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Viewliner Sleeper Bathroom Question

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MARC Rider

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I'm fine with the bathroom down the hall, although it's nice when sleeping in a Viewliner roomette alone to be able to climb down off the upper bunk and not have to go out in the hall. But a large fraction of sleeper passengers don't sleep in a Viewliner roomette alone. If you're sharing the compartment, the en-suite bathroom is essentially useless. A bedroom is nice, but it really is an extravagance for only one passenger unless there's some kind of demand anomaly that results in a low fare being offered.

I've stayed in hotels that don't offer in-room bathrooms. If the rest of the hotel is nice, it can be a real bargain in expensive cities. And the line waiting to use the shower can be quite a fun social experience. Of course, you have to remember to pack a bathrobe, and I guess the experience will have to wait until after the Covid epidemic subsides.
 

me_little_me

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Jul 16, 2010
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Wouldn't you love riding in a compartment with a private bath/shower even more?
I would. But not at their usual prices. We can usually get two roomettes for a good deal less than a bedroom. We lose the in-room shower (and the shared toilet on the Superliners) but each get a bottom bunk and can look out the windows on either side while sitting together.
 

Ferroequinologist

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Actually, first world railways have couchettes as an option. They're even more basic than a roomette, and you have to share it with strangers, but at least you can lie down and get some sleep. And the bathroom is down the hall.
Australia has private room sleepers. I have travelled in private room sleepers in the UK and in Europe. You may not consider South Africa first world but the Blue Train certainly is. I was in my own room on that train. Couchettes are like basic coach on the airlines, no frills. There are better accommodations on many of the surviving overnight trains in Europe.
 

MARC Rider

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Australia has private room sleepers. I have travelled in private room sleepers in the UK and in Europe. You may not consider South Africa first world but the Blue Train certainly is. I was in my own room on that train. Couchettes are like basic coach on the airlines, no frills. There are better accommodations on many of the surviving overnight trains in Europe.
I didn't say that there weren't private room sleepers, rather that the first world countries also have more basic accommodations available, just like Amtrak does.
 

Ferroequinologist

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I didn't say that there weren't private room sleepers, rather that the first world countries also have more basic accommodations available, just like Amtrak does.
That's true in some places but the US used to LEAD the world in passenger train comfort. This was 1938:


Have we progressed?
 

jiml

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I would. But not at their usual prices. We can usually get two roomettes for a good deal less than a bedroom. We lose the in-room shower (and the shared toilet on the Superliners) but each get a bottom bunk and can look out the windows on either side while sitting together.
You've listed all the reasons why this is perfect for those of us not wanting to climb ladders anymore. If only you could book this online without a follow-up phone call to get across-hall rooms.
 

Mailliw

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Jun 14, 2020
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Northeast PA
And if Amtrak converted the roomettes to open sections they could sell those unoccupied upper berths to other passengers (as well as having larger berths to begin with). Viola, you have sn American version of couchettes.
 

jiml

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And if Amtrak converted the roomettes to open sections they could sell those unoccupied upper berths to other passengers (as well as having larger berths to begin with). Viola, you have sn American version of couchettes.
Interesting idea. Not sure how well they'd sell, considering uppers and lowers were discontinued in the interest of privacy.

BTW, without trying to sound pedantic, a viola is a stringed musical instrument resembling a large violin whereas the French word "voila" might be a better fit if you're trying to say "there you go". ;)
 

tricia

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Spring Creek, NC
They'd have to be a LOT less expensive than a roomette to interest me. I value roomettes for their privacy as much as for the lie-flat bed.

FWIW, Via Rail's sleeping cars on the Canadian offer BOTH roomettes and upper-and-lower sections as well as bedrooms.
 

jiml

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They'd have to be a LOT less expensive than a roomette to interest me. I value roomettes for their privacy as much as for the lie-flat bed.

FWIW, Via Rail's sleeping cars on the Canadian offer BOTH roomettes and upper-and-lower sections as well as bedrooms.
Overnight is almost less of an issue than daytime travel. Strangers are separated while sleeping, but must share a very confined space during the day. If you think an Amtrak roomette is cramped with two people who know each other, you really won't like a section with a stranger.
 

nferr

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Feb 24, 2009
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Having an upper berth is not the problem - the size of the roomette is. Why not just do away with roomettes, have only bedrooms with enclosed shower/toilet. Just have less rooms per car and FULLY FUND Amtrak and quit trying to squeeze every possible dollar per square foot/inch out of the car.

Oh, and charge a more affordable rate.

Yeah, that's really going to work. Let's ask Congress to up Amtrak funding so that everyone gets to travel in a full Amtrak bedroom cheaply. I honestly think posters don't think anything through.
 

