Please Mr. Anderson (sleeping suites in coach?)

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Qapla

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If you look - there are four facing in each direction - 4 forward, 4 backward - 8 across

However, as far as I am concerned, you could simply install a "stiff curtain" that can pull down between the coach seats in a regular viewliner and not have to raise ticket prices to achieve enough privacy
 

crescent-zephyr

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If you look - there are four facing in each direction - 4 forward, 4 backward - 8 across

However, as far as I am concerned, you could simply install a "stiff curtain" that can pull down between the coach seats in a regular viewliner and not have to raise ticket prices to achieve enough privacy
Umm.... no. There are 4 across. We are talking about the photo posted a few posts up correct?
 

cocojacoby

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The photo shows 4 seats across.
Well the seats are staggered. This is considered a two-aisle 8 seat wide AB 350 cabin configuration.
The point is there should be plenty of room in an Amfleet coach for half of what you see here.
Airbus 350 2.jpg
 

railiner

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Well the seats are staggered. This is considered a two-aisle 8 seat wide AB 350 cabin configuration.
The point is there should be plenty of room in an Amfleet coach for half of what you see here.
View attachment 17152
Forgive me, but that doesn't sound right....you're saying in effect, that both economy and business rows are eight across the entire cabin width?
Looks to me, that the business seats are four across, with their extra features added in....

economy.... 2-4-2.....business....1-2-1....
 

cocojacoby

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Forgive me, but that doesn't sound right....you're saying in effect, that both economy and business rows are eight across the entire cabin width?
Looks to me, that the business seats are four across, with their extra features added in....

economy.... 2-4-2.....business....1-2-1....
Again the point is that it would fit in an Amtrak coach which was the question asked.
When passengers are lying down and the beds extended there are four rows of bodies lying across the car not two. Maybe it's a little hard to visualize.
 
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sttom

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A viewliner is a mix of roomettes, bedrooms, and an ADA room. An all roomette and 1 Ada car would have similar capacity.
Based on reading the regulations for trains and the ADA, a Delta One style product could qualify as a seat. Which require that there be enough space for a wheelchair and that its next to an accessible bathroom.

I agree that Amtrak should provide a better mid-range product on long haul routes, but true lie-flat business class tickets will never come cheap.
Cheap would be coach, people just want something that is more affordable. And a place to sleep can be made cheaper. And something like a lie flat seat would be competing with airlines, so Amtrak could price them to based on what would be the equivalent coach air fare to attract new riders.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Not necessarily! Lots of Flights, Coach and First Class, are MUCH Cheaper than Amtrak Fares in both Coach and Sleepers for the same City Pairs.
True. I should have said the equivalent or more! Actually first class air is quite a bit less than a roomette on many city pairs.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Cheap would be coach, people just want something that is more affordable. And a place to sleep can be made cheaper. And something like a lie flat seat would be competing with airlines, so Amtrak could price them to based on what would be the equivalent coach air fare to attract new riders.
Lie flat business class seats cost tens-of-thousands each to purchase and install in bulk. Even if Amtrak can find a way to fit them in a Viewliner or Superliner (which I honestly think is probably doable with some modifications) they'll never be able to pay for them at anywhere near coach travel prices. In my experience long haul lie flat business class tickets generally sell for thousands of dollars in a much larger and more competitive airline market. That makes it hard to imagine seeing them at less than sleeper prices on Amtrak. If anything they'd probably take the place of sleeper compartments.
 
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PVD

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At quick glance the single levels would give up 14 seats at 2 +1 in an AM-2 leaving capacity of 45, AM-1 BC would drop 15 and go from 62 to 47, if seat pitch and ADA seating remained as is.
 

Bob Dylan

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Maybe a return to the Slumbercoaches concept would be the best way to go.

Having enjoyed such a "Delta One" concept on a few Delta flights and one Singapore Airlines flight, it is surely better than Economy or Premium Economy seating. Being able to "sleep" in such a restricted space when one is not used to such is another thing. Having a seat belt strapped around me during the night is something that I have never been able to get used to. While I have had some "decent" sleep, most of my flights in this type of seats have been cat-naps at best.

