Superliner trains' sleepers removal and restoration (2022-2023)

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capltd29

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Hello All,

I just booked a trip from RVR-BOS-EMY with a night in Boston and getting to ride the NEC north of NYP and the Boston section of the LSL for the first time. We are scheduled to leave Chicago for EMY on 1/6


My question involves train #5 sleepers. It says I am in car 532, room 11 which is a lower level room. Historically, I thought 532 would have been the first sleeper on the train (out of 3). It's been a while since I rode the CZ so I could be wrong. From videos on YouTube and FB I have been seeing lately that 5 and 6 are running with a Trans Sleeper and a single full sleeping car.

Have they changed the numbering of the sleepers? Room 11 doesn't exist in a trans dorm car so it would have to be in a regular sleeper. My concern is the possibility that this room doesn't exist and I'll be called a week beforehand and told that we are actually in coach (which there zero chance I would do for a trip of thay length). The only reason I'm doing this trip is because we were supposed to ride the Zephyr in September but it was cancelled due to the strike (that didn't even happen) so if I can't ride the Zephyr in a sleeper I just won't do the trip.

Are my concerns warranted? Should I call Amtrak and just ask which car that is? Are they adding another sleeper in January?

Hope my question makes sense. I just don't trust the current Amtrak.
 

zephyr17

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The 32 car line on the Zephyr is a standard sleeper. The 40 car line is the transdorm on the Zephyr, although a regular sleeper has been reportedly running in the 40 car line in some Zephyr consists.

The Zephyr is running with sleepers forward like other Superliners for many years now. If 32 is present the consist will be:
(Baggage, if present)
40
32
31
Diner

If the 32 isn't present, the consist would be
40
31
Diner

If the transdorm 40 car line isn't running, it'll be
31
Diner

Room 11 will always exist in a Zephyr 32 car. The real issue is whether or not the 32 car itself will exist. It is not the "base" sleeper (31 is) and over the last year Amtrak has pulled the non-base sleeper on several trains, including the Zephyr, having already sold inventory in them.

So you could be called a week before and be told your room doesn't exist because the car itself doesn't exist. Keep checking your reservation on the app. If the QR code disappears, it likely means the 32 car had disappeared. In that event call immediately, so as to have the best chance at any open space in the 31 or 40 cars. Do not wait for them to call you, likely any available remaining space will already have been taken by then. Better yet, call now and see if you can be rebooked in the 31 car as a precaution.

Given what had happened over this year, I will not trust any booking in a non-base sleeper until Amtrak has gone a full year without pulling this crap.
 
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Lonnie

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The 830 car is supposed to be the base so I would not worry too much...
So just for fun, I talked with an agent today, the 10th, about the chances of the sleeper car not being there in the EB on the 17th. She said we would have been emailed two weeks before travel date if our car was going to be removed.
 

capltd29

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Messages
338
Location
Richmond, VA
The 32 car line on the Zephyr is a standard sleeper. The 40 car line is the transdorm on the Zephyr, although a regular sleeper has been reportedly running in the 40 car line in some Zephyr consists.

The Zephyr is running with sleepers forward like other Superliners for many years now. If 32 is present the consist will be:
(Baggage, if present)
40
32
31
Diner

If the 32 isn't present, the consist would be
40
31
Diner

If the transdorm 40 car line isn't running, it'll be
31
Diner

Room 11 will always exist in a Zephyr 32 car. The real issue is whether or not the 32 car itself will exist. It is not the "base" sleeper (31 is) and over the last year Amtrak has pulled the non-base sleeper on several trains, including the Zephyr, having already sold inventory in them.

So you could be called a week before and be told your room doesn't exist because the car itself doesn't exist. Keep checking your reservation on the app. If the QR code disappears, it likely means the 32 car had disappeared. In that event call immediately, so as to have the best chance at any open space in the 31 or 40 cars. Do not wait for them to call you, likely any available remaining space will already have been taken by then. Better yet, call now and see if you can be rebooked in the 31 car as a precaution.

