What was it like to travel in a Heritage Sleeper?

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cpotisch

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If every slumbercoach room had a toilet, and the rooms were staggered, doesn't that mean that someone could be 'using the facilities' two feet above your head? That sort of grosses me out.
Not really, maybe over your feet. The link below has a side view diagram but does not seem totally accurate to me. It makes the rooms look larger.

https://thelibrary.org/lochist/frisco/history/Images/presentation/side2-panel-k.jpg

I found the link in this RAILforum thread.

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/5116.html
Thanks. Still quite an odd layout but definitely not as gross as if it was right above your head.
 
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Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
764
The option would be to return them with out the toilet and have a public toilet instead, thus eliminate the plumbing nightmare. Sounds like a great option, plus a good way to increase revenue. At this point Amtrak is too low on inventory to make a different car from the stock they have, but with new sleepers, Maybe Beech Grove could rebuild one into a Slumber/Duplex Sleeper to run as a test for passenger acceptance and what works and doesn't.
If it's priced right it would be a resounding success!
 

Gulfwind2

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Feb 17, 2016
Messages
65
Location
South Mississippi
I rode the Empire Builder one month before Amtrak Took over the passenger business. I rode the UP to San Francisco around 1961, the Panama Limited several times in the 60's. The Canadian National around the late 60s. There was no doubt that the Pullman Company insisted on maintaining a quality of service right till they ended their part in rail travel. The cars which were varied were more solid feeling than today and the constant rattles or banging of doors was generally not heard. The rooms were more like small hotel rooms than what Amtrak had built to replace them. As mentioned the beds in roomettes were better than the latter designs. On the Canadian National from Toronto to Vancouver we had a bedroom but that train carried lots of pullman type cars, some still with the upper and lower berths with just a curtain to enclose you from the hall way. A lot of people were using them still and the train carried 22 cars, not including several baggage and dorm cars. On the americas trains of better quality buying a first class ticket was not the outrageously higher cost than coach seen today. And you usually had a first class only lounge and card room or bookcases and desk with postcards to send. Some trains carried a first class diner as well as a coach diner. I remember the City of Los Angles met up with the City of St. Louis and then had a diner in a dome car. The most wonderful part of travel by train then was the fact that each company had its own special idea of decor, and color schemes on the exterior. When you said you were riding the Empire Builder it actually meant something, now its just getting on the same cars no matter where your going. And the speed of the trains was considerably faster as well. The Panama Limited was rated at 100 miles an hour on much of its run. I recall coming out of New Orleans at night and hearing he wheels hitting the sides of the tracks on curves and sparks flying from the wheels. If I recall correctly it left Chicago heading south around 6pm and was in New Orleans in the early morning unlike the late after noon it now takes to make the same trip. The food in those days on good trains was usually far better than what we see now. Our congress has a funny idea that ruining the dining experience is a good idea, I think not.

We did have one memorably bad sleeper experience on the Missouri Pacific going to Colorado Springs. It was Christmas and the St. Louis Union Station was absolutely packed with travelers. We had made reservations for my Grand Parents way out thinking that would provide a decent car. It didn't turn out that way, they got a ancient sleeper with old fashioned style bedrooms that had a flat wheel to boot. That thing was almost unbearable and the new pullmans were smooth as glass. I guess at least we got to see what the previous generation of sleepers was like too.

And I nearly forgot till I read the previous post that in those days many people still wore suits and ties and women wore dresses on board. The lounges were elegant with over stuffed chairs and lamps arranged in interesting designs. I recall the Broadway Limited I think it was that had the serpentine wavy walls behind the bar with painting on it, very deco and quite striking.
From what I gather you're certainly giving a good account of the way it was. You clearly lived through the best years of American travel. Although I feel the main reason for why travel, and particularly train travel, can never go back to "the way it was" is due to the change in our culture. People in the early to mid 20th century dressed up to travel because it was an experience. There was genuine excitement involved, especially for youngsters. Additionally traveling was an experience which could put strain on the bank for a lot of families. There was a sure expectation of stellar service in light of how costly it was to travel Pullman, and Pullman surely lived up to it. Traveling long distances has become affordable for most of the General public ever since those days, but as with any trade off there has been the fading out of some wonderful things. Today's traveler generally seeks the cheapest and fastest mode of transport with little regard for what one may call "the travel experience." I feel it is more due to the culture than it is due to economics that trains will never again link major American cities with distinctive dining and sleeping car service, railroads will never again fight one another to show the most pizzaz for the tasteful business traveler, and sleeping cars will never be seen by the present society as being anything more than a novelty from a bygone era. "Those things are gone just like the days when the milkman came each morning and when an airline ticket always got you a hot meal!"
 

