What was it like to travel in a Heritage Sleeper?

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MikefromCrete

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New Orleans isn't a big tourist destination! I think a lot of people would disagree with that statement. It's one of the prime tourist destinations in this country.
 

Bob Dylan

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New Orleans isn't a big tourist destination! I think a lot of people would disagree with that statement. It's one of the prime tourist destinations in this country.
This!( and you'd be surprised about my Home Train,the Texas Eagle, most trains have the Bedrooms occupied, especially on #421/#422 days!)
 

jis

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I have this impression that New Orleans basically exists in its current form because of Conventions and Tourism. That is one of its biggest business sectors at this time. Quoting from the Wikipedia entry on New Orleans, which further refers to Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism:

Tourism is another staple of the city's economy. Perhaps more visible than any other sector, New Orleans' tourist and convention industry is a $5.5 billion industry that accounts for 40 percent of city tax revenues. In 2004, the hospitality industry employed 85,000 people, making it the city's top economic sector as measured by employment.[128] New Orleans also hosts the World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF).
 

cpotisch

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New Orleans isn't a big tourist destination! I think a lot of people would disagree with that statement. It's one of the prime tourist destinations in this country.
This!( and you'd be surprised about my Home Train,the Texas Eagle, most trains have the Bedrooms occupied, especially on #421/#422 days!)
What I’m saying is that if those trains could use a bit more capacity sometimes, it might not make sense to add even more bedrooms, if they could instead add 10 roomettes. The CONO sometimes operates with two sleepers, and it is very uncommon that I see the bedrooms sold out. Whereas the roomettes fill up pretty often. I’m not advocating for a route to stop offering bedrooms altogether, just that it might make sense in some cases to get 10 extra roomettes, instead of five extra bedrooms.
 

Lonestar648

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New Orleans isn't a big tourist destination! I think a lot of people would disagree with that statement. It's one of the prime tourist destinations in this country.
This!( and you'd be surprised about my Home Train,the Texas Eagle, most trains have the Bedrooms occupied, especially on #421/#422 days!)
What I’m saying is that if those trains could use a bit more capacity sometimes, it might not make sense to add even more bedrooms, if they could instead add 10 roomettes. The CONO sometimes operates with two sleepers, and it is very uncommon that I see the bedrooms sold out. Whereas the roomettes fill up pretty often. I’m not advocating for a route to stop offering bedrooms altogether, just that it might make sense in some cases to get 10 extra roomettes, instead of five extra bedrooms.
Eliminating Bedrooms that sell out most of the time for additional Roomettes doesn't make revenue sense. Maybe a few additional passengers, but no real benefit. An additional car makes more sense revenue and passenger wise during the busy times if a car was available for each consist.
 

chakk

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Intentionally booked an upper berth on The Canadian from Vancouver to Toronto 3 yrs ago to check another off my bucket list. Most comfortable mattress experienced on a train in more

than 45 years.

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railiner

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I wouldn't book an Upper for that long of a trip, primarily because the passenger holding the Upper is assigned the backwards-facing seat, during the day. It would be okay for just an overnite trip, but on a transcontinental? I would prefer to see where I am going, rather than where I've been....
 

CoachSlumber

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When I lived in Denver, in the 70's and 80's, I used to take the train back to New York once or twice a year on vacations As a station employee, I got to know the crews pretty well, and leaving Denver, they would "take care of me"....

They would let me ride in the trans-coach-dorm, which was not used for passenger's, off-season. So I had 40 seats to myself. I would turn the front pair around, and raise all four legrests, to create a nice 'bed'. And they would give me a blanket and pillow. In addition, they let me use the nice big crew shower on the lower level, which was appreciated, as I would often work that train, right up until departure time, to extend my vacation a day.

East of Chicago, I would buy a Single Slumbercoach on either The Broadway, or the Lake Shore. Besides the 24-8 type Slumber's, well described by diagrua above, I would sometimes get one of the 16 Single, 10 Double type, that were converted from all-roomette cars. These had four 'bonus' single rooms, that were actually double rooms, but only were built with one bed in them. They were very roomy, plus had the larger window. These were always rooms 1 through 4. Why they were built that way, I can only guess....

