Sleeping cars returning to WAS-BOS starting 05APR21

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Dakota 400

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I think the solution is you then group passengers in coaches based on destination. You have a set coach with people going the full overnight and you cut the lights and the PA in that coach. This isn’t rocket science. Treating 65/66/67 as any other regional train is ridiculous because it isn’t.
Perhaps it’s time to change the ’requirements’ or at least have the SCA and/or conductor responsible to insure any intermediate sleeper passengers get off at the right destination and turn off the PA In the sleeper until maybe 6am.
Both of these posters make good sense in my opinion.

I thought it has been the practice to try to group Coach passengers in specific cars based on their destination.
 

Triley

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Both of these posters make good sense in my opinion.

I thought it has been the practice to try to group Coach passengers in specific cars based on their destination.
Not on the corridor, as it increases dwell time considerably. Open all doors, let people off/on, close all doors, rinse and repeat.
 

Dakota 400

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Not on the corridor, as it increases dwell time considerably. Open all doors, let people off/on, close all doors, rinse and repeat.
OK, and if the PA can't be turned off in the sleepers, then perhaps an overnight train on the NEC is not a world class idea. Particularly for those passengers who want to get some sleep.
 

MARC Rider

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Not on the corridor, as it increases dwell time considerably. Open all doors, let people off/on, close all doors, rinse and repeat.
Considering that this train is scheduled to take over 9 hours to get from Boston to Washington when most Northest Regionals do the run in 7 and a half hours, I don't think increased dwell time at stations would be a problem.

And every time I've ridden 67 between Baltimore and Washington, and I was doing it off and on for over 15 years, The lights were off when I boarded in Baltimore, and there were no announcements until the train arrived at BWI. That's also when the lights came on. I also rode 67 about 4 or 5 times from Boston to Washington around 2008 to 2014, and it was dark and quiet all the way to BWI.
 

Rasputin

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OK, and if the PA can't be turned off in the sleepers, then perhaps an overnight train on the NEC is not a world class idea. Particularly for those passengers who want to get some sleep.
It certainly does not sound like a world class idea but sadly I am beginning to think that it is a third world idea instead.
 

PVD

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This is the type of issue that is very easy to solve in new equipment, starting from scratch. It is not uncommon with modern electronics to have one channel or type of announcement override everything else. Probably not a hot topic 30-40 years ago.
 

toddinde

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The sleeper should run and be occupied from Newport News. Tidewater to Boston would seem like a decent market. All these problems are rather simple details that could be resolved by a working group. Including labor in the discussion would be positive because they might have some excellent ideas. There should be a through coach and the sleepers where no announcements are made and lights dimmed in the coach. That said, when I lived in Europe. I always carries an eye mask and ear plugs and slept like a baby in the lighted coach at night.
 

MARC Rider

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The sleeper should run and be occupied from Newport News. Tidewater to Boston would seem like a decent market. All these problems are rather simple details that could be resolved by a working group. Including labor in the discussion would be positive because they might have some excellent ideas. There should be a through coach and the sleepers where no announcements are made and lights dimmed in the coach. That said, when I lived in Europe. I always carries an eye mask and ear plugs and slept like a baby in the lighted coach at night.
Heck, when I commuted on a MARC train that left at 5 AM, I always carried an eye mask, and was usually dozing very nicely in the brightly lit coach by the time we got to Odenton.
 

Willbridge

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While working through back issues of RTN I found that the former Night Owl was categorized as a long-distance train in tables of ridership and revenues. When I rode it in 1987 (BOS>BWI) it was operated like a long-distance train except that a leg-rest coach that was supposed to be available for end-to-end riders had been bad-ordered.
 

Willbridge

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I'm missing the RTN issue that had my 1987 trip report on coach BOS>BWI but I found an article in Issue 371 (2nd Feb 88) titled "New Year's on the Night Owl" by Robin McCauley. His experience sounds quite contemporary.