It's the service, before boarding and inflight, and the additional "space" that makes such a booking worth it to me.
Back in the day when I was a Million Mile Frequent Flyer, I learned to Sleep on Planes, but of course Coach had much more Room and you got Blankets andPillows (and Food and Drink! lol,).

Being " Upgraded" to First Class was a Real Treat, even if the Seats were Leather Covered Versions of What Amtrak has in SuperLiner Coaches.Slept thru many a night on Red Eye Cross Country Flights!
 

Qapla

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When it is all said and done - who knows what we may end up with on LD trains and Planes ... with so many planes parked and so many trains adjusted - we may be in for a "new normal" for both modes of transportation
 

ehbowen

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When it is all said and done - who knows what we may end up with on LD trains and Planes ... with so many planes parked and so many trains adjusted - we may be in for a "new normal" for both modes of transportation
Sadly, you're right. However, if things ever return to sanity (and by that I mean that Amtrak has leadership that wants to provide a service, not just minimize costs), I'd like to see the equivalent of first-class Parlor Car service as a 2+1 business class seating section in a dedicated first class lounge car, both on Viewliner and Superliner trains. I really don't think we need to do the lay-flat airline contortions when history shows that the majority of Americans will reject a non-private sleeping accommodation and the present Roomette design is very nearly as space-efficient.

As far as pricing...it's time for Amtrak to recognize that the availability of real, quality, freshly prepared food service adds value to all classes of tickets, and so it's appropriate to take some amount of that ticket revenue from all classes and cross-subsidize the food service so that the price charged on board reflects the marginal cost of preparing that meal. Stop bundling all meals with all sleeping accommodations, but do have an upgrade option for first-class passengers (say, 'Sleeper plus' and 'Parlor plus') which will include meal coupons. All others pay (the marginal cost) for whatever meals they choose to select.

And, while you're at it, let's look at restoring real food service to day trains over a certain trip length (say, 6 hours or so).
 

railiner

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Prior to Amtrak, the Pullman Company operated several first class 'parlor car' lines on top day trains. These cars featured the supremely comfortable, Heywood-Wakefield "Sleepy Hollow" design, rotating parlor chair's, configured in one and one per row. They had drop down table's on the adjacent walls for each seat, and a call button for the porter, who provided at seat light meal and beverage service. Some of these cars had a large drawing room that seated up to seven, for private conferences. Most of these cars only seated about 22 to 28 passenger's. To ride them, you had to pay a first class rail fare, plus a Pullman seat charge...
 

me_little_me

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It would be nice to have a budget option, but I personally think a Delta One style seat could work as a business class product on long distance trains or as a First class product on day trains.

As for the pricing, you can fit 34 of them in the seating space of an Amfleet coach. A Viewliner can seat 30, assuming a maximum of 2 people per room. So there would be a higher potential number of riders.

As for pricing it, if you're not getting food and privacy, you're not going to be paying as much for it.

As for digging into sleeper revenue, would that really happen if there is only 1 car per train with these or sections and 2-3 sleepers? Amtrak doesn't seem to have an issue filling sleeper space and it does want to get more out of those in coach and get more people into trains in general. Since Amtrak lacks something like Delta One or a Section, it's revenue from my long distance trips is effectively $0. I would consider the train on some trips of this or a section was an option. And where there is one, there is more.
One issue with your proposal that I see is that this requires yet another type of car and if this car has a problem and must be replaced, the other regular car can't substitute for it. Unlike airlines that have multiple planes and can rollout another or have another fly in or you be rebooked on a later flight, Amtrak may not have other cars available , they cannot easily rebook you on a later train with once-a-day LD trains, and the time to bring in another car from another city is prohibitive.
 

