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

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The big factors are going to be: OBS staffing, shop staffing, working through overhauls AND normal shop repairs on a consistent basis. Another big important one is getting the Venture cars deployed in the Midwest which can indirectly affect other Amtrak services. The sooner the Venture cars are running consistently the better it’s going to be for other Amtrak service including long distance.
 

zephyr17

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But this wasn’t some cynical cost cutting move - it was operations not being able to support planned and sold capacity.
I know that. Even Gardner and Coscia would not do this deliberately. It speaks to their utter incompetence, though.

It was poor planning and management incompetence. They never should have released space in a very uncertain situation until they were confident they'd have the staff and equipment to support it. They should have sold just minimum consists until the situation was in hand. By fall 2021/winter 2022 they were well aware of both the self-inflicted equipment shortages, the COVID staff loses had already happened and they merrily went ahead with their happy assumptions.

To compound this, they also did not notify affected passengers until just a couple weeks before departure when the decision to remove the cars had been made weeks or even months prior. Even with the latest removal of cars from the CZ in September they still were not notifying people when they took the action. So there is a major customer service failure layered on top of incompetent planning.

The same management team that stumbled into this massive Charlie Foxtrot is still in place. I'll believe it when they have a established a track record of being able to provide what they've sold consistently for a year.
 
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It was poor planning and management incompetence. They never should have released space in a very uncertain situation until they were confident they'd have the staff and equipment to support it. They should have sold just minimum consists until the situation was in hand. By fall 2021/winter 2022 they were well aware of both the self-inflicted equipment shortages, the COVID staff loses had already happened and they merrily went ahead with their happy assumptions.

To compound this, they also did not notify affected passengers until just a couple weeks before departure when the decision to remove the cars had been made weeks or even months prior. Even with the latest removal of cars from the CZ in September they still were not notifying people when they took the action. So there is a major customer service failure layered on top of incompetent planning.
The selling of sleeping car accommodations when it was known in advance that they couldn’t be provided is truly reprehensible. Even more reprehensible was the burden this policy placed on those Amtrak employees who had to deal directly with the frustrated, irate customers who'd had their reservations yanked out from under them. It will probably be years before the public’s trust in Amtrak will be fully restored.
 
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The selling of sleeping car accommodations when it was known in advance that they couldn’t be provided is truly reprehensible. Even more reprehensible was the burden this policy placed on those Amtrak employees who had to deal directly with the frustrated, irate customers who'd had their reservations yanked out from under them. It will probably be years before the public’s trust in Amtrak will be fully restored.
I don't think they were sold when it was known in advance that they couldn’t be provided. They were sold when Amtrak expected they could be provided, but wasn't sure about it.
 
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I don't think they were sold when it was known in advance that they couldn’t be provided. They were sold when Amtrak expected they could be provided, but wasn't sure about it.
We had a bedroom reserved on SWC No. 4 scheduled to depart LAX on June 28. (This reservation had been made and paid for some 6 months earlier.) Two weeks before we were to depart, we contacted Amtrak to confirm the status of our reservations. After first being assured by an agent that our reservations were still good, we were called back almost immediately and told that not only was our bedroom no longer available, but because the train was sold out, we couldn’t be downgraded to lesser accommodations had we wanted them.

A few days later, we called Amtrak and had an agent reserve us bedrooms on the SWC for late September. Within a month, we received the dreaded automated phone message that these reservations couldn’t be honored, either. (We ended up rescheduling our trip to June 2023, this time making sure that our SWC bedrooms were in the “base” sleepers.)

We can sort of forgive Amtrak for not anticipating that, during the busy summer travel season, there might be a shortage of sleeping cars. On the other hand, we can’t excuse Amtrak for selling us bedrooms for September when it must have been obvious that, more than likely, there wouldn’t be enough sleeping cars available to be able to honor our reservations.
 
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zephyr17

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We just just got more than two weeks notice on a sleeper change for us on a trip--July 9! CZ eastbound from EMY. Wondering if the car we were booked in is being refurbished during peak travel time, or being loaned to another route?
Superliner cars run in a national pool, specific cars are are not assigned to specific trains, so they cannot be "loaned" between trains. The powers that be on decided equipment distribution and the CZ for summer isn't getting what they initially planned for.

Probably not due to refurbishment, probably due the clown show that is the subject of this thread, lack of roadworthy cars and/or lack of staff to staff them.

The silver lining is you were notified well in advance. That may be showing that Amtrak has gotten a marginally more competent at planning. 🤡
 

Bob Dylan

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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?
Since you're in the #421/#422 Sleeper( the Thru Sleeper that's Switched to #1/#2 in San Antonio) you'll be OK.

