Sleeping cars returning to WAS-BOS starting 05APR21

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Tlcooper93

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Hello everyone,

I've heard rumors about the re-introduction of sleepers to the BOS-WAS/NPN route.
My guess/instinct is these are just rumors, knowing how Amtrak feels about these things. That said, I do think if they introduced one sleeper in both directions with no diner, that there would be demand for it. I go from BOS to DC semi-frequently, and would love to do a sleeper on one of the legs.

I read that the original reason for pulling sleepers from the Night Owl/Federal/Twilight Shoreliner in the first place was equipment shortages, but with the addition of Viewliner II's, would this be possible? I personally think it would be a good combination with an alternate Acela leg.

If this topic has already been addressed, forgive me.

-Thomas

MODERATOR NOTE: this thread was merged into a March 2021 thread in the Amtrak Rail Discussion Forum.
 
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Palmetto

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Welcome to the group. Yes, there have been hints that sleeping cars will return on 65/66/67 in the future. I agree with you: it's a nice service. I took it from Rte. 128 one night after an event at Boston College. After we got on, there was a full lounge next door. The attendant invited us to dinner [at 10:00 PM]. It was a heated tray meal, but it was tasty. We had the option of a glass of wine with it, as well. Cloth napkins and silverware.

I don't think the food service will return, though.
 

20th Century Rider

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Welcome to the group. Yes, there have been hints that sleeping cars will return on 65/66/67 in the future. I agree with you: it's a nice service. I took it from Rte. 128 one night after an event at Boston College. After we got on, there was a full lounge next door. The attendant invited us to dinner [at 10:00 PM]. It was a heated tray meal, but it was tasty. We had the option of a glass of wine with it, as well. Cloth napkins and silverware.

I don't think the food service will return, though.
Europe is adding new sleeper service starting this year... reflecting an environmentally friendly trend, as well as folks wanting to avoid all the hassles of going to and from the airports, going through security, checking baggage, then going back into the town for their hotel stay. With overnight service they wake up refreshed at their destination ready for a productive day.

The return of overnight service on the DC BOS route would be well received! ;)

.
 

Tlcooper93

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There actually used to be two sleepers from Washington - one continued all the way to Boston and the other (Executive Sleeper) was dropped in Penn Station in the middle of the night, with passengers remaining on-board until continental breakfast arrived at 6:30.
Yes, I took the Twilight Shoreliner when i was younger. I do remember the set-out sleepers that they dropped off at NYC. It always seemed like such an odd concept. I’d rather take an Acela at night and check into a hotel slightly later.
Personally, I can’t see a market for it. I guess I am much more of a believer in HSR-Sleeper train combos, using one of each on a round trip.
 

jiml

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Yes, I took the Twilight Shoreliner when i was younger. I do remember the set-out sleepers that they dropped off at NYC. It always seemed like such an odd concept.
Personally, I can’t see a market for it. I guess I am much more of a believer in HSR-Sleeper train combos, using one of each on a round trip.
One of the arguments for short-haul sleepers is saving the cost of a hotel room. Presumably it would be difficult to fill a sleeper with only WAS-BOS passengers and who wants to disembark in NYC at 3:45am with nowhere to go. I took it once and changed trains in Penn to continue to Boston, having never seen the New England portion of the NEC by daylight.
 

Tlcooper93

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One of the arguments for short-haul sleepers is saving the cost of a hotel room. Presumably it would be difficult to fill a sleeper with only WAS-BOS passengers and who wants to disembark in NYC at 3:45am with nowhere to go. I took it once and changed trains in Penn to continue to Boston, having never seen the New England portion of the NEC by daylight.
Interesting! What was the price tag on a set out roomette?
 

20th Century Rider

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Creatively speaking... it would be nice if a night sleeper service could be extended further south Newport VA; noted: stopping anywhere in the middle of the night such as NYC at 3:45am is not very practical.

And while we are dreaming... in a magical world... trains could continue up to Maine from South Station... too bad they never followed through that rail connection.
1610299787849.png
 

jiml

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Interesting! What was the price tag on a set out roomette?
I really have no idea of the actual cost; it was a long time ago. It was part of a circle trip from Toronto to Chicago (International), Chicago to Washington (Capitol), Washington to Boston (split as described) and Boston to Buffalo Depew (LSL) - all without a hotel stay. My wife drove the 2 hours to Buffalo to pick me up. What I can tell you is that the cost of the accommodation was almost the same whether taking First Class from WAS to BOS on a day train, the sleeper for the entire route or splitting it the way I did. At the time I had only been as far north as New Haven on the NEC, so wanted to see the rest by daylight. Given the era this was likely done with a USA rail pass.
 

