Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle Sleeper Transfer?

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Joined
Jun 30, 2021
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4
Location
Columbus, OH
Good morning folks. Quick question please. I've tried calling Amtrak all morning at 800-872-7245, but I keep getting a "User busy" signal which is just odd. I also did a brief search in these forums for an answer to my question but didn't see one right away.

Due to changing plans, I have a current reservation for a sleeper from NYP to NOL on the Crescent that I need to cancel. My understanding is that I will receive a full voucher for the price of that fare. I am now going to fly to New Orleans and the plan is to meet up with my dad and take the Sunset Limited to Tucson. Ok, sounds great.

But when I look at the rail fares online, the SSL is $941 for a roomette and a roomette on the SSL/TE with a "transfer" in San Antonio is $841. Obviously, this fare is much more attractive to me than the $100 more expensive SSL fare. If I book this fare, am I really going to have to get off the train at San Antonio and get a new roomette when the TE shows up? Or will the amtrak reservation system be smart enough to know that I can stay in the same room from NOL to TUS?

Or is this something I really do need to talk to an agent about? Or is it even possible, and I should just book the extra $100 fare so I don't have to wake up, pack up my junk, detrain, and wait around to get settled in again at 2:45a.

Thank you in advance for the advice.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
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The res system has the SL and TE as two separate trains with separate pricing although they are enjoined as one at SAS. That means to save $100 you will have to get off at SAS and move to the newly joined TE... to get to TUS. Amtrak does this nonsense with the EB where both sections connect in SPK. Their technology and ticketing systems are antiquated. You may be lucky enough to get a good agent if you call back enough... who will let you stay in your room without switching. I think this way of doing things is ridiculous... as well as the overpricing!!!:confused:😡
 
Joined
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Columbus, OH
Thank you folks. That is what I feared. It's silly, but it's the game.

Now to get ahold of an agent. Any suggestions for back-dooring into the reservation queue since the 1-800-USA-RAIL line won't even connect for me?
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
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Thank you folks. That is what I feared. It's silly, but it's the game.

Now to get ahold of an agent. Any suggestions for back-dooring into the reservation queue since the 1-800-USA-RAIL line won't even connect for me?
The system is down this morning... meh! I did have the privilege of waiting on hold for 45 minutes only to get a really mean agent who just said "This system is down... you'll have to call back later." [Thank you Amtrak for keeping me on hold meaninglessly and the surley agent response.

I guess they don't have the technology to announce on oncoming calls that the system is down so the 'victim' doesn't waste meaningless time.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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Austin Texas
Thank you folks. That is what I feared. It's silly, but it's the game.

Now to get ahold of an agent. Any suggestions for back-dooring into the reservation queue since the 1-800-USA-RAIL line won't even connect for me?
If you're an AGR Member you can call AGR and ask, but you will NOT be able to stay your Room on the #1 Sleeper.

Lots of times #1 gets into San Antonio Early ( 11PMish) and if it's close to on time, #21/#421 arrives around 10pm.

Once the Switching is done ( the Eagles Sleeper and Coach will be added to the end of the Sunset Ltd Consist ), you MAY be able to board the #421 Sleeper which will be on the end of the Train . The #1 Sleeper is behind the Engine @ the Front next to the Diner.

As was said,The San Antonio Station is Small, with Garish Lighting and Crowded, not a pleasant place to wait @ O Dark 30!

It's definitely worth the $100 to stay in the #1 Sleeper all the way to your destination.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
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If you're an AGR Member you can call AGR and ask, but you will NOT be able to stay your Room on the #1 Sleeper.

Lots of times #1 gets into San Antonio Early ( 11PMish) and if it's close to on time, #21/#421 arrives around 10pm.

Once the Switching is done ( the Eagles Sleeper and Coach will be added to the end of the Sunset Ltd Consist ), you MAY be able to board the #421 Sleeper which will be on the end of the Train . The #1 Sleeper is behind the Engine @ the Front next to the Diner.

As was said,The San Antonio Station is Small, with Garish Lighting and Crowded, not a pleasant place to wait @ O Dark 30!