Qapla

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Jul 15, 2019
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Gator Country Florida
Since the rooms on a superliner have upper and lower berth on both levels 🤔 too bad there isn't a way to have three levels with single births 😎



Then again, if there were just some way to connect more cars together to make a single train longer so it could carry more people at the same time - maybe a train would be a viable mass transit option o_O
 
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Ferroequinologist

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And if Amtrak converted the roomettes to open sections they could sell those unoccupied upper berths to other passengers (as well as having larger berths to begin with). Viola, you have sn American version of couchettes.
Young Americans might think it's cool to sleep with strangers in Europe's budget couchettes but how many of Amtrak's patrons, mostly older people, will be willing to do that?
 

PVD

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Would folks be interested in sharing sleeping space with strangers under the current conditions? I doubt it. More likely, if things remain like they are for any length of time, the ability to have private space will be that much more desirable.
 

Ferroequinologist

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Would folks be interested in sharing sleeping space with strangers under the current conditions? I doubt it. More likely, if things remain like they are for any length of time, the ability to have private space will be that much more desirable.
It seems all hopes are pinned on developing a vaccine but from what I have read, this Corona virus has different strains so multiple vaccines will be needed. These vaccines may only work for a few months. There is also risk in rushing vaccines (anyone remember the disastrous flu vaccine of 1976?) without extensive testing over a long period of time. The point I am making is that there is not likely to be a panacea. We're probably going to have to live with varying degrees of this and other viruses for years to come. There may not be much that can be done about the new Viewliners but if Amtrak's Superliner routes survive, the equipment will have to be replaced. Wouldn't it make sense to include a bathroom in every compartment, i.e. eliminate the Roomette and redesign the Bedroom to maximum efficiency? This is going to mean reducing the number of compartments per car, thus less revenue -- unless Amtrak can take steps to make train travel truly desirable, safe and efficient so that sleepers are sold out most of the time. Covid-19 is causing many businesses ( airlines and cruise lines among them) to increase costs as they adapt to enhanced hygiene and safety measures. Amtrak will have to do the same. A lot will depend on the willingness of Congress to appropriate enough funds. At this point we have no idea what the future will bring. Few people even know that there are trains with private room accommodation. Has Amtrak even promoted the relative safety of travel in its sleeping-cars? Has there been an advertising campaign highlighting the safety aspects of train travel, especially in sleeping-cars?
 

Rasputin

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Jan 17, 2019
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They'd have to be a LOT less expensive than a roomette to interest me. I value roomettes for their privacy as much as for the lie-flat bed.

FWIW, Via Rail's sleeping cars on the Canadian offer BOTH roomettes and upper-and-lower sections as well as bedrooms.
My understanding is that VIA has much more trouble selling upper and lower section berths on the Canadian (particularly uppers since they have no window) than they do for other more private accommodations. Someone can correct me if I am wrong.
 

RichieRich

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Dec 2, 2016
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this Corona virus has different strains so multiple vaccines will be needed. ... redesign the Bedroom to maximum efficiency?
May never be a totally effective vaccine.....how's that AIDS one comin'? The regular flu changes every year too...and we have to live with it. And, the bedrooms are small enough already.
 

Ferroequinologist

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May never be a totally effective vaccine.....how's that AIDS one comin'? The regular flu changes every year too...and we have to live with it. And, the bedrooms are small enough already.
There has never been an HIV vaccine - after decades.
Bedrooms can't be reduced in size but some improvements might be made.
 

Ferroequinologist

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My understanding is that VIA has much more trouble selling upper and lower section berths on the Canadian (particularly uppers since they have no window) than they do for other more private accommodations. Someone can correct me if I am wrong.
I travelled in a lower berth on the Canadian for a one night segment once for nostalgia but I have no desire to do it again. Incidentally, the etiquette is for the lower berth passenger to sit facing forward during the day and the upper berth passenger to sit facing the other way.
 

Maglev

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Sep 4, 2016
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Orcas Island, Washington
I loved sleeping in a lower berth on the train across Canada! My older brother had the upper, and my parents had a bedroom in the same car. It's the widest bed on the rails (except for Prestige class). My father was trying to share the lower in the bedroom with my little brother, and had asked me to trade but I didn't (I have always felt a little guilty for this). We didn't have any disagreements over who sat where in the daytime--we spent most of the day hanging out in the vestibule with an open window or in the dome car after it was added in Edmonton.

I can see how it would be possible to put an enclosed toilet (taking up half the space of a Roomette) between each Roomette, but this would significantly reduce capacity of the cars and mess up the consistency of window arrangement among all cars in the fleet.
 

tricia

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Aug 23, 2011
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Spring Creek, NC
I am definitely in the "Viewliner in-room toilets are gross" camp. Would much prefer shared restrooms down the hallway.

Maybe make what is now the toilet space a little mini-fridge / -bar? 😁
Would certainly come in handy for stashing food passengers might bring on board to make up for the current substandard diner offerings.
 
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