What features are important in a sleeper

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Nick Farr

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I’m curious: where do you get the idea that preferred stock confers no ownership?
Because Preferred Stock almost never implies ownership. In this case, the quoted part mentioning the voting rights being abolished along with the convertibility to common stock means ownership in the classic sense was not conferred.

"Preferred Stock" almost never makes a claim of ownership as much as a claim to the assets and profits of the company ahead of common shareholders.

Yes, the government could come in at any time and convert its Preferred Stock to Common Stock and officially "own" Amtrak. But it stands nothing to gain by doing so.

Who owns Amtrak is functionally irrelevant. It's a funder-controlled entity and the primary (but not sole) funder is the Federal Government.
 

joelkfla

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The new Nightjet cars don't all have the same configuration; each trainset will have 2 sleeping cars, 3 couchette cars, 1 coach car, and one multifunction car (luggage hold, accessible compartment, & coach seating). If/when Amtrak orders new sleeping cars it seems perfectly reasonable to have basic and "deluxe" configurations like they did with the Superliners IIs. The overnight Northeast Regionals are an ideal route for sleeping pod type or neo-Slumbercoach accommodation.
IMO, that would be a colossal waste of money. American travelers won't use them.
 

neroden

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But the preferred stocks don’t have a vote and their liquidation value has also been essentially set to zero. So who cares who owns them?
This is not correct -- maybe you mixed up preferred and common stock? The US government owns all the preferred stock. The US government has the right to claim its entire "past due" dividends on the preferred stock in the case of any attempt to liquidate or privatize Amtrak. It's essentially a lien on any money or assets in Amtrak which isn't secured by the two notes held by the government with their first liens. It was explicitly set up for this purpose when a government audit noted that the government's interests seemed to be insufficiently insured against shenanigans. So that's what the preferred stock is for: it secures the government's permanent control over Amtrak assets.

The common stock is what has a liquidation value of zero and is worthless, and we don't care who owns it. That's what's held by the former private railroads and American Premier Underwriters. There are a few weird things for which it has a vote (not much, some changes to Amtrak's charter) but the federal government could trivially convert enough preferred stock to outvote it if necessary, without really affecting their lien on all of Amtrak's assets.
 

jis

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This is not correct -- maybe you mixed up preferred and common stock? The US government owns all the preferred stock. The US government has the right to claim its entire "past due" dividends on the preferred stock in the case of any attempt to liquidate or privatize Amtrak. It's essentially a lien on any money or assets in Amtrak which isn't secured by the two notes held by the government with their first liens. It was explicitly set up for this purpose when a government audit noted that the government's interests seemed to be insufficiently insured against shenanigans. So that's what the preferred stock is for: it secures the government's permanent control over Amtrak assets.

The common stock is what has a liquidation value of zero and is worthless, and we don't care who owns it. That's what's held by the former private railroads and American Premier Underwriters. There are a few weird things for which it has a vote (not much, some changes to Amtrak's charter) but the federal government could trivially convert enough preferred stock to outvote it if necessary, without really affecting their lien on all of Amtrak's assets.
You are correct of course. Thanks for the correction.

Amtrak did stop issuing preferred shares corresponding to each subsidy package some time back though, right?

I believe it has a vote for only charter changes proposed by the Board. But of course Congress can tweak the charter all it wants without consulting the Board or the stock holders apparently, since that is exactly what it seems to have done a few times already
 

neroden

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You are correct of course. Thanks for the correction.

Amtrak did stop issuing preferred shares corresponding to each subsidy package some time back though, right?
Yep. I believe the government decided that it had enough of a security interest. The promissory note secured by the rolling stock is $1.1 billion; the one secured by all the real and personal property of Amtrak is $4 billion; the "dividends in arrears" are $5.8 billion.

I guess Congress decided in 1997 that Amtrak had less than $10.9 billion in assets and they didn't need any more security? That's when they stopped having Amtrak issue them more preferred stock. They're wrong at this point, since Amtrak now has $19 billion in assets, but they're probably not thinking about it much.