As you know, the Eaglette currently only runs 1 Sleeper between Chicago and San Antonio, but Amtrak does keep a Protect Sleeper and Coach in San Antonio for the Eaglette just in case.

Hopefully by the time yall ride Traditional Dining will have been returned to the Eaglette(however you'll only have 1 Meal each way between Austin and San Antonio, Dinner on #21, and Breakfast on #22)and the Sightseer Lounge returned to the consist so once again we can call this Train "The Texas Eagle!"
 

Hans627

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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.)
Please excuse my ignorance but what is a 532 Sleeper?

Thanks!
 
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Please excuse my ignorance but what is a 532 Sleeper?

Thanks!
A Sleeping Car in train 5 with the line number 532. Typically it would be the second Sleeper on that train.
Line number designates the type of car and the position within the train, as opposed to the physical equipment number painted on each car. From a rider's perspective, it's used to assign a car during ticketing.

Line numbers are either 3 or 4 digits. The next to last digit indicates the type of car (e.g., sleeper, coach), and the last digit designates which car within the type. There is no consistency within those digits across the network; they vary by route.

The remaining 1 or 2 leading digits indicate the train number.

Sleeping cars have the line number displayed outside the car door, and also on the door between cars so that passengers can find their way to the correct car. On other car types, line numbers may not be displayed or may be unreliable.
 

zephyr17

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Please excuse my ignorance but what is a 532 Sleeper?

Thanks!
Cars are assigned "car line" numbers describing the train, placement in that train's consist and, for sleepers, room inventory. The first 2 digits are the train number (leading zeros often not shown), the second, the car line.

So train 5, car 32.

Standard sleepers on most Superliner trains are in the 3x car line. The exception is the Capitol Limited, where they are in the 0x car line, likely to avoid confusion with the train number, the eastbound being train 30.

They are generally numbered sequentially lowest to highest by consist position, the lowest being the sleeper adjacent to the diner.

The lowest sleeper car line on the train will be only sleeper if a given departure has just one sleeper. We have been referring to the lowest car line number for any given train as the "base" sleeper, since if that one was removed there would be no sleepers at all.

On most Superliner trains, the lowest standard sleeper car line is the "30" car line. However, on the California Zephyr, it is the "31" car line. I think the CZ's "30" had been used as the Chicago-Denver cutoff sleeper that has not been operated in several years, but the CZ "30" car line is still reserved for it. In any case, "31" is the lowest sleeper car line used for the Zephyr.

Since over the past year, Amtrak has been cutting sleepers that they have already sold inventory in, the car line number has assumed importance that it had not had before. The car lines above the lowest, the "base", are the ones being removed. So, until the situation stabilizes, space in a non-base sleeper must be considered at risk for cancellation. Personally, I will not consider the situation stabilized until Amtrak has gone a full year without removing cars with sold space. By my reckoning, they'll have to make it to October 2023 without pulling this crap any more.

531 is a base sleeper. 532 is not. Unfortunately, it makes a different under current conditions.

Finally, the car line numbers are virtual. They do not correspond to physical cars. Any Superliner standard sleeper can run in any Superliner standard sleeper car line. Further Superliners run in a national pool.
 
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zephyr17

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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.)
You mean like the creeping removals they did this last summer? With the Builder removals in June, the Chief removals in July, and the Zephyr removals discovered in August effective September?

That was all pretty much during one season, at least by my own reckoning.

I would make no assumptions until it is definitively demonstrated Amtrak has stopped pulling this crap. These were not normal, seasonal consist adjustments.
 

jis

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You mean like the creeping removals they did this last summer? With the Builder removals in June, the Chief removals in July, and the Zephyr removals discovered in August effective September?

That was all pretty much during one season, at least by my own reckoning.

I would make no assumptions until it is demonstrated Amtrak has stopped pulling this crap. These were not normal, seasonal consist adjustments.
My conjecture about that series of events is that Amtrak had lost their entire fleet planning department over the pandemic and the new lot had a lot of experience managing the fleet on their HO sets, and were learning about full size sets as they went along. Hopefully they are now fully upto speed. 😐
 

zephyr17

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My conjecture about that series of events is that Amtrak had lost their entire fleet planning department over the pandemic and the new lot had a lot of experience managing the fleet on their HO sets, and were learning about full size sets as they went along. Hopefully they are now fully upto speed. 😐
I hope so to, but, as I've said, I will not trust them until they've gone a year without f, uh, messing up again.

Prior HO experience notwithstanding.
 
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I hope so to, but, as I've said, I will not trust them until they've gone a year without f, uh, messing up again.

Prior HO experience notwithstanding.