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I've hear those rumors too. I think it's a great idea. Maybe it could even pave the way for more evening departure/morning arrival Euro-style night trains on other routes.
 

Tlcooper93

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I've hear those rumors too. I think it's a great idea. Maybe it could even pave the way for more evening departure/morning arrival Euro-style night trains on other routes.
I guess this begs the question now:
We all agree that the there are rumors of a sleeper car return. So then where are these rumors coming from?

Creatively speaking... it would be nice if a night sleeper service could be extended further south Newport VA; noted: stopping anywhere in the middle of the night such as NYC at 3:45am is not very practical.

And while we are dreaming... in a magical world... trains could continue up to Maine from South Station... too bad they never followed through that rail connection.
Ahh, yes, the North-South Rail Link. It would render the Downeaster pointless should it exist.
If this is a place where we can share our hopes and dreams (I think it is), I would love to see Boston's North Station become a major intercity terminus, with a new Amtrak service to Montreal, and the Downeaster exctended even further.
 
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20th Century Rider

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I guess this begs the question now:
We all agree that the there are rumors of a sleeper car return. So then where are these rumors coming from?
RE: Sleeper car return... being planned for and coming to the European continent... but I haven't heard of any rumors of extended sleeper service here.

In the past there were short length sleeper trains between CHI and STL, CHI and DTW, CHI and MSP... and lots lots lots more; but because of urban sprawl of large cities and local transit to those areas lacking, it doesn't seem practical.

Right now all are hoping that what does remain of the sleeper network will revert back to daily service. Of course, with things so much in flux, anything goes! :oops:

Amtrak-Superliner-Bedroom-large.jpg
 

jiml

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And while we are dreaming... in a magical world... trains could continue up to Maine from South Station... too bad they never followed through that rail connection.
Ahh, yes, the North-South Rail Link. It would render the Downeaster pointless should it exist.
If this is a place where we can share our hopes and dreams (I think it is), I would love to see Boston's North Station become a major intercity terminus, with a new Amtrak service to Montreal, and the Downeaster exctended even further.
I doubt if the two stations could be connected in today's reality, beyond the line they currently use to move equipment between them. To do so under downtown Boston would require tunnelling, a lot of money and political commitment for not much gain. For example, is there a market for a New York to Maine train? It might make more sense to upgrade the "Cambridge Connector" in the same manner as New York's Empire Connection and route all intercity trains into South Station. Makes for fascinating conversation though. Isn't Boston the only Amtrak city left with two distinct stations serving different routes?
 

Tlcooper93

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I doubt if the two stations could be connected in today's reality, beyond the line they currently use to move equipment between them. To do so under downtown Boston would require tunnelling, a lot of money and political commitment for not much gain. For example, is there a market for a New York to Maine train? It might make more sense to upgrade the "Cambridge Connector" in the same manner as New York's Empire Connection and route all intercity trains into South Station. Makes for fascinating conversation though. Isn't Boston the only Amtrak city left with two distinct stations serving different routes?
agreed. I personally think the N-S rail link isn’t possible. If it were ever going to be done, it had to have happened along with the Big Dig. And we all know how much of a disaster that was.

In terms of the Cambridge connecter, it really isn’t feasible without major financial and political support (much like the rail link). I live about 4 blocks from one of the crossing on Grand Junction Railroad. It is way too congested an area to have consistent passenger trains running daily.

I think a more realistic option is to just upgrade/flesh out the track surrounding greater Boston to allow for trains like the Downeaster to come into south station, and just add a half hour or so more onto the trip.

lastly, if they extended the Downeaster all the way to Ellsworth (much like the old one from NYC) it would work! Many middle/upper class people travel to Bar Harbor from NYC and I think would be thrilled at the prospect of a nice overnight train. It already takes 5 hours minimum to get to BHB from Boston. If they had an overnight train that stopped in Boston around 10:30pm, I would bet it would get plenty of service.
 

jiml

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As a sidebar you might be interested in, there was quite a lengthy discussion here awhile back regarding potential restoration of Amtrak service north of Boston to places like New Brunswick and even Halifax, NS. Old timetables and history of the trackage was shared. We have a lot of historians participating.
 

jiml

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agreed. I personally think the N-S rail link isn’t possible. If it were ever going to be done, it had to have happened along with the Big Dig. And we all know how much of a disaster that was.