It's definitely worth the $100 to stay in the #1 Sleeper all the way to your destination.
Good point... often when traveling it's worth the $$$ sacrifice to get needed rest.
 

willem

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in the depths
[...] But when I look at the rail fares online, the SSL is $941 for a roomette and a roomette on the SSL/TE with a "transfer" in San Antonio is $841. [...]
I, and apparently other respondents, assume that "SSL" (which normally means Sightseer Lounge) means Sunset Limited (normally abbreviated SL) in this case.

If money is tight, another option you might want to consider is riding in coach from New Orleans to San Antonio and then moving to a roomette on 421. A roomette from New Orleans to San Antonio would not let you get much sleep anyway, so if you did plan to ride in the Texas Eagle from San Antonio to Tucson, you might want to save the 01 room charge. Another advantage to this plan would be that you would be further away from the engine horn. A disadvantage is that you would miss lunch and supper between New Orleans and San Antonio, and you're waiting in the San Antonio station.
[...] My understanding is that I will receive a full voucher for the price of that fare. [...]
My understanding is that you will not receive a full voucher for the price of a cancelled ticket. Can someone with recent experience confirm or deny that Amtrak issues full vouchers in such a case? It was in June that an Amtrak agent told me rather emphatically that cancellation penalties apply even if change fees are waived.
 
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HammerJack

Train Attendant
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Jan 19, 2019
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41
I’m going to disagree with most of the replies here. I can’t think of any situation where you would have to change to the #421 sleeper at San Antonio. In the system, the #1 car may be booked past San Antonio, but the conductor can simply put those people in the #421 car and allow you to stay in the #1 car. Anyone getting on at San Antonio or points west can be put in either car- it’s the same train.

For example, here’s a simplification of your situation. In the system, there is only one room available in the #1 car between New Orleans and San Antonio. At San Antonio, someone has booked that room to Los Angeles. However, there is also one available room on the #421 car between San Antonio and Los Angeles. This is why the system shows you have to get a ticket for the #421 car west of San Antonio. However, a wise train crew will simply put that aforementioned passenger in the empty room in the #421 car, allowing you to say in your room in the #1 car. There is no situation where you’d be required to move that cannot be solved with simply having someone booked on only the combined train ride in a different car than their reservation. It makes no difference to them.
 

F900ElCapitan

Lead Service Attendant
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I’m going to disagree with most of the replies here. I can’t think of any situation where you would have to change to the #421 sleeper at San Antonio. In the system, the #1 car may be booked past San Antonio, but the conductor can simply put those people in the #421 car and allow you to stay in the #1 car. Anyone getting on at San Antonio or points west can be put in either car- it’s the same train.

For example, here’s a simplification of your situation. In the system, there is only one room available in the #1 car between New Orleans and San Antonio. At San Antonio, someone has booked that room to Los Angeles. However, there is also one available room on the #421 car between San Antonio and Los Angeles. This is why the system shows you have to get a ticket for the #421 car west of San Antonio. However, a wise train crew will simply put that aforementioned passenger in the empty room in the #421 car, allowing you to say in your room in the #1 car. There is no situation where you’d be required to move that cannot be solved with simply having someone booked on only the combined train ride in a different car than their reservation. It makes no difference to them.
Yeah, that is just not how Amtrak works. Sleeper rooms are assigned by car and then by room. The conductor has very little room to work with (and for good reason) in this regard, which is mainly due to the fact that he/she will only be on the train for a few hours. If passengers are just put into rooms as they desire, then it makes life very difficult for the down line conductors to know who is where and what cars to spot where at station stops since not all cars always fit on all platforms (especially with the 1/2 sleeper at one end and the 421/422 sleeper at the other). Then there is what to do with passengers boarding down line who may have that room assigned to them. Say you booked an upstairs roomette, and when you arrived, the conductor says, oh sorry, the only room available is a downstaris roomette. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be happy. Your thinking would just create a large mess that doesn’t need to be. Now I will say the OP or, if asked, the conductor might be able to call and get the room changed to a fully vacant room in the #1 sleeper, but that would just depend on availability and the conductors willingness to make the call.
 

