Please Mr. Anderson (sleeping suites in coach?)

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railiner

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My apologies, you are correct about the seating capacity of the Railbed cars.

However,
The economy (coach) cars on this train only hold 51 seats, as compared to a V-2 that holds 60 seats. I suspect that the cars are smaller than Amtrak cars, as the Queensland service is 3'6" narrow gauge. Thus, a V-2 sleeper shell would fit more than 19 Railbed seats. The problem with 2-bed private rooms is that beds are taken out of sale if you don't have enough couples to fill the rooms. Open-plan lie-flat seating allows the operator to keep every bed available for sale right up until departure.
Then in that case, I would rather have open section sleepers.
 

Night Ranger

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I've been in favor of unbundling sleeper fares and meals for a long time. Including meals in the sleeper fare essentially forces sleeping car passengers to pay for meals whether they want them or not. I live in Atlanta, and when the northbound Crescent is running several hours late, questions arise about whether the diner will still be serving dinner as the train departs. I'd like the option of getting dinner at a restaurant before I get on the train. There's also another issue. The bundled meals essentially transfer dining car losses to the sleeping cars. Unbunding would presumably make it easier for sleepers to show a profit, which ultimately could make it easier to justify sleeper service.
Your comment regarding the "iffyness" of meal service if the Crescent is running late describes exactly what happened to us years ago. (It was the Southern Crescent back then.) We were headed to NYC and the train was several hours late. No one could or would tell us for sure if dinner would be served that late so we ate a small meal just in case. Dinner was served after all. I wondered then and still do why no one in the station could tell us one way or the other. No way were we willing to gamble on an over night ride on an empty stomachs. That experience made us huge fans of unbundling sleeper fares and meal service.
 

ehbowen

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Your comment regarding the "iffyness" of meal service if the Crescent is running late describes exactly what happened to us years ago. (It was the Southern Crescent back then.) We were headed to NYC and the train was several hours late. No one could or would tell us for sure if dinner would be served that late so we ate a small meal just in case. Dinner was served after all. I wondered then and still do why no one in the station could tell us one way or the other. No way were we willing to gamble on an over night ride on an empty stomachs. That experience made us huge fans of unbundling sleeper fares and meal service.
In fairness, when the Crescent was still the Southern Crescent, there was no such thing as a cell phone. They had radios, yes, but I'm not sure that the portable walkie-talkies now carried by Amtrak conductors were universal in those days...may just have been the locomotive radio. I occasionally visited a tower in that time frame and still saw "hoops" and flimsies stashed for use if needed. Today, though...no excuse.
 

railiner

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I'm not surprised the station agent would not say with certainty one way or the other...he or she could only quote the standard hours of diner service, and what the crew did was beyond his control or knowledge. He certainly did not want to commit one way or the other, only to be found wrong later, and possibly suffer repercussion's from an angry passenger that was assured one way or the other. Even if he could contact the crew on board, (unlikely for that type of communication), things could change after that for one reason or another.
 

Ziv

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TGS, I don't know about the Rock Island train, but back in around 1975 I got to ride on the Empire Builder from Glasgow Montana to Seattle and I got to order whatever I wanted for dinner so I ordered the fish special. It was either roasted halibut or flounder and it was phenomenal! My Dad was a good cook and my Mom a fair one, but this fish was outstanding! I got a couple pieces of my Dad's steak and it was pretty good, as well. Breakfast was a real 3 egg omelet, western style omelet with hot rolls. Again, just a well prepared fresh meal, much like you would get at a good cafe or an excellent diner.
The wait staff was really skillful as well, I remember them coming out with all those plates as we bounced down the Hi Line of Montana wondering how they kept them from spilling.
The porter was an older black guy (in Montana in 1975 that would have been unusual) and he was on point as well, coffee for my Dad and icey cold pop for me. I think my Dad commented that some of the Builder people were Great Northern hold-overs from the days when he worked for Great Northern as well. He was a GN then a BN brakeman, but worked the freight side of the business.