In terms of the Cambridge connecter, it really isn’t feasible without major financial and political support (much like the rail link). I live about 4 blocks from one of the crossing on Grand Junction Railroad. It is way too congested an area to have consistent passenger trains running daily.

I think a more realistic option is to just upgrade/flesh out the track surrounding greater Boston to allow for trains like the Downeaster to come into south station, and just add a half hour or so more onto the trip.

lastly, if they extended the Downeaster all the way to Ellsworth (much like the old one from NYC) it would work! Many middle/upper class people travel to Bar Harbor from NYC and I think would be thrilled at the prospect of a nice overnight train. It already takes 5 hours minimum to get to BHB from Boston. If they had an overnight train that stopped in Boston around 10:30pm, I would bet it would get plenty of service.
I saw a video some time ago of several T trains being moved from one station to the other. It certainly wasn't a speedy process!
 

Tlcooper93

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I saw a video some time ago of several T trains being moved from one station to the other. It certainly wasn't a speedy process!
I live right near the Mass Ave crossing, and pretty much any time that there is a train coming, the engineers have to jump out and personally stop drivers from crossing. While there are lights for crossings, there are no gates that come down.
It’s pretty funny, and a little bit sad.
 
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If they wanted to add a thru train from the NEC to travel to Maine or beyond, they could schedule it to run overnight, when patrons from Boston would sleeping, and bypass Boston to avoid the problem routing.

In the ‘80’s, I rode an Amtrak “test train”, that split off No. 66 at New London, then ran up the P&W to Worcester, thence the ST to NH and eventually ended in Bangor.
 

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One of the arguments for short-haul sleepers is saving the cost of a hotel room. Presumably it would be difficult to fill a sleeper with only WAS-BOS passengers and who wants to disembark in NYC at 3:45am with nowhere to go. I took it once and changed trains in Penn to continue to Boston, having never seen the New England portion of the NEC by daylight.
As someone who's made many trips on #66/#67 ( mostly in Biz Class) I would welcome the chance to have a Room on this Route, especially between WAS and Boston!

I never got to ride in a Night Owl Sleeper but would have for sure!
 

jiml

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If they wanted to add a thru train from the NEC to travel to Maine or beyond, they could schedule it to run overnight, when patrons from Boston would sleeping, and bypass Boston to avoid the problem routing.

In the ‘80’s, I rode an Amtrak “test train”, that split off No. 66 at New London, then ran up the P&W to Worcester, thence the ST to NH and eventually ended in Bangor.
The Montrealer switched off the NEC at New London for at least one of its reincarnations. IIRC the track split off to the east, then ducked under the NEC while providing an excellent view of the harbor - complete with tall ships on one occasion.
 

Tlcooper93

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As someone who's made many trips on #66/#67 ( mostly in Biz Class) I would welcome the chance to have a Room on this Route, especially between WAS and Boston!

I never got to ride in a Night Owl Sleeper but would have for sure!
Its hard for me to believe that it’s taken them this long to consider it. I’m not an expert in cost and pricing, but if you’re already running a train during the time table, would it be a huge dent in the budget to strap a viewliner to the back?

Especially during covid, this might prove to be a good way to travel the corridor.
 

20th Century Rider

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The Montrealer switched off the NEC at New London for at least one of its reincarnations. IIRC the track split off to the east, then ducked under the NEC while providing an excellent view of the harbor - complete with tall ships on one occasion.
So here is a question for anyone who has familiarity and knowledge of the Boston rail lines... would it be possible for a few passenger trains going north out of South Station to be rerouted through some backtracking... on existing commuter and/or rail trackage, then reconnect with the Maine rail route??? Oh, I know there are all kinds of red tape restrictions for where Amtrak can use trackage... but by adding a few miles and allowing South Station to serve New England to the north... has this been considered before?
 

jiml

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Its hard for me to believe that it’s taken them this long to consider it. I’m not an expert in cost and pricing, but if you’re already running a train during the time table, would it be a huge dent in the budget to strap a viewliner to the back?

Especially during covid, this might prove to be a good way to travel the corridor.
Lack of equipment was a reason/excuse before the latest VLII's came online.
 

Mailliw

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Wasn't one version of François Rebello's Train-Hotel proposal a night train from Boston's North Station to Montreal?
 

jiml

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Wasn't one version of François Rebello's Train-Hotel proposal a night train from Boston's North Station to Montreal?
You could be right, but something tells me it was to use the Vermonter or Adirondack route as far as the LSL east-west tracks, then into South Station via that route. It's hard to find details on that proposal to verify. The way that guy kept changing plans and "dance partners" it was tough to keep track.
 
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