I believe it has a vote for only charter changes proposed by the Board. But of course Congress can tweak the charter all it wants without consulting the Board or the stock holders apparently, since that is exactly what it seems to have done a few times already
Ah yes, you are correct.
 

Tlcooper93

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I like that this board allows topics to drift off topic, since I always drift off topic :)
Do discussions drift “off topic,” or more often to one amorphous, but predictable, discussion usually involving complaints around dining, SSLs and lack of sleepers? (Regardless of OP topic)😅
 

joelkfla

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Do discussions drift “off topic,” or more often to one amorphous, but predictable, discussion usually involving complaints around dining, SSLs and lack of sleepers? (Regardless of OP topic)😅
Well, in this case, it drifted from sleeper amenities to a discussion of the ownership properties of common vs. preferred stock. I'd call that off topic.
 

Mailliw

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Speaking of off topic; I was in NYC this weekend and stayed at the Jane Hotel. The rooms are basically sleeping compartments and I think that setup is perfectly adequate for 1 night trains.
 

cirdan

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Velco that is not worn out or difficult to use on the curtains would also be appreciated.
Nothing wrong with the curtains IMHO, I actually like them, but Amtrak just needs to understand they don't last forever and needs to replace them more often, or at least replace the velcro strips.

On the whole, more regular and thorough inspections would be a good idea. Many of the minor complaints are about stuff that would be easy to fix but isn't fixed, probably because it isn't reported or reports are being ignored.

Getting new sleepers won't fix this. It needs to become part of management and corporate culture.
 

jis

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In my experience the VLIIs appear to have some serious ongoing teething troubles. I have ridden 6 segments on them so far, all on Silvers (naturally). Of those, in one, the toilets failed completely so we had to use the toilets in the other VLII. Fortunately it was on 97/98. Two times, the air conditioning failed partially, and no one seemed to be able to fix it. In general the finishing workmanship also leaves a bit to be desired IMHO. I just hope procurements are managed an order of magnitude better than this one. I am sure there is enough blame to go around. But I am not surprised that half the fleet at present appears to be "hangar queens".
 

Dustyroad

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Nothing wrong with the curtains IMHO, I actually like them, but Amtrak just needs to understand they don't last forever and needs to replace them more often, or at least replace the velcro strips.

On the whole, more regular and thorough inspections would be a good idea. Many of the minor complaints are about stuff that would be easy to fix but isn't fixed, probably because it isn't reported or reports are being ignored.

Getting new sleepers won't fix this. It needs to become part of management and corporate culture.
I totally agree about the velcro strips. I take a couple large clippies with me in case mine don't hold up in the roomette. I know they don't weigh much. but it is a bother to have to '' think out of the box '' and take extra things because of things that are not in good shape for the price we pay for the trip.
 

Cal

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Nothing wrong with the curtains IMHO, I actually like them, but Amtrak just needs to understand they don't last forever and needs to replace them more often, or at least replace the velcro strips.
I agree, I feel that the curtains add a sense of class.
 

neroden

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Speaking of off topic; I was in NYC this weekend and stayed at the Jane Hotel. The rooms are basically sleeping compartments and I think that setup is perfectly adequate for 1 night trains.
OMG, I love the bunk bed rooms. It's in an incredibly inconvenient location for me, but so cute.
 

cirdan

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I agree, I feel that the curtains add a sense of class.
same as the bone china plates and flowers on the tables.

Unfortunately Amtrak seems to prefer saving a few pennies than offering passengers paying good money that sense of class.
 

joelkfla

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same as the bone china plates and flowers on the tables.

Unfortunately Amtrak seems to prefer saving a few pennies than offering passengers paying good money that sense of class.
Flowers have returned, at least for dinner. Curtains serve a purpose.

Bone china doesn't serve any purpose higher than ordinary tableware, and most riders wouldn't know the difference. I'm happy as long as they're not using paper or plastic.
 
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