Sleepers at the consist rear are preferable

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choochoodood

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With the exception of trains like the Lake Shore Limited and Empire Builder which split, I am wondering why Amtrak places the Sleepers right behind the locomotives, and in many cases with no baggage car between (for example, the Capitol Ltd.). Upon riding trains in past years with Sleepers at the rear, I have found that configuration to be preferable. One would think that "first class" passengers should benefit from less loud horn blowing, locomotive rumble, and even fumes (yes, I've had to deal with engine fumes before). I also wonder why the Southwest Chief places the baggage car at the rear now, when there is no splitting of that particular train. Seems to me the baggage car should be a buffer regardless of the type of car that follows. Anyone know of a reasonable explanation for these things?
 
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Dakota 400

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One would think that "first class" passengers should benefit from less loud horn blowing, locomotive rumble, and even fumes (yes, I've had to deal with engine fumes before)
Just an observation that began riding passenger trains when the locomotive was a steam engine burning coal for a fuel. Riding in an well traveled Pullman sleeping car in a Section accommodation whose windows leaked when it was raining, whatever fumes one might notice from a current Amtrak locomotive does not compare with the odor of the coal smoke wafting in from that PRR locomotive.

The "rumble"? The horn blowing? This is an experience of riding on a train!!!!
 

crescent-zephyr

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Just an observation that began riding passenger trains when the locomotive was a steam engine burning coal for a fuel. Riding in an well traveled Pullman sleeping car in a Section accommodation whose windows leaked when it was raining, whatever fumes one might notice from a current Amtrak locomotive does not compare with the odor of the coal smoke wafting in from that PRR locomotive.

The "rumble"? The horn blowing? This is an experience of riding on a train!!!!
I pay a high premium to smell that coal smoke!!!
 
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Bob Dylan

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With the exception of trains like the Lake Shore Limited and Empire Builder which split, I am wondering why Amtrak places the Sleepers right behind the locomotives, and in many cases with no baggage car between (for example, the Capitol Ltd.). Upon riding trains in past years with Sleepers at the rear, I have found that configuration to be preferable. One would think that "first class" passengers should benefit from less loud horn blowing, locomotive rumble, and even fumes (yes, I've had to deal with engine fumes before). I also wonder why the Southwest Chief places the baggage car at the rear now, when there is no splitting of that particular train. Seems to me the baggage car should be a buffer regardless of the type of car that follows. Anyone know of a reasonable explanation for these things?
On Superliner Trains Amtrak has taken the Transdorm ( Crew Sleeper) and Baggage Car off of some consists, hence there is no Buffer between the Engine and Revenue Sleeper.

Where the Baggage Cars are on the Rear of the Consist in Single Level Trains, having a Car behind the Sleeper prevents "tail wagging" which can be uncomfortable on Viewliner Sleepers.
 

Eric in East County

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It is our understanding that cars coupled directly behind the engine(s) provide a smoother ride. Photos we’ve seen of the old-time passenger trains always show the sleepers at the front and the coaches at the rear. When freight trains still hauled livestock cars, these too would be coupled right behind the engine so as to the give the animals a smoother ride.

Eric & Pat
 

me_little_me

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Actually, I'd love to be on a consumer feedback panel!
I'd do it only if we were entitled to impose prison sentences like judges do!

"Mr. Anderson and Mr. Flynn, you are hereby sentenced to spending the time together continuously onboard the Texas Eagle in a shared roomette for a period not to exceed one year with the requirement that you remain in your room the whole time and consume only flex meals. May God have mercy on your souls."
 

crescent-zephyr

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If there are 2 locomotives and a baggage car that’s plenty of buffer between noise and fumes and you’ll get a better ride. The very back of the train is usually a tougher ride.
 
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Ryan

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This, like many other things is a matter of personal preference and at the end of the day the differences are so slight that the sleepers front/back question is going to be driven more by operational considerations than anything like proximity to the horn.

Having ridden in the last row of the last coach of a completely sold out Crescent from WAS to ATL and not slept a wink as I was slammed around all night with nothing behind us to steady the car, I'm quite pleased to have the sleepers comfortably away from that terrible ride.
 

Exvalley

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Put me in the “sleepers in the back” camp. The horn noise is a much bigger issue for me than slightly increased jostling. I’ve always believed that the difference in ride from front to back is greatly exaggerated, especially given how short most Amtrak trains are compared to freight trains and passenger trains of yore.
 
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Rasputin

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It is our understanding that cars coupled directly behind the engine(s) provide a smoother ride. Photos we’ve seen of the old-time passenger trains always show the sleepers at the front and the coaches at the rear. When freight trains still hauled livestock cars, these too would be coupled right behind the engine so as to the give the animals a smoother ride.

Eric & Pat
My experience (dating from the 1960s) has been that coaches were traditionally up front and sleepers at the rear. This was certainly true of the CP Canadian and CN SuperContinental which were long trains. I think this was true of many other trains as well such as the Olympian Hiawatha.

I have ridden the Texas Eagle thru sleeper at the rear of the Sunset and the Portland sleeper at the rear of the Empire Builder. I noticed no deterioration in ride quality.

I don't know when Amtrak switched the sleeping cars to the front. It would be interesting to know the approximate date and whether the changeover was fairly system-wide or instituted gradually. There was a period of time (1980s and 1990s) when I did not have the opportunity to ride on Amtrak and I think the change took place about that time. It did not happen on VIA and I believe VIA long distance trains (the Canadian, the Ocean and the Hudson Bay trains) continue to have sleeping cars at the rear (when these trains run).
 

