfortable and I wouldn't mind paying extra for one. Anyone know why none are showing? Also, has anyone been on the EB recently? Is the sightseer lounge open? What's the food like? Last trip on the Capital Limited, 2019, it was terrible. Thanks.
 

caravanman

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Mar 22, 2004
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Nottingham, England.
I guess many more folk than usual are wanting to travel in bedrooms, due to covid worries?
Seems odd that ALL dates are fully booked for bedrooms.
Maybe try train 27 as far as Spokane, and then train 7 from there to Seattle?
Not travelled recently myself on Amtrak, but I fear the food options are as bad as you experienced on your last trip.
 

fdaley

Lead Service Attendant
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Jan 25, 2020
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306
Hi, I'm looking to book a sleeper on EB from Chicago to Seattle in late summer or early to mid fall. I'm finding lots of roomettes available but all the other options, are grayed out. I tried a sample booking a year ahead-same thing. I'll be traveling alone so a roomette is fine, but bedrooms are more comfortable and I wouldn't mind paying extra for one. Anyone know why none are showing? Also, has anyone been on the EB recently? Is the sightseer lounge open? What's the food like? Last trip on the Capital Limited, 2019, it was terrible. Thanks.
Regarding the food, the Empire Builder currently has the same horrible stuff you were served on the Capitol in 2019, but that is about to change. Beginning June 23, Amtrak is promising a new "traditional dining" menu, with meals prepared on board, on the Empire Builder and four other western trains. You can see the sample menu at Amtrak.com/dining-car under traditional dining. It looks very promising. So by late summer or fall, they'll likely have a couple of months worth of experience with the new menu and, one can hope, have worked out any kinks.

As for bedrooms, my guess is just that they are heavily booked. There's pent-up demand from people who weren't traveling during the pandemic, and the restoration of dining service probably is also drawing back some rail travelers who've postponed trips because of the food situation the past couple of years. After checking a few random dates in the fall, I was able to find a bedroom CHI-SEA departing Sept. 27. Several other dates I checked had no bedrooms available. The price on Sept. 27 was high -- more than $2,500 for two people.
 
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Palmetto

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I just did a test booking Chicago-Essex Mt for mid September and early October, and there were bedrooms available. The price defaults to the roomette, but if you click on the bedroom icon, prices show up if they are available.
 

OBS

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It is interesting, as I noticed same thing. Was working on traveling to either Sea or Rno, so two different trains in late August, and no Bedrooms on either train on several dates......
 

niemi24s

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First random date I tried for late Summer was 28 Aug 2021 and one high bucket Bedroom was available for $2314. No idea what your problem may have been except if you only tried a few dates there just happened to be no Bedrooms available on those dates.

Try more dates.
 
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OBS

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First random date I tried for late Summer was 28 Aug 2021 and one high bucket Bedroom was available for $2314. No idea what your problem may have been except if you only tried a few dates there just happened to be no Bedrooms available on those dates.

Try more dates.
Thanks. My dates were limited that would work. I was just so surprised after having been brainwashed that no one was buying sleepers because of high costs....:)
 

TheVig

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Thanks. My dates were limited that would work. I was just so surprised after having been brainwashed that no one was buying sleepers because of high costs....:)
No you are not brainwashed. Like others have said, it’s pent up demand to travel, and are willing to pay.

There are three kinds of people. Those that can, those that can’t, and those that won’t.
 

dlagrua

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If the bedrooms are in fact selling out, isn't this a message to Amtrak that they must order more sleepers? The sleepers are a very profitable part of the train on all routes that have them. Back in the day PRR trains to Chicago had all sleeper trains, They were popular and affordable. Maybe this is a solution to increasing LD ridership.
 

joelkfla

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If the bedrooms are in fact selling out, isn't this a message to Amtrak that they must order more sleepers? The sleepers are a very profitable part of the train on all routes that have them. Back in the day PRR trains to Chicago had all sleeper trains, They were popular and affordable. Maybe this is a solution to increasing LD ridership.
Not necessarily. If it's a COVID bounce-back phenomenon, the pendulum may have swung back by the time newly ordered cars could be in service.
 

