And that may well be the case...I simply shared my experience as a way of not having to deal with the Conductor who always seem to be quite busy and sometimes very hassled.I agree with the question - discussion on this forum over the years has always been, the only place to upgrade for the lowest bucket price is once you get on the train.How many hours/minutes before departure did you ask the agent for an upgrade? I've tried the same thing and received a top bucket quote. I wish to have success like you!The last time I did this:
I started my trip in Chicago(CNO) and got in line to speak to a ticket agent. Showed her my ticket and asked if there was any sleeper space available??? She said yes and offered me a roomette for $75.00 additional dollars...I then asked if there was anything available for the return trip. She also said yes, but then quoted a top bucket price for there and back. I simply took the roomette for $75.00 to New Orleans.
On the trip home, I got in line(New Orleans) and asked the same question. Again a Roomette was available and he gave it to me for $50.00 additional dollars. I do not know why there was a disparity in prices for purchasing the Roomette one way or why it became top bucket price when I asked about doing both at the same time. I simply asked some questions, filed away information, and took what I was presented with.
As I said in my post above, this may not always work, but it has worked fairly often for me.
In the case I gave above, the ticket agent, minutes before the train was to depart, told me to speak with the conductor, on board, for the lowest price.