Budd "Slumbercoach" 24-8 Sleeper - Open Discussion

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Postby EastCleveland » Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:21 pm

John_Perkowski wrote:Not acceptable.Too little space allocated to facilities.


Maybe I'm just fussy, but I get a bit skeeved-out when I have to sleep with what is, essentially, a public toilet only six inches (or even six feet) away from my head.

Unless we're talking about Cell Block "D" at San Quentin, I don't believe a mattress and a sign that says "flush" should ever be found together in the same tiny room. Hence my distaste for Viewliner roomettes.

Nevertheless, regardless of how small and spartan, ANY accommodation that lets a passenger sleep horizontally is vastly preferable to spending one, two, or even three consecutive nights demolishing one's neck, lower back, and sanity in an Amtrak coach seat.

So I'd personally welcome the return of the SlumberCoach. Or even a car based on CarterB's "SnoozeSalon" design. And if the square footage is so tight that there's no space for in-room plumbing, and I'm forced to walk down the corridor to brush my teeth? No problem. I can definitely use the exercise. And from what I've observed on my recent trips, so can the majority of my fellow passengers.
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Postby David Benton » Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:17 am

What about the new Airline first class sleeper seats . seems they think that sleeping accomadation that is compact and fairly open will sell .
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Postby John_Perkowski » Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:33 am

And that's why the footprint of a heavyweight sleeper is preferable to a modification of the 17-1 Roomette 1 (Pullman, 1938).

The old HW cars had real restroom space between the passenger and the toilet annex. They also had full beds (32 inches or so), not the 20" racks an Amtrak upper now gives.

The fact of the matter is, the DOUBLE BEDROOM sold far better in the 1960s than did either the section or the roomette. Amtrak is trying to squeeze out salable space with its 18 sq ft accomodation. The 30 sq ft DBR has more passenger space. If we're going to lose checked baggage in the coming years (remember Mr Mead's report?) then I want footprint for my buck.

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Postby updrumcorpsguy » Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:44 am

I'm not that crazy about the open in-room toilet either. Personally, I'd like to see a roomette with a sink (no toilet) and ample restroom facilities down the hall, but the current configuration is the most efficient use of space.

And I definitely think they should ditch the "roomette" name and call them "AmPads". That's a rebranding I could get behind ;-)
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Postby AmtrakFan » Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:55 am

Too Bad Amtrak didn't keep those those would have been great Economy Room Sleepers on Flordia Trans or even the Cardinal.
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Postby VPayne » Wed Aug 17, 2005 12:40 pm

We have discussed a lot of things all relating to sleepers over the last few weeks. Seems like the summary is...
1. Labor salaries are reasonable but more productivity is needed.
2. The dinning car is a loss leader needed to support the traffic but there is room for labor productivity improvement.
3. Sleeping car capacity should be expanded if it covers incremental costs, which I at least think it does.

May I suggest a high revenue layout for a single level sleeper that would greatly increase the standards of accommodation as well? If some of you have been around for a while I am sure you saw my 15 elongated bedroom car (search the archives). I am going to propose a 14 bedroom car that expands upon the usable space within each room while separating the toilet/shower area from the living area and also solves the upper berth problem.

Basically, the concept is a split level car that fits within the 14'-6" NEC clearances while maintaining a straight center sill design. An 80" tall corridor would be overlayed with a 42" tall sleeping loft that extends across the entire car width above the corridor which is down the middle of the car. The loft would be divided every 5'-6" o.c to form the living/sleeping area of the bedroom. A full queen size bed, with its length running from the far side of the car to the end of the loft after it passed over the corridor would provide one level sleeping. Since the loft is only 42" tall it would only be suitable for sleeping, or sitting up in bed, but on alternating sides a mid-height floor would be provided about 48" above the main floor which would provide access to the sleeping loft from one side only.

The side from which the loft is accessed would of course have standard tread height stairs leading to the 48" mid-height floor from an adjacent 5'-6" space. Since the access side to the loft alternates the stairs would lead from an area beneath the sleeping loft of the adjacent room. The area below the adjacent room would be a 3'-6"x 5'-6" restroom/shower/entry area which could be closed off from the living/bedroom area up the stairs.

As for revenue a Standard Viewliner has 3 Bedrooms and 12 "Roomettes" which might go on average for $0.5/mile and $0.3/mile per room, yielding a full occupancy revenue per car mile of $5.10 the above design would yield $7.0 mile. However, the yield might even be higher, as the per mile price for the bedroom assumed above is a little lower than common on the Florida routes.


I will try to get drawings to the web soon.
Last edited by VPayne on Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby RedSoxSuck » Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:01 pm

I just want to throw this out there as a "what if." I want to make a disclaimer now that I have NOT done any research and this just popped into my head. I want to know what any of you think if it, and if the general consensus turns out to be that the idea sucks, I will accept that.

That being said, the mention of a "split level" sleeper made me think of the LIRR C3s. Would there be any merit in building a sleeper to those specs? Have bedrooms through the middle, both upstairs and downstairs (either roomettes or bedrooms), and maybe a room or 2 at one or both ends of the car at platform level?

I understand that the ceilings would be very low in the middle (from eyeballing the C3s, I would guess they aren't any more than 6'6" or so), but if the lower berth is close to the floor, I imagine that there should be enough room for an upper berth. I understand that luggage will be an even greater problem than it is today...

One more thing to keep in mind. It is quite possible that one of the vestibules could be eliminated since people wouldn't be getting on and off at the same rate as with the LIRR. So I would put the handicapped room at platform level on the end that keeps the door.

So what do you guys think? If you think it sucks, just say it.

