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No Blue "Nightlights" in Coach/BC

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Blackwolf

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This may have been answered in a previous post I am unaware of, but I ask for your indulgence.

I recall a time in the distant past where, upon the 10 PM curfew, both the florescent lights above the windows -and- the white portions of the blue and white central isle lightning fixtures were shut off in Coach and Business Class. Only the blue lights were left lit overnight, along with the isle marker strip.

This practice has been abandoned for some time now, and only the florescent lights are extinguished now. Does anyone have knowledge as to why, such as a particular incident or cause, the white center isle lights are left on now?

I'm reminded of this as I ride #14 north in Business Class out of San Jose. It makes for a less that desired irritation when attempting to grab some slumber.

Considering that red-eye airline flights are permitted to completely darken a cabin, any regulations that forbade Amtrak from doing the same seem absurd.
 

Triley

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This may have been answered in a previous post I am unaware of, but I ask for your indulgence.

I recall a time in the distant past where, upon the 10 PM curfew, both the florescent lights above the windows -and- the white portions of the blue and white central isle lightning fixtures were shut off in Coach and Business Class. Only the blue lights were left lit overnight, along with the isle marker strip.

This practice has been abandoned for some time now, and only the florescent lights are extinguished now. Does anyone have knowledge as to why, such as a particular incident or cause, the white center isle lights are left on now?

I'm reminded of this as I ride #14 north in Business Class out of San Jose. It makes for a less that desired irritation when attempting to grab some slumber.

Considering that red-eye airline flights are permitted to completely darken a cabin, any regulations that forbade Amtrak from doing the same seem absurd.
I do not know if rules have changed as I don't work coaches or sleepers. But comparing the airlines to Amtrak is also absurd. The airlines don't have multiple stops in the middle of the night, with people getting on and off with luggage.

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Blackwolf

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In the sense that they both carry passengers, overnight, in large quantities traveling in recliner seats... They are identical. A good number of the Long Distance routes have hours of travel time between stops where they discharge and take on passengers; at times, equal to a single red-eye flight. The blue lights still cast a considerable amount of light around the interior of the car; enough for them to still have a disruptive factor, but nothing close to having 20 or so white lamps turned on 24/7. If it is ground-based transportation that you crave, should intercity bus not be allowed to darken their cabin?

For the Superliner fleet, the end door vestibules, the stairway, and the entire downstairs baggage/vestibule/lavatory area remain fully bathed in bright white light and always have. For the single-level fleet, the end door vestibules and baggage area also remains illuminated in white.

If its the movement of passengers on and off with large bags (anything larger than a carry-on should not be in the seating area), sure. Turn on the white center isle lights at stops. It only takes a throwing of the breaker switch, which is (if I recall) located in the entry/exit vestibule and can be part of load on and load off procedures. Amtrak is in the business of providing service to people. I am very hopeful that Mr. Anderson is a means by which, from the top down, the rest of the Company can be fully reminded of that.

But, I digress. It may be absurd to ask a good number of Amtrak employees to do anything more than the bare minimum. Kind of like the Coach Attendant in my Business Class car last night, who couldn't be bothered to do his job or say more than a couple words even when greeted with kindness upon boarding. My Conductor north of Sacramento, on the other hand, was one of the kindest and more enjoyable Amtrak staff I've interfaced with in years! He obviously understands his job is more than just operating the train. YMMV!
 

Devil's Advocate

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I do not know if rules have changed as I don't work coaches or sleepers. But comparing the airlines to Amtrak is also absurd. The airlines don't have multiple stops in the middle of the night, with people getting on and off with luggage.
Anytime I'm about to purchase tickets I weigh my options by comparing Amtrak to airlines and driving. Guess I'm just crazy like that. Also, the OP is mainly comparing Amtrak policy today to previous Amtrak policies, when they were somehow able to turn off more of the lights, despite the absurd inconvenience of having to stop in the middle of the night.
 

Trogdor

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Planes' lights are turned on for boarding/alighting. They don't board/alight in the dark.