Anderson

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Messages
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Location
Virginia
Speaking from experience on The Canadian, I'd say that I have a modest preference for the "old" roomettes to the new ones (partly due to bed size and mattress thickness)...but the preference is very modest, since there are times when it's nice to be able to put two people in the room, and obviously there's going to be some variation in quality from route to route and railroad to railroad. FWIW, at night you don't need to put the bed all the way up to use the restroom...I usually wound up with mine slightly out rather than fight it all the way in.
 

nshvlcat

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Feb 13, 2015
Messages
113
Location
Northwest Tennessee
13. There was a small 1940's style oscillating table fan mounted on a small platform or bolted directly to the wall, maybe 8" diameter from outside to outside of the unprotected rubber blades near the ceiling that was seldom quiet running. I sometimes had to turn it off if I wanted to sleep they were so noisy!!!
I found a picture of what you are talking about.

Heritage Sleeper.jpg
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
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Location
Palm Beach County
13. There was a small 1940's style oscillating table fan mounted on a small platform or bolted directly to the wall, maybe 8" diameter from outside to outside of the unprotected rubber blades near the ceiling that was seldom quiet running. I sometimes had to turn it off if I wanted to sleep they were so noisy!!!
I found a picture of what you are talking about.

Heritage Sleeper.jpg
That is a standard Pullman Roomette, with the 'cutaway' type of bed...
 

Palmland

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May 25, 2006
Messages
970
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Central Florida
The cutaway bed was used on my favorite Pullman, L&N and C&EI 6 sec, 6 rmte 4 DBR delivered in 1953. It was also a favorite of Trains magazine editor David P. Morgan. This design eliminated the need for the curtains (although they were still needed, of course, for the sections. The bedrooms were in the center of the car for a better ride for those paying the higher bedroom supplement. There is still one in charter service renamed from Plantation Pine to Colorado Pine. I believe Ed Ellis leased it for a while for use in his operations.
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,855
Anyone interested in some memories of maybe a pre-Heritage Pullman Sleeping Car on PRR's overnight train between Columbus, Ohio and Chicago? (The Ohioan maybe was its name.)

Sections in one part of the car with a lounge in the other part of the car, both served by the Pullman Porter, as I recall. (I was old enough to just order a Ginger Ale.) Very comfortable seating and when the car was at the end of the train provided a "train fan window/view" of excellence!

Toilets in the bathrooms allowed one to see the tracks underneath the car when I flushed the toilet. Lavatory water was hot and the bathroom area was spacious, I thought.

On one trip, it was raining when we left Columbus. My Mother and I were sharing a lower Section bed. Water began to leak from the double window onto me; I was positioned nearest the windows. My Mother informed the Pullman Porter who summoned the Pullman Conductor. Nothing could be done to resolve the issue in our Section's berth. But, there was one Roomette available in the next Pullman car on the train and we were transferred to that room. That was a very cozy bed for my Mother and me. But, it worked! And, has provided a train memory I won't forget.
 

Maglev

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Orcas Island, Washington
When I rode CN's Super Continental from Montreal to Vancouver, I had the lower berth in an open section. The car was smooth-sided, and had I think six sections, three or four bedrooms, and six roomettes (that seems like too many rooms to fit in a car, maybe my memory is not correct). My Dad said the train was built in 1949, and he said it was called, "The train of tomorrow."

