• Do Long-Distance trains need sleepers?

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Tadman
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Tue May 26, 2020 11:48 am First Mr. Dawe, some private sector party other than the UP themselves, need have expectations of making a buck/loonie from operating a passenger train over the D&RGW. They first need remunerate Amtrak for surrendering their "franchise" to them, and additionally to the UP for the interference the Amtrak additional Overland Route frequencies would cause (remember; this is not for the convenience of the UP when they do trackwork on the D&RGW). UP would continue to collect from Amtrak the trackage charges due under their Agreement.
Half agreed. I don't know why Amtrak needs more than $1 for their franchise. Right now it's a financial drag on Amtrak to cross the Rockies. If Belmond shows up tomorrow and buys the Denver-SLC franchise for $1, Amtrak still serves Denver (and gets the state's vote in congress). Amtrak probably also gets the same annual funding, but has 500 miles less to worry about.

I also don't know how much more the remuneration to UP is. Because we're no longer trying to get to Oakland and pretend to be drive/air competitive, the train can follow a freight and pay market rate for freight rights. It's a plus for UP to no longer have a high priority train that doesn't fit their timetable.

You can also attach a subsidized rider car for "essential transport" and scale back to 1-2x/week, better for UP. Although I don't think the ex-DRGW is that busy that it matters.
  by gprimr1
 
Tadman wrote: Tue May 26, 2020 8:39 am I love how many guys here say that wouldn't be acceptable in the US. Says who? Compared to what? Greyhound? Amfleet coach? Megabus? Chevy Malibu backseat? A320 middle seat coach? Redeye in coach is bloody miserable. THE WORST. I do it 2-3x/year because it helps me keep a schedule, but I always sleep it off a few days later. It's like a hangover without the headache.

Can you really say you'd rather ride Superliner coach Chicago to LA than this three-tier sleeper configuation? With the dude next to you nodding off and rolling on to your shoulder?

Yes it's not optimal and it certainly doesn't fit the RR.net dream of 3x/day overnight all-drawing room full diner Spokane-Tulsa-Cheyenne-Altoona-Macon 21st Century Limited, but would you really rather redeye it NY-LA or Amfleet it NY-Miami than ride this? As long as you're not Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint isn't riding with you, is a private room always necessary? This could be a big upgrade for folks that are otherwise confined to coach for money reasons.

Doesn't pass the sniff test.

Also yall are missing the biggest real problem: Do you bed it all day and night or do beds fold up? And if the beds fold, how do you recline at all when there are 2-3 people sitting on that bench seat? I've run into that problem when riding sleeper in Sweden, and it's common to most Couchette applications. The backrest is straight up.
I wouldn't go with the three-level ones like Indian railways. They apparently do have a regulation on when the middle bunk can be deployed though. The two level Russian railways one, you can sit or lay in the top level one all day I believe. There's still plenty of room in the bottom to sit for the person on the bottom.

I don't think the seats recline, you can either sit up, or lay down, since it's a bench seat. Every bed has their own power outlet too.

I think that this would be better than a couchette, since in the Russian Railways theme, you aren't sleeping next to anyone super close.

The luxery model of train travel is nice, but thre's plenty of demand for the economy model too. Not everyone can afford it, and other people might not want to, they might want to spend their money on the destination, not the journey. Sleeper buses are growing out on the west coast. https://www.smartertravel.com/luxe-sleeper-buses/ Starting at $119 for LA to SF. This is easily the price of a chain hotel in either city.

The Russian railways even attach shower cars on some trains, and sell showers for a premium charge for 3rd class passengers. A shower sells for around 2 US dollars, so Amtrak could even upsell here.
  by SouthernRailway
 
How about the reverse question (I don't want to hijack Arborway's--who I think very highly of--thread, though): do long-distance trains need coaches?

I don't think so, except maybe a "Third Class" type of service. Current Amtrak sleeping cars plus a few new classes of service: ultra-luxurious on routes that have high high-dollar tourist loads, plus Slumbercoaches and couchettes, would be welcome. With couchettes, I don't really see a need for coaches.
  by Tadman
 
I think that coaches are very necessary for LD trains. What if you're riding CHI-MSP or CLE-NYP? Those are long day rides but still day rides.
  by STrRedWolf
 
SouthernRailway wrote: Tue May 26, 2020 3:17 pm How about the reverse question (I don't want to hijack Arborway's--who I think very highly of--thread, though): do long-distance trains need coaches?

I don't think so, except maybe a "Third Class" type of service. Current Amtrak sleeping cars plus a few new classes of service: ultra-luxurious on routes that have high high-dollar tourist loads, plus Slumbercoaches and couchettes, would be welcome. With couchettes, I don't really see a need for coaches.
You'll need coaches because there will be passengers who won't be sleeping -- they're just going from A to B inside of daylight hours. Remember, there's stops along the way:
  • Denver to Salt Lake City (and back)
  • Reno to Sacramento (and back)
  • Chicago to Minneanapolis/St. Paul (and back)
  • Dallas to Austin and San Antonio (and back)
  • El Paso to Tucson (and back)
  • Seattle to Portland(and back)
  • San Francisco via two places to LA and back.
  • Memphis to New Orleans and back.
Why would you want a sleeper if you're going that "short" of a distance? Even a couchette is a waste of space. Bring a coach or two.
  by SouthernRailway
 
By “couchette” I mean a compartment with 4 or 6 seats, which can be transformed into a compartment with 3 or 6 beds at night.

