What was it like to travel in a Heritage Sleeper?

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Seaboard92

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That's true it didn't. But it is a very true factor the more Windows the more leaks. My worst car I've had was a dome it must have had twenty different places.
 

railiner

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I suppose those rubber seals are high maintenance items, and hard to obtain...when the UV from the sun dries them out, they don't seal too well....
 

Seaboard92

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Exactly. When I was working the 9410 for a season I actually carried a box of them with me. And slowly but surely replaced all of them.
 

NYP2NFL01

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I traveled in an Amtrak Heritage Bedroom on the northbound Crescent in May, 1994. By that time the rooms were shabby to say the least. However, I wanted to surprise my wife of 2 and a half years at the time with private accommodations on our return to New York. Our southbound journey to Charlotte, NC on the Carolinian in coach was anything but pleasant. When the occupants of the bedroom next to us left, the car attendant opened up the partition between the two rooms. So, we had a “suite” between DC and New York. Plus, we received hot coffee, orange juice and a regional newspaper from the room attendant. Real, friendly service. So, while the rooms were not in the best state of repair, the service received was top-notch!
 

Bob Dylan

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Since I'm old ( started riding Trains in 1944 even if I don't remember, LOL), I've traveled in pretty much every kind of equipment Railroads have had on the Rails since then.

Honestly my favorite Sleeping Car rooms on Heritage Sleepers,when traveling by myself, were the Slumber Coaches and the Sections( Bottom Bunk).

By the time Amtrak took over in 1971, lots of the Rainbow Cars were pretty much Worn out and Shabby.( similar to the tired Viewliner Is and Superliner IIs)

The exceptions were the Santa Fe and Southern Cars, since they were still running their own Trains and still had pride in their Rail Roads.

My favorite Cars were the Domes, the Parlor/Lounge Cars and the Diners, which still served Real Food prepared and Served by Professionals.( sadly all these folks are long retired and gone ).
 

MrMattyMatt

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Sadly, I never got the opportunity to travel in a Heritage Bedroom/Roomette sleeping car, but I did do a Chicago - NTC and back run in a Slumbercoach. I had an "upper" slumbercoach and was amazing at how everything was included in the tiny space and I never felt the least bit claustrophobic. I slept really well aside from waking up once hearing my neighbor snoring below me through the walls. During the daytime, I spent most of my time in my girlfriend's "double" slumbercoach which is quite similar to today's Roomette. She was sharing it with her 6 year old son and the three of us, two adults and one child didn't feel cramped in it. I wish they would make a more modern Slumbercoach as it was quite a good product IMO
 

PaTrainFan

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I was fortunate enough to ride in "heritage" sleepers several times as a child and young teenager, pre-Amtrak. While I am a Superliner fan and am warming to Viewliners, the older sleepers can't be beat in terms of design, comfort and practicality. This is why I pine for a return voyage on The Canadian, some 33 years since the last one.
 

Mailliw

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I hope one day I get a chance to ride overnight on VIA; it's amazing how long they've kept their heritage sleepers in service.
 
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Willbridge

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Sadly, I never got the opportunity to travel in a Heritage Bedroom/Roomette sleeping car, but I did do a Chicago - NTC and back run in a Slumbercoach. I had an "upper" slumbercoach and was amazing at how everything was included in the tiny space and I never felt the least bit claustrophobic. I slept really well aside from waking up once hearing my neighbor snoring below me through the walls. During the daytime, I spent most of my time in my girlfriend's "double" slumbercoach which is quite similar to today's Roomette. She was sharing it with her 6 year old son and the three of us, two adults and one child didn't feel cramped in it. I wish they would make a more modern Slumbercoach as it was quite a good product IMO
I never had the opportunity to ride in a Slumbercoach, but they were popular enough that the NP Mainstreeter carried ONLY a Slumbercoach in later years.
 

jpakala

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In 1956 we rode in the Dakota 400 parlor car just from Rochester to Mankato, MN (where it was replaced by a sleeping car, but we road in a coach on to Brookings, SD). The parlor car had a drawing room as well. In the 1960s we rode Milwaukee Road's train from Chicago to Sioux Falls, SD named the Arrow and we had a bedroom. Half of the next car was dining and half was the rotating parlor car chairs which as sleeping car passengers we could enjoy, though we were the only users apart from a conductor and assistant for a while. The bedroom had a sofa-seat plus a nice armchair that folded up and went under the lower berth which folded out of the wall as the back of the sofa-seat folded downward just as in the roomettes & the beds were along the wall with the window. In 1967 I took the CP Canadian from Winnipeg to Vancouver and wished my upper berth had the little windows at each end. By day I sat in the dome almost all the time except for the great dining car meals.
 

Willbridge

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On behalf of my 98-year old father -- who had a lot of experience with open section sleeping cars -- I'll mention one problem that he still recalls. He was on the SP's set-out sleeper at Eugene, awaiting the trip to Portland in the Rogue River. (The sleeper came from Coos Bay, but had a long layover in Eugene.) Another passenger was snoring very loudly, so much so that mutterings from other sections could be heard through the curtains. Finally one of the passengers grabbed a pillow and threw it into the loud snorer's berth. The offender snuffled and rolled over and everyone else could get some sleep.