sttom

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Lie flat business class seats cost tens-of-thousands each to purchase and install in bulk. Even if Amtrak can find a way to fit them in a Viewliner or Superliner (which I honestly think is probably doable with some modifications) they'll never be able to pay for them at anywhere near coach travel prices. In my experience long haul lie flat business class tickets generally sell for thousands of dollars in a much larger and more competitive airline market. That makes it hard to imagine seeing them at less than sleeper prices on Amtrak. If anything they'd probably take the place of sleeper compartments.
Well I'm a numbers guy, so I went and found some numbers. A lie flat airline seat costs around $100,000 on average. Yes some can go up to $1 million but, we aren't talking Ethiad style seats. Assuming that you get an average of $60 (assuming a minimum $120 surcharge at 50% load factor) in additional revenue over a coach seat, and assuming a 260 work days per year, it would take 6.4 years to recover the cost. And the seats on average need to be overhauled every 9 years if you go with leather seats. Currently business class flights between the Bay Area and Portland run between $280-$300 at the low end, in August (need to factor for COVID). A $195 total one way fare would be attractive to riders, and assuming that is the lowest bucket, it would rise a bit with demand. Currently a Roomette in the same time frame is $295. It would raise more revenue than business class and take pressure off of the sleepers.

As for the sleepers, having a budget option would also enable them to change how the currently treat sleepers. The need to at least act like they are making them economical. If there was a lower tier option on all trains, they could easily justify improving the service and raising ticket prices. I've heard that the upper beds on Superliners aren't particularly comfortable, if ticket prices can rise a bit, they would have the money for a refresh. Which would attract more tourists which is effectively what Via Rail does in Canada.

One issue with your proposal that I see is that this requires yet another type of car and if this car has a problem and must be replaced, the other regular car can't substitute for it. Unlike airlines that have multiple planes and can rollout another or have another fly in or you be rebooked on a later flight, Amtrak may not have other cars available , they cannot easily rebook you on a later train with once-a-day LD trains, and the time to bring in another car from another city is prohibitive.
This is still presently an issue on the few long distance trains that offer "business class". Offering extra cars would be easier on the East Coast if the Amfleets are kept around post replacement and modified with Delta One seats or berths. It would be harder for the trains using Superliners, Amtrak would need to get all of the ones presently in local service back and try to put any sidelined ones back into service. No one ever said it would be easy. If anything involving Amtrak was easy it would at least be up to Eastern European levels by now.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I really don't think we need to do the lay-flat airline contortions when history shows that the majority of Americans will reject a non-private sleeping accommodation and the present Roomette design is very nearly as space-efficient.
History shows that the majority of Americans are willing to fly with no beds or privacy. 🤔

Well I'm a numbers guy, so I went and found some numbers. A lie flat airline seat costs around $100,000 on average. Yes some can go up to $1 million but, we aren't talking Ethiad style seats. Assuming that you get an average of $60 (assuming a minimum $120 surcharge at 50% load factor) in additional revenue over a coach seat, and assuming a 260 work days per year, it would take 6.4 years to recover the cost. And the seats on average need to be overhauled every 9 years if you go with leather seats. Currently business class flights between the Bay Area and Portland run between $280-$300 at the low end, in August (need to factor for COVID). A $195 total one way fare would be attractive to riders, and assuming that is the lowest bucket, it would rise a bit with demand. Currently a Roomette in the same time frame is $295. It would raise more revenue than business class and take pressure off of the sleepers.
The first issue is that your theory assumes Amtrak is starting at break even when they claim to lose money on every LD trip. So far as I can tell Amtrak's LD trains have never made a profit and even in the best of times they still can't replace ancient seat designs from a half-century ago. The best I've ever seen them do is replace the outer coverings. The second issue is that you're using airfare for shorter regional flights that do not feature lie-flat seats or a flight duration long enough to truly benefit from them. The third issue is that booking for August doesn't really remove COVID from the equation. The prices I mentioned previously (thousands of dollars per seat per trip) were from regularly scheduled flights with typical yields that featured lie-flat business class seats on routes long enough to give you a real rest. To me it seems like this thread is pushing for long haul business class hardware at domestic premium economy prices.
 