The berths in a section have a 3' 7"-wide mattress. This I think is the widest bed standardly available on the rails except for Prestige Class (wider beds may be available on private or limited access cars).
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
764
I rode the Empire Builder one month before Amtrak Took over the passenger business. I rode the UP to San Francisco around 1961, the Panama Limited several times in the 60's. The Canadian National around the late 60s. There was no doubt that the Pullman Company insisted on maintaining a quality of service right till they ended their part in rail travel. The cars which were varied were more solid feeling than today and the constant rattles or banging of doors was generally not heard. The rooms were more like small hotel rooms than what Amtrak had built to replace them. As mentioned the beds in roomettes were better than the latter designs. On the Canadian National from Toronto to Vancouver we had a bedroom but that train carried lots of pullman type cars, some still with the upper and lower berths with just a curtain to enclose you from the hall way. A lot of people were using them still and the train carried 22 cars, not including several baggage and dorm cars. On the americas trains of better quality buying a first class ticket was not the outrageously higher cost than coach seen today. And you usually had a first class only lounge and card room or bookcases and desk with postcards to send. Some trains carried a first class diner as well as a coach diner. I remember the City of Los Angles met up with the City of St. Louis and then had a diner in a dome car. The most wonderful part of travel by train then was the fact that each company had its own special idea of decor, and color schemes on the exterior. When you said you were riding the Empire Builder it actually meant something, now its just getting on the same cars no matter where your going. And the speed of the trains was considerably faster as well. The Panama Limited was rated at 100 miles an hour on much of its run. I recall coming out of New Orleans at night and hearing he wheels hitting the sides of the tracks on curves and sparks flying from the wheels. If I recall correctly it left Chicago heading south around 6pm and was in New Orleans in the early morning unlike the late after noon it now takes to make the same trip. The food in those days on good trains was usually far better than what we see now. Our congress has a funny idea that ruining the dining experience is a good idea, I think not.

We did have one memorably bad sleeper experience on the Missouri Pacific going to Colorado Springs. It was Christmas and the St. Louis Union Station was absolutely packed with travelers. We had made reservations for my Grand Parents way out thinking that would provide a decent car. It didn't turn out that way, they got a ancient sleeper with old fashioned style bedrooms that had a flat wheel to boot. That thing was almost unbearable and the new pullmans were smooth as glass. I guess at least we got to see what the previous generation of sleepers was like too.

And I nearly forgot till I read the previous post that in those days many people still wore suits and ties and women wore dresses on board. The lounges were elegant with over stuffed chairs and lamps arranged in interesting designs. I recall the Broadway Limited I think it was that had the serpentine wavy walls behind the bar with painting on it, very deco and quite striking.
From what I gather you're certainly giving a good account of the way it was. You clearly lived through the best years of American travel. Although I feel the main reason for why travel, and particularly train travel, can never go back to "the way it was" is due to the change in our culture. People in the early to mid 20th century dressed up to travel because it was an experience. There was genuine excitement involved, especially for youngsters. Additionally traveling was an experience which could put strain on the bank for a lot of families. There was a sure expectation of stellar service in light of how costly it was to travel Pullman, and Pullman surely lived up to it. Traveling long distances has become affordable for most of the General public ever since those days, but as with any trade off there has been the fading out of some wonderful things. Today's traveler generally seeks the cheapest and fastest mode of transport with little regard for what one may call "the travel experience." I feel it is more due to the culture than it is due to economics that trains will never again link major American cities with distinctive dining and sleeping car service, railroads will never again fight one another to show the most pizzaz for the tasteful business traveler, and sleeping cars will never be seen by the present society as being anything more than a novelty from a bygone era. "Those things are gone just like the days when the milkman came each morning and when an airline ticket always got you a hot meal!"
I really think most Americans have become more "casual" about everything from work attire to travel to church. Even weddings and funerals. Generally I like this change, and am thrilled that most restaurants today do not enforce a dress code. The idea that a company that wants my money has the right to force me to dress a certain way is absurd.

We can have nice trains, restaurants, theaters, etc. without dressing up. While I may yearn for trains of yesteryear, and lotsa luck with that, the lack of dress codes is not the reason they are far and few between. It's more that most Americans are in such a hurry to do everything that they fail to appreciate the benefits of "chilling out."
 

Lonestar648

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Joined
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Messages
2,795
Yes, Americans are so busy, never relaxing even when on vacation. When supposedly on vacation how many feel the need to check their messages and make and take phone calls. At a recent function, I noticed that everyone under 50 had their cell phone on the table, in their lap, or in their hand in use. Some could barely eat, carry on conversation, etc. Taking the train is so slow for these people. See the beauty of this country is boring and unproductive.They can barely take the time to fly, complaining bitterly at slightest delay. They have schedulers for each of their children so they can schedule 15-30 minutes each day to be with these children, keeping the kids busy with one activity after another.

Yes, looking at train travel in the 50's and 60's everyone was in formal business attire, but i think that the great customer service in part had to be at that level, so with more causal dress, customer service seems to have suffered. I do not enjoy a coat and tie, but sometimes I think I would endure the discomfort just to have that customer service level again.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
3
I grew up in the '80s and '90s so I guess I am one of the last generations that got to ride in Heritage Fleet 10-6's and Slumbercoaches in their final miles.

