Texas Eagle Sightseer lounge discontinued

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zephyr17

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Amtrak DID NOT have enough SSL's prior to the pandemic. In the last few years before the pandemic I rode Southwest Chief's, California Zephyrs and Empire Builders that used substitute Cross Country Cafes when there was a problem with the regular SSL. There were no available SSL's for fill that need.
They nevertheless scheduled them. Amtrak's lack of protection equipment is certainly an issue, but a separate one, not new, and not connected to the pandemic.

In point of fact, such substitutions were temporary and Sightseers were not officially withdrawn from any route that had them. The cars were repaired and returned to service.

The issue to me is, having run a reduced schedule for 8 months with the opportunity to catch up on maintainence while service was down and not as many cars had to be on the road, why are so many cars bad ordered now? The whole existing fleet of SSLs ought to be in as good a shape as possible and ready to roll. They're obviously not.
 
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jruff001

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The issue to me is, having run a reduced schedule for 8 months with the opportunity to catch up on maintainence while service was down and not as many cars had to be on the road, why are so many cars bad ordered now? The whole existing fleet of SSLs ought to be in as good a shape as possible and ready to roll. They're obviously not.
I imagine many maintenance workers were laid off and there was no budget to do any repairs other than what was absolutely necessary to keep the reduced fleet rolling.

Hindsight is 20/20 and while business is booming now, a year ago was a very different and scary story. A lot of businesses were being conservative making contingency plans for a long recession, if not an outright depression, post-Covid. No one knew what the long-term economic implications would be.

And more importantly, there was an immediate and severe cash shortage as things shut down and revenues dried up.

It's easy to second guess, but I know that at my company in the transportation industry, even though we are scrambling to find workers now, a year ago we were laying people off because the future was looking very dark and unpredictable. Our customers were giving us very grim guidance about their situations so we were planning accordingly.
 

zephyr17

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I imagine many maintenance workers were laid off and there was no budget to do any repairs other than what was absolutely necessary to keep the reduced fleet rolling.

Hindsight is 20/20 and while business is booming now, a year ago was a very different and scary story. A lot of businesses were being conservative making contingency plans for a long recession, if not an outright depression, post-Covid. No one knew what the long-term economic implications would be.

And more importantly, there was an immediate and severe cash shortage as things shut down and revenues dried up.

It's easy to second guess, but I know that at my company in the transportation industry, even though we are scrambling to find workers now, a year ago we were laying people off because the future was looking very dark and unpredictable. Our customers were giving us very grim guidance about their situations so we were planning accordingly.
That's a fair point.

However, I will say it's been a couple months since the stimulus passed and part of the stimulus was recall of all furloughed workers (as well as the requirement to go back to daily service on trains that had it before). At the very least, it seems like they've had enough time to at least plan for and be able to schedule a date for the SSL's return rather than leaving it indefinite. Their full workforce should be back in place.

Indefinite invites a lot of negative speculation, as we've seen here.
It isn't without basis, since Amtrak has a long track record of temporary but indefinite suspensions or withdrawals that have had a way of becoming permanent.
 
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neroden

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The issue to me is, having run a reduced schedule for 8 months with the opportunity to catch up on maintainence while service was down and not as many cars had to be on the road, why are so many cars bad ordered now? The whole existing fleet of SSLs ought to be in as good a shape as possible and ready to roll. They're obviously not.
Every transit agency used the pandemic to accelerate capital construction and maintenance.

Amtrak didn't. Now, part of that is due to Amtrak's different funding stream, but part of it is just straight up incompetence by Amtrak's management. I don't want to assume maliciousness since there is so much evidence of gross incompetence.
 

Deni

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Didn't want to start a new thread to ask a question, and since the SSLs shortages have been discussed in here, I figure maybe someone knows. I have a friend taking off on the Cap Ltd from Chicago tonight and she asked me if there will be lounge on it for her trip. Anyone know if they have an SSL back on? And what the full consist is right now?
 

Bob Dylan

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Didn't want to start a new thread to ask a question, and since the SSLs shortages have been discussed in here, I figure maybe someone knows. I have a friend taking off on the Cap Ltd from Chicago tonight and she asked me if there will be lounge on it for her trip. Anyone know if they have an SSL back on? And what the full consist is right now?
It's been running with a Shortened Consist similar to the Texas Eagle, 2 Sleepers,1CCC and 2 Coaches. No Lounge !🥺🤬
 
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Cal

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Didn't want to start a new thread to ask a question, and since the SSLs shortages have been discussed in here, I figure maybe someone knows. I have a friend taking off on the Cap Ltd from Chicago tonight and she asked me if there will be lounge on it for her trip. Anyone know if they have an SSL back on? And what the full consist is right now?
No SSL, which is unfortunate. The Capitol Limited has some very good scenery.
 

dcipjr

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Didn't want to start a new thread to ask a question, and since the SSLs shortages have been discussed in here, I figure maybe someone knows. I have a friend taking off on the Cap Ltd from Chicago tonight and she asked me if there will be lounge on it for her trip. Anyone know if they have an SSL back on? And what the full consist is right now?
I was on the Cap Ltd. less than two weeks ago; unfortunately, there was no lounge.
 
