Parallel vs perpendicular sleeper berths?

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Mailliw

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Which is more comfortable to sleep in parallel berths (like in a roomette) or perpendicular (like in a bedroom)? Which design allows for more berths in the sleeping car? Are there any differences in safety?
 

Maglev

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The highest density I know of is on some foreign trains, which offer six perpendicular berths in the space of two Roomettes or one Bedroom.

I talked my chiropractor into taking a cross-country trip, and they booked a Family Bedroom and an adjacent Roomette. I would think that he would be sensitive to things affecting one's body. He found the perpendicular orientation to be unsettling, while the parallel orientation was "like being rocked in a cradle." I find either orientation to be comfortable. I prefer the wider berth and amenities of a Bedroom, but like a Roomette for sitting in bed and watching the scenery go by.

Regarding safety, I think that is more determined by the layout of the room than orientation. In a Bedroom, there are greater distances to fall in a crash.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Which is more comfortable to sleep in parallel berths (like in a roomette) or perpendicular (like in a bedroom)? Which design allows for more berths in the sleeping car? Are there any differences in safety?
I prefer parallel orientation like in a roomette. In fact that often rocks me to sleep even when I intended to be awake. The most efficient conventional design would probably involve multi-level open berths as seen in other countries. The most efficient single-level sleeper density would probably be herringbone style divided lounge pods like on airlines. I suppose the holy grail of sleeper efficiency would be some sort of multi-level herringbone design. That would probably require an expensive niche solution for the initial roll-out but if it managed to live up to the promise it might result in the best fare recovery. The least safe orientation would probably be head-first, but other than it probably doesn't matter too much.
 
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crescent-zephyr

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I prefer parallel but that is probably because that is what I’m used to. I’ve traveled in roomettes most of the time and I also travel in tour busses which have bunks laid out perpendicular.

I think the last time I slept perpendicular was in the Iowa Pacific Tail car on the back of the city of New Orleans. Being in a single level car, at the very back of a superliner trainset on CN track? I’m not going to blame the orientation of the bed for my lack of sleep! Haha.
 

bratkinson

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For me, parallel wins hands down.

Gently rocking side to side beats head to toe rocking which tends towards sea sickness, in my opinion. On the other hand, having full plumbing facilities including shower is great. I find the toilet in Viewliner roomettes boarders on 'disgusting' when considering the poor 'aim' of some resulting from a rocking train.

The only time I ever had a problem with a roomette was on the Canadian and Super Continental 35-40 years ago trying to sleep while going through the Rockies. I was frequently rolled to one wall or the other due to extended curvature of the lines. I went west on the Super Continental and back on the Canadian that trip. As I generally sleep on my side, the solution was to bring the 'top' knee up somewhat creating a figure '4' sleeping position. It only took 2 nights of rolling back and forth to change my 'usual' position.
 

Rasputin

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I think the last time I slept perpendicular was in the Iowa Pacific Tail car on the back of the city of New Orleans. Being in a single level car, at the very back of a superliner trainset on CN track? I’m not going to blame the orientation of the bed for my lack of sleep! Haha.
I can assure you it is no better in a bedroom on the City near the front of the train. That track is some rough.
 

joelkfla

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I agree with the others: rocking side-to-side is much more comfortable than being jostled head-to-toe. Plus, it's much easier to open the curtains and peek out when you wake up during the night if you're lying right along side the window.
 

jiml

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Parallel to the window (roomette-style) is preferred. Crosswise leaves you susceptible to rolling with braking depending on which way your bedroom is facing. The best solution is Bedroom A on many VIA Budd sleeping cars, which has one bed each way - both lowers. (We're getting too old for upper bunks.)
 

Dakota 400

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Personally, I prefer parallel, feet first.
I do as well. Have ridden in bedrooms less than Roomettes (and always in the upper berth), but have not slept as well as when the bed is parallel .

Not wild about having the pillow end of the bed next to the toilet, but given the amount of space between the bed and the door, it would be easier to get out of bed and to get to the toilet than if the bed was made up in the reverse.
 

Ziv

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I like both. I slept well on the soft sleeper in China and on the Trans-Sib where the beds were thwartship, and I slept nearly as well in a roomette in a Superliner where I was sleeping fore and aft. For me, the sound of the train is enough to make me sleep soundly regardless of which direction my feet are pointing.
 

Mailliw

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Thanks everyone. The rocking like in s cradle makes alot of sense.
 

sttom

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Density depends on how you set up the beds. The most you can do is 6 bed couchettes which I think can fit 54 or 60 people into one car. But, you can get a similar number of people into an all section arrangement as a 4 bed couchette. You can possibly get more people into perpendicular rooms, but it really depends on how many people you feel like cramming into one room. Most European railways that still run night trains put up to 3 people in one room. Which type of room makes more money depends. Generally, the more privacy you have, the more you pay. So if you pay for a room to yourself with a toilet and shower, you'll pay more for it instead of a bed with 5 new friends. But that doesn't necessarily mean it'll make more net revenue than a lower option. First class on airlines tends to make less than Business because the airlines have to expend more effort for a First Class seat and they tend to be given away or sold for less to loyal customers, where as a higher percentage of Business Class seats are bought at full fair and generally have less nice amenities.
 

