Sleeper 9712...Wow!

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Dakota 400

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That didn't need to be the case - since the shower room has been designed with a towel rack (below). Will the crew ever use it?
The idea of having space for clean towels to be stored is a worthy idea. But, is it practical? Is it more sanitary to keep the towels in a closed bag? Maybe a better idea would provide each sleeping accommodation their own set of bath towels, just as is done with face clothes and hand towels.
 
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tricia

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The idea of having space for clean towels to be stored is a worthy idea. But, is it practical? Is it more sanitary to keep the towels in a closed bag? Maybe a better idea would provide each sleeping accommodation their own set of bath towels, just as is done with face clothes and hand towels.
Perhaps wrap the towels individually, like they've been doing with blankets?
 
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IndyLions

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The idea of having space for clean towels to be stored is a worthy idea. But, is it practical? Is it more sanitary to keep the towels in a closed bag? Maybe a better idea would provide each sleeping accommodation their own set of bath towels, just as is done with face clothes and hand towels.
Perhaps wrap the towels individually, like they've been doing with blankets?
So you like your blanket in plastic - but are okay with the sheet already made - and the pillows out and ready waiting on the cushions? Do you ask hotels to give you your linens in plastic so you can make them up yourself? What about cloth napkins at nice restaurants - do you ask for the paper napkins and plastic silverware sealed in plastic from a factory in China instead? Where does it stop?
 

IndyLions

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The next feature I'm going to highlight in the VLIIs is in the Roomette.

This one is controversial, and is one of the most divided topics regarding sleepers that we have. That is the presence (or absence) of a toilet in the Roomette. One camp is grossed out by the thought of a non-enclosed toilet in the roomette, and the other half is equally as distressed about NOT having an in-room toilet - enclosed or not. Please - let's not debate the issue here - I think we can all agree that this is a divided issue with two camps.

Traditionally, most Heritage equipment featured toilets in-room, no matter how small. The double-level Superliners broke that trend and eliminated toilets from roomettes, while the original Viewliners followed the Heritage approach by featuring them. As most know by now, the VLII's eliminated the in-room toilet in the roomette.

For years now - VLII room diagrams have been published. Many from the "pro-Toilet" side have howled that Amtrak is simply wasting the space where the toilet used to be - so there is no customer benefit to its elimination. From looking at those diagrams they appear to be right. However - when you actually use a VLII roomette and see it in three dimensions, you have a better understanding of how Amtrak is using that space. While I don't expect it to change anyone's mind - I think it is enlightening.

Here is the best "overall" shot that I have of the area in question.

Roomette - Toilet Area.jpg

There are a few things to note. The area where the toilet used to be has always doubled as a kind of "stairway" to the upper bunk in the evening. The middle "step" (the one that the fold-down sink rests on) has been extended out - since they no longer have to account for someone sitting on the toilet. This makes it much more useful as a shelf during the day.

Roomette - Middle Shelf.jpg

Second - they've added another (recessed) storage area between the bottom two steps - I'll call it a "cubby". It is 9 ¼"W x 5 ¾"H x 3"D. What is its purpose? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it could be used as a place to store your cell phone, wallet and other personal items. It seems about the ideal size to rest an iPad mini - but I didn't try that...

Roomette - Cubby.jpg

Finally - the biggest deal of all (in my opinion). The area below the bottom step, where the toilet used to be - is now completely open and can be used for storage.

Now - I was a bit of a nincompoop - and took well over 100 photos and somehow didn't get a great shot of this new storage area - but at least I measured it...

Roomette Storage.png
Standard carry-on luggage size is 14" W x 9" H x 22" D. On first glance at the area's dimensions, it appears "not deep enough". In practice - if a piece of luggage extends out 3" or so - that is absolutely no problem.

In my opinion, this is the best result yet of removing the toilets from the Roomette. The upper storage area in the Viewliner Roomettes is nice and spacious - but if you pack like my wife and me - it can be a challenge to lift our luggage up there. Being able to store at least one heavy bag at floor level is a great feature.

While the "toilet" vs "no toilet" debate will rage on - at least we now have a full understanding of how Amtrak decided to utilize that space.
 