Bob Dylan

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My experience (dating from the 1960s) has been that coaches were traditionally up front and sleepers at the rear. This was certainly true of the CP Canadian and CN SuperContinental which were long trains. I think this was true of many other trains as well such as the Olympian Hiawatha.

I have ridden the Texas Eagle thru sleeper at the rear of the Sunset and the Portland sleeper at the rear of the Empire Builder. I noticed no deterioration in ride quality.

I don't know when Amtrak switched the sleeping cars to the front. It would be interesting to know the approximate date and whether the changeover was fairly system-wide or instituted gradually. There was a period of time (1980s and 1990s) when I did not have the opportunity to ride on Amtrak and I think the change took place about that time. It did not happen on VIA and I believe VIA long distance trains (the Canadian, the Ocean and the Hudson Bay trains) continue to have sleeping cars at the rear (when these trains run).
I totally agree with your post, and yes, VIA still has the Sleepers on the Rear of their LD Trains.

I've been riding Trains for over 70 years ( I'm Old😁)and the overwhelming majority if the time the Sleepers pre-Amtrak were on the Rear ( exceptions would be the All Sleeper Trains and those with Cut out Sleepers)

In my experience, Amtrak used to do "Seasonal" location of Sleepers on the California Zephyr and the Silver Trains, and the 3 current LD Trains that split consists, the Texas Eagle, the Lake Shore Ltd. and the Empire Builder, have Sleepers on the Front and the Rear of the consist.( with the #421/#422 Sections of the Eagle between CHI and SAS, it varies @ the whim of the Switching Crew in San Antonio )
 
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choochoodood

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Put me in the “sleepers in the back” camp. The horn noise is a much bigger issue for me than slightly increased jostling. I’ve always believed that the difference in ride from front to back is greatly exaggerated, especially given how short most Amtrak trains are compared to freight trains and passenger trains of yore.
I agree 100%!
 

crescent-zephyr

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I’ve personally found a better ride when sleepers were on the front. The Horn has never bothered me that much. Even when I was in the trans dorm on the city of New Orleans (1 Locomotive, no baggage car) it really wasn’t that much of an issue to me although the horn was certainly more noticeable.
 

Chris I

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If you want a great rear-car sleeper experience, take the Empire Builder to Portland. There is only one Superliner sleeper, and it's on the very back of the train for the entire trip. You get to enjoy the "railfan window" for the journey.
 

jruff001

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I vote rear too. Less horn noise, and I have never noticed much difference in terms of ride quality.

Also a shorter walk from the station with your luggage at beginning terminals (and ending terminals when they back in). And better views of the entire consist around curves.
 

Siegmund

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The 'bad ride on the rear' problem seems to me to be a Viewliner-specific issue... I have never had a problem in the Portland sleeper on the Empire Builder, and don't remember feeling much difference between front and rear in Heritage days.

The horn is noticeably louder when you are up front - and if there is no baggage car, the rumble of the engine is even quite noticeable.

As for the cattle up front on freight trains, that's quite a separate topic - freight trains have something like a foot of slack between each car, which does indeed make for a rough ride at the back of a long train, but passenger trains don't.
 

crescent-zephyr

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The 'bad ride on the rear' problem seems to me to be a Viewliner-specific issue... I have never had a problem in the Portland sleeper on the Empire Builder, and don't remember feeling much difference between front and rear in Heritage days.
It’s definitelty an issue on single level heritage equipment and amfleets. It’s not viewliner specific.

I don’t remember it being a huge issue on superliners in my experience.
 

me_little_me

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Put me in the “sleepers in the back” camp. The horn noise is a much bigger issue for me than slightly increased jostling. I’ve always believed that the difference in ride from front to back is greatly exaggerated, especially given how short most Amtrak trains are compared to freight trains and passenger trains of yore.
What horn? Wait a minute! Let me put my hearing aids back on. Oh! That sound? Doesn't bother me at all at night but then, again, I hear nothing, not even her yelling at me. :):)
 

Dakota 400

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My experience (dating from the 1960s) has been that coaches were traditionally up front and sleepers at the rear.
My experiences from the past began in the early 1950s. The Pullman cars were definitely at the rear of the trains on which I rode.
 

Palmland

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Without the transition sleeper absolutely no reason they shouldn’t be on the rear on Superliner trains with the baggage next to the engine. As pre Amtrak knew, keeping the majority of the station activity together (baggage handling, engine servicing, crew change, frequent on/offs of coach passengers) made it easier for servicing and passenger activity. Of course railfans like it for reasons noted above.

And back in the day when sleepers were set out or picked up enroute, sleepers on the rear made switching easier. Something Amtrak should be doing more. I believe the Chicago-Denver sleeper was the last? Doing that increases revenue and improves equipment utilization.

Amtrak’s answer to improving equipment utilization is run short trains to reduce capacity that results in higher prices - and also causes passengers to choose another mode of transportation (sorry for the rant).

Another candidate for set out sleeper is Crescent’s second sleeper that could be dropped at Birmingham (and maybe a restored diner!) I believe the second track at the new station is still serviceable.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Another candidate for set out sleeper is Crescent’s second sleeper that could be dropped at Birmingham (and maybe a restored diner!) I believe the second track at the new station is still serviceable.
I remember seeing cars set out and added in Atlanta in the 2000’s. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
 
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