What was it like to travel in a Heritage Sleeper?

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Mailliw

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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.
A modern section sleeper could make the uppers less claustrophobic by adding windows & more headroom. And of course there'd be outlets galore. The drawing room would be replaced by an ADA bedroom and without the large men & women's dressing rooms I think you could fit 16 or 18 sections.
 

jpakala

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In 1964 we had on of the 4 bedrooms in "Regal Elm" which also had 4 compartments and 2 drawing rooms (the latter in the center for smoother ride). A mother with 2 grade school boys and a junior high girl had the drawing room with a door between it and a compartment which the girl had. I don't know that drawing rooms had such adjacent bedrooms with doors between the two, at least in the 4-4-2 Pullmans.
 

MrMattyMatt

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I get that the layout was different between a bedroom and compartment, but what really is the difference? Were compartments just a bit larger?

Also, a modern section car would need showers plus I could see the debate about who gets to sit facing forward vs backward in the daytime configuration being more of an issue in modern times.
 

Bob Dylan

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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
As one who had many trips on the old Mopac Texas Eagle, as well as the Azteca, I can state that both were a real joy to ride!

My First Dome Car ride was on the Eagle, and the trips from Nuevo Laredo to Mexico City on the Azteca are Great Memories in my Golden Years!
 

Bob Dylan

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I get that the layout was different between a bedroom and compartment, but what really is the difference? Were compartments just a bit larger?

Also, a modern section car would need showers plus I could see the debate about who gets to sit facing forward vs backward in the daytime configuration being more of an issue in modern times.
Yes, Compartments were larger, and Drawing Rooms also, plus they had 3 Beds as opposed to 2 in Bedrooms.( all had enclosed Bathrooms but Not Showers)

I cant remember the #, but in the Regular Park Cars( not the Fancy Premium Version) there is a Drawing Room that's Larger than the other Rooms, and the Train Chief has occupied it on my Canadian Trips.( the Conductor on VIA Trains rides in the Cab with the Engineer)

As for Sections in Daytime Configuration, the Rule is that the Bottom Bunk gets the Forward Facing Seat,and the Top the rear facing one since Bottoms cost more!
 
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railiner

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New one on me too. I knew you could combine a drawing room with a standard bedroom - at least on CP/VIA.
In 1964 we had on of the 4 bedrooms in "Regal Elm" which also had 4 compartments and 2 drawing rooms (the latter in the center for smoother ride). A mother with 2 grade school boys and a junior high girl had the drawing room with a door between it and a compartment which the girl had. I don't know that drawing rooms had such adjacent bedrooms with doors between the two, at least in the 4-4-2 Pullmans.
I get that the layout was different between a bedroom and compartment, but what really is the difference? Were compartments just a bit larger?

Also, a modern section car would need showers plus I could see the debate about who gets to sit facing forward vs backward in the daytime configuration being more of an issue in modern times.
I found this discussion in another forum, that explains some of the details...


Here's another...

Scroll down in this one, and click on 'Plan 9009', expand to full size, enlarge and look at the door between Drawing Rooms E&F
 
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fdaley

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A modern section sleeper could make the uppers less claustrophobic by adding windows & more headroom. And of course there'd be outlets galore. The drawing room would be replaced by an ADA bedroom and without the large men & women's dressing rooms I think you could fit 16 or 18 sections.
From our trips on the Canadian in recent years, I can attest that the section upper berth actually has quite a bit of headroom -- much, much better than a Superliner upper bunk. Although it was our teenage son who took the upper on the Canadian, I think I could have sat fully upright up there if I'd tried it, and I'm 5'10". The big drawback to me is no window, but our teenager thought it was great fun regardless. Also the mattresses on the VIA sections are the widest, most comfortable beds I've had on any train, and I've ridden about every Amtrak sleeper configuration including the heritage cars and slumbercoaches.
 

20th Century Rider

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As one who had many trips on the old Mopac Texas Eagle, as well as the Azteca, I can state that both were a real joy to ride!

My First Dome Car ride was on the Eagle, and the trips from Nuevo Laredo to Mexico City on the Azteca are Great Memories in my Golden Years!
So... we'll have to get together some day over some Austin BBQ and beer ... want to hear all about that Azteca... one from the bucket list that's long gone. One of those reasons for... "Don't wait... do it now!"
 

PaulM

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Think CONO or TE. The former is very short, and doesn’t have very good equipment or ridership, ... The TE also does not have much in the way of scenery or ridership,...
This sounds like a corollary to the "Nobody rides trains anymore" rule.
 

MrMattyMatt

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I have another question about the Open Section accomodation. Was there a specific time when the beds were made up or was is done by request? Also for the morning switching it back to the daytime configuration. Was there a "wake up call" so to speak when everyone was expected to be up? I'm just thinking about it in terms of modern day habits and how it might be handled nowadays.
 