One advantage of a standard sleeping car (12 sections, 1 drawing room) is that if a car was booked for a group they could socialize during the day and/or move to the side of the train with the best scenery. In 1974 my Japanese tour retailers were disappointed when CN retired the pool of extra heavyweights that had been available for Vancouver, BC <> Jasper.
 

Mailliw

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Also VIA doesn't have all section cars anymore; just three sections (6 berths) per HEP sleeping car.
 

Willbridge

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Also VIA doesn't have all section cars anymore; just three sections (6 berths) per HEP sleeping car.
And that's one of the problems for Japanese tour groups. The retailers didn't sell three or four different price levels; they sold one level based on the average cost of the space and then the tour escort had to sort out who got to sleep where. The old 12 sec, 1 dr cars were easier for that reason, aside from the social and scenic advantages.

I don't know why the northern lines in the US and the Canadian lines were particularly enamored of offering so many types of space in a single car but my surmise is that they expected to cascade them down to secondary trains with only one or two sleepers when they would be replaced by newer cars.

When we discuss offering more types of sleeping car spaces it is a good idea to recall that when Amtrak started up they were proud of reducing the number of types of space. Aside from some staff at firms that specialized, few travel agents by the 1970's could tell the difference between a compartment and a bedroom. The public knew even less.
 

jiml

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When we discuss offering more types of sleeping car spaces it is a good idea to recall that when Amtrak started up they were proud of reducing the number of types of space. Aside from some staff at firms that specialized, few travel agents by the 1970's could tell the difference between a compartment and a bedroom. The public knew even less.
The one great mistake Amtrak made was shelving the cars that had drawing rooms since they were essentially the Family Bedroom of the era. The problem was of course the diverse configurations of the remainder of the inherited cars.
The old 12 sec, 1 dr cars were easier for that reason, aside from the social and scenic advantages.
Think how well a car like that would address some of the recent concerns about lower-cost accommodation on trains, as well as a larger bedroom in the single-level fleet. Again I assume consistency and quantity would be a problem.
 

railiner

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I was looking around the web, and learned something new today...there were some cars where you could book a "drawing room suite" that could sleep as many as 6 adults....(two drawing rooms with a connecting door). Never knew that.:cool:
 

20th Century Rider

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Memories of my first ride on what is now the Texas Eagle... from the old Missouri Pacific service... from St. Louis to Laredo, Texas... for the thrill of walking across the boarder and purchasing some cheep tequila to bring back... and also to drink some along the way. 😇 This was in the early 1970's after Amtrak had just begun.

I was in a roomette which was fairly clean as I remember... and brought along some cold chicken to enjoy for the first meal. Enjoyed the remainder of the meals in the restaurant car. Meals for sleepers were not included in those days.

What I most remember about that trip was the excitement of getting on a train to go a long distance... and to be able to walk into Mexico to look around. Remembering staying in a small hotel in Laredo, then getting on the train to come back.

Biggest regret was not continuing on the Azteca which to Mexico City.

The pics below are as close as I could find on Google. I did take some slides... but they are long gone now.

7effd23b640c8f737af5b03d25edead5.jpg

gettyimages-1082130812-612x612.jpg
 

20th Century Rider

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Memories of my first ride on what is now the Texas Eagle... from the old Missouri Pacific service... from St. Louis to Laredo, Texas... for the thrill of walking across the boarder and purchasing some cheep tequila to bring back... and also to drink some along the way. 😇 This was in the early 1970's after Amtrak had just begun.

I was in a roomette which was fairly clean as I remember... and brought along some cold chicken to enjoy for the first meal. Enjoyed the remainder of the meals in the restaurant car. Meals for sleepers were not included in those days.

What I most remember about that trip was the excitement of getting on a train to go a long distance... and to be able to walk into Mexico to look around. Remembering staying in a small hotel in Laredo, then getting on the train to come back.

Biggest regret was not continuing on the Azteca which to Mexico City.

The pics below are as close as I could find on Google. I did take some slides... but they are long gone now.

View attachment 22244

View attachment 22245
The Azteca Eagle was synced with the Texas Eagle. It would have been an absolute dream to continue on down to Mexico City... and to immerse in the culture! There's lots of lore and historical information on the Azteca.
 

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toddinde

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The one great mistake Amtrak made was shelving the cars that had drawing rooms since they were essentially the Family Bedroom of the era. The problem was of course the diverse configurations of the remainder of the inherited cars.

Think how well a car like that would address some of the recent concerns about lower-cost accommodation on trains, as well as a larger bedroom in the single-level fleet. Again I assume consistency and quantity would be a problem.
I agree, but the sections have problems. The uppers frequently don’t sell. The couchette would be something to try. All berths in a couchette are priced the same. The density per car is higher as well.
 

jiml

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I was looking around the web, and learned something new today...there were some cars where you could book a "drawing room suite" that could sleep as many as 6 adults....(two drawing rooms with a connecting door). Never knew that.:cool:
New one on me too. I knew you could combine a drawing room with a standard bedroom - at least on CP/VIA.
 
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