As I recall the Slumbercoaches I rode on were ex-CB&Q and ex-C&O because they had the 24-8 layout, so no ex-NYC cars. They had a lot of what appeared to be fiberglass and formica on the interiors and these rigid materials liked to rattle especially when the train was moving at high speed. The sliding doors on the double rooms were also a bit heavy and could be hard to open and shut, at least for a kid. To me they were cozy due to the duplexing of the single rooms but I remember hearing some people complaining about them being claustrophobic.

Due to the layout of the double slumbercoach passengers in some of those rooms slept with their head right alongside the toilet, which not everybody thought was awesome since it transmitted some noise (and was also a toilet). Overall I would say that an Amtrak otaku would find a ride in a slumbercoach very unique and interesting in the 1990's but as a fan and someone who wants Amtrak to have as many fans as possible I am glad they are retired. They were noisy and that defeats the purpose of a sleeping car in my opinion. The air conditioners also had a tough time keeping 20 compartments chilled in the Florida summer. Slumbercoach tickets were quite a deal, however, and those spaces always sold out quickly, at least on the Florida trains.

The 10-6 sleepers on the other hand, were a different story. Have ridden in roomettes on both the Lake Shore Limited and the Night Owl. They had a distinctly more first class feel than the slumbercoaches (which were actually not first class accommodations, but I digress). Even in their dotage, you could still tell you were in what used to be a Pullman car- they were smooth and quiet and solid, right up to the end, and I do not recall ever feeling stuffy in a 10-6. Compared to a slumbercoach bunk, the roomette bed seemed to be a bit softer but most importantly the absence of rattles and road noise made it much easier to sleep soundly.

One other thing I remember about the Heritage sleepers for sure was that they were stinky! Walking alongside one on the outside was like walking by a port-a-potty because of the non-retention toilets. You could also see bits of toilet paper on the tracks sometimes.
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
764
Yes, Americans are so busy, never relaxing even when on vacation. When supposedly on vacation how many feel the need to check their messages and make and take phone calls. At a recent function, I noticed that everyone under 50 had their cell phone on the table, in their lap, or in their hand in use. Some could barely eat, carry on conversation, etc. Taking the train is so slow for these people. See the beauty of this country is boring and unproductive.They can barely take the time to fly, complaining bitterly at slightest delay. They have schedulers for each of their children so they can schedule 15-30 minutes each day to be with these children, keeping the kids busy with one activity after another.

Yes, looking at train travel in the 50's and 60's everyone was in formal business attire, but i think that the great customer service in part had to be at that level, so with more causal dress, customer service seems to have suffered. I do not enjoy a coat and tie, but sometimes I think I would endure the discomfort just to have that customer service level again.
I agree with your first paragraph entirely and the chronology in the second, but not the cause-and-effect. Are you saying because people started wearing t-shirts, jeans and shorts while traveling that OBS personnel intentionally stopped giving a high level of service? Surely there are more plausible reasons...like lowered expectations and training from management, lowered workplace morale issues, larger workloads at times, less tipping these days, etc.

Personally, I don't know how all those travelers from yesteryear kept their fine clothes looking so fresh. The way they had to be transported, stored on board, and the tight spaces to change clothes in had to make that very difficult. Yet most photos from the era show "dashing." I'm glad not to need to worry about it, just relax in everyday clothes.
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
764
I grew up in the '80s and '90s so I guess I am one of the last generations that got to ride in Heritage Fleet 10-6's and Slumbercoaches in their final miles.

As I recall the Slumbercoaches I rode on were ex-CB&Q and ex-C&O because they had the 24-8 layout, so no ex-NYC cars. They had a lot of what appeared to be fiberglass and formica on the interiors and these rigid materials liked to rattle especially when the train was moving at high speed. The sliding doors on the double rooms were also a bit heavy and could be hard to open and shut, at least for a kid. To me they were cozy due to the duplexing of the single rooms but I remember hearing some people complaining about them being claustrophobic.

Due to the layout of the double slumbercoach passengers in some of those rooms slept with their head right alongside the toilet, which not everybody thought was awesome since it transmitted some noise (and was also a toilet). Overall I would say that an Amtrak otaku would find a ride in a slumbercoach very unique and interesting in the 1990's but as a fan and someone who wants Amtrak to have as many fans as possible I am glad they are retired. They were noisy and that defeats the purpose of a sleeping car in my opinion. The air conditioners also had a tough time keeping 20 compartments chilled in the Florida summer. Slumbercoach tickets were quite a deal, however, and those spaces always sold out quickly, at least on the Florida trains.

