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Sleeper train revival in Europe

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Willbridge

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Seldom would I question the historical accuracy of any of your posts, however Dayniters were a CN invention - predating VIA by several years.
I'm glad to be corrected. As the Cold Case reporter for the Denver Post told me, "put something you're not sure of out in the internet and somebody will tell you the answer."

I thought the first time I encountered a Day-Niter was in the CN/VIA transition, but in going through stuff that I'm trying to weed out I found an itinerary from December 1974 that probably was a Day-Niter from Vancouver, BC to Edmonton. The timetable for that trip also shows Train 10 from Prince Rupert extended to Saskatoon to handle Christmas traffic, scheduled thirty minutes ahead of us between Jasper and Edmonton.

I do remember that the car was so quiet that during an over length stop in North Kamloops everyone could hear an elderly couple arguing from the other end of the car.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Which is why unisex restrooms are the default all across the USA. :)
Not yet but they do exist. I honestly do not understand the motivation for making restrooms gender neutral, and I'm unsure what is being gained by doing so, but it's happening anyway. So into that reality Amtrak would be bringing a new gender exclusive product to the national network with taxpayer money and nobody challenges it? No state attempts to restrict it? No government funding prevents it? I just think the odds are stacked against such a plan and I struggle to envision a method of advertising/discussing it without invalidating it. The moment Amtrak admits or implies it was designed to benefit one group of a protected class at the expense of another the cat is out of the bag.

As far as I know, no boys attend Girl's High. And the courts seem to be OK with this, even though it means that there are more opportunities available for girls in Philadelphia to attend a college-prep high school than there are for boys.
The courts aren't usually looking for controversies to rule upon and case law generally depends on someone with standing challenging the status quo. Gender specific flophouses were "legal" in part because nobody cared to challenge them. It's just not realistic that this wouldn't be challenged with government funding on the national stage.
 
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Mailliw

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Unisex restrooms are almost always single-user; there's no reason for them to be segregated by sex in the first place. I've never seen a multi-user restroom on a train, bus, or plane. As far as Nightjet's sleeping pods; you can just sacrifice 4 of them for an ADA bedroom. The lack of a daytime mode is the biggest drawback I see. Would Amtrak or VIA want cars that could only be used at night in their fleet instead of something they could use on long distance trains as well?
 

jiml

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I'm glad to be corrected. As the Cold Case reporter for the Denver Post told me, "put something you're not sure of out in the internet and somebody will tell you the answer."

I thought the first time I encountered a Day-Niter was in the CN/VIA transition, but in going through stuff that I'm trying to weed out I found an itinerary from December 1974 that probably was a Day-Niter from Vancouver, BC to Edmonton. The timetable for that trip also shows Train 10 from Prince Rupert extended to Saskatoon to handle Christmas traffic, scheduled thirty minutes ahead of us between Jasper and Edmonton.

I do remember that the car was so quiet that during an over length stop in North Kamloops everyone could hear an elderly couple arguing from the other end of the car.
The Dayniters were very reminiscent of airline business class not all that long ago - before "lay flat" became a thing. They were also featured on the much-missed overnight train between Montreal and Toronto when one's employer wouldn't pony up for a sleeper. Not that I'd know of course.;)
 

Bob Dylan

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Unlike my trips in Europe (granted I was a lot younger) where a Couchette shared with others was just fine......here in North America the culture seems to be that if you can afford it you want private accommodations. Nothing between that and a coach seat will do.

One exception here I know of were the 'Dormitory Sleepers' on Marine Atlantic's overnight ferries between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. A couple of large open spaces with rows of bunks (236 in total).....and they were very popular. Cost was $15 more than coach fare. They gave you a pillow and blanket but most just used a sleeping bag. There were no curtains on the bunks, no segregation: men, women, families all slept together in one big room! People just wanted a place to put their head down for the 6 hour overnight crossing as they faced a 950 km drive across the island the next day. Private cabins as well as regular coach seating were also offered.