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tricia

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So you like your blanket in plastic - but are okay with the sheet already made - and the pillows out and ready waiting on the cushions? Do you ask hotels to give you your linens in plastic so you can make them up yourself? What about cloth napkins at nice restaurants - do you ask for the paper napkins and plastic silverware sealed in plastic from a factory in China instead? Where does it stop?
Actually, I DON'T like my blanket wrapped in plastic--way too much plastic in our lives, and wrapping the blanket is pointless, since it's only used in private space.

Given that the geniuses at Amtrak's design dept designed a multiple-towel holder for a common space (shower used by multiple passengers), wrapping the towels individually is the only reasonably hygenic solution I've thought of. FWIW, I'd prefer that the wrapping be paper.
 

IndyLions

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Viewliner II Roomette Step Height

And for those wondering about the height of each step on the way up to the bunk (or to stow luggage above the hall) - here is a diagram...

Roomette - Step Height.png
 

IndyLions

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Actually, I DON'T like my blanket wrapped in plastic--way too much plastic in our lives, and wrapping the blanket is pointless, since it's only used in private space.

Given that the geniuses at Amtrak's design dept designed a multiple-towel holder for a common space (shower used by multiple passengers), wrapping the towels individually is the only reasonably hygenic solution I've thought of. FWIW, I'd prefer that the wrapping be paper.
Fair enough - we'll agree to disagree on this one. I feel like there is a limited amount of control we have when we go out in public regarding our exposure to germs (beyond the normal prudent precautions of hand washing, etc.) - and frankly that's what our immune systems are for. If I have a compromised immune system - I'm probably not going to use public spaces and I'll apply to Amtrak for an H Room.

But I understand that others have more concerns than I do - and their concerns are no less legitimate than my lack of concern.
 

cocojacoby

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So you like your blanket in plastic - but are okay with the sheet already made - and the pillows out and ready waiting on the cushions? Do you ask hotels to give you your linens in plastic so you can make them up yourself? What about cloth napkins at nice restaurants - do you ask for the paper napkins and plastic silverware sealed in plastic from a factory in China instead? Where does it stop?
Yeah seal the blanket in plastic but put the uncovered pillow, upon which you place your face, on the seat where every passenger before you has put their bare feet, socks, shoes and butts!
 
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cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
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The next feature I'm going to highlight in the VLIIs is in the Roomette.

This one is controversial, and is one of the most divided topics regarding sleepers that we have. That is the presence (or absence) of a toilet in the Roomette. One camp is grossed out by the thought of a non-enclosed toilet in the roomette, and the other half is equally as distressed about NOT having an in-room toilet - enclosed or not. Please - let's not debate the issue here - I think we can all agree that this is a divided issue with two camps.

Traditionally, most Heritage equipment featured toilets in-room, no matter how small. The double-level Superliners broke that trend and eliminated toilets from roomettes, while the original Viewliners followed the Heritage approach by featuring them. As most know by now, the VLII's eliminated the in-room toilet in the roomette.

For years now - VLII room diagrams have been published. Many from the "pro-Toilet" side have howled that Amtrak is simply wasting the space where the toilet used to be - so there is no customer benefit to its elimination. From looking at those diagrams they appear to be right. However - when you actually use a VLII roomette and see it in three dimensions, you have a better understanding of how Amtrak is using that space. While I don't expect it to change anyone's mind - I think it is enlightening.

Here is the best "overall" shot that I have of the area in question.

View attachment 21436

There are a few things to note. The area where the toilet used to be has always doubled as a kind of "stairway" to the upper bunk in the evening. The middle "step" (the one that the fold-down sink rests on) has been extended out - since they no longer have to account for someone sitting on the toilet. This makes it much more useful as a shelf during the day.

View attachment 21437

Second - they've added another (recessed) storage area between the bottom two steps - I'll call it a "cubby". It is 9 ¼"W x 5 ¾"H x 3"D. What is its purpose? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it could be used as a place to store your cell phone, wallet and other personal items. It seems about the ideal size to rest an iPad mini - but I didn't try that...

View attachment 21438

Finally - the biggest deal of all (in my opinion). The area below the bottom step, where the toilet used to be - is now completely open and can be used for storage.

