Please Mr. Anderson (sleeping suites in coach?)

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
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!
Why are you telling me to check it out if you’ve obviously never been to a Waffle House? You see the eggs, you see the food being cooked to order. You order a T-bone steak, a t-bone steak gets thrown on the grill.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ziv

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,436
Why are you telling me to check it out if you’ve obviously never been to a Waffle House? You see the eggs, you see the food being cooked to order. You order a T-bone steak, a t-bone steak gets thrown on the grill.
I've actually eaten in Many Diners all over the US, ( including Waffle Houses)and know what your saying, but the foods are NOT Fresh and of Low Quality, just like what's happening on Amtrak Trains! YMMV
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
I've actually eaten in Many Diners all over the US, ( including Waffle Houses)and know what your saying, but the foods are NOT Fresh and of Low Quality, just like what's happening on Amtrak Trains! YMMV
I’m super confused. If I go to a Waffle House and order 2 eggs scrambled with hash browns and toast I get exactly what I would hope to get. Why would I compare that to a re-heated breakfast sandwich on contemporary dining?

It’s not my mileage my vary. If I order an omelette and they make me an omlette fresh to order that’s an omlette made fresh to order. It’s not my opinion, it’s a fact.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ziv

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,436
I’m super confused. If I go to a Waffle House and order 2 eggs scrambled with hash browns and toast I get exactly what I would hope to get. Why would I compare that to a re-heated breakfast sandwich on contemporary dining?

It’s not my mileage my vary. If I order an omelette and they make me an omlette fresh to order that’s an omlette made fresh to order. It’s not my opinion, it’s a fact.
Gotcha ya, I'm not trying to confuse, just talking about the quality of food and the downgrading of most to order food in US Cafes and Diners.

I eat once in awhile @ Dennys, and they do it like your example! Cheers!
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,249
Even generic chain locations like Denny's can serve you on your schedule, cook eggs to your order, and make changes based on your requests. For whatever reason Amtrak either can't or won't do any of that. Extremely simplified restaurants like McDonald's do serve a lot of precooked food but the selection, speed, and friendliness are better than Amtrak and they never shout or snap at you for inadvertently disobeying them. Some of the freshest and tastiest food in the country is prepared in street trucks so it's hard to blame everything on space and facilities. If we ignore the cost and focus primarily on the selection and quality the current Amtrak dining service doesn't seem to be competing with restaurants so much as office function catering and limited menu stadium vendors.

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.
If Amtrak wanted modern lie-flat seating I agree that it could be done, but it would require a massive up-front cost that would come with several revenue focused trade-offs. Due to what I perceive as the inherent limitations of installing modern aircraft focused hardware on much older trains I'd expect long haul lounging pods to be offered at or near roomette level pricing. I'd also expect this type of refurbishment to be accompanied by a much denser coach layout that makes room for more seats and levies surcharges for previously included features like free checked luggage and a relaxed carry-on policy, as well as offering a litany of premium option upgrades that allow coach travelers to buy back what was lost in the process (pitch, width, luggage) and then some (priority boarding and seat location preference). It's the idea that long haul lie-flat seating can be sold at regional upright seat pricing that confuses me.
 
Last edited:

ScouseAndy

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
346
Ive always wondered why Japanese Capsule Hotels Concept has never been used by any train company around the world (even Japan). To me this would be ideal, space saving and cheap. In a standard coach you could certainly go 3 high and potentially even increase capacity over a standard coach.
 

jiml

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
913
Ive always wondered why Japanese Capsule Hotels Concept has never been used by any train company around the world (even Japan). To me this would be ideal, space saving and cheap. In a standard coach you could certainly go 3 high and potentially even increase capacity over a standard coach.
I would be concerned about the ability to evacuate in case of an emergency. One thing to do it from a stationary building, another entirely from a railcar on its side.
 

sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
413
If Amtrak wanted modern lie-flat seating I agree that it could be done, but it would require a massive up-front cost that would come with several revenue focused trade-offs. Due to what I perceive as the inherent limitations of installing modern aircraft focused hardware on much older trains I'd expect long haul lounging pods to be offered at or near roomette level pricing. I'd also expect this type of refurbishment to be accompanied by a much denser coach layout that makes room for more seats and levies surcharges for previously included features like free checked luggage and a relaxed carry-on policy, as well as offering a litany of premium option upgrades that allow coach travelers to buy back what was lost in the process (pitch, width, luggage) and then some (priority boarding and seat location preference). It's the idea that long haul lie-flat seating can be sold at regional upright seat pricing that confuses me.
Ok, I'll bite. There is a thing called market segmentation that all businesses do. Airline business class with lie flat seats are a different market segment than the people that would want them or a section.

