Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby R&DB » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:17 am

So what is the difference between a Sleeper Car and a Deluxe Sleeper Car?
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:27 am

A standard Superliner Sleeper car has a mix of Bedrooms and Roomettes. A Deluxe Sleeper car is all Bedrooms.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby prr60 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:20 pm

The Deluxe Sleeper is all bedrooms on the upper level. There are roomettes on the lower level.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:43 pm

Oops, I'm sorry, you're right. I forgot about the lower level roomettes (despite having just used one a few months ago.)
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby hazmatmess » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:31 pm

Wife and I have booked he family vacation to Disney for July of 2018 (2 kids-Son will 8 and daughter will be 5). I do not do well on the airlines. So we are driving. Going to take the autotrain home. I went through here and I am looking for the most recent information.

How far in advance do we need to book the train (looking at July 20th)? Do we have time or should we book now?

We plan on taking the family bedroom option. Are they worth staying in the whole time or are the lounge cars worth hanging out in?

Are the bedroom tickets considered first class for the diner or are they considered coach class?

I noticed that the kids meal is fish. My kids are not big fans of fish. Besides the cafe car, would they have another option in the diner?

Amtrak's website says continental breakfast. Guessing cereal, muffins, bagels.....

Any other information would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby walleyf » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:17 pm

Book as far in advance as you feel safe doing as the fares are likely to be lower the earlier that you book. If you are sure of your travel dates, do it ASAP. The only downside is that you will have to pay for it long before you travel. Family rooms are very limited in number (one per sleeping car) which is reason to book early if possible as they may sell out long ahead of the regular roomettes and bedrooms which are much more plentiful.

You have some time to decide but sooner is likely to be better.

Family Bedroom is lower level so the upper level lounge car may have some attraction. Your choice and you can move back and forth as you please. No more movies in the lounge car, however. This is not a particularly scenic route and much of it is at night so it may not make much difference.

All sleeping car accommodations are considered first class; if you have a bed it is first class and not coach.

Continental breakfast is about as you describe. Bananas too.

I don't know about the diner's kids meal specifically; since the meals are free/included it is likely that something could be arranged if it is available. Neither coach or sleeper diners sell anything except alcohol so inventory control is likely to be less strict than on other Amtrak trains. Lounge car does sell and may be subject to normal Amtrak procedures and inventory control.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby djlong » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:19 pm

I can second everything the previous poster said.

I've been on the A/T several times, one trip was in the Family Bedroom each way when our daughters were 9 & 4. One of the beds was a bit smaller, which was fine for the 4-year-old.

One note - there is no bathroom in the Family Bedroom. However, you're on the lower level and there are a few bathrooms there - and they're generally easily available.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:33 pm

Discussion in the Silver Star Diner discussion thread led me to wonder about Auto Train and the potential utility of selling tickets to people without cars.

My suggestion would be to co-market the service as the Auto Train/Silver Palm. The two obvious opportunities for Amtrak that I can see would be selling high bucket coach/sleeper fares for last minute travelers and selling off unused capacity in the slow season. There would be no changes to the service "as is". It would still run non-stop to SFA.

Here's another reason to consider it ... currently all of the overnight long distance services to Florida originate in New York. Selling seats or sleeper space on the Auto Train/"Silver Palm" would leave more inventory available for NYP, PHL, BAL and even WAS.

This might also help alleviate crowding at RVR.

Thoughts?
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:10 pm

Mr. O'Keefe, the last time A-T handled foot passengers was 9/11. Next time we are confronted with a tragedy of that magnitude, they probably will again.

But failing that, Auto-Train and CSX have a separate operating agreement providing for different remuneration for costs and performance. One of the provisions of that Agreement is that passengers will not be handled without autos.

During 1983, Amtrak and CSX simply assumed the contract between AT Corp and the predecessors RF&P and SCL that had laid dormant after the AT Bankruptcy.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:50 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:One of the provisions of that Agreement is that passengers will not be handled without autos.


Mr. Norman,

Goodness! I had no idea it was a provision of the operating agreement. I was hoping you would respond as you're more familiar with that service than most. Thank you.

Are there any other limitations that come to mind? For example some quirk of the station facilities that would cause problems?
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:44 am

gokeefe wrote:Discussion in the Silver Star Diner discussion thread led me to wonder about Auto Train and the potential utility of selling tickets to people without cars.

My suggestion would be to co-market the service as the Auto Train/Silver Palm. The two obvious opportunities for Amtrak that I can see would be selling high bucket coach/sleeper fares for last minute travelers and selling off unused capacity in the slow season. There would be no changes to the service "as is". It would still run non-stop to SFA.

Here's another reason to consider it ... currently all of the overnight long distance services to Florida originate in New York. Selling seats or sleeper space on the Auto Train/"Silver Palm" would leave more inventory available for NYP, PHL, BAL and even WAS.

This might also help alleviate crowding at RVR.

Thoughts?


No place to park your car when leaving. No place to rent a car when arriving. Neither end has much of a population for picking up or dropping off nearby residents Don't really understand the point.

Took it two times this year and it was pretty much sold out anyway.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby electricron » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:27 am

Why do people keep suggesting ways to fix something that isn't broken? :(
After 40 years of a long distance train almost if not breaking even financially year after year, accept it the way it is. Make small changes to it to keep it up with the times and to make it better, but not wholesale changes trying to fix something else (like overcrowding on other trains).

Sometimes I think these suggestions arise out of frustration - somebody missed out on a holiday ride to Florida because they waited too long to book their train trip. It seems these suggestions mostly spring up every year immediately after a peak travel period and someone must have had a terrible travel experience with the alternate mode of transport. This year we've also seen additional suggestions for lengthening the Palmetto as well as accepting vehiicle-less Auto Train passengers. It the only explanation I can fathom for the reason of these suggestions. :wink:

Learn from your mistakes, book your holiday travel for next year now!
Last edited by electricron on Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby justalurker66 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:35 am

The world is not happy unless all Amtrak trains are equally bad. :)
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:23 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:No place to park your car when leaving. No place to rent a car when arriving.


I'm assuming that one could arrive by Taxi, Uber or Lyft (TUL). Lorton has a nearby VRE station with parking. Then take TUL to LOR. Many (but not all) rental car companies will pick you up, Enterprise in particular. LOR is a 10 minute drive away from Enterprise. SFA is 13-15 minutes away from two Enterprise agencies with a third located 15 minutes away at the airport.

bostontrainguy wrote:Neither end has much of a population for picking up or dropping off nearby residents Don't really understand the point.


Lorton is at the southern end of a greater metropolitan area with millions of residents who would potentially be interested in express travel to Florida. Sanford is in one of the most visited areas of the most visited state in the East.

bostontrainguy wrote:Took it two times this year and it was pretty much sold out anyway.


It often is, however there are plenty of days when it is not and there is unsold capacity due to uneven passenger loads. It seems at least worthy of consideration given the very high density of population and the ability it would grant to Amtrak to maximize their return on investment in the NYP originating services.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby sullysullinburg » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:47 pm

My concern will allowing passengers without a car is they take a “seat” away from someone with a car, which is money lost. Granted it is cheaper to move a passenger without a car then one with one but, I don’t think it would be to the point where a passenger without a car would net more then one with a car. The Auto Train is very near breaking even which for a LD Route is impressive. I wouldn’t mess with it if possible.
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