Typical red-eye flights are 4-6 hours long. I can think of precious few long-distance trains that go that amount of (scheduled) time without a passenger stop.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Planes' lights are turned on for boarding/alighting. They don't board/alight in the dark. Typical red-eye flights are 4-6 hours long. I can think of precious few long-distance trains that go that amount of (scheduled) time without a passenger stop.
Fair enough. So now that we've beaten that straw horse to death how about we turn our attention to why Amtrak was previously able to turn off the lights but is no longer able to anymore. Does the typical Amtrak route have more stops today than before? Do Amtrak staff have worse eyesight than they used to? Were the light switches rewired to where they can no longer be divided?
 

Thirdrail7

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Fair enough. So now that we've beaten that straw horse to death how about we turn our attention to why Amtrak was previously able to turn off the lights but is no longer able to anymore.
Who said they were actually allowed to turn them off? I've been around for YEARS and aisle lights were never actually supposed to be extinguished. The aisle lights are part of the emergency lighting system, which is mandated by the FRA. That's been around since Silver Spring at least! The only lights that are supposed to be extinguished are the main ceiling lights and the cove lights. Depending on the equipment, there are separate switches. Correct me if I'm wrong but if the train is equipped with dimmers, I believe it is supposed to remain on setting 2. All other lights (vestibule, end, aisle, cabinet, reading, rest room and signage ) are supposed to be remain on.

So, maybe Blackwolf is actually witnessing employees actually doing as instructed.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Fair enough. So now that we've beaten that straw horse to death how about we turn our attention to why Amtrak was previously able to turn off the lights but is no longer able to anymore.
Who said they were actually allowed to turn them off? I've been around for YEARS and aisle lights were never actually supposed to be extinguished. The aisle lights are part of the emergency lighting system, which is mandated by the FRA. That's been around since Silver Spring at least! The only lights that are supposed to be extinguished are the main ceiling lights and the cove lights. Depending on the equipment, there are separate switches. Correct me if I'm wrong but if the train is equipped with dimmers, I believe it is supposed to remain on setting 2. All other lights (vestibule, end, aisle, cabinet, reading, rest room and signage ) are supposed to be remain on. So, maybe Blackwolf is actually witnessing employees actually doing as instructed.
Nobody said Amtrak was or was not "allowed" to do anything. The OP merely pointed out that in the past Amtrak reduced the light levels at night more than they do today, and I agreed. You've been around Amtrak for years, so congrats on that I guess, but many of us have been riding Amtrak for decades and I'll admit that until today did not know that there was some arbitrary cutoff for discussing changes to Amtrak policies. I figured anything from A-Day until today was fair game. If the rules or regulations for lights in coach have changed, or were simply ignored in the past, then that would be good information to have. If not then perhaps Amtrak has a different reason for why they changed the nighttime lighting levels. If the FRA is in fact mandating that lights which may impede sleep must remain on all night then perhaps a better solution would be to consider implementing airline style emergency lights that can remain off during normal travel and then come on during emergency conditions. Maybe not right away, but perhaps whenever the next round of coach cars are ordered or refurbished.
 
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jebr

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I took a peek at version 8.1 of the Service Standards Manual (the latest one that's available publicly as far as I'm aware of - I know there's later versions but I don't think they've been released publicly.)

The only reference I could find was on page 6-81, regarding the Train Attendant - Coach's responsibility:

h) Lighting – Main ceiling and cove lights must be turned off at 10 p.m. on overnight trains
That's it; that's all I could find in terms of an actual rule (instead of just descriptor.) I'm not sure which lights those are exactly, but that seems to be a majority of them.
 

Thirdrail7

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Nobody said Amtrak was or was not "allowed" to do anything. The OP merely pointed out that in the past Amtrak reduced the light levels at night more than they do today, and I agreed. You've been around Amtrak for years, so congrats on that I guess, but many of us have been riding Amtrak for decades and I'll admit that until today did not know that there was some arbitrary cutoff for discussing changes to Amtrak policies. I figured anything from A-Day until today was fair game.
In terms of this thread. the OP said in the distant past. If you look at his profile, he was born in 1984. Assuming his memories don't go back to the day of his birth, that still would rule out anything to do with A-day up until 1984.
Along those lines, since this has been a formal policy for at least 20 years (Silver Spring occurred in 1996 and that led to numerous safety changes including the aforementioned aisle marker strip), I based my answer on the thought that OP wasn't going back to when is was in his teenage years. That would mean that what he probably saw was always a (common) rule violation that wasn't allowed.