Now - I was a bit of a nincompoop - and took well over 100 photos and somehow didn't get a great shot of this new storage area - but at least I measured it...

View attachment 21440
Standard carry-on luggage size is 14" W x 9" H x 22" D. On first glance at the area's dimensions, it appears "not deep enough". In practice - if a piece of luggage extends out 3" or so - that is absolutely no problem.

In my opinion, this is the best result yet of removing the toilets from the Roomette. The upper storage area in the Viewliner Roomettes is nice and spacious - but if you pack like my wife and me - it can be a challenge to lift our luggage up there. Being able to store at least one heavy bag at floor level is a great feature.

While the "toilet" vs "no toilet" debate will rage on - at least we now have a full understanding of how Amtrak decided to utilize that space.
Whenever my wife and I share a roomette, one the the biggest hassles is the lack of open floor space for two people to stand. I was hoping that with the removal of the toilet the floor area would be opened up a bit, maybe utilizing some type of fold down stairs. Also the compartment next to the seat (opposite the toilet) which holds the toilet paper could have been scaled back to open the floor up a bit there too.

Two people need a little more space to stand and dress and brush their teeth, etc.

The upper luggage cubby would work better if they got rid of the bar that partially blocks access and maybe just go with a small lip in front. That would make it a little easier to get your luggage off the floor and over the aisle.

Anything to open up the floor space for maneuvering around the tiny room would help.
 

Dakota 400

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The area below the bottom step, where the toilet used to be - is now completely open and can be used for storage.
they've added another (recessed) storage area between the bottom two steps - I'll call it a "cubby". It is 9 ¼"W x 5 ¾"H x 3"D. What is its purpose? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it could be used as a place to store your cell phone, wallet and other personal items.
The middle "step" (the one that the fold-down sink rests on) has been extended out - since they no longer have to account for someone sitting on the toilet. This makes it much more useful as a shelf during the day.
Thanks for the descriptions and your photos! I like all of these improvements. I am sure that I would find them useful.
 

IndyLions

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The next much improved feature - the fold out table. And this is an improvement that (like the shower) can be enjoyed by all passengers in the VLII Sleeper.

Many of us have “experienced” the tables in the Superliners and Viewliner I’s. Yes - they are functional - but boy are they frustrating. They are heavy, clunky, noisy - and usually not very level.

The new tables are just about everything the old ones are not.

Table - Stowed.jpg


One thing you might notice (other than a color change) - is that when they are stowed away they make not a sound. No rattles.

They are not made out of metal - but from a very dense manufactured wood product. The outside appears to be laminated - but gives the impression of being very well laminated indeed. It does NOT give the impression of your typical RV or manufactured housing construction - but far better than that.

Table - Folded.jpg

Embedded under the surface are hidden magnets - so that when the table “wings” are folded in, they stay put and don’t rattle. That’s a nice touch. And my wife and I had some fun watching the metal silverware we brought along being pulled towards and sticking to the magnet positions during meal times.

Table - Full.jpg

And when fully folded out - the table seems larger but not overly so - and makes not a single rattle and is dead-flat level. All major improvements over the previous generation for sure. One last improvement - the adjacent cupholders are deeper - which means the ubiquitous water bottles will actually stay put and not bounce away at the first rail induced jolt.

Table - Cupholder.jpg

Will they hold up? Who knows - but even if they have to replace them every few years the improvement is worth it in my opinion. And it’s just a feeling - but after using them for two days I think they are going to hold up just fine.

And did I measure the table? Nope. After dozens of measurements - that is one I missed. Doh!

Just like the shower, the table is another A+ for an improved design. There are plenty more positives with the VLII's - just maybe not any more A+ grades...we'll have to see.
 

Cal

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The next much improved feature - the fold out table. And this is an improvement that (like the shower) can be enjoyed by all passengers in the VLII Sleeper.

Many of us have “experienced” the tables in the Superliners and Viewliner I’s. Yes - they are functional - but boy are they frustrating. They are heavy, clunky, noisy - and usually not very level.

The new tables are just about everything the old ones are not.

View attachment 21446


One thing you might notice (other than a color change) - is that when they are stowed away they make not a sound. No rattles.