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During the day crossings the Dorm Sleepers pretty well went unoccupied so it was a lot of dead weight (and fuel burn) to be hauling around. Today....the new ferries offer airline-style business class seating (not quite lie-flat) that are used during the day as well as private cabins.
I rode a similar Ferry from Puerto Vallarta to Cabo San Lucas in the early 80s that was Government operated ( just like the Rail Roads), it had real similar accommodations and it was dirt cheap, if I remember right a First Class Private Cabin (Walk on, more for a Vehicle)was 100 Pesos for 2 ( $25).

Shared dorm bunks like your picture were $8 and a Bus Style Seat 2nd Class ( Recliner) on the Main Deck was $4!!!

Once Privatization became all the Rage in Mexico, both were Sold off and became Expensive, then quickly Extint!
 
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Bob Dylan

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The Dayniters were very reminiscent of airline business class not all that long ago - before "lay flat" became a thing. They were also featured on the much-missed overnight train between Montreal and Toronto when one's employer wouldn't pony up for a sleeper. Not that I'd know of course.;)
I rode that overnight Train from Montreal- Toronto in a Sleeper in 2004, it arrived into Union Station @ 8am with a Cross Platform Transfer to the Canadian.

Still have the amenities Bag that's branded as "Constellation Service!"
 

v v

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In my travels anytime there are two or more Russians within shouting distance everyone in the vicinity knows about it.
Maybe the difference between what you saw and I saw was people sometimes behave differently in public in their home country than they do abroad?
 

jiml

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I rode that overnight Train from Montreal- Toronto in a Sleeper in 2004, it arrived into Union Station @ 8am with a Cross Platform Transfer to the Canadian.

Still have the amenities Bag that's branded as "Constellation Service!"
That would have been during the brief resurgence of Trains 50 and 51 with the Renaissance sleepers now allocated to the suspended Ocean. Another difference between it and previous "lives" was the lack of split-off cars to/from Ottawa. The service was very reminiscent of Amtrak's Executive Sleeper, which has been recently discussed, and was perfect for business travellers wanting to avoid overpriced hotel rooms in either end city. That said, while the coach fares were cheap the sleepers tended to be noncompetitive and the service was discontinued in the fall of 2005.
 

Exvalley

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I am late to the thread, and I just skimmed the discussion about separate facilities for men and women - so pardon me if I am misunderstanding the conversation. That said, there is absolutely no legal impediment to having separate couchette compartments for men and women. I could write a treatise as to why, but the plethora of existing gender-divided spaces ought to tell you enough. (bathrooms, hostel dormitories, locker rooms, changing rooms, etc.) If these were illegal, a lawyer would have figured that out by now.

While I don't think that couchettes have a future in the United States, I agree that the Via Rail style of open sleeper may have a chance. This is because you can draw a curtain across your bunk and have privacy that is lacking in a couchette. I could see something like this working on the right route, such as Los Angeles to San Francisco. Or perhaps Seattle-Portland-San Francisco. I'm not sure how viable it would be on most routes, however. Another option is a capsule train, like they have in Japan.
 

NS VIA Fan

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The Dayniters were very reminiscent of airline business class not all that long ago - before "lay flat" became a thing........

The Dayniters were a real step-up for CN coach passengers. Prior to that, even on the transcontinental trains a coach seat was just that. They did recline but there were no leg rests.

But over on CP the Budd Stainless Steel Coaches bought in 1955 did have full length leg and foot rests.....nearly 20 years before CN offered a similar accommodation with the Dayniters

VIA ran the Dayniters in the Corridor as 'Club 52' (they had 52 seats!) It was a class between regular coach and the First Class Clubs with 2+1 seating.