Eric in East County

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In a different thread, we raised the question as to why Amtrak couldn’t add more sleepers to its long-distance trains and/or run trains with just sleepers to meet the increased demand for roomettes and bedrooms. We were surprised at the responses which gave all sorts of reasons why this couldn’t be done – everything from the trains would exceed their prescribed lengths, to it discriminated against people who ride in coach.

We’ve just seen where two SWC No. 3 trains had to be coupled together and run as a single unit, so train length apparently CAN be adjusted to meet current circumstances.

It is our belief that the demand for bedrooms and roomettes will continue since the traveling public – particularly seniors – is now more sensitive to the need for “social distancing” at whatever the cost.

Eric & Pat
 

Siegmund

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northwestern Montana
The Builder is currently operating with its winter consist (only one Seattle sleeper) even though it is summer - whether this is covid leftovers, or due to equipment being withdrawn to be refurbished, or some other reason, I do not know. I imagine that there are a lot of future dates where they are only selling the seats available in the shortened consist at present, and will release more when they start actually running the longer consist again.

If it IS operating with only one sleeper, there will often be a glut of roomettes vs. bedrooms. The practice in the pre-covid off-season was that when the sleeper fills they will sell the roomettes in the transdorm, and only after those are also close to full run a second sleeper. (I have been on a Builder leaving Seattle with one coach and one sleeper where people who wanted COACH seats to Wenatchee were put in the transdorm roomettes because that was the only unsold space.)
 

Cal

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We’ve just seen where two SWC No. 3 trains had to be coupled together and run as a single unit, so train length apparently CAN be adjusted to meet current circumstances.
I don't think that's a comparable situation, as one of those were running 24 hours late. It makes much more sense to run one long train than one two trains a mile apart from each other.

And both of those consists only had 6 superliners, which is shorter than the normal 7-8. So they are down on superliners
 

Cal

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The Builder is currently operating with its winter consist (only one Seattle sleeper) even though it is summer - whether this is covid leftovers, or due to equipment being withdrawn to be refurbished, or some other reason, I do not know. I imagine that there are a lot of future dates where they are only selling the seats available in the shortened consist at present, and will release more when they start actually running the longer consist again.
I believe Chief's are running with 6 superliners, normally runs with 7-8. I believe it's due to superliner refurbishment.
 

west point

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There is equipment available . The example is #3/13 combined with 3/14 so was some 30+ hours late at LAX. However LAX dispatched #4/14 left LAX on time with equipment available at the yard.
 
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DennisInGeorgia

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Oct 28, 2008
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Atlanta
First random date I tried for late Summer was 28 Aug 2021 and one high bucket Bedroom was available for $2314. No idea what your problem may have been except if you only tried a few dates there just happened to be no Bedrooms available on those dates.

Try more dates.
—————————
For a number of reasons we started reserving our trip to Glacier in February, to leave in September. At that, we had trouble reserving the space we wanted, and the sleeper from the park to Portland on the EB was nearly full even that early. But we managed to snag 2 of the 4 downstairs roomettes, across the aisle from each other so we didn’t have to miss scenery on any one side. That also means we’ll be among the first to detrain when we reach Portland. So in this case, 2 roomettes were a much better choice than a bedroom with the shower only a few steps away.
 

jimdex

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The sleepers are a very profitable part of the train on all routes that have them.
I would like to think sleepers are profitable, but I've never seen any figures that would indicate whether they are profitable or not. If we did indeed have some figures indicating that the sleepers are profitable, it would make a strong case for expanding the sleeper fleet.
 

neroden

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At these prices, the sleepers are cash factories.

We did some analysis of whether full sleepers raised more money than full coaches a few years ago, when sleeper ticket prices were lower -- the answer is that it depends on the relative ticket prices, obviously. At the time, LSL ticket prices made the sleepers more profitable than coaches there, while the much lower sleeper ticket prices on the Transcons made it likely that coaches were more profitable there. Recently, while all prices have gone up, sleeper prices have gone up far more than coach prices, and at this point I am pretty sure sleepers raise more money than coaches on every train. And the LSL *definitely* needs more sleepers.
 

ms garrison

Train Attendant
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Oct 26, 2018
Messages
31
Thanks every one. My schedule is open, so I will try a few different days. If no luck a roomette will do.
 

Cal

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Update on the consists.

Saw todays #4 out of LA, only 6 superliners. 2 sleepers (no transdorm), service cars, and two coaches
 
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