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MARC Rider

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... history shows that the majority of Americans will reject a non-private sleeping accommodation
However, the majority of passengers on Amtrak overnight trains DO ride in coach, so I'm not sure what history is being cited here. In fact, the majority of overnight airline passengers also do not reject non-private sleeping accommodations.

As far as pricing...it's time for Amtrak to recognize that the availability of real, quality, freshly prepared food service adds value to all classes of tickets
That may be true for some passengers, but not others. Most Amtrak passengers, even on long-distance trains, are traveling a relatively short distance and may not be riding through meal times. Others find it a better value proposition to bring their own food, and that was true even before Amtrak started downgrading the dining service.

And why the obsession about the need for "freshly" prepared food? Outside of 4-star expensive white tablecloth establishments and maybe some hole-in-the wall ethnic joints, most of the food sold by the American food service industry is pre-prepared. This would be especially true of on-board food service because of limited space and the general higher cost of labor involved in hauling your work force all around the country. Pre-prepared food can be good, and Amtrak food and beverage deserves criticism for the low quality of the "contemporary flex" dining, but it is possible to provide decent pre-prepared food.

and so it's appropriate to take some amount of that ticket revenue from all classes and cross-subsidize the food service so that the price charged on board reflects the marginal cost of preparing that meal. Stop bundling all meals with all sleeping accommodations, but do have an upgrade option for first-class passengers (say, 'Sleeper plus' and 'Parlor plus') which will include meal coupons. All others pay (the marginal cost) for whatever meals they choose to select.

And, while you're at it, let's look at restoring real food service to day trains over a certain trip length (say, 6 hours or so).
Alas, the experience of the airlines has shown that a transportation enterprise can be successful without having any sort of meal service, or meal service on the order of Amtrak's "contemporary flex" dining. I found this out on my intercontinental flight to Beijing, where United Airlines served me food in coach that was the absolutely worst food I've ever had on a transportation carrier. (Not all of it was bad, the the "breakfast" they served towards the end of the PEK-IAD flight was absolutely inedible. But it was hot and it had eggs and sausage, if that's important. Yecchh, I would have preferred the Amtrak breakfast sandwich, or even the sugar-bomb oatmeal, muffin and yogurt. Heck, a Clif bar and a cup of coffee would have been better.)

I agree that Amtrak needs to pay some more attention to making its premium class service on long distance trains attractive enough to keep the premium class accommodations as full as possible. The higher revenue per mile from the premium classes does help cross-subsidize the overall service. But keep in mind that the reason for government support of long-distance trains is to provide mobility for people who can't or won't fly or drive and to serve rural communities that don't have convenient access to other forms of transportation. It's not to provide experiential rides for people nostalgic for the golden age of rail travel, at least not unless Amtrak can show that they can make a whole lot of extra net revenue from such service.
 

Bob Dylan

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Huh? 4-star? Waffle House serves freshly prepared food.
You might want to check that out, most of the Diners serve Processed Food that is heated up with Eggs probably the only thing cooked to order,and they might even come out of a Container!
 

sttom

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The first issue is that your theory assumes Amtrak is starting at break even when they claim to lose money on every LD trip. So far as I can tell Amtrak's LD trains have never made a profit and even in the best of times they still can't replace ancient seat designs from a half-century ago. The best I've ever seen them do is replace the outer coverings. The second issue is that you're using airfare for shorter regional flights that do not feature lie-flat seats or a flight duration long enough to truly benefit from them. The third issue is that booking for August doesn't really remove COVID from the equation. The prices I mentioned previously (thousands of dollars per seat per trip) were from regularly scheduled flights with typical yields that featured lie-flat business class seats on routes long enough to give you a real rest. To me it seems like this thread is pushing for long haul business class hardware at domestic premium economy prices.
Well thank you for using the same line that is used to justify discussions of privatizing Amtrak. If you won't accept that it could be possible for Amtrak to help its bottom line, there really isn't anything to say, there is nothing but your own preconceived opinion that matters.
 
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