Should I try overnight coach again?

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tomfuller

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
878
Location
Crescent Oregon (17 miles from Chemult)
I never take any type of sleep aid. I do use a CPAP that does not require any distilled water. I try to curl up after the CS leaves KFS and usually wake up at the stop in Chico. I have a good place to eat breakfast in Sacramento. I take the bus to Stockton (10AM) and the San Joaquin to Bakersfield and another bus to LAUS. I'll be at LAUS a good 2-3 hours ahead of the CS that I got off in the morning which is plenty of time to go visit Phillippe's.
I pack a pillowcase in my bag and unless it is cold in the car, I stuff my jacket in the pillowcase for my pillow. I also have a small blue blanket that packs in a nice blue bag with the Amtrak logo on it. For those troubled by restless leg syndrome or leg cramps, a 12 oz. can of Tonic Water (with quinine) before bed helps many people.
 

NEPATrainTraveler

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
127
I'd say if you can take Amtrak coach on a trip where losing the next day won't be a big deal, I'd give it a try again. It sounds like you have some strategies that may be able to mitigate the issue somewhat, and you won't know for sure until you try it again with those ideas for making the trip workable. I wouldn't do it on a trip where being ready to go the next day is essential, but if you have a trip where if need be you can take a nap upon arrival at your destination lodging I'd say it's worth trying again.
I think this would probably be the safest bet if I really wanted to try overnight Coach again. Perhaps I would do a trip to somewhere I've already been before and do just one hotel night there, that way if I lose that day sleeping it isn't that big of a deal.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
4
Amtrak long-distance trains sorely need a class between coach and the often exorbitant cost of a sleeper. I know there have been a few routes offering business class, but this has been inconsistent and seems to come and go. There should be a "deluxe coach" service that's available on all long-distance trains. This service should offer 2+1 seating with the ability to reserve your seat; that would be especially desirable for single travelers who don't want a stranger sitting next to them overnight. I have taken many long-distance trips over the years; most often in sleepers. However, increasing sleeper fares while cutting amenities at the same time makes harder to justify the expense. Even if I can afford it, I still want to feel I'm getting some value for the price and not being ripped off.
 

Sidney

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
472
Agree. What would be nice for single travelers is that they wouldn't have a seatmate. I 've tried buying the seat next to me in the past but Amtrak wouldn't let me do it. Nothing is more uncomfortable and awkward than sharing a seat in very close proximity with a stranger on an overnight train. I usually do roomettes,but the increasingly high cost of a sleeper is getting harder to justify.
 

anumberone

Conductor
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Aug 8, 2015
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Los Angeles
A few years ago, I saw a passenger sleeping in the overhead luggage rack of No. 48. Don't know how he got up there, and he looked to be at least 60 years old. (I do not recommend this!)
A few snorts you may be able to make that work.
 

NEPATrainTraveler

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
127
Until late May you are guaranteed both seats to yourself. That's the only way I would do Coach overnight. I usually leave from Harrisburg and get a roomette west out of Chicago. Boarding the Capitol Limited at Midnight in Pittsburgh and taking Coach is not terrible since half the night is gone and every time I've done Coach I've always had both seats.
Having both seats to yourself is a silver lining to Amtrak's pandemic restrictions, I will say. I lucked out that I had no seatmate during my overnight coach trip on the LSL (maybe weekdays in late October aren't popular for traveling on that route? This was back in 2018). I won't be fully vaccinated until mid May and it will be late May once the two week waiting period ends for me, so June would be the earliest I could travel. Though I kind of want to hold out until all the pandemic restrictions (not just Amtrak's) are lifted before traveling again. As much as I love traveling these pandemic restrictions are a pain.

ARROW often recommends for me to take the CL connection at PGH whenever I put in Wilkes-Barre as my origination station (bus to PHL, Pennsylvanian PHL to PGH, and then CL to CHI. I look up trips to Chicago a lot). Out of curiosity, how was PGH at that time of night? Would you consider it a safe place to wait for a train?
 

Sidney

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Jul 12, 2020
Messages
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Having both seats to yourself is a silver lining to Amtrak's pandemic restrictions, I will say. I lucked out that I had no seatmate during my overnight coach trip on the LSL (maybe weekdays in late October aren't popular for traveling on that route? This was back in 2018). I won't be fully vaccinated until mid May and it will be late May once the two week waiting period ends for me, so June would be the earliest I could travel. Though I kind of want to hold out until all the pandemic restrictions (not just Amtrak's) are lifted before traveling again. As much as I love traveling these pandemic restrictions are a pain.