As for you indicating no one said Amtrak was or was not "allowed to do anything," I suppose that is my fault for assuming. I clearly mistook the intent about be "able" to turn off the lights to mean that there may have been a policy change regarding subject. Obviously, that's not the case. So, we'll try again because I guess you were looking for something more simplistic.

Fair enough. So now that we've beaten that straw horse to death how about we turn our attention to why Amtrak was previously able to turn off the lights but is no longer able to anymore.
To answer your question, Amtrak was previously able to turn off the lights using a switch. Since most of our equipment is still old, they still have switches. Therefore, they are still able to turn off the lights...as long as the switch still works. It would be an FRA violation, but they are able to turn off the lights.
 
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Triley

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I do not know if rules have changed as I don't work coaches or sleepers. But comparing the airlines to Amtrak is also absurd. The airlines don't have multiple stops in the middle of the night, with people getting on and off with luggage.
Anytime I'm about to purchase tickets I weigh my options by comparing Amtrak to airlines and driving. Guess I'm just crazy like that. Also, the OP is mainly comparing Amtrak policy today to previous Amtrak policies, when they were somehow able to turn off more of the lights, despite the absurd inconvenience of having to stop in the middle of the night.
It's always fun when you poke your head out, Chris.
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Blackwolf

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Fair enough. So now that we've beaten that straw horse to death how about we turn our attention to why Amtrak was previously able to turn off the lights but is no longer able to anymore.
Who said they were actually allowed to turn them off? I've been around for YEARS and aisle lights were never actually supposed to be extinguished. The aisle lights are part of the emergency lighting system, which is mandated by the FRA. That's been around since Silver Spring at least! The only lights that are supposed to be extinguished are the main ceiling lights and the cove lights. Depending on the equipment, there are separate switches. Correct me if I'm wrong but if the train is equipped with dimmers, I believe it is supposed to remain on setting 2. All other lights (vestibule, end, aisle, cabinet, reading, rest room and signage ) are supposed to be remain on.

So, maybe Blackwolf is actually witnessing employees actually doing as instructed.
Main ceiling lights and cove lights. For a Superliner, the cove lights would be the florescent fixtures at the back of the overhead luggage shelf/above the windows, correct? So, would it be similarly correct to call the "main ceiling lights" the white portion of the white and blue recessed fixture in the middle of the car?

That is correct, TR. I was born in 1984 (which makes me 33 years of age) and first traveled overnight on Amtrak in 1992. I remember that trip, which was obviously long before Silver Spring, aboard the Coast Starlight to Seattle in Coach. Our car was a Heritage ex-Santa Fe High-Level, and they completely extinguished all interior lights overnight then. You only had some rather dim lighting down the stairs and at the end doors. Since I graduated college and delved into my career in the Fire Service, I've rarely traveled in Coach overnight due to liking Sleeper too much, and when I did it was only because my travels did not include a full night on board. That said, even in the early 2000's, I can recall the white center isle lights being switched off and the blue lights being left on. It's only been in the last 10 years that I have noticed the white lights being left on in perpetuity.

I do not have any experience overnighting in an Amfleet or Horizon Coach. Probably never will (willingly) since I live several thousand miles away from that type of car being used on Long Distance trains, and I will always spring for Sleeper when traveling East of Chicago aboard Amtrak. I do know the Amfleets lack the blue light filter of the Superliners, so there is that.
 

neroden

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As a digression, it is now well-documented that *blue* lights while sleeping specifically interfere with circadian rhythms and mess your sleep up.

Any nighttime emergency lighting should therefore be red or green; white is still better than blue.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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As a digression, it is now well-documented that *blue* lights while sleeping specifically interfere with circadian rhythms and mess your sleep up.