Below is Coach Seating on CP's Canadian in 1955:

CP Coach.jpg
 

NS VIA Fan

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That would have been during the brief resurgence of Trains 50 and 51 with the Renaissance sleepers now allocated to the suspended Ocean. Another difference between it and previous "lives" was the lack of split-off cars to/from Ottawa. The service was very reminiscent of Amtrak's Executive Sleeper, which has been recently discussed, and was perfect for business travellers wanting to avoid overpriced hotel rooms in either end city. That said, while the coach fares were cheap the sleepers tended to be noncompetitive and the service was discontinued in the fall of 2005.
It was 21 years ago last week (Jan 2000) that VIA launched the new 'Enterprise' (#50/#51) to give overnight trains between Montreal and Toronto another try 10 years after the 'Cavalier' had been discontinued in what seemed a perfect market for an overnight train: large cities 340 miles apart.

The 'Enterprise' was one train VIA did give a good try. It was extensively advertised but there just didn't seem to be a market for overnight train travel anymore in the corridor. With fast day trains each-way....people just wanted to be home in their own beds at night. Not in a hotel room....let alone a sleeper. It lasted about 5 years.

I received discount coupons while travelling in VIA-1 (daytime first class) for a sleeper one-way and return by fast afternoon train but it just didn’t work. The only times the trains were full was on Fri and Sun evenings and this was in coach. On days the Enterprise connected with the Canadian....you did have a few more in the sleepers, but not many.

When launched in 2000......the 'Enterprise' ran with the Budd Stainless Steel equipment including Chateau Sleepers and a Park Car......and marketed as 'Constellation Class' including a complementary continental breakfast served in the Bullet Lounge. I always met one or two other railfans up in the dome also enjoying the nostalgia of overnight train travel......but for other passengers....there weren't many!

In July 2002 the 'Enterprise' was the first train to be re-equipped with new 'Renaissance' cars. I had a ride from Montreal to Toronto the first week the Rens were in service. The Park was gone....but a breakfast tray was served in your room.

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jiml

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VIA ran the Dayniters in the Corridor as 'Club 52' (they had 52 seats!) It was a class between regular coach and the First Class Clubs with 2+1 seating.
As a regular business traveller between Toronto and Montreal "back in the day" when the Turbos were entering their "unreliable" phase, I would always dread turning up at Gare Centrale to find a conventional consist had been substituted. It would always include a Club 52 coach instead of a "Club-Galley", which also meant a cold meal was coming. The seats were fine and actually more comfortable than the vinyl-covered versions on the Club-Galleys, but nothing beat Turboclub.
 

jiml

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In July 2002 the 'Enterprise' was the first train to be re-equipped with new 'Renaissance' cars. I had a ride from Montreal to Toronto the first week the Rens were in service. The Park was gone....but a breakfast tray was served in your room.

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I just shake my head when I see those pictures and think that the newest cars in the VIA fleet (which they spent big bucks renovating) are likely to be the first retired. They look nice, ride well and the coach/business seats are relatively comfortable - since we're talking about seats;).
 

NS VIA Fan

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I just shake my head when I see those pictures and think that the newest cars in the VIA fleet (which they spent big bucks renovating) are likely to be the first retired........
VIA's plan is to continue to use the Ren Sleepers on the 'Hybrid' Ocean (when it returns) as they have the Accessible Bedrooms (similar to ADA requirements in the States) that the Budd equipment does not have. I believe they also plan to use the Ren Diners and Service Cars but not the Ren Coaches. VIA is now receiving the newly renovated Budd Coaches that now have accessible accommodations and the seats are reversible. The Ren seats are not......a requirement now that the equipment can no longer be turned in Halifax.
 

jiml

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I believe they also plan to use the Ren Diners and Service Cars but not the Ren Coaches. VIA is now receiving the newly renovated Budd Coaches that now have accessible accommodations and the seats are reversible. The Ren seats are not......a requirement now that the equipment can no longer be turned in Halifax.
I'm a little surprised about the first item, since there had been talk of Budd diners coming back. (I quite like the Ren dining set-up.) I had forgotten the coaches had the "Euro-style" seating, so they no longer make sense on the Ocean. The Ren coaches would now be fine for corridor services where none of the seats are reversed anymore.:rolleyes:

Sidebar Ocean question: Have you heard what's happening with domes - Skyline or Park? Park cars aren't exactly conducive to backwards running either and I can't remember if Skyline seats can be flipped. My guess is not. There's not a lot of other lounge options in the fleet though.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Sidebar Ocean question: Have you heard what's happening with domes - Skyline or Park? Park cars aren't exactly conducive to backwards running either and I can't remember if Skyline seats can be flipped. My guess is not. There's not a lot of other lounge options in the fleet though.
I haven't heard anything definitively on a Dome. Probably not a Park......but a Skyline would be possible. Install seats with flip-over backs like the Skyline had on the Atlantic Ltd back in the '70s. It was not turned in Saint John.
 