Don’t blame you. As I said hopefully fall was rock bottom. They have been slowly restoring some of the Midwest stuff they cut in the fall over the last weeks. Hopefully that’s a good sign. But we’ll have to see.
 

west point

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My conjecture about that series of events is that Amtrak had lost their entire fleet planning department over the pandemic and the new lot had a lot of experience managing the fleet on their HO sets, and were learning about full size sets as they went along. Hopefully they are now fully upto speed. 😐
That seems to be very possible.
 

Lonnie

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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.
We made it fine onto the EB today, car 830, right on time so far. Got into a conversation with a young SCA who said we had two good engines. He said the new ones that they recently got keep breaking down. At one point if not more, they've had BNSF engines moving the train after one of those breakdowns.

I think we're just lucky. We had two sunny days in Seattle for the only two full days we were going to be there! The station is gorgeous and there's an art museum on the third floor that Amtrak doesn't let you know about. A sweet old security man came around to tell us about it and was thrilled when we went up to see it.
 

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Willbridge

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Cars are assigned "car line" numbers describing the train, placement in that train's consist and, for sleepers, room inventory. The first 2 digits are the train number (leading zeros often not shown), the second, the car line.

So train 5, car 32.

Standard sleepers on most Superliner trains are in the 3x car line. The exception is the Capitol Limited, where they are in the 0x car line, likely to avoid confusion with the train number, the eastbound being train 30.

They are generally numbered sequentially lowest to highest by consist position, the lowest being the sleeper adjacent to the diner.

The lowest sleeper car line on the train will be only sleeper if a given departure has just one sleeper. We have been referring to the lowest car line number for any given train as the "base" sleeper, since if that one was removed there would be no sleepers at all.

On most Superliner trains, the lowest standard sleeper car line is the "30" car line. However, on the California Zephyr, it is the "31" car line. I think the CZ's "30" had been used as the Chicago-Denver cutoff sleeper that has not been operated in several years, but the CZ "30" car line is still reserved for it. In any case, "31" is the lowest sleeper car line used for the Zephyr.

Since over the past year, Amtrak has been cutting sleepers that they have already sold inventory in, the car line number has assumed importance that it had not had before. The car lines above the lowest, the "base", are the ones being removed. So, until the situation stabilizes, space in a non-base sleeper must be considered at risk for cancellation. Personally, I will not consider the situation stabilized until Amtrak has gone a full year without removing cars with sold space. By my reckoning, they'll have to make it to October 2023 without pulling this crap any more.

531 is a base sleeper. 532 is not. Unfortunately, it makes a different under current conditions.

Finally, the car line numbers are virtual. They do not correspond to physical cars. Any Superliner standard sleeper can run in any Superliner standard sleeper car line. Further Superliners run in a national pool.
This photo accidentally shows Car 530 in Denver, summer 2014. I think it was going through to EMY on this occasion. When it runs CHI<>DEN it's locally known as the Denver Zephyr.

2014 May - June 075.jpg
 

Bonser

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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.
I'm booked on the EB, CHI-SEA, in March in car 730. That one is most likely safe from being removed, right?
 

jsp

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Booked CHI-DEN for next summer and was auto assigned to roomette 2 in the 32 car. Before I got around to call to try to move to the base car (31), my reservation was automatically modified to put me in roomette 6 in the 31 car.

Here‘s the interesting part: I can make a dummy reservation for two family bedrooms on that date, which suggests that the -32 car is running. Does this mean that they are reacting to this year’s fiasco by changing the booking practice to fill the base car first instead of spreading people through the consist (which would normally make some sense because it better spreads the workload among the SCAs)? It still would put people who get into the non base car at risk, (assuming the lead car fills before they know the disposition of the other car lines) but at least it doesn’t punish people who were among the first to book.
 

Lonnie

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I'm booked on the EB, CHI-SEA, in March in car 730. That one is most likely safe from being removed, right?
That's what they've said and apparently is true, as the 30 car is the base car. I'm sitting in the 830 right now enjoying the scenery in the Glacier area. You may want to call a couple weeks ahead of time just to be sure.
 

skylar

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We'll be in 732 next week (MKE - SEA), guess we'll be rolling the dice, had no idea how dodgy things had gotten on the Empire Builder since things seemed like they were recovering last year.
 

zephyr17

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We'll be in 732 next week (MKE - SEA), guess we'll be rolling the dice, had no idea how dodgy things had gotten on the Empire Builder since things seemed like they were recovering last year.
732 is the transdorm car line for the Builder (it may not actually be a transdorm. In the recent past, some Builder consists have had transdorms, some standard sleepers). I have no idea why they use 32 for the transdorm on the Builder instead of the 40 car line that is used for the other trains, but they do.

Regardless, 732 is a transdorm car line and therefore relatively safe. The "base" sleeper and the transdorm on trains that have them are pretty assured to run. The 31 car line is the one that would be at risk for removal on the Builder.
 
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