He rode Boston to Washington on New Year's eve in what seems to have been a 10-6 sleeper. He and his traveling companion liked the layout of Bedroom F (beds parallel to the window). The crew did their jobs and the car attendant took orders for breakfast and made sure that they were familiar with the features of their room. He issued two 'Trak Paks' of snack items and complimentary wine. In the morning he brought hot coffee, orange juice and croissants. The train had departed South Station on time and arrived in DC Union Station on the advertised.

Then there was the return trip. Boarding was planned to begin at 9:30 p.m. A snowstorm was developing. A 'buzzy' p.a. announcement at 9:30 p.m. -- difficult to interpret -- announced that "due to late arrival of equipment" boarding would not start till 9:55 p.m. Then it was 10:05 p.m. A lady waiting ahead of them said "they always say that." She said it wasn't the snow, it was always like that.

The car attendant was cheerful but inexperienced. He was still getting berths ready as they entered the car. They departed on time at 10:20 p.m. (McCauley speculated that coach passengers would have still been working out their seating as the train began to roll.) They decided to walk up to the lounge car (probably an Amdinette). A long line of customers waited for service from a 'grim' attendant. On this trip the beds were placed crosswise in the sleeper and his berth had a tilt to it. Every start and stop gave him the feeling that he would slide out of bed. In the morning the car attendant brought the requested coffee and juice but forgot the croissants. The toilet failed.

They arrived in South Station an hour late but due to the storm many on the roads and runways had long delays, too. His overall impression was favorable but if both directions had been like the northbound trip that might have left a poor taste.

I noticed that although the Executive Sleeper was in service then there was no mention of being awakened by switching in NYP. And no mention of the engine change at New Haven.
 

MARC Rider

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I noticed that although the Executive Sleeper was in service then there was no mention of being awakened by switching in NYP. And no mention of the engine change at New Haven.
I took that trip (BAL-BOS) in coach a bit later in January 1987. We sat in an Amfleet 2. The seats seemed very uncomfortable, and I had trouble getting to sleep. I think I finally dozed off after we crossed the Hell Gate Bridge, so I did get to see a spectacular view of Manhattan at night. I slept right through the engine change in New Haven and woke up somewhere around Waverly, RI. We got coffee that was being served in some kind of heritage buffet car. I think we waited until we got to Boston to get breakfast. I'm kind of sorry we didn't book the sleeper, but the price seemed really high, although I suspect that, even accounting for inflation, it was less than the prices today.
 

Palmland

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My one trip on the Night Owl in 1986, I think, was on the 'executive sleeper' BWI-NYP. Worked well for me but it was weird to get up and be parked at the platform in New York. Those roomettes were so much nicer than the Viewliners mainly due to the thick mattresses. Don't recall if it was a cut a way bed or not. But in those days I had an uninterrupted sleep and did not need to raise the bed.

Pre Amtrak the Edison carried New York sleepers from Washington and Baltimore. The Federal had them for Boston and picked up another at Philadelphia. The New York sleepers were gone by the mid 60's although Boston ones remained and morphed into the Night Owl.
 

Tlcooper93

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OK, and if the PA can't be turned off in the sleepers, then perhaps an overnight train on the NEC is not a world class idea. Particularly for those passengers who want to get some sleep.
While we can complain about these things all we want (and I’ve done just that), the Night Owl is perhaps the single sleeper train in this country that makes actual sense across the board. It’s a perfect schedule, it’s decently priced (most of the time), and has an undeniably real market outside tourism.

It obviously sucks that Amtrak can’t work out these things, but having been stuck with this train minus the sleeper car for 17 years, I’ll take what we have now any day. It’s a big victory for rail all the way around that the sleeper was restored. Perhaps the biggest victory in years.
 