Given what had happened over this year, I will not trust any booking in a non-base sleeper until Amtrak has gone a full year without pulling this crap
Thanks! Very helpful and consistent with my suspicions. I may call and see if we can be rebooked in the 31 car either in a roomette or a deluxe bedroom.

I dont know how Amtrak sells the rooms. Do they fill up the 31 car and then sell the next car or is it just random? Lol

I guess the other question is if they ever pull the trans dorm and if it would be better to get in the trans dorm if they're selling space.
 

zephyr17

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Thanks! Very helpful and consistent with my suspicions. I may call and see if we can be rebooked in the 31 car either in a roomette or a deluxe bedroom.

I dont know how Amtrak sells the rooms. Do they fill up the 31 car and then sell the next car or is it just random? Lol

I guess the other question is if they ever pull the trans dorm and if it would be better to get in the trans dorm if they're selling space.
They've pulled transdorms, although I haven't heard reports of people being cancelled out of transdorms, when they've pulled them. Several trains that used to run with transdorms don't now. They appear not to have sold space in them, though. The 40 is going to be safer than the 32, but not as safe as 31.

Amtrak seems to spread passengers out between cars as they sell, except for the transdorm, but not sure. They usually sell the transdorm last.
 
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zephyr17

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She said we would have been emailed two weeks before travel date if our car was going to be removed.
Note they do not do it when they make the decision to pull the car, but wait until just 2 weeks before departure to notify the passengers they've pulled a car. There's some customer oriented service, all right.

Anyone in a non-base sleeper should be checking the app regularly. If the QR code disappears, it typically means they've pulled the car. This can happen weeks or months before departure and long before they get around to notifying you. By checking regularly, you optimize the chance of getting any remaining open space.

The 30 car line is the base sleeper for the Seattle section of the Builder and is as safe as is possible. 830 will run as long as any sleepers at all.
 
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They've pulled transdorms, although I haven't heard reports of people being cancelled out of transdorms, when they've pulled them. Several trains that used to run with transdorms don't now. They appear not to have sold space in them, though. The 40 is going to be safer than the 32, but not as safe as 31.

Amtrak seems to spread passengers out between cars as they sell, except for the transdorm, but not sure. They usually sell the transdorm last.
Is this strictly an equipment shortage issue? Doesn't seem like running a transdorm would require any extra OBS, especially if they restricted it to crew use only.
 

jis

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Is this strictly an equipment shortage issue? Doesn't seem like running a transdorm would require any extra OBS, especially if they restricted it to crew use only.
There is a Transdorm shortage of Amtrak's own making. I order to save on maintenance they laced a very significant number of them in Mothballs. The plan is to bring them all out of there over the next couple of years.
 

zephyr17

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Is this strictly an equipment shortage issue? Doesn't seem like running a transdorm would require any extra OBS, especially if they restricted it to crew use only.
Amtrak seldom ever assigned a dedicated SCA to transdorms they sold revenue space in. They were covered by the SCA in the adjacent regular sleeper.

That is one of the reasons I disliked transdorms, they were typically the "forgotten car".
 

mgkeihl

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I made reservations on the Empire Builder for April 2023 and got on the 7 and 831's. After reading this I called an agent and she got me on the 7 and 830's for no price change. She did try and be encouraging and tell me that it would be fine, but chatted her up a little and she admitted that between hiring and car conditions that it had been hard to keep the consist up. So, now am eagerly looking forward to my second round trip from Rochester NY to Seattle and hopefully with no dreaded downgrade emails to worry about!!!
 
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Do the transdorms have an H room?
It appears from this discussion that some transition sleepers have an H room and some do not. Perhaps someone has an update:

 

Bob Dylan

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During a trip over this summer, there was someone occupying the H room in the transform on the 540 car.
Most of the times I've been in the Transdorm, one of the Crew Occupied the H Room.

I've never seen a paying Passenger in this room, but it's a good idea to sell it rather than have it sit empty.( there's plenty of Room in the Crew Portion of the Transdorm with the Smaller Crews that Amtrak is using on the Superliner Trains!)
 