Even Belgian commuter trains had these compartments in the 1990s (although I don’t know if they could be transformed into beds at night).

In the age of social distancing, having trains with compartments instead of open seating is very appealing.
  by Arborwayfan
 
I think highly of Southern Railway but I agree with Tadman on this one. As long as an LD train is also getting day pax, it might as well have coaches to put them in, unless the sleepers somehow had enough space to hold all the day pax, too. I've take the CONO within Illinois many times, nearly always in coach.

Now, a pure night train (e.g. Bos Wash as I mentioned at the beginning) might be fine with just sleepers -- except that currently that route carries a lot of pax in coach, so might as well keep carrying them in coach.

And Southern, you can use the thread for that question. :-D
  by John_Perkowski
 
I have enough problems with an exceedingly horrible interpretation of a 1934 Pullman Enclosed Section. At least on that, there was a full sized berth, not a backpackers sleeping mat.

I’ve slept in a liegewagen (couchette) on DB and T3 (3 bunks in a prewar Pullman bedroom) on Trans Euro Nacht. I’m not paying 200 a night for crap accommodations. It’s bad enough the “deluxe” bedroom is a Pullman compartment with a narrower upper berth than lower, that the food in the diner is now *, and that the Superliners are as old as the last HW cars built were on A-Day, what few were still around.

So, I say again, you either improve the next generation of sleepers, or the Adios drumhead will roll, me waving at it the three finger salute.
  by eolesen
 
Come up with a floorplan where you could have semi-private seating where you can be upright in during the day and lie flat at night, and I'd think you could eliminate some sleeper routes. It's what you'll find on Chinese HSR.
  by west point
 
Some readers of this thread might be misled. The first person in a roomette pays the coach and sleeper fare as one price. The second person essentially just pays the coach fare. Figure it out !
  by mtuandrew
 
west point wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 5:41 pm Some readers of this thread might be misled. The first person in a roomette pays the coach and sleeper fare as one price. The second person essentially just pays the coach fare. Figure it out !
Then it makes even more sense to have single accommodations (slumbercoach, lie-flat, parlor, whatever) for Amtrak to charge at a single higher rate. It sounds like Julie could charge coach + 1/2 Roomette + $1 for a single accommodation and make more money per passenger.

Then again, it’s quite likely that Amtrak makes more money on many shorter-haul coach passengers than on a few longer-haul sleeper passengers. One more reason to figure out an upsell product that doesn’t require the full maintenance (nor encourage the long-distance use of) a sleeper.
  by Alphaboi
 
Would it be possible to stack solo accommodations on top of each other in the existing Viewliners? I'm imaging something like a cross between Slumbercoach and section?

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  by SouthernRailway
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Tue May 26, 2020 7:43 pm
SouthernRailway wrote: Tue May 26, 2020 3:17 pm How about the reverse question (I don't want to hijack Arborway's--who I think very highly of--thread, though): do long-distance trains need coaches?

I don't think so, except maybe a "Third Class" type of service. Current Amtrak sleeping cars plus a few new classes of service: ultra-luxurious on routes that have high high-dollar tourist loads, plus Slumbercoaches and couchettes, would be welcome. With couchettes, I don't really see a need for coaches.
You'll need coaches because there will be passengers who won't be sleeping -- they're just going from A to B inside of daylight hours. Remember, there's stops along the way:
  • Denver to Salt Lake City (and back)
  • Reno to Sacramento (and back)
  • Chicago to Minneanapolis/St. Paul (and back)
  • Dallas to Austin and San Antonio (and back)
  • El Paso to Tucson (and back)
  • Seattle to Portland(and back)
  • San Francisco via two places to LA and back.
  • Memphis to New Orleans and back.
Why would you want a sleeper if you're going that "short" of a distance? Even a couchette is a waste of space. Bring a coach or two.
I have traveled before on the Northeast Corridor for a short day trip (NY-DC area) in a sleeping car. I want peace and quiet and I'll pay whatever it takes to get it. Plenty of people like me, particularly in the Northeast.
  by mtuandrew
 
Alphaboi wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 11:27 am Would it be possible to stack solo accommodations on top of each other in the existing Viewliners? I'm imaging something like a cross between Slumbercoach and section?

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I mean, that’s the definition of a Slumbercoach. They were designed to fit in the same square footage as an open section berth or Roomette, and since Heritage sleepers were shorter than Viewliners are, a pair of Slumbercoach compartments should fit without a problem.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Looking at the Cafe menus... I saw that the Auto Train had a "Coach Cafe".

Wait, isn't the Auto Train an express overnight that's 90% sleeper and 10% dining? Why in hell does it have coach? The Auto Train would be perfect for slumbercoaches!