The 10-6 sleepers on the other hand, were a different story. Have ridden in roomettes on both the Lake Shore Limited and the Night Owl. They had a distinctly more first class feel than the slumbercoaches (which were actually not first class accommodations, but I digress). Even in their dotage, you could still tell you were in what used to be a Pullman car- they were smooth and quiet and solid, right up to the end, and I do not recall ever feeling stuffy in a 10-6. Compared to a slumbercoach bunk, the roomette bed seemed to be a bit softer but most importantly the absence of rattles and road noise made it much easier to sleep soundly.

One other thing I remember about the Heritage sleepers for sure was that they were stinky! Walking alongside one on the outside was like walking by a port-a-potty because of the non-retention toilets. You could also see bits of toilet paper on the tracks sometimes.
I came along right after Amtrak Day in 1971, and there were numerous opportunities while a young railfan to book a Slumbercoach. It was either that or coach on my budget then. It was a great day to be travelling on a 14-day $150 railpass and be able to upgrade at the last minute (couldn't reserve a sleeper in advance if on a railpass) to a $15 slumbercoach! I wish we still had both the inexpensive all-you-can-ride railpass AND 21st century versions of slumbercoaches.
 

railiner

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Messages
9,610
Location
Palm Beach County
I grew up in the '80s and '90s so I guess I am one of the last generations that got to ride in Heritage Fleet 10-6's and Slumbercoaches in their final miles.

As I recall the Slumbercoaches I rode on were ex-CB&Q and ex-C&O because they had the 24-8 layout, so no ex-NYC cars. They had a lot of what appeared to be fiberglass and formica on the interiors and these rigid materials liked to rattle especially when the train was moving at high speed. The sliding doors on the double rooms were also a bit heavy and could be hard to open and shut, at least for a kid. To me they were cozy due to the duplexing of the single rooms but I remember hearing some people complaining about them being claustrophobic.

Due to the layout of the double slumbercoach passengers in some of those rooms slept with their head right alongside the toilet, which not everybody thought was awesome since it transmitted some noise (and was also a toilet). Overall I would say that an Amtrak otaku would find a ride in a slumbercoach very unique and interesting in the 1990's but as a fan and someone who wants Amtrak to have as many fans as possible I am glad they are retired. They were noisy and that defeats the purpose of a sleeping car in my opinion. The air conditioners also had a tough time keeping 20 compartments chilled in the Florida summer. Slumbercoach tickets were quite a deal, however, and those spaces always sold out quickly, at least on the Florida trains.

The 10-6 sleepers on the other hand, were a different story. Have ridden in roomettes on both the Lake Shore Limited and the Night Owl. They had a distinctly more first class feel than the slumbercoaches (which were actually not first class accommodations, but I digress). Even in their dotage, you could still tell you were in what used to be a Pullman car- they were smooth and quiet and solid, right up to the end, and I do not recall ever feeling stuffy in a 10-6. Compared to a slumbercoach bunk, the roomette bed seemed to be a bit softer but most importantly the absence of rattles and road noise made it much easier to sleep soundly.

One other thing I remember about the Heritage sleepers for sure was that they were stinky! Walking alongside one on the outside was like walking by a port-a-potty because of the non-retention toilets. You could also see bits of toilet paper on the tracks sometimes.
Welcome to AU!

Agree that the "lower level" duplex single slumbercoach rooms were a bit claustrophobic, compared to the "upper level" duplex rooms....those that cared, and were in the know, booked accordingly, if possible....

If someone slept with their head next to the toilet in any slumbercoach room, they were facing the "wrong way", IIRC. I agree that the rooms had a lot of pink fiberglass in their construction, but don't seem to recall them being particularly noisy or rattling. And yes, the rolled up foam mattresses were very thin when compared to the thick, sprung mattresses in the FC roomettes.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
3
Welcome to AU!

Agree that the "lower level" duplex single slumbercoach rooms were a bit claustrophobic, compared to the "upper level" duplex rooms....those that cared, and were in the know, booked accordingly, if possible....