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Perhaps Amtrak should look into building or designating revenue observation car space as a class, or using observation cars as coaches on some of the more scenic trains (after building some new ones, of course).
 

Bob Dylan

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I think most of us would be willing to pay an upcharge from riding in a True Lounge Car like the ones from the Golden Age of Passenger Trains.

Not so much so for Superliner Sightseer Lounges,which should continue to be Free as currently is the case on most LD Superliners!
 

jruff001

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Perhaps Amtrak should look into building or designating revenue observation car space as a class, or using observation cars as coaches on some of the more scenic trains (after building some new ones, of course).
Perhaps. But this thread is (or at least started out to be) about the Texas Eagle. No scenery here! 🤣
 

crescent-zephyr

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I think most of us would be willing to pay an upcharge from riding in a True Lounge Car like the ones from the Golden Age of Passenger Trains.

Not so much so for Superliner Sightseer Lounges,which should continue to be Free as currently is the case on most LD Superliners!
What did you prefer about the classic lounge cars vs. the ssl?
 

jis

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The seats were much more comfortable, the decor was much better on the Heritage Lounges, and the Drinks and Snacks and Service were head and shoulders better in the Lounges.

The only Negative was that Smoking was allowed.
The smoke thing was a huge negative. The place reeked of it even when no one was smoking. But I suppose to get the proper lounge atmosphere the smoke was almost an integral part of it so I mostly stayed out of the ghastly places. 🤷‍♂️ Which is too bad because the Lounge on the Montrealer had a lot of potential otherwise.

Frankly, the Amtrak Lounge cars including the SSL were never intended to recreate that atmosphere of yore. OTOH, they could have done much better in inventing and aligning with typical static (i.e. not on wheels) lounges of today.

The Pacific Parlour Car was a good crack at it, and the Viewliner Diner as a hard product has some good potential that is yet to be realized. It would be interesting to see how the so called Diner/Lounges from Siemens in the Amfleet I replacement order turn out even though they are for Regional Corridor service.
 
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crescent-zephyr

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Interesting... I think the SSL is one of the best designed lounge cars for long distance train travel.
 

Bob Dylan

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The smoke thing was a huge negative. The place reeked of it even when no one was smoking. But I suppose to get the proper lounge atmosphere the smoke was almost an integral part of it so I mostly stayed out of the ghastly places. 🤷‍♂️ EWhich is too bad because the Lounge on the Montrealer had a lot of potential otherwise.

Frankly, the Amtrak Lunge cars including the SSL were never intended to recreate that atmosphere of yore. OTOH, they could have done much better in inventing and aligning with typical static (i.e. not on wheels) lounges of today.

The Pacific Parlour Car was a good crack at it, and the Viewliner Diner as a hard product has some good potential that is yet to be realized. It would be interesting to see how the so called Diner/Lounges from Siemens in the Amfleet I replacement order turn out even they are for Regional Corridor service.
Excellent points, the PPCs( and the Park Cars on VIA) are the closest thing to the Golden Era Lounges this side of a PV!!!
 

Cal

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Interesting... I think the SSL is one of the best designed lounge cars for long distance train travel.
They are very well designed for the job in question. But they’re talking about the golden age of rail travel, where it was considerably more luxurious.
 

jis

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The downstairs lounge in the SSLs often used to be a fun place when they had the electric Piano (or whatever it was) down there and musically minded people congregated there with their guitars and stuff to have a small jam session. But then the instrument went away and the lights were brightened to a point where you could get Sun burns from it, and that was the end of that.
 

OBS

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The downstairs lounge in the SSLs often used to be a fun place when they had the electric Piano (or whatever it was) down there and musically minded people congregated there with their guitars and stuff to have a small jam session. But then the instrument went away and the lights were brightened to a point where you could get Sun burns from it, and that was the end of that.
It was an electric piano...and that was many ( at least 30) years ago......The Heritage Lounges on the Montrealer had them also, to go with the smoking, and the wild parties....
 

jis

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It was an electric piano...and that was many ( at least 30) years ago......The Heritage Lounges on the Montrealer had them also, to go with the smoking, and the wild parties....
Yeah, I know. Liked that Amtrak a bit more than the one now. I think the managers of the customer facing services were more imaginative back then than they are now. Then again, they also had much more equipment to play with at their disposal too. Different era. Just wanted to share with the youngsters what was there in the Amtrak era well after the golden age of Private Railroad passenger service had ended.
 

Brian Battuello

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The piano lounge was great. Much better than listening to your seatmates "Hot for Teacher" leaking around his earbuds at full volume.

Not everything worked. My kids and I were invited to see Disney's "Aladdin" on a TV in the corner of the SSL. First, the set was about the size and quality of a 1970 Motel 6 TV. And to try to satisfy everyone, the attendant put the volume at slightly above whisper. So we spent 80 minutes trying to figure out which was Aladdin and which was the Genie.

And anyone else remember the tiny TV screen in the first VL sleeping cars? Never saw anything appear on it, and it disappeared a year or so later.
 
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