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Unusual Fare System on Empire Builder

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dlagrua

Conductor
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Nov 24, 2009
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3,140
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
Yesterday we were able to book our trip on the Empire builder to East Glacier. We have been following the fares since January and its seemed that they were stuck at high bucket for quite a while, which is outside our budget. Bedroom fares on trains from CHI to GPK 7 and 8 were holding high and still are. On some days the fares are $2067 one way but when we went to check fares I noticed that there was an option to book trains 27 and 28 at a remarkably lower fare of $762 each way so we took that. Now it is assumed that trains 27/7 and 28/8 are the same trains so why the difference in price?
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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South Florida
Not sure, but I would guess the option to select Train’s 7&8 appear first, so they are selected first, and consequently go into higher buckets first...

Perhaps the software should be rewritten so that the lowest fares from Chicago until the split at Spokane are automatically assigned, to even out the bookings?
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Sep 17, 2009
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How far in advance do you book?

Amtrak was playing around with the buckets. At 11 to 5 months before your travel date the ticket was at full bucket price. Then the price dropped to demand buckets into the train departs.

Some routes have had this occur.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
279
I'm booked on the EB in August. Same thing, fares on 27 and 28 were much lower.
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
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Sep 4, 2016
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Orcas Island, Washington
My experience with this was booking a Roomette Chicago to St. Paul with points, and it was about half as much on train 27.

As for all fares starting out at high bucket, my Roomette booking on my return from the Gathering (seven months out) is at low bucket. Bedrooms for the month are priced at buckets two and four (out of five).
 

Steve4031

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The 27/28 sleeper is in the rear, several cars back from the diner. But in someways it’s better with the rail fan window and the view of the train going around curves.
 

dlagrua

Conductor
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Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,140
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
The usual reason - supply & demand
That is a good formula to go by and it makes perfect sense but if the fares of the 27/28 are about 1/3 of those in 7/8 then why do not travelers buy these first? My theory is that Amtrak sells the 7/8 rooms first and then releases the 27/28 rooms as demand dictates. Going to Glacier in the summer months may be causing the high demand and high fares. Our trip is in early August and fits right in the summer high demand window but we are still following the fares and under the temporary new rule any bookings done prior to April 21st can be rebooked at the lower fare and changed without penalty.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
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May 6, 2011
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Delaware
I just got an email to tell me they have changed my Empire Builder 8 car and dumped me in a downstairs Roomette next to the stairs. Not happy :-(
They're probably dropping a car, yours, and moving you to the other sleeper. Be happy you can still travel on it.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
279
I just got an email to tell me they have changed my Empire Builder 8 car and dumped me in a downstairs Roomette next to the stairs. Not happy :-(
I wouldn't say they "dumped" you. The downstairs roomettes are just fine. Be happy they're still running as of now.
 

Samsbigtrip

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
99
Location
Wiltshire, UK
I wouldn't say they "dumped" you. The downstairs roomettes are just fine. Be happy they're still running as of now.
This trip is the one-in-a-lifetime so I am really disappointed to be on the lower deck next to the stairs so subject to all the comings and goings to the toilets. Anyway it's all up in the air because if my flights from the UK are cancelled I won't be going anyway. Very disappointing :-(
 

daybeers

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Jan 6, 2016
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HFD
This trip is the one-in-a-lifetime so I am really disappointed to be on the lower deck next to the stairs so subject to all the comings and goings to the toilets. Anyway it's all up in the air because if my flights from the UK are cancelled I won't be going anyway. Very disappointing :-(
When is this trip?
 

Brian Battuello

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 23, 2014
Messages
88
If there are two of you in the roomette, you'll probably be spending most of your time in the View Lounge and the dining car anyway, so I wouldn't worry about it. Assuming the trip happens, just be glad you still have a real dining car (as of this typing, anything could change).
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,294
And one tiny advantage of the lower roomettes is that you can wash your own outside window. Bring some windex!
In addition to the window of the Roomette you occupy, you also have the ability to clean both sides of the windows in the lower level entry doors when the train is in a station. The entry door opposite the passenger platform will not be opened, but ask the sleeping car attendants permission to open just the window for easy access to clean its outside surface.

With clean windows on both sides of the train you'll have the clearest photos of whatever is on either side of the train. But be prepared for some really serious cleaning - the exterior surfaces of train windows will get extraordinarily filthy - and very quickly too!
 

Samsbigtrip

Train Attendant
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Jan 10, 2020
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99
Location
Wiltshire, UK
In addition to the window of the Roomette you occupy, you also have the ability to clean both sides of the windows in the lower level entry doors when the train is in a station.
LOL! I hadn't envisaged having to clean windows but I will take Windex - is that the best for the purpose?
 

ScouseAndy

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
346
Location
Liverpool- UK
20 May - the very helpful agent said I should keep calling to see if they have a cancellation from the upper deck. BTW - when I rang I was routed to Julie and chose the "something else" option.
UK Gov advice against all none essential travel globally is not going to be lifted before the 20th May unfortunately. Given if you travel against this advice your travel insurance will be null and void and the high price of medical care in the US I personally wouldnt travel against this advice.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
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The bottom level roomette has less sway from side to side and easier to sleep in. If you want panoramic views you want to be on the observation deck anyway.
 
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