Mailliw

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So what is VIA actually doing with the Renaissance coaches? Wouldn't they have as much wear & tear as the sleepers and diners? Are they being rebuilt or just decommissioned?
 

MARC Rider

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This is because you can draw a curtain across your bunk and have privacy that is lacking in a couchette.
The couchette-style sleeper I rode in Japan had a curtain you could draw across the bunk. As I recall, the sleeper had the bunks arranged like a couchette, but were in open sections, so you weren't locked into a compartment. There was plenty of privacy with the curtains, but, of course, it was only curtains, so someone could still enter your space if they so desired.

One thing to keep in mind is that with these style of sleeping accommodations, one sleeps in their clothes, only taking off their shoes.
 

jiml

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Open sections are not that different from coach in that the risk of unwanted "attention" is greatly reduced by the possibility of people passing by - the same way there's a good chance that someone will be awake in coach overnight. Euro couchettes have a closing (and locking) door. I think that sums it all up.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Unisex restrooms are almost always single-user; there's no reason for them to be segregated by sex in the first place. I've never seen a multi-user restroom on a train, bus, or plane. As far as Nightjet's sleeping pods; you can just sacrifice 4 of them for an ADA bedroom. The lack of a daytime mode is the biggest drawback I see. Would Amtrak or VIA want cars that could only be used at night in their fleet instead of something they could use on long distance trains as well?
The multi-user restroom on train can only be found older equipment now. Men’s room in back, a couple of stalls, a open area with two sinks. The women room had a lounge/power room with two stalls. A very early president of Amtrak stated that the restrooms were a massive waste of space. So Amtrak became a unisex bathroom place. Well on the trains at least.
 

PaTrainFan

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Yup....my fist encounter with a DayNiter was in April 1974 when CN dropped the Sydney-Montreal Sleeper and replaced it with a DayNiter.

(You'll note in my post above with the ferry diagram that DayNiters were also offered. These were the same seats as found on CN trains. (Marine Atlantic's roots are in CN Marine)

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This is what Amtrak's Business Class should look like (updated, of course) on long distance trains. For the "budget conscious" overnight passenger, or at least marketed as such. Admittedly I haven't experienced overnight Business Class but the Dayniter concept seems to be an upgrade over coach.
 

NS VIA Fan

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The only time I ever rode in a Renn Coach was while traveling from Montreal to Quebec City and back.
I travelled overnight in a Renaissance Coach once on the Ocean when the sleepers were sold out. I really liked the option of having a single seat in the 2+1 layout and found the seats just fine. Instead of the usual reclining seat where the seatback encroached into your neighbor's space behind.....the Ren seat slides forward and unlike a 'Dayniter' there is no leg rest but there is a footrest.

 

jis

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I travelled overnight in a Renaissance Coach once on the Ocean when the sleepers were sold out. I really liked the option of having a single seat in the 2+1 layout and found the seats just fine. Instead of the usual reclining seat where the seatback encroached into your neighbor's space behind.....the Ren seat slides forward and unlike a 'Dayniter' there is no leg rest but there is a footrest.

Yes. I liked the seats. On both journeys I had a seat on the "1" side of the 2+1. As I seem to recall the seats are on a somewhat raised platform from the aisle height.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Yes. I liked the seats. On both journeys I had a seat on the "1" side of the 2+1. As I seem to recall the seats are on a somewhat raised platform from the aisle height.
Yes......the coaches have the raised platform which allows you to slide luggage in under the seat from the front. Its closed at the back so better security for your belongings.

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