If someone slept with their head next to the toilet in any slumbercoach room, they were facing the "wrong way", IIRC. I agree that the rooms had a lot of pink fiberglass in their construction, but don't seem to recall them being particularly noisy or rattling. And yes, the rolled up foam mattresses were very thin when compared to the thick, sprung mattresses in the FC roomettes.
The rattling may well have been due to track condition (this was CSX between MIA and WAS in 1993). I have always felt that a proper "tourist class" sleeper accommodation is sorely needed on Amtrak now that the slumbercoaches are history. Open sections seem to be the most practical option, and I think they would be incredibly popular, especially on transcontinental trains. That is essentially what a Superliner Roomette is I guess, minus a closet and a door.
 

Lonestar648

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
2,795
Yes, Americans are so busy, never relaxing even when on vacation. When supposedly on vacation how many feel the need to check their messages and make and take phone calls. At a recent function, I noticed that everyone under 50 had their cell phone on the table, in their lap, or in their hand in use. Some could barely eat, carry on conversation, etc. Taking the train is so slow for these people. See the beauty of this country is boring and unproductive.They can barely take the time to fly, complaining bitterly at slightest delay. They have schedulers for each of their children so they can schedule 15-30 minutes each day to be with these children, keeping the kids busy with one activity after another.

Yes, looking at train travel in the 50's and 60's everyone was in formal business attire, but i think that the great customer service in part had to be at that level, so with more causal dress, customer service seems to have suffered. I do not enjoy a coat and tie, but sometimes I think I would endure the discomfort just to have that customer service level again.
I agree with your first paragraph entirely and the chronology in the second, but not the cause-and-effect. Are you saying because people started wearing t-shirts, jeans and shorts while traveling that OBS personnel intentionally stopped giving a high level of service? Surely there are more plausible reasons...like lowered expectations and training from management, lowered workplace morale issues, larger workloads at times, less tipping these days, etc.

Personally, I don't know how all those travelers from yesteryear kept their fine clothes looking so fresh. The way they had to be transported, stored on board, and the tight spaces to change clothes in had to make that very difficult. Yet most photos from the era show "dashing." I'm glad not to need to worry about it, just relax in everyday clothes.
I didn't mean the change in clothes made the difference, but as the clothes were changing, so were the standards for other things like customer service. To me it just seams like society as a whole was evolving to be less formal, less customer oriented, less concerned about others. Maybe it is just me.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,610
Location
Palm Beach County
Yes, Americans are so busy, never relaxing even when on vacation. When supposedly on vacation how many feel the need to check their messages and make and take phone calls. At a recent function, I noticed that everyone under 50 had their cell phone on the table, in their lap, or in their hand in use. Some could barely eat, carry on conversation, etc. Taking the train is so slow for these people. See the beauty of this country is boring and unproductive.They can barely take the time to fly, complaining bitterly at slightest delay. They have schedulers for each of their children so they can schedule 15-30 minutes each day to be with these children, keeping the kids busy with one activity after another.

Yes, looking at train travel in the 50's and 60's everyone was in formal business attire, but i think that the great customer service in part had to be at that level, so with more causal dress, customer service seems to have suffered. I do not enjoy a coat and tie, but sometimes I think I would endure the discomfort just to have that customer service level again.
I agree with your first paragraph entirely and the chronology in the second, but not the cause-and-effect. Are you saying because people started wearing t-shirts, jeans and shorts while traveling that OBS personnel intentionally stopped giving a high level of service? Surely there are more plausible reasons...like lowered expectations and training from management, lowered workplace morale issues, larger workloads at times, less tipping these days, etc.

Personally, I don't know how all those travelers from yesteryear kept their fine clothes looking so fresh. The way they had to be transported, stored on board, and the tight spaces to change clothes in had to make that very difficult. Yet most photos from the era show "dashing." I'm glad not to need to worry about it, just relax in everyday clothes.
I didn't mean the change in clothes made the difference, but as the clothes were changing, so were the standards for other things like customer service. To me it just seams like society as a whole was evolving to be less formal, less customer oriented, less concerned about others. Maybe it is just me.
It's not just you....join the "Born Too Late" Club....
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,610
Location
Palm Beach County
Welcome to AU!

Agree that the "lower level" duplex single slumbercoach rooms were a bit claustrophobic, compared to the "upper level" duplex rooms....those that cared, and were in the know, booked accordingly, if possible....