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Danib62

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In some ways I would've rather that they waited to have a V2 or at the very least a refurbished V1 available for this route. They're going to turn off a lot of potential repeat customers by running a beat up V1 on this. The demographics of who takes the sleeper on this train is radically different than any other Amtrak overnight route and they're not gonna tolerate a grungy-ass V1 and being woken up at 3am for pointless announcements.
 

Tlcooper93

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In some ways I would've rather that they waited to have a V2 or at the very least a refurbished V1 available for this route. They're going to turn off a lot of potential repeat customers by running a beat up V1 on this. The demographics of who takes the sleeper on this train is radically different than any other Amtrak overnight route and they're not gonna tolerate a grungy-ass V1 and being woken up at 3am for pointless announcements.
I would agree with you if I didn’t think this sleeper train were so useful.

again, sometimes it sucks, but the usefulness of the route and sleeper car on this route trumps any possible problems. This train is already immensely popular. I’ll take a dirty private room over a dirty seat any day of the week...
My fiancé always brings wipes and alcohol with her anyways.
 
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Danib62

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It's useful to you and I don't deny that, but you were already taking this train without the sleeper car. If they want to expand who's taking this train and capture more of the market they need to get the details right.

We took this train because it was actually the best decision for us schedule-wise. I was hoping the experience would be positive enough that I could reasonably convince my wife that this should be our preferred mode of travelling between DC and Boston (a trip we do several times a year) over flying or driving. They missed the mark big time. As much as I would love to I don't see us doing it again unless we're in the rare position like we were this time where we had to for scheduling purposes.
 

Exvalley

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Who are the non-tourists that are taking this train?

If I had to guess, I would say that they tend to fall into the following categories:
1) People who are train aficionados.
2) People who see value in saving a night in a hotel. This includes self employed people and small business owners who keep an eye on the expense account.
3) Younger professionals looking for a bit of an adventure.

I just don't see a Fortune 500 executive taking this train, especially those why fly first class and stay in nice hotels. If Amtrak wants to attract those people, they need nicer equipment.
 

Tlcooper93

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Who are the non-tourists that are taking this train?

If I had to guess, I would say that they tend to fall into the following categories:
1) People who are train aficionados.
2) People who see value in saving a night in a hotel. This includes self employed people and small business owners who keep an eye on the expense account.
3) Younger professionals looking for a bit of an adventure.

I just don't see a Fortune 500 executive taking this train, especially those why fly first class and stay in nice hotels.
Fortune 500 people tend to not influence data that much. There aren’t that many of them, and most will take their Challengers and Gulfstreams anyways.

In my most recent trip on 67, I asked some of my fellow sleeper car passengers why they took the train. Some of them don’t take the train at all, but they found the idea of sleeping during the night while traveling to be useful.

All of them were traveling for business or necessary leisure (to see family for holidays), and were very pleased with the product Amtrak offered: I will say, that day there were no announcements, delays or annoyances.

The appeal of rail travel, strangely enough, is returning to this country.
 

jis

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Well, if there are not a few people in the most rail savvy part of the country willing to ride a Sleeper overnight, I'd say we are in real trouble. OTOH I would not go so far as to reach the conclusion based on that that the country is becoming significantly more rail savvy overall, enough to start riding Sleepers for local business needs in large numbers either. 🤷‍♂️ The overall country is a really big and diverse place.
 

MARC Rider

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I would agree with you if I didn’t think this sleeper train were so useful.

again, sometimes it sucks, but the usefulness of the route and sleeper car on this route trumps any possible problems. This train is already immensely popular. I’ll take a dirty private room over a dirty seat any day of the week...
My fiancé always brings wipes and alcohol with her anyways.
Wait a second. Are the sleeper cars actually dirty, as in the kind of grime that transfers from the surface to your person ,or is it just that they are a bit old and faded?

Fir all the times I've traveled in V-1 sleepers, I've never had a problem with their being scuzzy or grimy or whatever, even if the upholstery is faded or minor things don't work.
 
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