No bedrooms available on Empire Builder

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zephyr17

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Had no problem getting a BR on Eastbound EB mid-Aug. 831C.
Well, hope that means they are planning to reinstate the 31 car line on Seattle section of the Builder by August. They aren't running it right now, just the 30 car and the transdorm (whose line number on the Builder escapes me).
 

OBS

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Well, hope that means they are planning to reinstate the 31 car line on Seattle section of the Builder by August. They aren't running it right now, just the 30 car and the transdorm (whose line number on the Builder escapes me).
Dorm cars are usually the 40 car
 

zephyr17

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Dorm cars are usually the 40 car
Yeah, but I seem to recall that that general usage wasn't used on the Builder and the Builder's transdorm was like a 32 car line. But I am not sure either way.

In any case, the 31 car line on the Builder is a standard sleeper. And it isn't running yet even though we are clearly in the summer season now.
 

Cal

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In any case, the 31 car line on the Builder is a standard sleeper. And it isn't running yet even though we are clearly in the summer season now.
The Chief is also only running with 6 cars! 😟
 

Siegmund

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The Builder does not use a fixed number for the transdorm (or didn't as of a year ago, anyway - I'll squint and try to see the number card next time I see it go by in whitefish.)

In a short consist, the full sleeper is 0730 and the transdorm is 0731.
In a long consist, the full sleepers are 0730 and 0731 and the transdorm is 0732.

If you have a roomette reservation in the 31 car, look at the room number. Normally they sell only transdorm rooms 17-24 to passengers (and make you board through the 30 car and walk forward on the upper level.) If you have a number 1-8 you are almost certainly in a full sleeper, and if 9-14, certainly in a full sleeper.

That's part of the problem here with the yield management system. The available number of rooms jumps from 5 bedrooms and 14 roomettes, to 5 rooms and 22 roomettes (transdorm open), and only then to 10 bedrooms and 28 roomettes (2nd sleeper added, transdorm closed) or 10 bedrooms and 36 roomettes. If the yield management system works when the transdorm is closed, it is out of whack when it is open, and vice versa.
 

zephyr17

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Both Troy and SwedeC say they have Bedrooms. The transdorm has no Bedrooms, so the reservation system has a regular sleeper as the 31 car in August, irrespective of the transdorm's line number.
 

Nleprohn

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I'm in car 831 on the EB in mid July. with a roomette. So if I follow all the above, that's a regular sleeper. Yes?
 

zephyr17

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I'm in car 831 on the EB in mid July. with a roomette. So if I follow all the above, that's a regular sleeper. Yes?
Well, according Siegmund, that car line number can be a transdorm if it running the short consist with only one regular sleeper as it is right now. I know the Builder doesn't use the regular 40 car line number for the transdorm, so Siegmund may well be right.

What is your roomette number? If is 14 or lower, it is a regular sleeper.
 

OBS

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I believe the Arrow Computer system is programmed so that it knows the 40 car is a dorm car and will sell only that type of room if opened for sale. If a train has one sleeper and a Dorm is should be a 30 car and a 40 car.
 

Larry H.

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Train lengths used to be double that of which they are. Both in the East and in the West. Agreed, that that cannot be a reason.
There was a photo in Trains Magazine from the 50s I believe showing the combined set of cars from Union Pacific trains, like the City Of St. Louis, and City of Chicago ect. I counted the passenger cars on the photo and they were running 38 passenger cars with four engines. Personally we rode the CN across Canada in month before Amtrak was founded, they had 22 passenger cars on that train and we were in the rear car on it. Quite a walk to the Station in Vancouver! Besides no one has ever said why a freight train can haul a 100 cars and a passenger train would be limited to say 12?
 

Nick Farr

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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.
All the evidence I can see points to sleeper cars simply not being available.

The waste water system on the Superliners is the most critical system in need of overhaul and the most likely system to render a car out of service. Just look in any yard where they park Superliners for repair, refurbishment or retirement.