I once rode on a Rock Island train (in the 60's) that had a real diner. It was just about like a JB Big Boys or Denny's. You could order almost anything and they would make it.
 

railiner

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The diner menu on the Rio Grande Zephyr, IIRC, used to have a small blurb that stated they would prepare any dish not listed that you desired, "as long as it was available"(!)....whatever that meant...🤔
 

ehbowen

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The diner menu on the Rio Grande Zephyr, IIRC, used to have a small blurb that stated they would prepare any dish not listed that you desired, "as long as it was available"(!)....whatever that meant...🤔
That wasn't unusual in the streamliner era; the disclaimer usually meant "if we have suitable ingredients on board." So if you wanted ragout of lamb but no lamb was loaded at the commissary then you were out of luck, but if you had a hankering for off-menu peppercorn steak they could probably fix you up.
 

railiner

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That wasn't unusual in the streamliner era; the disclaimer usually meant "if we have suitable ingredients on board." So if you wanted ragout of lamb but no lamb was loaded at the commissary then you were out of luck, but if you had a hankering for off-menu peppercorn steak they could probably fix you up.
That makes sense...imagine seeing that today? Even in a restaurant...
Brings to mind that the Amtrak chef would often prepare a special delicacy, only for members of the crew, after the meal time for passenger's ended...
 

Bob Dylan

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When the Diner Crews on the Texas Eagle used to Overnight in Austin instead of San Antonio( Last Call for Dinner in the Diner on #21/#421 was 5PM), they would shop @ Whole Foods (close to the Station) and HEB( Biggest Texas Grocery Chain) before boarding #22/#422 the Next Morning.

Then on the turn back to Chicago the Next Day, the Chef ( there were several Outstanding Veteran Diner Crews)would cook up "Specials " for the Crew and Selected Regular Passengers they knew!( I was Lucky to be one of those!😁)
 

Mailliw

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🇦🇷 This is an example of the highest service level on Argentine sleeper buses, it's also 2:1 seating so singles were catered for. I would've killed for something like this on the overnight bus trip I took to Montreal back in March.

Or, they could build a modern slumbercoach without individual plumbing...just public restrooms. Cheaper yet, simpler to build and maintain...
The Viewliner IIs don't have toilets in the rooms anymore. I think it's a good move. An unenclosed toilet, evened when it's disguised as a seat is simply disgusting.

Here, this will help: The ultimate guide to Delta One Suites

This is primarily for a single person. Two people could probably sit across the aisle from each other and converse. Interestingly the airlines had to fight for this type of accommodation. The FRA won't allow full height walls, although Amtrak could to provide better privacy, and the FRA did not want to allow doors.
You mean the FAA right? I don't see how the FRA would have any problem with full walls and doors since we already have sleeping cars.
😕

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.


This is what OBB Nightjet is doing for their next generation couchette cars. This is ideal for strictly overnight travel, but unlike a traditional couchette there is no daytime mode.
 

Deni

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This is what OBB Nightjet is doing for their next generation couchette cars. This is ideal for strictly overnight travel, but unlike a traditional couchette there is no daytime mode.
[/QUOTE]

Haven't seen this photo of the new ones yet. Are any in service or are they still on order?
 

sttom

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Just doing some back of the napkin math for open section sleepers or cars with lie flat seats. An Open Section Viewliner would have 34 Beds and a Lie Flat Seat next to the ADA restroom. There would still need to be an ADA space in the car and I doubt a bathroom can be made half the size of the existing bathroom. A Lie Flat Viewliner would have 31 seats. Even including an Amfleet 2 bathroom and not much space was saved. For fun I did the Superliners, since those never seen to be done. A Superliner with Sections would have 40 beds, 7 Lie Flat Seats (I did this because I wasn't sure what to do with the Family Room) and the Accessible Room. A Lie Flat Superliner would have 37 seats and 1 Accessible Room. Also, I made these in Paint, since I don't have an Adobe license, so precision was sacrificed to make the visual. And thanks to Cocajacoby for the Viewliner with Delta One seats for the inspiration and to some extent ripping off visuals.
 

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cocojacoby

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So the Zephyr seat looks interesting, but I still think open sections would be easier.
Seems many here feel this way but if I remember correctly the open section was not that popular an option when available.