ARROW often recommends for me to take the CL connection at PGH whenever I put in Wilkes-Barre as my origination station (bus to PHL, Pennsylvanian PHL to PGH, and then CL to CHI. I look up trips to Chicago a lot). Out of curiosity, how was PGH at that time of night? Would you consider it a safe place to wait for a train?
You are in Pittsburgh for four hours at their station between the Pennsylvanian and the CL. Most people stay at the station but it is pretty safe.

I live in Northumberland and drive to Elizabethtown or Lewisburg to take the Pennsylvanian.
 

tomfuller

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
878
Location
Crescent Oregon (17 miles from Chemult)
Don't remember what year but I do remember riding the Three Rivers all the way from Chicago to Harrisburg PA with no train switch in Pittsburgh. That's Lewistown not Lewisburg Sidney. I lived in Mifflinburg for many years. The bus station in Harrisburg is upstairs of the main level of the Amtrak station. the tracks are downstairs.
 

NEPATrainTraveler

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
127
Thanks everybody for your replies. You all have given me quite a bit to think about.
 
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Mailliw

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Jun 14, 2020
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Scranton, PA
The Slumber Coach needs to come back. It wasn't as costly as the roomettes and was a better than business class.
Modern Slumbercoaches, couchettes, Pullman berths, Nightjet's new pod couchettes, Railbed lie flat seats, there are so many different possibilities.
 
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Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
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793
I have big problems with motion sickness in cars (when I'm a passenger), buses, and boats, but somehow not trains (usually). I have done a lot of searching and experimenting in this regard, even concocting my own tea, but the latest and most effective and non-stupifying prophylactic is two-pronged: 1) chewing ginger gum and 2) wearing wristbands that press on particular acupressure points. The wristbands I use are called NoQuease and I got both the wristbands and the ginger chewing gum at Walgreens. The NoQuease (or maybe it's NoKweez) wristbands have instructions on how to find the magical point and there have been a few times when I forgot the bands, but remembered where the points were, so I just applied my fingers to the correct spot on the opposite wrist and it kept trouble at bay.

As for sleep aids, melatonin is meant for "jet lag", changing time zones rather than being put to sleep in the same time zone, but some people are affected by even 1 hour time changes, so could be useful there. When I can't sleep, I alternate between drinking port before bed or better for my breath and health is some of those calming "natural" agents like L-theanine. I currently use tablets that have L-theanine, hops, chamomile, and valerian root extracts. It does also have melatonin. These pills not at all powerful, but somehow I find myself drifting off to sleep when I do consume it which is pretty infrequently.

As for sleeping in coach, some people have alluded to the Amtrak sleep kit which has a lightweight blanket, neck pillow, eye mask, and earplugs. The blanket and eye mask were the most useful to me.
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
11
Location
Harrisburg, PA
How's the parking in Elizabethtown for longer trips? Is it allowed? I live in Harrisburg, but would prefer a Rideshare over paying for parking at Harrisburg.
 

Sidney

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
472
I park at E Town all the time. It's free and you park in the overnight lot
 

NEPATrainTraveler

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
127
I was so, so tempted to try long distance coach again for a trip I hope to take in October due to the 50th Anniversary sale, but after comparing costs and thinking about the downsides of coach I decided to fly instead for that trip. I still plan on taking Amtrak for part of it though, taking the NER to BWI for the flight to Milwaukee and riding the Hiawatha from MKE to CHI so I can spend some time in downtown Chicago before going to O'Hare for my flight home. I only booked the Amtrak tickets, as I won't be out much money if I have to cancel the trip or the event I want to go to gets canceled (I paid only $26 for the NER ticket and used AGR points for the Hiawatha).

I do really want to ride Amtrak LD again one day, but maybe I will hold out until I can comfortably afford a sleeper or Amtrak comes out with a discount sleeper option. My October trip would make riding sleeper too expensive since I would be staying at a hotel for 4 nights. A round trip from the NEC to Chicago in a sleeper would cost almost as much as 4 nights in the hotel I would be staying at in Milwaukee.

All I know is that I definitely want to take a train ride again at some point this year, even if it is just a quick jaunt on the NER.
 

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
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Jun 10, 2008
Messages
861
What? No comments on the ice box called a Superliner coach car? Be sure to bring a blanket and a good pillow.
 
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