At the time they were completed, there may have been a much larger call for single rooms than doubles, so they adjusted their plans, but could always change them back, if needed relatively easily. Then, they would have been 12 Single, 14 Double slumbercoaches....

I liked to party until 'closing time' in the lounge cars back then, and one nice feature of all the slumber's was that you could still use the toilet at night, without the need to raise the bed.
My first time riding the Amtrak Broadway in the '70s I got one of those bonus rooms. But I was always happy with any slumbercoach room--such a deal, especially for a college student.
 

dlagrua

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railiner

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Great photo's, thanks for posting them!

It appears that the ones showing the bed in place, is a "lower", and the one with the bed stowed, is an "upper".

Furthermore, it appears that my memory failed me....apparently the toilet (under the padded 'seat') is actually at the head end of the bed, not the foot, as I stated earlier.

When you raised that padded lid, there was a side piece that raised with it, to shield the bed from 'spray'.... I know...too much information....
 

chakk

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I wouldn't book an Upper for that long of a trip, primarily because the passenger holding the Upper is assigned the backwards-facing seat, during the day. It would be okay for just an overnite trip, but on a transcontinental? I would prefer to see where I am going, rather than where I've been....
I forgot to mention that I spent less than three hours of the journey sitting in the assigned rear-facing seat. The rest of the time was spent eating meals in the diner or riding in the dome observation car.

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NS VIA Fan

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Intentionally booked an upper berth on The Canadian from Vancouver to Toronto 3 yrs ago to check another off my bucket list. Most comfortable mattress experienced on a train in more

than 45 years.
Don’t think I could handle an Upper Berth. I have to be able to roll up the blind at 3am to see where we’re at! (even flying......it’s always a window seat for me!)
 

dlagrua

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Great photo's, thanks for posting them!

It appears that the ones showing the bed in place, is a "lower", and the one with the bed stowed, is an "upper".

Furthermore, it appears that my memory failed me....apparently the toilet (under the padded 'seat') is actually at the head end of the bed, not the foot, as I stated earlier.

When you raised that padded lid, there was a side piece that raised with it, to shield the bed from 'spray'.... I know...too much information....
Sure seems like that's the case. Many don't realize it but the rooms were staggered high and low and with the bed down about 1/3 of your body was in an alcove. As tight as it was there was a wide chair and a bed for overnight trips. It allowed rail passengers an inexpensive.travel option . The design was probably discontinued due to the two steps up from the hall to the upper room and because the car had over 30 toilets and sinks, all of which emptied onto the tracks. All of this was before my time but I would gladly have slept in one of these. Picture's were taken at the Illinois Railroad Museum of a former Northern Pacific North Coast Ltd car.
 

RPC

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Yeah, it's kind of weird seeing a car you rode in revenue service in a museum! The "upper" single slumbercoach rooms were the best: plenty of room for luggage, you didn't have to stow the bed to use the toilet, a nice big window all to yourself...
 

Gulfwind2

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I agree that the slumbercoaches were a great idea for their time, but there couldn't possibly be a modern iteration of that idea considering how many of today's travelers are obese.
 

GBNorman

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Dont think I could handle an Upper Berth. I have to be able to roll up the blind at 3am to see where were at! (even flying......its always a window seat for me!)
First Mr. VIA Fan, relating to rail travel, the "Rolling Tenement" Upper Berth probably likely brought about the "postwar crop" of train haters (my Father one of such) as did anything within the control of the railroads. Think of it ringing the Porter to get out of the "coffin", the community washrooms, the Jack Benny skits of dressing in one, adding or cutting cars at Podunk, steam engines, and on and on.
No wonder as soon as there was a choice, it was curtains.

Now so far as flying, are we ever on the same page. Just like you if in Coach, I want a window seat well Aft for my "flightseeing". Even on WW overseas flights ("the longest day"), I'll have the shade up - I've seen icebergs, ships, and landfalls over Canada.

Last September, on an ORD-LGA flight, I chose to pay for a last minute upgrade to First. I got a "take it or leave it" asile seat. The guy in the window was already asleep, and all the shades in the A-320's cabin were drawn. It reminded me of being on a military aircraft with no idea which runway we were on to take off (and what to look for on departure).