OlympianHiawatha

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If you are berthed parallel, I was taught to always bunk feet towards direction of travel.. That way in case the train derails or goes into emergency, your feet will absorb the impact much easier than your head.
 

neroden

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Prefer parallel as well. Didn't realize this was so common! I think this indicates that the old perpendicular compartment designs shouldn't be manufactured in future. I wonder if there's a viable parallel design which is higher-capacity than the roomette, for groups larger than two.
 

Ziv

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It also allows you to see down the road at what is coming if you can see out the window. That is luxury! I prefer to sit seated looking forward too.
But for sleeping, just knowing that in the very unlikely circumstance of a VERY sudden stop occurring my feet would hit the bulkhead first makes me sleep a bit more comfortably!
I think it was a Jhumpa Lahiri novel that had the protagonist in a similar situation, sleeping on a train only to wake up to ... HOLY CR**! WHAT IS GOING ON!!!!!
;-)

If you are berthed parallel, I was taught to always bunk feet towards direction of travel.. That way in case the train derails or goes into emergency, your feet will absorb the impact much easier than your head.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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@sttom got me thinking (a very dangerous thing to do).

A new sleeper car floor plan where the roomettes are basically just like the bedrooms, but much narrower, by removing the in-room toilet and extra chair. There might be some space efficiency by having the hall run down the side for the entire length, and not having that jog-to-center in the middle of the car.

Of course, this will upset all the parallel loving passengers. ;)
 

railiner

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@sttom got me thinking (a very dangerous thing to do).

A new sleeper car floor plan where the roomettes are basically just like the bedrooms, but much narrower, by removing the in-room toilet and extra chair. There might be some space efficiency by having the hall run down the side for the entire length, and not having that jog-to-center in the middle of the car.

Of course, this will upset all the parallel loving passengers. ;)
Pullman used to have an accommodation called "Duplex Single Room" that were perpendicular...they did have a sink and toilet in the room, and saved space with their upper and lower offset duplex layout. Although I don't believe them filling an entire car...they were mixed in with other types of rooms.
These were priced just above a standard roomette, and below a double bedroom...
 

sttom

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@sttom got me thinking (a very dangerous thing to do).

A new sleeper car floor plan where the roomettes are basically just like the bedrooms, but much narrower, by removing the in-room toilet and extra chair. There might be some space efficiency by having the hall run down the side for the entire length, and not having that jog-to-center in the middle of the car.

Of course, this will upset all the parallel loving passengers. ;)
Pullman used to have an accommodation called "Duplex Single Room" that were perpendicular...they did have a sink and toilet in the room, and saved space with their upper and lower offset duplex layout. Although I don't believe them filling an entire car...they were mixed in with other types of rooms.
These were priced just above a standard roomette, and below a double bedroom...
On the topic of a duplex room, I found this a while back that talks about it.
 

railiner

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On the topic of a duplex room, I found this a while back that talks about it.
Here's some more....
Apparently, there were a couple of all DSR cars ....


 

toddinde

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Pullman used to have an accommodation called "Duplex Single Room" that were perpendicular...they did have a sink and toilet in the room, and saved space with their upper and lower offset duplex layout. Although I don't believe them filling an entire car...they were mixed in with other types of rooms.
These were priced just above a standard roomette, and below a double bedroom...
The Pennsylvania had full cars of those I believe. I think they ran on the Broadway. They were an ingenious offset design.
 

RichieRich

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Perpendicular, absolutely. In the parallel (sleeperettes) you will roll side-to-side as the train rocks...constantly rolling over. In the Bedrooms (perpendicular) you "rock" head-to-toe, so not always holding yourself from rolling over.
 

Sauve850

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I too prefer perpendicular. I have done both ways roomette and bedroom. First I much prefer a bedroom accommodation. I have always liked rocking chairs and the head to toe movement over the roomette rocking side to side. In the daytime I like laying on the couch looking out the window and enjoy that rocking motion.
 

Siegmund

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One more perpendicular person here. The side-to-side rocking in a roomette makes me feel like I am falling out of the bed; I have to either sleep leaning against the outside wall of the car, or make a pile of pillows/luggage between myself and the inside wall of the roomette. I'd happily try a duplex roomette style accommodation - though I would miss the daytime config of the roomette.

Maybe there is some clever way, with one person's feet under the next person's chair, to have daytime facing-forward seat and nighttime perpendicular bed in the same roomette.
 
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