Now we know this will fit into NYP and through the tunnel to Queens, but does anyone know if C3s could fit through the tunnel to Jersey?
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Postby jhdeasy » Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:01 pm

I thought I would add the following item to the discussion about 24&8 and 16&10 slumbercoaches ... a different angle based on my perspective as a PV owner.

Although a number of former Amtrak slumbercoaches have been sold into private ownership, not one of these cars is in active private car service today. Some people bought them simply to cannibalize major components such as trucks, HEP components, couplers or fluting.

I am not aware of any slumbercoach owners who have fully or partially gutted the car's interior and converted it to a different configuration (such as 24 single rooms with 2 showers and small lounge area in place of the 8 double rooms) for service.
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Postby John_Perkowski » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:59 am

Mr Deasy,

As a private car owner, what are your considered thoughts on the current set of Amtrak accomodations in their fleet (eg enclosed sections, Pullman Compartments, the family room, and the handicap rooms?)??

Thanks in advance, John Perkowski
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Postby jhdeasy » Thu Aug 18, 2005 9:07 am

John_Perkowski wrote:Mr Deasy,

As a private car owner, what are your considered thoughts on the current set of Amtrak accomodations in their fleet (eg enclosed sections, Pullman Compartments, the family room, and the handicap rooms?)??

Thanks in advance, John Perkowski



I've used the economy bedrooms in both Superliner and Viewliner sleepers; I've taken a good look at (but not used) the Deluxe Bedrooms, Handicap Room and Family Bedroom.

I've been comfortable in the economy bedrooms, but it has always been me traveling alone ... party of one ... I've never shared my room which was designed for two. I've found the accomodations comfortable. I consider the Viewliner economy bedroom equal to or slightly better than a Superliner economy bedroom. When traveling in a Superliner sleeper, I usually try to book an economy (rooms 11 thru 14) on the lower level ... my perceived benefits are less traffic past your door and closer access to the bathrooms/shower.

I had the pleasure of a trip on a refurbished Superliner I sleeper on train # 7 from CHI to SEA in late July. I thought the new bathrooms and shower facility on the lower level were a great improvement over what they replaced. [A good sleeper attendant, good dining car crew, and inspiring scenery between East Glacier and Seattle made for a very positive trip experience.]

I've often thought that Amtrak should have more sleepers and offer true economy sleeper accomodations. My concept is to take a group of Amfleet I coaches (could also be done with Horizon coaches), remove the coach seats and install the equivalent of 14 Superliner economy bedroom modules, thus providing 28 beds. You would also install 1 or 2 more toilets and ... possibly ... 1 or 2 changing rooms. While a shower would be nice, maybe we will pass on installing a shower since this is an economy sleeper.

I had some trips on 16&10 and 24&8 Slumbercoaches in the 1970s and 1980s when my lesser income appreciated the value of single Slumbercoach rooms compared to roomettes. Not as comfortable as a roomette, but not as expensive ... still far superior to overnight travel in coach.
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Postby John_Perkowski » Thu Aug 18, 2005 10:14 am

Mr Deasy,

I think we're in pretty close to violent agreement.

My favored car design is Pullman's Diagram 2: 14 sections.

Ok, go ahead and enclose the sections (a la the current economy/standard/roomette bedroom). With the footrpint provded in the mens and ladies rooms and their annexes, there is a space for the necessary cleaning of life.

I like your idea of not offering a shower, as this would be a third accomodation class: Below full sleeper, above coach.

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Postby updrumcorpsguy » Thu Aug 18, 2005 11:55 am

While a shower is certainly a nice first class accomodation, I agree that is could be forsaken for this medium class service - after all, most of the single level trips are less than 24 hours anyway, and if you have a spacious "annex" (one of the most euphamistic euphanisms in the known world) with a sink, one can always give themselves a birdbath.

Question: would this class of service have meals provided? I would like the option of buying a room without having to "buy" all my meals with it. I usually end up skipping a few meals just because I don't usually eat that much.
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Postby VPayne » Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:25 pm

Didn't the CZ have a 16 Section sleepers until 1964 per the attached website.
http://www.wplives.com/passenger/CZHIST_1/Consists/consists.html It seems like they were pulled from service and converted into a coach with the obvious assumption being made that there was more revenue in the move. Was the decision based upon a fluke of Pullman's accounting or a real economy gesture. If I recall correctly the prevailing coach fare has declined since then while the sleeping car fare has held pretty steady. Why were the cars not converted to enclosed sections or at least opperated as economy sleepers at coach + room?
Since they were rebuilt into 48 seat coaches we can assume that whatever costs neccessary for sleeper operation could not be overcome by 50% more expensive tickets as I am assuming that most groups were at least groups of two people. Of course the whole issue might have been an example of regulated railroads not being able to charge differential pricing.
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Postby John_Perkowski » Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:04 pm

Not only did the Q have 16 section sleepers built very late in the day, the UP had 14 section (Alpine) cars built in their post-war buy.

The problem at the time was one of "Who rode the train?"

The businessman who USED to ride the train, and typically took Pullman, was the same guy who saw the utility of the jet. He increased his on-site productivity and decreased his expenses at one fell swoop. There was a surplus of ROOM sleepers. WHY BOTHER with section equipment?

As one example, on the eve of A-Day, the entire Imperial Class (Plan 4069F 4-4-2) and all but two (?) of the American Class (Plan 4099 6-6-4) cars were out of Pullman lease from the UP and in Company service on various MOW trains.

A section sleeper was not even in the revenue mix.

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Postby VPayne » Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:09 pm

I guess I am assuming that there was a demand for a coachsleeper in 1964, as at this time they were being used by the Q. Why were the 16 Section sleepers from the CZ not converted to a double-slumber coach room with the simple addition of a enclosure and a curtain? My thoughts are that someone was afraid of revenue loss from regular sleeper.
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