Business travel tends to be less flexible than leisure travel which airlines understand and price accordingly. Also, since businesses tend to be paying for most of the lie flat seats with less flexibility, the prices are higher largely because they can be. They know a company will pay for it so they will charge it. For example, let's say a flight from two points with a lie flat seat costs $1800. I the average person couldn't afford that, but any decently sized company probably could and can write it off as a cost of doing business. Paying for nice things also helps with employee retention, so it's cheaper to pay for some nice flights than to higher a new person.

I know you'll say something about random people who think of themselves as too good for coach buying a business class ticket, they exist, but they aren't the target demographic for most airlines selling business class. They'll happily take the money and market share but that doesn't take away from who the product was originally designed and priced for. And they'll also upgrade people for free and for cheap. One rule of business Amtrak doesn't seem to care about is it's easier to retain a customer than to get a new one. So running a few freebies per flight keep people coming back and a cheap upgrade is better than making $0, or the exact opposite of Amtrak's attitude.

Even if Amtrak reduced the pitch of its seats to 33 inches from 39 for regional coach, it's only going to get 6 or so extra rows of seats per California Car and even less for a Amfleet car. And if they did it on long distance trains, they'd tank their own ridership numbers. And even if you could fill the extra seats on short distance trains, 12 extra people paying the same amount for a ticket isn't going to justify the cost even if you leave one "regular" coach and charge more for it.

Paying for baggage is about the only thing they could do to squeeze passengers for more money and I'm personally surprised they haven't done it yet.

As for the pricing, setting a price is more complicated than cost/space. Even on airlines, business class passengers generate more revenue per square foot than coach passengers do. So it's not out of the question for Amtrak to set the price of a Delta One/Section much lower than a roomette, but still covering it's cost (or at least setting the fare buckets to do that over a year) and raising revenue off of existing sleeper tickets because they'd mostly be attracting richer tourists if the more price sensitive "I'm riding this for transportation" types aren't buying as many sleeper spaces. And on top of that, still making more per square foot than a coach seat.

Amtrak doesn't have a market segment like business travelers on airlines. Which means Amtrak riders are much more price sensitive. Which means they're not going to be able to strip someone of food and privacy and still charge them the same as if they had food and privacy.

As for the cost, I never said it would be easy or cheap, just that it's doable. And doable with exceedingly conservative numbers. Also, Amtrak did put roomette modules into Amfleet cars at one point, so its not out of the question for them to do it.
 
Last edited:

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,803
There's a way to have cheap, lie-flat accommodations by packing more people into a sleeper. It's used all over the world and called a "couchette." I rode in one in Japan once. In less than the space of an Amtrak Bedroom, you have a long bench seat that turn into a triple decker bunk at night. Privacy is obtained with heavy curtains. I was a little concerned about claustrophobia when I crawled in, but it was actually pretty spacious with the clearance of the viewliner roomette, but a much wider mattress. Restrooms were down the hall. Of course, I keep reading here that this sort of accommodation wouldn't go over well with Americans, but then, nobody has ever tried it in America.
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
592
MARC Rider, I have ridden on couchettes in Eastern Europe and in Asia, and they are pretty civilized. The ones in China have hot water dispensers at one end of the car so there is quite a bit of discussion with regards to tea and its accompaniments. The beds are firm but comfortable and I got a pretty restful sleep nearly every time I have used one.
I am not sure if they would be popular in the US, but it would be cool for Amtrak to try them on a route if they could scrape together the money to refurb a handful of cars with this arrangement.
I still like the idea of business class having a couple rows of LFAAA seats as a premium service on long haul routes, but if it is true that even an Amtrak LFAAA (vs. one built for an aircraft with tougher requirements for stress test and weight) will cost in the vicinity of $100k, it is never going to happen. I would have guessed that Amtrak could buy 90 or so LFAAA seats for $6,000 or $8,000 each, but I may be way wrong on that.

There's a way to have cheap, lie-flat accommodations by packing more people into a sleeper. It's used all over the world and called a "couchette." I rode in one in Japan once. In less than the space of an Amtrak Bedroom, you have a long bench seat that turn into a triple decker bunk at night. Privacy is obtained with heavy curtains. I was a little concerned about claustrophobia when I crawled in, but it was actually pretty spacious with the clearance of the viewliner roomette, but a much wider mattress. Restrooms were down the hall. Of course, I keep reading here that this sort of accommodation wouldn't go over well with Americans, but then, nobody has ever tried it in America.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
317
Actually, the current 2+1 business class isn't so bad. I've used it for overnight runs on 67, and I was able to sleep OK. The seat pitch is more than adequate. (The biggest benefit, compared to the alternative Amfleet 1 coach is the window curtain, though.) When I rode the Cardinal last fall, it seemed that Business Class was pretty popular.

All they would need to do is get some full length business class cars to increase capacity and implement advance seat assignment so that single travelers, especially, can have a better chance of getting single seats. I'm not sure what the full capacity of a 2+1 business class car is compared to a sleeper, but it must surely be larger enough to allow for significantly lower fares than a roomette.
I’ll agree that the existing LD BC is pretty usable and already pretty roomy - but a couple of improvements could make it much better.

