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Who travels in the Sleeper Cars?

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gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
138
Way way long ago as a young adult I pursued my love of railroad travel during the declining years of the golden era... venturing out West, to the southeast, the Appalachians, eastern cities, and western shores.

Coming back to Amtrak travel about 20 years ago, it my every intent to be a first class traveler enjoying an actual bed so as to be lulled to sleep by the rails... and to me... nothing can compare! Also enjoyed the camaraderie of making new friends in the sightseer car and while dining on some rather indulgent meals. I mean... when you're sitting around a table with other travelers, sipping red wind and enjoying steak, shrimp, and baked potato as the world speeds by out the window... of course there's going to be upbeat conversation and friendships made.

Speaking of making friends, that happened with a couple a few years ago and we have been keeping in touch ever since... and although it is rare to establish long lasting friendships from chance meetings with people... it does happen.

Towards the end of my second grand adventures on Amtrak... establishing Executive Plus status and raking up the points, things started to happen. The roomette was either too hot or too cold; food started to become more standardized; chinaware and glassware were replaced with plastic; there were more breakdowns and mechanical problems; remembering once when a fire alarm just outside the room started 'chirping' and keeping me up. The conductor warned me it was a 'federal offense' to remove that battery which would have brought peace... and that coveted sleep.

Sadly the restaurant cars on eastern routes were replaced by what could now be described as an 'upgraded version' of the new 'flex dining.' Then that too began to decline. And just when it seemed that things just couldn't get any worse... the pandemic hit. That recently ended the 2nd phase of my rail travel experience.

I wonder if there will be a third chapter for this rail enthusiast???

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Getting ready to hit 73, I have to constantly remind myself not to think about or talk to others about the "good old days". Watching TV the other day, I remembered having only three station to watch. Now we have hundred's of options, that really don't seem much better. Anything beats Greyhound! 😷😁
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
707
Location
Oregon Coast
Getting ready to hit 73, I have to constantly remind myself not to think about or talk to others about the "good old days". Watching TV the other day, I remembered having only three station to watch. Now we have hundred's of options, that really don't seem much better. Anything beats Greyhound! 😷😁
Me too! I'm getting ready to hit 73! Guess there's a lot of us boomers on this site... growing up in MIlwaukee, Happy Days was for sure one of my favorite TV series... with Bonanza a close second.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
Oh I agree with this! Certainly I love the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and that section of the Zephyr is my favorite of any train trip I’ve taken. But yes... seeing the catfish farms in Mississippi, small southern downtowns in North Carolina, rows of corn in Illinois, abandoned industries in Alabama and watching for Aligators in Florida and Louisiana are all very interesting as well.
Rolling through the orange groves in Florida when the oranges are still on the trees is pretty cool. Also, once I rode the Carolinian in September right before the cotton harvest, and all the fluffy cotton in the fields in southern Virginia and North Carolina was pretty interesting to see.

On the Empire builder, outside of Havre, there was a coyote sitting by the tracks watching the train. At the right time of day, you can see deer along the NEC just north of BWI station.
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
707
Location
Oregon Coast
Aaah... the scenery... not yet claimed to urban sprawl, there is still a lot to see. Some of my favorite views are from the Texas Eagle as it crosses the bridge into St. Louis with stunning view of the 640 foot Arch framing the city skyline... the Cardinal as it winds its way through the Appalachians... spectacular in all seasons... and can go on and on about jaw dropping scenes from the Zephyr and the Empire Builder.

Contrasting the decline in service, the scenery remains timelessly beautiful! 🤠;):D
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Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,225
Location
Near an Amtrak station
Getting ready to hit 73, I have to constantly remind myself not to think about or talk to others about the "good old days". Watching TV the other day, I remembered having only three station to watch. Now we have hundred's of options, that really don't seem much better. Anything beats Greyhound! 😷😁
If we don't talk about the "good old days", what else would we talk about to youngsters? I don't text, so what, using verbal communications? ☎
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
Rolling through the orange groves in Florida when the oranges are still on the trees is pretty cool. Also, once I rode the Carolinian in September right before the cotton harvest, and all the fluffy cotton in the fields in southern Virginia and North Carolina was pretty interesting to see.

On the Empire builder, outside of Havre, there was a coyote sitting by the tracks watching the train. At the right time of day, you can see deer along the NEC just north of BWI station.
Of course, deer are no big deal, I can sometimes see them from my living room window, and we live in Baltimore City!

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joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
206
Of course, deer are no big deal, I can sometimes see them from my living room window, and we live in Baltimore City!

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They still are to me! I've lived in Brooklyn, Long Island, SF, San Jose, Boulder, and now near Orlando, and I've never seen a deer from my house. I have seen a fair number of skunks and possums.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
317
If we don't talk about the "good old days", what else would we talk about to youngsters? I don't text, so what, using verbal communications? ☎
I do not even own a cell phone! When the neighbor little kid came over, I handed him a "Princess Rotary phone" and told him to call to say he was here. He picked up the receiver and said "Call Mommie" to it! LOL LOL Tried to teach him how it worked, but he never got the hang of "dialing"! LOL
Oh, and we always get 2 adjoining bedrooms on the A/T.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
317
It can't be all that surprising that a "little kid" would be unfamiliar with technology that has been obsolete for, what, 4+ decades.
Equally as funny as a 73 yo that has no clue how to work the kids tablet or electronic device or whatever they call the things.! Or teaching someone today how to drive a stick-shift! LOL
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,894
Location
NYC/Queens
Living on Long Island, I'm a bit surprised, unless you rarely went out East there are about 20,000 , with a pretty high density. About 1500 on Staten Island.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
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Orlando, FL
MODERATOR NOTE: Please try to keep your comments on the topic of "Who travels in Sleeper Cars." Thank you
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
707
Location
Oregon Coast
Equally as funny as a 73 yo that has no clue how to work the kids tablet or electronic device or whatever they call the things.! Or teaching someone today how to drive a stick-shift! LOL
I'm right behind you RichieRich... 73rd Bday coming up soooon! In keeping on the topic, the actual reason I finally bought a smart phone was because I was on a LD sleeper car running 15 hours late... I remember the panicked situation of trying to contact the hotel to cancel my reservation! The SLA let me use her's if I promised to buy a cell phone. So... Moral of the story is: all who travel on these LD trains need to have a cell phone!
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,174
So... Moral of the story is: all who travel on these LD trains need to have a cell phone!
I am thinking it is not just traveling on Amtrak that is going to require a smart phone, it is traveling to anywhere by any means of transportation. Check-in at hotels, even on cruises any more, having a smart phone is an advantage.

