Sleeper 9712...Wow!

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Bob Dylan

Conductor
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Austin Texas
My wife and I are in Room A of car 9712 tonight (Richmond RVR-MIA).

All I can say is wow!

I will make plenty of posts, pictures, etc - but if you have any questions - ask ‘em quick for the next 20 hours while we’re on the train!
Cant wait till read your reports, and to ride one of the VL IIs myself!
 

IndyLions

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Nov 6, 2016
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Brownsburg IN
Of course - the “big deal” is that this is one of the new Viewliner II sleepers. The other “big deal” for us is that this is our first experience in a Viewliner full-size bedroom.

Here is the view walking in from 9711...the entrance to the H room...0B27CFAA-A3DC-4FA1-A9B3-2B3384ED7D60.jpeg
 

IndyLions

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Note: because of a lack of control of photo orientation in the mobile app - it looks like I will do most of my posting after the trip is over.

If you have any specific requests (dimensions, etc) for the VLII Bedroom or Roomette, let me know. We’ll be in a VLII Roomette on the way back.
 

IndyLions

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As I mentioned in my last post - I’ll be posting lots of photos and a detailed review after the trip is over.

Here is the condensed version. The VLII Bedroom is far from perfect - and some puzzling design choices were made.

BUT...bottom line this is by far the best sleeper experience available on Amtrak - all things considered. From a bedroom accommodations standpoint, the trip has been amazing.
 

joelkfla

Lead Service Attendant
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Oct 16, 2018
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455
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12 miles from Walt Disney World
Note: because of a lack of control of photo orientation in the mobile app - it looks like I will do most of my posting after the trip is over.

If you have any specific requests (dimensions, etc) for the VLII Bedroom or Roomette, let me know. We’ll be in a VLII Roomette on the way back.
As long as you asked -- How about height of the mattress top above the floor? Probably the same al VLI, but someone asked about it a while back and nobody had the answer.
 

Cal

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Is it up to par with European sleepers in your opinion? Or is it still lacking.

Does the temperature control work well?

What are some things that make it that much better than VI's?
 

IndyLions

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Messages
647
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As long as you asked -- How about height of the mattress top above the floor? Probably the same al VLI, but someone asked about it a while back and nobody had the answer.
Ok - this dimension is about 23.5” from mattress top to floor (lower bunk). 18.5” floor to couch cushion, and about 4” mattress thickness.
 

IndyLions

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My wife and I took dozens of photos, and we’ll sort through them and get them posted soon. It is quite the task - sorry for the delay.

While our trip was terrific overall - and the VLII’s were truly a “wow” - the trip also pointed out what a mess Amtrak is right now with their onboard product. I’d like to blame it on the pandemic but I know better.

We ran into some terrific employees. The Dining car attendant MIA-WAS really stood out. Same for the Sleeper attendant RVR-MIA and MIA-WAS. I hate the whole Contemporary Dining product and process - but frankly that was the smoothest part of the trip.

The Cafe attendant from RVR-MIA was appalling. He intentionally denied service to a bunch of Coach travelers because there was a chance he’d have to stay open beyond his closing time. Instead, he closed 10 minutes early.

The best thing I can say about another Cafe attendant was that he was surly. He had a scowl on his face the entire time.

But even when the employees were otherwise great - the sloppiness in general was disheartening. The Cafe cars were a disheveled mess. The VLII shower room (amazing!) was designed with a towel rack, but it went unused and a big pile of towels was just stacked on the bench instead - rendering the bench useless. And two other shower rooms were used as walker storage - despite the presence of plenty of open rooms that could have been temporarily used for that purpose instead. The attendants know which/when rooms will/will not be occupied, but they choose to render the shower room useless.

Of course, the crews were spread out all over the lounge cars. I know customers aren’t allowed to sit there because of Covid - that’s OK. But it doesn’t excuse the disheveled mess that results from the crew occupation.

None of what I’m reporting is news - it’s been SOP for a long time. That doesn’t make it any less disheartening, or any less urgent to get addressed.
 

IndyLions

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Is it up to par with European sleepers in your opinion? Or is it still lacking.
Sorry I didn’t answer these earlier.

I would say that they are on a par with European sleepers in a lot of ways, but lag behind in a couple of areas.

I have seen European sleepers with better bedroom layouts for sure, ones that can sleep three each in their own bed, where the beds all come down from the wall. I think that might be the best layout I’ve seen yet for a full bedroom with en-suite.

The other thing that the European sleepers have over our new sleepers is the door. We still haven’t figured out in America how to make a sleeper door that closes from the outside, or that has a modern locking system.


Does the temperature control work well?
From a temperature control standpoint, when it was on it seemed to work well. However - at some point in the trip both southbound and northbound they turned off the temperature controls completely.

That may have been a conscious decision on their part based on outside air temperatures. Frankly, we didn’t really need the temperature controls while they were off. So the jury is still out on that one.

What are some things that make it that much better than VI's?
Finally, in regards to what is better with the VLIIs vs the VLIs, 90% of it is just the newness. Let’s face it, the original Viewliners are tired – and need a complete overhaul. I do like the improvements made in the shower room on the new cars, and I’ll talk about the changes in the roomettes that I really like as well. But the overriding theme is that the original cars are desperate for a complete and utter overhaul.
 