1. The existing seats suck for sleeping. Too much space between the wall and the seat. Improving the headrest to provide lateral support would be a start.
2. Handling reservations of BC seats as “singles” and “doubles” would give customers the peace of mind they are going to have a seating / sleeping arrangement they are comfortable with.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
850
To each their own ... I don't see what all the fuss is about having a lie-flat seat. I am fine with a reclined seat and can sleep quite well in one.

I do not have an issue with the current coach seats that a little extra padding wouldn't cure. If more privacy is needed, a pull down curtain could do that. Personally, I don;t want to ride in a confined box that converts to a coffin like those airline seats shown above - I want to be able to talk with the person sitting next to me without a wall or obstacle in my way.

My issue with the current Amtrak trains has nothing to do with the absence of the ability to lie-flat in coach. It is the disparity in the pricing between coach and sleepers. The increase in cost of a sleeper over coach does not seem, to me, to be warranted ... especially without high quality food. If I want to lie-flat, I can do that in a sleeper. If I am in coach I do not expect to lie-flat.

Why reinvent the wheel when the coach and roomettes already have reclining seats and lie-flat covered .... just fix the pricing to make both affordable and spend the money to buy more trains and run more times a day instead in investing in cars that don't really have anything appealing - to me.
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
330
Ive always wondered why Japanese Capsule Hotels Concept has never been used by any train company around the world (even Japan). To me this would be ideal, space saving and cheap. In a standard coach you could certainly go 3 high and potentially even increase capacity over a standard coach.
You might want to check this out:
Cabin.jpg
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
850
The article never mentioned where you sit when you are not sleeping.

While the trip the person took was made longer to allow people to sleep ... that would not be the case for a truly long-distance trip and I would not want to have to stay in a sleeping pod from Miami to New York :oops: let alone a trip that takes two or three days o_O
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
352
The article never mentioned where you sit when you are not sleeping.

While the trip the person took was made longer to allow people to sleep ... that would not be the case for a truly long-distance trip and I would not want to have to stay in a sleeping pod from Miami to New York :oops: let alone a trip that takes two or three days o_O
In the 5th paragraph, there is this sentence: "The ground floor has table seating, kind of like the dining car in a train."
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,707
If you meant to type they are still in business than you are correct ;)
Wow...I had thought that I read that they folded....glad to hear they are still alive!
I looked at Cabin's website, and am really intrigued by their "Cloud" active suspension beds...that's something new, I hadn't seen before....:cool:
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
Wow...I had thought that I read that they folded....glad to hear they are still alive!
I looked at Cabin's website, and am really intrigued by their "Cloud" active suspension beds...that's something new, I hadn't seen before....:cool:
Yeah it sounds interesting. They probably could have saved a lot of money and just hired better drivers. I’ve traveled on a lot of tour buses for work and the driver makes a big difference.

If I’m on a crew bus vs. an artist bus.... the difference in sleep quality is huge.

I think a better business model is the red coach / Vonlane model, which is also what I think Amtrak should do for BC. (nice, roomy, 2-1 seating).
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,803
I’ll agree that the existing LD BC is pretty usable and already pretty roomy - but a couple of improvements could make it much better.

1. The existing seats suck for sleeping. Too much space between the wall and the seat. Improving the headrest to provide lateral support would be a start.
2. Handling reservations of BC seats as “singles” and “doubles” would give customers the peace of mind they are going to have a seating / sleeping arrangement they are comfortable with.
I agree, although for (1) the problem with the space between the wall and the seat is most noticeable on the single seats. Also, in general, I've found that the back support for all the "renewed" Amfleet seats (Am 1 & 2, coach and Business) is not as good as it was in the previous (blue fabric) iteration. But then, on my last trip on the Acela, I was having problems with the back support, even in first class.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
850
There is a lounge on the lower level. I certainly wouldn't want to be assigned pod 2B!
So, does that lounge area have room for everyone in the bus - or does the bus not carry very many people?

I agree about pod 2B
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
So, does that lounge area have room for everyone in the bus - or does the bus not carry very many people?

I agree about pod 2B
I don’t think it needs to, it’s a place for people to go if they don’t want to be in their bunk. Looks like there’s about 20 bunks up stairs. I’m guessing the lower bunks are only sold to guests who don’t want to climb the stairs.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
850
So a cross country trip could still confine you to the coffin pod for most of the trip
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,249
2B or not 2B, that is the question. Perhaps it would be perfect for a mobile lounge lizard?

Ive always wondered why Japanese Capsule Hotels Concept has never been used by any train company around the world (even Japan). To me this would be ideal, space saving and cheap. In a standard coach you could certainly go 3 high and potentially even increase capacity over a standard coach.
I believe they still have three-high sleepers in places like India. Kind of like a half-open cot version of a capsule. :p
 
2
Top