If someone slept with their head next to the toilet in any slumbercoach room, they were facing the "wrong way", IIRC. I agree that the rooms had a lot of pink fiberglass in their construction, but don't seem to recall them being particularly noisy or rattling. And yes, the rolled up foam mattresses were very thin when compared to the thick, sprung mattresses in the FC roomettes.
The rattling may well have been due to track condition (this was CSX between MIA and WAS in 1993). I have always felt that a proper "tourist class" sleeper accommodation is sorely needed on Amtrak now that the slumbercoaches are history. Open sections seem to be the most practical option, and I think they would be incredibly popular, especially on transcontinental trains. That is essentially what a Superliner Roomette is I guess, minus a closet and a door.
I think it would be better to have the doors, as they are, rather than mess with curtains, like the old open section's had....

What they could do, is outfit a Superliner with an all economy room ("Roomette") configuration....no deluxe bedrooms....and no "extra's" included. That would add maybe 10 more roomettes to the car, for a total of 24 Roomettes, 1 Family Room, and 1 Handicap Room=52 Adult and 2 Child Berths per car...?
 

Lonestar648

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As far as revenue, note that many times the Bedrooms bring twice or more of a Roomette, so doubling the Roomettes would still bring the same amount of revenue. Next, could the SCA manage the bed changing, including the changing of the sheets for a sold out car? Would costs be equal if revenue was near equal, thus carrying more passengers. I think the idea would be great.
 

NS VIA Fan

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When I rode CN's Super Continental from Montreal to Vancouver, I had the lower berth in an open section. The car was smooth-sided, and had I think six sections, three or four bedrooms, and six roomettes (that seems like too many rooms to fit in a car, maybe my memory is not correct).......
'A '6-6-4'....and a common sleeper configuration on CN and well into the VIA era. These were the 'Green' series cars built by Pullman Standard in the big CN order of 1954 and used to equip the new Super Continental' when launched in 1955. The more expensive Bedrooms were in the centre of the car with the Sections on one end and the Roomettes on the other.

Here's 'Green Hill' on the Ocean at Truro, NS in 1974.

74-09Scan10083.JPG
 

jis

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Or for ultimate in cramming people in go to the Russian standard. You can fit 56 in a third class sleeper.
56 is a pretty low number for a lower class sleeper.

The 3 Tier Sleepers both AC and non-AC in India can fit 72, 9 bays of 8 each - 3x2 in the bay and 2 on the walkway side of the bay. And as far as sleeping comfort goes, they are not too shabby. Similar to 6 berth couchettes in Europe in the bay, and 2 berths for each bay on the walkway side.

The more affluent who don;t want to spring for AC First which has compartments, usually spring for the AC 2 Tier Sleepers which come with thick curtains for each berth. These can hold 9 bays of 6 per bay that is 54.

One Railway Minister tried to make an ultra dense 9 bays of 9 per bay holding 81 per car work, but the customers revolted and that did not get deployed very broadly.
 

cpotisch

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Welcome to AU!
Agree that the "lower level" duplex single slumbercoach rooms were a bit claustrophobic, compared to the "upper level" duplex rooms....those that cared, and were in the know, booked accordingly, if possible....

If someone slept with their head next to the toilet in any slumbercoach room, they were facing the "wrong way", IIRC. I agree that the rooms had a lot of pink fiberglass in their construction, but don't seem to recall them being particularly noisy or rattling. And yes, the rolled up foam mattresses were very thin when compared to the thick, sprung mattresses in the FC roomettes.
The rattling may well have been due to track condition (this was CSX between MIA and WAS in 1993). I have always felt that a proper "tourist class" sleeper accommodation is sorely needed on Amtrak now that the slumbercoaches are history. Open sections seem to be the most practical option, and I think they would be incredibly popular, especially on transcontinental trains. That is essentially what a Superliner Roomette is I guess, minus a closet and a door.
I think it would be better to have the doors, as they are, rather than mess with curtains, like the old open section's had....What they could do, is outfit a Superliner with an all economy room ("Roomette") configuration....no deluxe bedrooms....and no "extra's" included. That would add maybe 10 more roomettes to the car, for a total of 24 Roomettes, 1 Family Room, and 1 Handicap Room=52 Adult and 2 Child Berths per car...?
I’ve thought about this quite a bit myself, actually. On routes with lower demand/prestige, a roomette only car I think would work quite well. Think CONO or TE. The former is very short, and doesn’t have very good equipment or ridership, so I think most passengers don’t want the big, fancy bedroom. The TE also does not have much in the way of scenery or ridership, so I think more of a focus on the ‘economy’ options would make sense.
 
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