Grrrrrr!

Well finally on approach this guy wakes and somehow sensed I was anxious to look out. So on a perfect day, I did get to see the Manhattan skyline on the approach to LGA Rwy 31. Then he says (he was a nice guy) "had I known you wanted to look out, I'd change seats". "But you wanted to sleep". "That's no problem, I can sleep anywhere".

The irony of it all.
 
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railiner

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Intentionally booked an upper berth on The Canadian from Vancouver to Toronto 3 yrs ago to check another off my bucket list. Most comfortable mattress experienced on a train in more

than 45 years.
Don’t think I could handle an Upper Berth. I have to be able to roll up the blind at 3am to see where we’re at! (even flying......it’s always a window seat for me!)
Maybe the CN cars didn't have them, but IIRC, some of the open section Pullman cars did have a pair of tiny "porthole's", for Upper Berth passenger's to peek out from...

You can see them at the far end of this attachment....

https://www.google.com/search?q=pullman+car+upper+berth+windows&rlz=1C1CHZL_enUS739US739&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=7m49zNg4KM4iVM%253A%252CsLYP0uK00DSM5M%252C_&usg=__tgO32Z2PJiB3-GTsIGZjhyg3wLE%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjMxsGq-pHaAhVIMd8KHW8QAYEQ9QEIRzAG#imgrc=7m49zNg4KM4iVM:
 
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zephyr17

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Those portholes for the upper berth were always more the exception than the rule. The ex-CP Budd cars in use on the Canadian, the Manors and the occasional un-Prestiged Chateau, do not have them.
 
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Skyline

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I wouldn't book an Upper for that long of a trip, primarily because the passenger holding the Upper is assigned the backwards-facing seat, during the day. It would be okay for just an overnite trip, but on a transcontinental? I would prefer to see where I am going, rather than where I've been....
For people with balance issues like vertigo or worse, riding backwards can trigger miserable day(s).
 

chakk

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I didn’t mind riding backwards in my daytime seat for my Canadian upper berth.

Nor for my business class “nest” on a British Airways 787 from London to California. Although I must say the takeoff and climbout “felt” a bit odd.

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GBNorman

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The Upper Berth portholes were only on Pullman-Standard "prewar" Lightweight cars (even though the Erie "American--" car noted by Mr. Railiner was delivered during 1942).
 

Dakota 400

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I didn’t mind riding backwards in my daytime seat for my Canadian upper berth.

Nor for my business class “nest” on a British Airways 787 from London to California. Although I must say the takeoff and climbout “felt” a bit odd.

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Thanks for this comment about your experience on a BA 787. I have wondered if I would be "pleased" with such an experience of being seated backwards. I'm going to avoid making a booking on a plane whose seating is so arranged.

One wonders what such a decision was made. And, by whom in what company/capacity?
 

railiner

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The Upper Berth portholes were only on Pullman-Standard "prewar" Lightweight cars (even though the Erie "American--" car noted by Mr. Railiner was delivered during 1942).
Thanks for that information...

Seemed like a good idea, somewhat confirmed by the modern Viewliner design...so why didn't they continue that practice, with the few additional open section sleepers constructed after that time? Expense, I reckon....
 

Seaboard92

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The Upper Berth portholes were only on Pullman-Standard "prewar" Lightweight cars (even though the Erie "American--" car noted by Mr. Railiner was delivered during 1942).
Thanks for that information...Seemed like a good idea, somewhat confirmed by the modern Viewliner design...so why didn't they continue that practice, with the few additional open section sleepers constructed after that time? Expense, I reckon....
That and generally the more Windows a car has the more it leaks.
 

railiner

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The Upper Berth portholes were only on Pullman-Standard "prewar" Lightweight cars (even though the Erie "American--" car noted by Mr. Railiner was delivered during 1942).
Thanks for that information...Seemed like a good idea, somewhat confirmed by the modern Viewliner design...so why didn't they continue that practice, with the few additional open section sleepers constructed after that time? Expense, I reckon....
That and generally the more Windows a car has the more it leaks.
That didn't discourage the introduction of domes and 'sun lounge' sleeper's a few years later.....
 
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