They are not made out of metal - but from a very dense manufactured wood product. The outside appears to be laminated - but gives the impression of being very well laminated indeed. It does NOT give the impression of your typical RV or manufactured housing construction - but far better than that.

View attachment 21447

Embedded under the surface are hidden magnets - so that when the table “wings” are folded in, they stay put and don’t rattle. That’s a nice touch. And my wife and I had some fun watching the metal silverware we brought along being pulled towards and sticking to the magnet positions during meal times.

View attachment 21448

And when fully folded out - the table seems larger but not overly so - and makes not a single rattle and is dead-flat level. All major improvements over the previous generation for sure. One last improvement - the adjacent cupholders are deeper - which means the ubiquitous water bottles will actually stay put and not bounce away at the first rail induced jolt.

View attachment 21449

Will they hold up? Who knows - but even if they have to replace them every few years the improvement is worth it in my opinion. And it’s just a feeling - but after using them for two days I think they are going to hold up just fine.

And did I measure the table? Nope. After dozens of measurements - that is one I missed. Doh!

Just like the shower, the table is another A+ for an improved design. There are plenty more positives with the VLII's - just maybe not any more A+ grades...we'll have to see.
Gah, we need some of these improvements on the Superliners and VI's!
 

AG1

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The upper luggage cubby would work better if they got rid of the bar that partially blocks access and maybe just go with a small lip in front. That would make it a little easier to get your luggage off the floor and over the aisle.
The bar is the handhold for going up the steps to the upper bunk. Coming down I grab it with both hands !
 

cocojacoby

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The bar is the handhold for going up the steps to the upper bunk. Coming down I grab it with both hands !
We have never used it like that. It looks more like a "safety bar" to hold in your luggage. I am sure there is another way to provide hand holds if needed. Blocking the storage area and making the opening smaller doesn't make sense especially since it is not that easy to get your luggage up there anyway. Providing more suitable handles for climbing would be an easy task.
 

Devil's Advocate

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This has become an increasingly informative thread for the uninitiated. I mainly ride the Western routes, so it may be years before I am able to see this firsthand, but it's nice to read a positive review about new LD hardware! Now if we can just get some Superliner replacements ordered I might be able to ride a new one before I die. 😅
 
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oregon pioneer

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I know this is probably addressed in some other thread... but is there away to know if you will get the new sleeper or the old on a given trip? I'll probably be taking the LSL next winter...
 

IndyLions

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I know this is probably addressed in some other thread... but is there away to know if you will get the new sleeper or the old on a given trip? I'll probably be taking the LSL next winter...
No way of knowing without inside information as to the rollout plans for the new sleepers.

If somebody has better information, hopefully they will chime in.
 

railiner

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What would be better...to have all the new sleepers dedicated to particular trains, and be able to market them that way, or just mix them amongst all the trains, with no assurances of type sold? The latter is probably easier...
 
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jis

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What would be better...to have all the new sleepers dedicated to particular trains, and be able to market them that way, or just mix them amongst all the trains, with no assurances of type sold? The latter is probably easier...
The latter is what they are certainly doing right now. But it suffers from the issue of the number of roomettes available being different by one, that cannot be finagled in the reservation system fully until the actual consist for the day is known. That may be why they do the x12 car only as VII now, though there have been days when both x11 and x12 were VIIs on the Silver.

As usual we will know only when it actually happens for sure.
 

Barb Stout

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Whenever my wife and I share a roomette, one the the biggest hassles is the lack of open floor space for two people to stand. I was hoping that with the removal of the toilet the floor area would be opened up a bit, maybe utilizing some type of fold down stairs. Also the compartment next to the seat (opposite the toilet) which holds the toilet paper could have been scaled back to open the floor up a bit there too.
Well, there have to be steps to get up to the upper bed regardless if one of the steps is also a toilet.
 

jruff001

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Great report, IndyLions! Thanks for taking the time to take & post the pics and descriptions. I can't wait to ride one.
 

Cal

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Great report, IndyLions! Thanks for taking the time to take & post the pics and descriptions. I can't wait to ride one.
I won't be riding one for a long time! I'm here in SoCal, and so getting on an eastern route conveniently is a hassle as I'd rather avoid flying domestically.
 
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