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Amtrak seldom ever assigned a dedicated SCA to transdorms they sold revenue space in. They were covered by the SCA in the adjacent regular sleeper.

That is one of the reasons I disliked transdorms, they were typically the "forgotten car".
When I was on the Chief earlier this year in October they did have two SCAs even though the second sleeper was a transdorm. Lately, assuming because of the car shortage, they've been putting every transdorm room not occupied by a crew member into revenue sale. The transdorm actually has more roomettes than a regular superliner sleeper but of course lacks the bedrooms/family bedroom.
 
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We have a family br reservation from Austin to LA on July 17.
Train 421 car 2130 Room 15

and the return on July 23
Train 422 car 2230 Room 15

I assume that is the same car and room in each direction. Has there been a cancellation history on this car?
 
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Just as an update. I managed to get switched from 532 to 540. All the roomettes were sold out in 531 and Bedrooms were an extra 900 bucks, so here's hoping for the best!
We should know very soon if the 532 sleeper is coming back as planned. Based on inventory availability on the website and multiple reports here it sounds like the its supposed to come back sometime between now and the first week of January (as one person here had a reservation in 532 for 1/6.) We should know by end of next week if they're going to drop the car as that would be two weeks. If it still is showing up by the end of next week then the 532 car is likely really coming back. If the car does show up in the consist and we see it then it's probably safe to book at least for the next couple winter months (as they usually do consist shifts seasonally and sometimes for holidays - so they wouldn't pull it between now and spring.)
 

Shortline

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Admittedly I haven't poured through all 18 pages, but I am curious, they are pulling plenty of sleepers out, I assume for that refresh they've been talking about-But have any been returned after yet? I've seen the refreshed coaches, but not yet seen a sleeper or SSL.
 

jis

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Admittedly I haven't poured through all 18 pages, but I am curious, they are pulling plenty of sleepers out, I assume for that refresh they've been talking about-But have any been returned after yet? I've seen the refreshed coaches, but not yet seen a sleeper or SSL.
Sleepers are supposed to enter the refurbishment work in January. They are not there yet. SSLs and Diners come after that as far as I understand.
 

zephyr17

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We should know very soon if the 532 sleeper is coming back as planned. Based on inventory availability on the website and multiple reports here it sounds like the its supposed to come back sometime between now and the first week of January (as one person here had a reservation in 532 for 1/6.) We should know by end of next week if they're going to drop the car as that would be two weeks. If it still is showing up by the end of next week then the 532 car is likely really coming back. If the car does show up in the consist and we see it then it's probably safe to book at least for the next couple winter months (as they usually do consist shifts seasonally and sometimes for holidays - so they wouldn't pull it between now and spring.)
At this point, given their recent track record, I would not trust Amtrak's equipment planning as far as I can throw them.

When they have gone a full year of consistently running sleepers they have sold space in, I'll change my mind. By my reckoning that will be October 2023.

Until then I will make sure any bookings are in the base sleeper or at least the transdorm and advise others to do so as well.
 
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At this point, given their recent track record, I would not trust Amtrak's equipment planning as far as I can throw them.

When they have gone a full year of consistently running sleepers they have sold space in, I'll change my mind. By my reckoning that will be October 2023.

Until then I will make sure any bookings are in the base sleeper or at least the transdorm and advise others to do so as well.
Understand where you’re coming from it’s been frustrating. Not saying you should do anything different - by all means. But this wasn’t some cynical cost cutting move - it was operations not being able to support planned and sold capacity. Everyone’s hoping (I think including Amtrak) that they hit rock bottom in the fall with the 532 sleeper drop on the zephyr and some of the midwest corridor cuts and are working their way back from there. Obviously we’ll have to see how it plays out and I can’t blame anyone for being cautious. I’d probably personally be fine with a 532 reservation at least in the short term once we actually see it come back for more than a holiday period. I wouldn’t want to have a reservation before that however.
 
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