Cal

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996
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Socal
Sorry I didn’t answer these earlier.

I would say that they are on a par with European sleepers in a lot of ways, but lag behind in a couple of areas.

I have seen European sleepers with better bedroom layouts for sure, ones that can sleep three each in their own bed, where the beds all come down from the wall. I think that might be the best layout I’ve seen yet for a full bedroom with en-suite.

The other thing that the European sleepers have over our new sleepers is the door. We still haven’t figured out in America how to make a sleeper door that closes from the outside, or that has a modern locking system.




From a temperature control standpoint, when it was on it seemed to work well. However - at some point in the trip both southbound and northbound they turned off the temperature controls completely.

That may have been a conscious decision on their part based on outside air temperatures. Frankly, we didn’t really need the temperature controls while they were off. So the jury is still out on that one.



Finally, in regards to what is better with the VLIIs vs the VLIs, 90% of it is just the newness. Let’s face it, the original Viewliners are tired – and need a complete overhaul. I do like the improvements made in the shower room on the new cars, and I’ll talk about the changes in the roomettes that I really like as well. But the overriding theme is that the original cars are desperate for a complete and utter overhaul.
Thanks for your reply!
 

joelkfla

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
455
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
But even when the employees were otherwise great - the sloppiness in general was disheartening. The Cafe cars were a disheveled mess. The VLII shower room (amazing!) was designed with a towel rack, but it went unused and a big pile of towels was just stacked on the bench instead - rendering the bench useless. And two other shower rooms were used as walker storage - despite the presence of plenty of open rooms that could have been temporarily used for that purpose instead. The attendants know which/when rooms will/will not be occupied, but they choose to render the shower room useless.
How many shower rooms are there per car?
 

roadman3313

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I rode in one of the VII's in a bedroom last month after riding a VI the day before and I agree you can certainly tell the difference. It isn't perfect but it is a step up due to it being new (vs. worn out). I am still sorting my photos as well (once I got back to work again all bet's were off!) but I look forward to seeing yours from your trip.

As an aside, that is good to know about the thermometer. It did wonders when it was snowing outside but the display was off when I woke up in Florida. It kept the temperature fairly well though which is a nice improvement (when it was on). Glad to know it wasn't just me thinking I was experiencing "user error!"
 

Railspike

Train Attendant
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Nov 29, 2020
Messages
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Houston
My wife and I took dozens of photos, and we’ll sort through them and get them posted soon. It is quite the task - sorry for the delay.

While our trip was terrific overall - and the VLII’s were truly a “wow” - the trip also pointed out what a mess Amtrak is right now with their onboard product. I’d like to blame it on the pandemic but I know better.

We ran into some terrific employees. The Dining car attendant MIA-WAS really stood out. Same for the Sleeper attendant RVR-MIA and MIA-WAS. I hate the whole Contemporary Dining product and process - but frankly that was the smoothest part of the trip.

The Cafe attendant from RVR-MIA was appalling. He intentionally denied service to a bunch of Coach travelers because there was a chance he’d have to stay open beyond his closing time. Instead, he closed 10 minutes early.

The best thing I can say about another Cafe attendant was that he was surly. He had a scowl on his face the entire time.

But even when the employees were otherwise great - the sloppiness in general was disheartening. The Cafe cars were a disheveled mess. The VLII shower room (amazing!) was designed with a towel rack, but it went unused and a big pile of towels was just stacked on the bench instead - rendering the bench useless. And two other shower rooms were used as walker storage - despite the presence of plenty of open rooms that could have been temporarily used for that purpose instead. The attendants know which/when rooms will/will not be occupied, but they choose to render the shower room useless.

Of course, the crews were spread out all over the lounge cars. I know customers aren’t allowed to sit there because of Covid - that’s OK. But it doesn’t excuse the disheveled mess that results from the crew occupation.

None of what I’m reporting is news - it’s been SOP for a long time. That doesn’t make it any less disheartening, or any less urgent to get addressed.
If you had an issue let Amtrak Customer Service know about it. Good or bad. Even if you don't have a name they can find out who was on duty at any given time. There is a manager for each train who is responsible for its operation. I found this out when I filed a complaint a few years back and to my surprise, I received a phone call from the manager of the Sunset Limited who was based in Los Angeles. He wanted more specific details of the incident in question and assured me it would be dealt with. They can't fix what they don't know.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Oh yes the good old day when you need to find someone to ask permission to take a shower. The disappearing sleeping attended has retired?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,414
Of course, the crews were spread out all over the lounge cars. I know customers aren’t allowed to sit there because of Covid - that’s OK. But it doesn’t excuse the disheveled mess that results from the crew occupation.
When I rode the Metoer the crew was spread out in the Viewliner diner.. including the tables where breakfast items were set up at.
 

PVD

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With the unavailability of checked baggage in more and more places, and the reluctance to stop passengers from carrying on more baggage than VL roomettes can handle comfortably, the stowage problem isn't going away anytime soon. But walkers pose a different problem, sort of can't discourage them, need them handy, and even the folding ones are awkward in a roomette...
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
124
They obviously just need a crew lounge/car - where they can all "hide" out of site.

Looking forward to some interior room photos :)
 
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