I have experienced the open section once in my life. It was on the Atlantic a long long time ago. The lower berth was priced higher than the upper berth and you could even purchase the entire section if you wanted. Worked fine if you wanted to share it with family or friends. Probably not so well nowadays sitting and sleeping with strangers that close.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I have experienced the open section once in my life. [...] Worked fine if you wanted to share it with family or friends. Probably not so well nowadays sitting and sleeping with strangers that close.
How is an open section worse than sharing Amtrak's reclining love seat contraption with no divider in coach? Open sections on The Canadian looked confusing at first but workable on further inspection and such an option would allow more passengers to get a good night's rest and keep clean during their trip if they were priced accordingly. It's clear from posts on our forum that the fare difference between coach and sleeper travel is a major barrier for a lot of people. This was the case for most of my life as well. If it were possible I would like to see another option between coach and roomette that offered travelers a comfortable middle ground while still bringing in enough fare recovery to keep Amtrak rolling.
 

sttom

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I've slept on planes, trains, and buses around other people. Plenty of people do and the uncomfortable part of it is sitting upright and trying to sleep, not necessarily that there are other people around. I personally don't see how some how sleeping in a seat around people is acceptable/tolerable, but once a bed is involved, absolute privacy is a must. Airlines and bus companies are starting to put beds in their vehicles and they aren't walled off and some don't even have curtains. But they still sell well enough that airlines and bus companies are keeping them around and others are jumping in with their own products. Amtrak and other rail operators should do the same thing. The primary reason I won't take on overnight trip on Amtrak is because sleepers aren't affordable and coach seats are uncomfortable. Letting me pay for just a bed would get me to ride more often.
 

Mailliw

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I get that open sections likely wouldn't be popular with older travelers, but they would certainly would with younger ones. The market would be travelers currently riding overnight in coach or by bus. Open sections are basically the American version of the couchette pods OBBNightjet is planing, but with a day mode. If Amtrak starts some pure night trains they be even more practical since they would be in nightmode before boarding. Also during day mode you'd be left with what's essentially parlor car sitting.
 

DCAKen

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Japan Railway Journal, one of the programs on NHK World (the international broadcast of the Japanese public media), recently had a segment on the overnight service Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo. These trains have a variety of sleeper option, including the nobi nobi open section.

 

sttom

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I get that open sections likely wouldn't be popular with older travelers, but they would certainly would with younger ones. The market would be travelers currently riding overnight in coach or by bus. Open sections are basically the American version of the couchette pods OBBNightjet is planing, but with a day mode. If Amtrak starts some pure night trains they be even more practical since they would be in nightmode before boarding. Also during day mode you'd be left with what's essentially parlor car sitting.
Amtrak can't start convenient overnight trains due to the 750 mile rule and most trips that would be convenient would be under 750 miles.

Putting them on existing trains would also make sense. There are plenty of long distance trains that have stretches where there is an overnight portion. Pretty much all of the East Coast trains have at least one, the Starlight from Northern California to Portland is another, the Zephyr from California to Colorado, and more that I can't remember off the top of my head. I for one would take a berth to Portland or Colorado if it existed as an option.
 

Mailliw

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I know about the 750 mile rule and it's assine. It should be dropped to 500 miles or less.
 

Dakota 400

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As a child, my Mother booked a section on a few trains on the PRR. We shared the lower berth. (If there was anyone in the upper berth, I was unaware of it.) I recall that it felt crowded and with the heavy curtain separating us from the hallway, it felt a bit claustrophobic. I wouldn't book such an accommodation today.
 

sttom

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The 750 mile rule is just a lazy rule for Congress to feel good about itself. In one of the other threads, I proposed a 3 states rule or a "500 mile" rule for Interstate Corridor. If the proposed line connected two primary MSAs. Even then, I still think the 500 mile part should be more rule of thumb than a hard cut off. Along with subsidizing state corridors. But expansion is DOA thanks to the current crisis.
 

Bob Dylan

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How is an open section worse than sharing Amtrak's reclining love seat contraption with no divider in coach? Open sections on The Canadian looked confusing at first but workable on further inspection and such an option would allow more passengers to get a good night's rest and keep clean during their trip if they were priced accordingly. It's clear from posts on our forum that the fare difference between coach and sleeper travel is a major barrier for a lot of people. This was the case for most of my life as well. If it were possible I would like to see another option between coach and roomette that offered travelers a comfortable middle ground while still bringing in enough fare recovery to keep Amtrak rolling.
Slumber Coaches are still the way to go!!!
 
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