Any nighttime emergency lighting should therefore be red or green; white is still better than blue.
I looked up "blue" lights earlier because I was thinking it might have a "bad" effect on at least some people.
 

Devil's Advocate

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As a digression, it is now well-documented that *blue* lights while sleeping specifically interfere with circadian rhythms and mess your sleep up. Any nighttime emergency lighting should therefore be red or green; white is still better than blue.
I looked up "blue" lights earlier because I was thinking it might have a "bad" effect on at least some people.
I was suspicious of the purple and blue "mood lighting" sometimes used along the ceiling of newer aircraft, but so far I have not noticed any particular problem unique to those lights or their color. It can actually be kind of soothing in a way. That being said, my preference is for near total darkness, and on long haul transoceanic flights that's generally what you get, even if it's a daytime flight. Which may explain why I can usually sleep in coach* on aircraft even though I really struggle to sleep in coach on Amtrak.

*These days conventional coach is called "premium economy," but it's basically the same general experience as regular coach was a decade ago.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Why don't those wanting darkness, invest in a "sleep-mask"? https://www.today.com/style/best-silk-eye-mask-sleep-mask-8000-positive-reviews-t116451

Problem solved.....
In my experience eye masks can help but they're no magic bullet. Most current designs are flimsy and not terribly comfortable. If your head moves against the seat the mask can easily become dislodged. They seem to work best when lying flat, but on Amtrak if you're lying flat chances are you're in a sleeper and don't need a mask. The quality seems to range from poor to bad. If you try to wash an eye mask they often shrink or fall apart in the process. So basically, they're a stopgap measure that sometimes helps but often struggles with the most common use case (sleeping while sitting up).
 

Triley

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Why don't those wanting darkness, invest in a "sleep-mask"? https://www.today.com/style/best-silk-eye-mask-sleep-mask-8000-positive-reviews-t116451

Problem solved.....
In my experience eye masks can help but they're no magic bullet. Most current designs are flimsy and not terribly comfortable. If your head moves against the seat the mask can easily become dislodged. They seem to work best when lying flat, but on Amtrak if you're lying flat chances are you're in a sleeper and don't need a mask. The quality seems to range from poor to bad. If you try to wash an eye mask they often shrink or fall apart in the process. So basically, they're a stopgap measure that sometimes helps but often struggles with the most common use case (sleeping while sitting up).
I've had several I've worn over the years while sleeping in reclining chairs in BOS and NYP, and in coach on Amfleet I's and Superliners, without a problem if it blocking all light, even after they get worn out...
They may not be the most comfortable things ever, but they're certainly not so uncomfortable that they're gong to keep me awake or anything.

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crescent-zephyr

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Can we also start a rant of the forced blue night light in sleepers?
What is there to rant about. At least on Viewliners nothing is forced. Just turn it off. I always do.
That is not the case in the newly refurbished Superliners and I am guessing it will not be the case on the new view liners. (The darkest you can set the room is the night setting with a blue light on.)
 

railiner

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As a digression, it is now well-documented that *blue* lights while sleeping specifically interfere with circadian rhythms and mess your sleep up.

Any nighttime emergency lighting should therefore be red or green; white is still better than blue.
On submarine's, when using periscopes at night, they first have to "rig for red", that is turn off all but red interior lights, as they don't give a 'tell-tale' projection to the enemy through the periscope, and they preserve the night vision of the sailor's...aircraft cockpits also may use red lighting at night on gauges, or chart lights to preserve night vision....
 

jis

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Can we also start a rant of the forced blue night light in sleepers?
What is there to rant about. At least on Viewliners nothing is forced. Just turn it off. I always do.
That is not the case in the newly refurbished Superliners and I am guessing it will not be the case on the new view liners. (The darkest you can set the room is the night setting with a blue light on.)
The LED-ized VL-1s allow you to turn lights off completely.
If they are doing what you claim that is a negative move which unfortunately has become more of the norm for Amtrak of late. Have you written to give feedback to Amtrak yet? I will when I come across one. Haven’t so far.

Naturally ranting here will have no effect on anything.

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