Seaboard92

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I have another question about the Open Section accomodation. Was there a specific time when the beds were made up or was is done by request? Also for the morning switching it back to the daytime configuration. Was there a "wake up call" so to speak when everyone was expected to be up? I'm just thinking about it in terms of modern day habits and how it might be handled nowadays.
On VIA I believe they try to have them in day mode by Nine AM. Now I have seen them be down the entire day. I believe it is the discretion of the attendant.
 

zephyr17

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On VIA I believe they try to have them in day mode by Nine AM. Now I have seen them be down the entire day. I believe it is the discretion of the attendant.
I've seen a lot sections on VIA left in night mode all the time from the first morning on. I am sure that is at the passengers' request. Although I do think if the Lower Berth and Upper Berth passengers are traveling separately and do not agree to leave them in night mode, the default is day mode during the day.

I doubt that practice would have been tolerated or been within social norms in the heyday of Pullman travel when open sections were the standard accommodation. Recall that Pullman's primary customers were business travelers.
 

The Commissioner

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I put a lot of miles in 10-6 Pullman cars in my youth on SAL, SCL, PRR, PC. Many of the posts in this thread bring back the memories and provide an accurate and complete description of the experience. The big difference between the sleeping car pre-Amtrak and today's version is the comfort of the bed. It all seems so pedestrian nowadays and maybe that's more perception than reality. But the comparison of value proposition with Pullman and the dining car experience of yesteryear compared to Amtrak is striking. As someone said, the first class accommodations were designed for the business traveler. I don't see business travelers in today's sleeping cars.

Like others in the thread, I too wish the Slumbercoach would be available. It meets the needs of privacy and horizontal bed. That's all I want.
 

Willbridge

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I put a lot of miles in 10-6 Pullman cars in my youth on SAL, SCL, PRR, PC. Many of the posts in this thread bring back the memories and provide an accurate and complete description of the experience. The big difference between the sleeping car pre-Amtrak and today's version is the comfort of the bed. It all seems so pedestrian nowadays and maybe that's more perception than reality. But the comparison of value proposition with Pullman and the dining car experience of yesteryear compared to Amtrak is striking. As someone said, the first class accommodations were designed for the business traveler. I don't see business travelers in today's sleeping cars.

Like others in the thread, I too wish the Slumbercoach would be available. It meets the needs of privacy and horizontal bed. That's all I want.
Most of your post is fine with me, but I meet business travelers on the overnight segments of long distance trains. In particular, LAX<>ABQ and DEN<>OMA. Presumably there'd be more with better schedule adherence.
 

Bob Dylan

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I have another question about the Open Section accomodation. Was there a specific time when the beds were made up or was is done by request? Also for the morning switching it back to the daytime configuration. Was there a "wake up call" so to speak when everyone was expected to be up? I'm just thinking about it in terms of modern day habits and how it might be handled nowadays.
The SCA on the Canadian still does it like in the old days, that is @ a certain time ( around 9pm on my rides/ during Breakfast in the morning) since they all have to be done @ the same time including putting up/taking down the Curtains, doing the ladders and bedding etc..
 

zephyr17

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The SCA on the Canadian still does it like in the old days, that is @ a certain time ( around 9pm on my rides/ during Breakfast in the morning) since they all have to be done @ the same time including putting up/taking down the Curtains, doing the ladders and bedding etc..
Well, apparently many leave them in night mode for sections where passengers request it. On every trip I've taken on the Canadian, at least one annually for about the last decade, there have been significant numbers of sections left in night mode all the time. They may do the ones they are going to do at the same time, but they appear not to force passengers to convert to day mode if both passengers in a given section don't want it.

Unlike some Amtrak SCAs, VIA attendants do not order passengers around. Also, bear in mind that, unlike Amtrak, they have actual supervision right there onboard.
 

Bob Dylan

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Well, apparently many leave them in night mode for sections where passengers request it. On every trip I've taken on the Canadian, at least one annually for about the last decade, there have been significant numbers of sections left in night mode all the time. They may do the ones they are going to do at the same time, but they appear not to force passengers to convert to day mode if both passengers in a given section don't want it.

Unlike some Amtrak SCAs, VIA attendants do not order passengers around. Also, bear in mind that, unlike Amtrak, they have actual supervision right there onboard.
I believe you, I've just never seen this done on the Canadian, or in Pre-Amtrak days when I started riding Trains with Pullmans.
 
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zephyr17

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I always ride in the off season. I do not know whether it is different in the summer when the train is a lot longer and the loads higher.

I travel in a roomette on the Canadian, btw. I want a door and electrical outlets.
 
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