HammerJack

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 19, 2019
Messages
41
Yeah, that is just not how Amtrak works. Sleeper rooms are assigned by car and then by room. The conductor has very little room to work with (and for good reason) in this regard, which is mainly due to the fact that he/she will only be on the train for a few hours. If passengers are just put into rooms as they desire, then it makes life very difficult for the down line conductors to know who is where and what cars to spot where at station stops since not all cars always fit on all platforms (especially with the 1/2 sleeper at one end and the 421/422 sleeper at the other). Then there is what to do with passengers boarding down line who may have that room assigned to them. Say you booked an upstairs roomette, and when you arrived, the conductor says, oh sorry, the only room available is a downstaris roomette. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be happy. Your thinking would just create a large mess that doesn’t need to be. Now I will say the OP or, if asked, the conductor might be able to call and get the room changed to a fully vacant room in the #1 sleeper, but that would just depend on availability and the conductors willingness to make the call.
Neat, thanks! I stand corrected.
 
Joined
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Columbus, OH
I appreciate everyone's input here. After much consideration and battling the demons of my inner cheapskate, I tried to book a roomette online for the #1. Despite showing "1 available at this price", by the time I got to the final page to confirm my booking, I would get a "The room you selected is no longer available" type message. So I called reservations, set up the call back number (that is a great feature and I'm not sure why not every company that has a call center doesn't have that option) and waited. Finally got a call back after about 40 minutes which I didn't consider to be too bad at all. Explained my situation, and was told that there was sometimes a discrepancy between the website inventory in true inventory due to customers putting reservations on hold, but all holds got released at midnight each day so I should call back after midnight. I could book a room, but it would be an extra $1500. I love my dad an all, but I love my wife more, and if I booked the bedroom, I'm pretty sure I would no longer have a wife.

Called back the next morning, and the agent I talked to thein said they don't "hold" reservations, so she wasn't sure what the person I talked to the day before was talking about. She also couldn't explain why the website showed one roomette still being available because she told me that there wasn't a single roomette that was available for the entirety of the trip from NOL to TUS and that my only option at that point was to book the 1/421 combo.

So that's what I did. Car 130, room 13 on the 1 and and car 2130, room 8 on the 421. Not sure if it's just a coincidence that the cars are numbered as they are, but I'll go from a lower level on the 1 to an upper level on the 421. So that ought to be an interesting comparison.

She did say that people cancel all the time, and that if I really wanted to be on the 1 all the way through I should call back and check. I tried to modify online to just the 1 because it still shows a roomette as available, but the website wouldn't let me finish the transaction. And as of a few minutes ago anyway, there were no roomette options. And the bedroom is $1956. That is just insane to me to think that someone is going to pay $2000 for a sleeper. I am just dumbfounded by that.

Anyway, thank you all for your input. I'm looking forward to my first adult overnight train trip and am starting to build out my "essentials" kit that will allow me the most comfort and convenience en route but also not be a major PITA to collect once I get to San Antonio. If anyone has any recommendation for scanners or other in cabin accessories (I'm already looking at some multi device USB charging hubs that I can plug into the sole outlet), I'd certainly welcome them and be interested in hearing your input.

Thanks again.
 

Ryan

Engineer
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The website showing available but not being able to book is an indicator of what the one agent says - there is a station along the line that one roomette comes open and another is occupied. A superstar agent will walk the line station by station and find where this happens and can book you in one room for the first half and the other for the second. Just a system of the computer not being very smart.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
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Jul 12, 2020
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Looking for a mid winter circle trip,my first consideration was the Texas Eagle from LA to Chicago. I had to manually go through each date(makes it easier when it's three days a week) from December to April to find low bucket. Got one for late January. $449 for a senior roomette to Bloomington and $13 Coach to Chicago. Next I tried the Zephyr to Davis. $527 low bucket and a day trip to Santa Barbara in BC. With BC passengers allowed to use the diner,it was worth it and SBA to LAX to connect with the Eagle that evening.

20th Century Rider and others have given the updated flex dining somewhat positive reviews,so I will not mind it after SAS. Coach from Lewistown to Chicago and return.
 
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