When I travel on Amtrak, it is almost always an overnight or two type trip. I don't sleep well in a coach seat (although, maybe if I drank enough wine before retiring for the night, I might). I enjoy what I feel is the "luxury" of booking a sleeper because when I first could travel by train, being able to afford a sleeper was a "luxury" for me at that time. I still consider a sleeper in such a category regardless of the change in service and amenities over the years.
 

CameraObscura76

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 10, 2014
Messages
25
Location
Mobile, AL
I agree that Amtrak has to reconfigure their Coach seating. An overnight sitting next to a stranger is the most unappealing aspect of a trip. I've had obese seat mates and a couple of times I was hit upon for money. It's so nice now you are guaranteed both seats to yourself now,but I'm sure that will end sooner than later. I have read people will bribe their attendant to keep the seat open. I just wish there was a way to keep the other seat open without paying full price for another seat. I actually asked if I could do that and they said no. If a roomette is too pricey for one night and there is business class I will opt for that. The Cardinal and LSL have single seats in BC. That is a guarantee.

I’ve had obese seat mates which is always awkward, but the worst was my sleeping seatmate ended up putting her bare feet on my lap- that’s a definite no from me. After that unpleasant experience, I either book two coach seats or a roomette when budget allows.



I
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,845
Location
Delaware
At the right time of day, you can see deer along the NEC just north of BWI station.
While waiting for a northbound train at BWI I watch a deer run across the tracks at the south end as an Acela was going through. Luckily the deer made it across ...
 

TheCrescent

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
28
Business people. My son had to take multiple trips to NYC from Atlanta to visit customers. He found he could spend the day at work, then say good bye to the family then catch the overnight sleeper to NYC while giving him an opportunity to do work on the computer and arrive in NYC in early afternoon in time to meet with one or two customers.
He no longer needs to visit customers but he probably would not do that any more since he would not at all enjoy either the dinner or the breakfast and at the price, he could fly first class. My statement reflects pre-Covid, but post-garbage food travel vs pre-garbage days.
Exactly.

I took the Crescent a few times recently because I figured that a private sleeping car room is safer than flying in the age of coronavirus, and since I can work or sleep the whole time on board means that the wasted time on a train trip is less than the wasted time flying.

I can afford to fly, and I frequently fly paid first class.

The garbage meals on Amtrak, particularly the awful Flexible Dining breakfasts and no lunch as you approach NYC, have reduced any desire I have to do it again. The spotty wifi and shaky Viewliner rooms are a secondary disincentive. The food is the worst!
 

TEREB

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
45
I've been traveling by train for almost all my 73 years on this earth. I actually start missing it if it's longer than 6 months between trips.
Our first Silver trip might have been in 1999. First and last time in coach. We've been snowbirds for the past 12 years so we're on one of the Silvers 2-4 times a year, in roomettes or bedrooms. For us now it's a way to unwind and relax.
Our priest once asked me why do we travel 27 hrs on a train when we can get there in 3 hrs by plane. I showed him pictures on my phone of a sky writer finish writing Love Is God. I asked him if we could have seen that if we flew.
 

Eric in East County

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
111
Location
East San Diego County
Nick,

A most interesting survey.

As for ourselves, we fall into several overlapping categories: we are train fans, scanner enthusiasts, seniors (who are still active and mobile), occasional long-distance travelers who don’t like to fly, people who like the extra space that a private bedroom offers, people who like having their own private bathroom facilities when they travel, and a couple that likes the option of taking their meals in the privacy of their own bedroom if they so desire.

Since we’re not heavy eaters, we’re not too concerned about the reduced meal portions. (On some of our past Amtrak trips, the meals we received were actually too large for us.)

We no longer do all that much long-distance traveling, but we have family back in Ohio whom we like to visit every so often. A private bedroom on Amtrak is about the only acceptable option for us to get from California to Ohio and back.

As long as Amtrak offers sleeping car bedrooms, we will continue to use it for our long-distance travel.

Eric & Pat
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,174
I can afford to fly, and I frequently fly paid first class.

The garbage meals on Amtrak, particularly the awful Flexible Dining breakfasts and no lunch as you approach NYC, have reduced any desire I have to do it again. The spotty wifi and shaky Viewliner rooms are a secondary disincentive. The food is the worst!
This person is a type of guest that I think Amtrak can ill afford to alienate.

When one flies, one usually has a choice between First Class or Economy. Amtrak supplies the same choice on many trains. A Sleeper is still thought of as being "First Class" whether it is called that or not. Downgrading their "First Class" service is not going to encourage those who wish to pay for such to spend the money required to do so. One's most recent experience with a transportation company, a hotel, a restaurant, a car dealership, etc. is the one you are most likely to remember. That experience may determine if one patronizes that company again or--the next time--chooses something/somewhere else.
 
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