The other thing about those cars is that when one needs to be permanently retired, there's no way to order a replacement.

There are clearly opportunities here to expand LD service by purchasing new Superliner cars and possibly an opportunity to let private investors add their own cars to the consist for luxury sleeper revenue service somewhere between the current Amtrak offering and typical private rail car service.

There are certain economic arguments to be made about changing train consists if there are cars available. In many cases, it doesn't make sense to add a car and an SCA in Chicago to drag all the way to Emeryville and back simply to accommodate one couple traveling between Denver and Glenwood Springs in a roomette. That being said, even that argument could be buffered by Amtrak's new program that lets passengers bid for upgrades and add revenue to make up for the cost of adding a car.
 

joelkfla

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Besides no one has ever said why a freight train can haul a 100 cars and a passenger train would be limited to say 12?
What about platform length?

For example, the newly built high level platform at Tampa is appears to be about 1035' long (using Google satellite view), which might just squeeze in 12 cars. Tampa is a stub-end but not a terminus, so a longer train would need to be split and then rejoined, all within the time of the station stop. I don't know whether the remaining low level platforms are even usable after the track changes for the new platform.

Then there are all the rural stations where trains already have to reposition due to short platforms. Longer trains might need to make 3 or 4 stops.
 

zephyr17

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I believe the Arrow Computer system is programmed so that it knows the 40 car is a dorm car and will sell only that type of room if opened for sale. If a train has one sleeper and a Dorm is should be a 30 car and a 40 car.
For whatever reason, they don't follow the 40 car line number practice for the transdorm on the Builder.

Agree that the line number is associated with the car type and therefore the inventory. That doesn't mean the car type associated with the line number cannot be varied.

Even in a system as old as Arrow it would have been bad practice to hard code such a thing in the programming and I seriously doubt they did it that way.
 
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west point

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Longer trains will need to locate coach passengers in one or two cars for boarding or getting off at short platform locations. Then only 2 stops the other for occasional sleeper passenger. If checked bags location then would require a 2nd or 3rd stop. Conductor or AC need to maintain this especially late at night.
 

Nick Farr

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Longer trains will need to locate coach passengers in one or two cars for boarding or getting off at short platform locations. Then only 2 stops the other for occasional sleeper passenger. If checked bags location then would require a 2nd or 3rd stop. Conductor or AC need to maintain this especially late at night.
This also begs the question as to why they can't simply extend the platforms.
 

zephyr17

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I think I'll go out occasionally over the next few weeks to have a look at 8's consists. I'll post how many sleepers there are.
As promised, I stopped by Everett station this evening to have a look at 8.

It is running a transdorm and one sleeper. The transdorm is running under car line 832, and the sleeper is car line 830.

The sleeper was a Superliner II if anyone is interested.
 

jruff001

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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.
This is Amtrak. So it would be more accurate to say "x loses less money than y" rather than "x is more profitable than y."
 

jruff001

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This also begs the question as to why they can't simply extend the platforms.
Probably the same reason why they just simply can't order more sleepers. $.

And then we'd see the posts here like "They wasted money extending the platform in Bumblefark, ND but still can't put real dining car service on the Eastern trains! Amtrak management is so incompetent! :mad::mad::mad:"

:)
 

Brian Battuello

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And while we're on the subject, the large cruise ship lines have a slightly different approach to yield management. Unlike Amtrak which starts out very low and climbs as it fills, they set an arbitrary price for each type of room based on historical averages. Then four times a day literally they compare the sale rate to a historically anticipated curve of sales.

If the sales rate is faster than anticipated they creep the price up. Likewise if it drops below the curve they creep the price down.

The trick for customers is to find a cruise that is badly mismatched with the average sale rate. In this rare case, the price can drop through the floor. I scored a terrific room on a Nova Scotia cruise that was just a little too early in the year to attract customers. When the algorithm sees the boat possibly leaving 2/3 full it freaks out.
 
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