• Why weren’t open-section sleepers replaced by private room cars sooner?

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by SouthernRailway
 
Why weren’t all-room sleeping cars introduced earlier than they were, instead of using open-section cars? If I’m correct, all-room sleeping cars were first in use in the 1930s.

Wouldn’t first-class passengers have wanted privacy?

Or were the few rooms in heavyweight trains considered first class, and open-section accommodations were lower-prices and not first class, so open sections were for price-sensitive passengers, which was most everyone?

Thanks.
  by mmi16
 
Room cars basically originated during the Depression. That being the case, traveling was a matter of price, price, price. If you didn't want coach you still wanted to sleep in the most economical accommodation.
  by CarterB
 
Mostly true about room cars and the depression. However, their were many 12/1 sleepers back to the teens that had a Drawing Room for the well to do.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Open Sections are still available on VIA's Canadian, Ocean and Churchill train.....and some say it's the most comfortable bed on the train!

It's considered First Class and on the Canadian.....you would get the same meals and all the amenities as you would if in a private bedroom (cabin for 2) In the top photo below....the last section on the right has been replaced by a shower.

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  by mtuandrew
 
NS VIA FAN and others: are open sections strictly one/bed or could two people share that (wide!) seat and (narrow!) bed if they purchased one section and two coach tickets? I recall reading that the US Army assigned two soldiers per Pullman troop sleeper bed in WWII - obviously that wouldn’t fly today.
  by SouthernRailway
 
NS VIA FAN wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:21 am Open Sections are still available on VIA's Canadian, Ocean and Churchill train.....and some say it's the most comfortable bed on the train!

It's considered First Class and on the Canadian.....you would get the same meals and all the amenities as you would if in a private bedroom (cabin for 2) In the top photo below....the last section on the right has been replaced by a shower.
Thanks. I'm sincerely curious: why wouldn't Canadian Pacific have simply ordered the manufacturer to put walls around those sections? It seems like it wouldn't cost that much more, and it would make the space much more appealing: people generally like privacy, don't they? Or maybe there are people who prefer open seating regardless of price (which I don't get, as an introvert)?
  by NS VIA FAN
 
SouthernRailway wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:10 am Thanks. I'm sincerely curious: why wouldn't Canadian Pacific have simply ordered the manufacturer to put walls around those sections?.....
They did! They're at the other end of the car and called Roomettes.

A Roomette is for one person but takes up the same space as an Open-section which is for two.

I guess a Open-section could have been enclosed somehow with a wall.....and essentially what a Amtrak style Roomette** is. But occupancy would probably then be restricted to one or two travelling together.

(**I realize some Amtrak Roomettes have a sink and toilet)

An Open-Section allows two strangers to occupy the same space: A lower with it's own curtain across at night.....and an upper which the occupant reaches by a ladder without disturbing the occupant of the lower.

During the day. The lower occupant usually had the seat facing travel....and the upper occupant had his back to travel.
Last edited by NS VIA FAN on Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Open-Section: Day and Night view. The toilet and shower were down the corridor.

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Roomette (VIA calls them a 'Cabin for One') You have a door, there's a sink and toilet in the room (you can see it here under her carry-on) and you pull a handle at night and lower the bed.

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  by JimBoylan
 
Somewhere I read a guess that the New York, New Haven & Hartford RR ordered sleeping cars with some sections around 1950 for their contribution to the Federal, an overnight train between Boston and Washington, because the Federal government's transportation allowance for bureaucrats was fixed at the price of a lower berth. Government employees who didn't want to use an airplane would have to pay some of their own money if they used a Roomette. I don't know why Western roads like Great Northern or Norther Pacific bought the same kind of cars at about that time, but since some of them bough Slumber Coaches a short time later, attracting the price conscious ordinary traveler may have been the reason.
A 12 section, 1 Drawing Room "Standard" Pullman car sleeps at most 27 passengers, while the very common and newer 10 Roomette, 6 Double Bedroom accommodates only 22. Since the 1st Class rail fare was the same per person in any space, the difference had to be made up by charging more for the cost of the rooms than for the sections. (You paid for a 1st Class rail ticket to ride, and a separate seat, berth, or room charge to sit or sleep.)
  by NS VIA FAN
 
The Open Sections have always been popular on the overnight trains between the Maritimes and Montreal. Here's an example for September on VIA's Ocean when the trains will hopefully be running again: Depart Moncton at 5:30pm....and into Montreal at10 the next morning.

Coach: $120.
Upper Berth: $354.
Lower Berth: $410.
Roomette (Cabin for 1) $436.

These are discount fares (as we're 5 months out) and Dinner and Breakfast are included in the Upper, Lower and Roomette fares.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
JimBoylan wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:37 pm Somewhere I read a guess that the New York, New Haven & Hartford RR ordered sleeping cars with some sections around 1950 for their contribution to the Federal, an overnight train between Boston and Washington, because the Federal government's transportation allowance for bureaucrats was fixed at the price of a lower berth. Government employees who didn't want to use an airplane would have to pay some of their own money if they used a Roomette.
Wholly concur, Mr. Boylan.

The eleven 6 Sec, 4 BR, 6 RM "-- Beach" cars were delivered to the NH, along with "tack on" orders (4) by the B&M, and (2) by the BAR, during '54. The inclusion of open Sections were for reasons you noted.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:09 pm The eleven 6 Sec, 4 BR, 6 RM "-- Beach" cars were delivered to the NH, along with "tack on" orders (4) by the B&M, and (2) by the BAR, during '54....
Those cars in the B&M (Boston & Maine) and BAR (Bangor and Aroostook) 'tack on' order eventually went to CN in the mid '60s. Here's the car plan and I imagine the New Haven 'Beach' cars would have been the same.

(Note the 'Sections' at one end of the car and the 'Roomettes' at the other end over the wheels. The more expensive 'Bedrooms' are in the smoother riding centre of the car)

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Below is ex B&M Greendale......the through sleeper from Sydney to Montreal in 1973 at Stellarton, NS. It will be added to CN's Scotian at Truro, NS. The stainless-steel letterboard above the windows was only brushed-out and depending on how the sunlight hit it....you could still read 'Boston & Maine' !

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And an interesting photo below of two ex B&M and BAR sleepers on VIA's Atlantic at Saint John, New Brunswick. The Atlantic ran east-west across the State of Maine and just a couple of hours earlier that day those cars would have passed over the north-south Bangor and Aroostook route in Maine they took in the '50s in through sleeper service between Boston and Van Buren, Maine on the Potatoland Special....via B&M, Maine Central and the BAR.

http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/con ... 95407.html

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  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Hadfield, let us not overlook that the CN also ordered nineteen similarly configured 6-4-6 cars directly. They were named "Green--". Of further interest, thirteen were operated by the Pullman Company and the remaining six by CN.

On the '56 "adventure" I noted at another site, "Greenmount" was my car NY-Montreal.

Oh the "adventure"; a canoe trip from Kapitachuan Club PQ. Those around here who know me face to face can readily surmise I'm "not exactly into that kind of stuff".
  by urr304
 
A long departed friend who was tall said that a lower berth was the most comfortable bed he ever had on a Pullman.

There were a few 'enclosed' sections, somewhat similar to a Superliner 'roomette'. I rode a Superliner roomette from Spokane to Seattle in 1980.

The often maligned Troop Sleepers allowed single occupancy of berths.

As stated earlier, the Federal regulations on standard travel allowances extended the need for sections; the allowance actually was quite generous to allow for a lower berth for each government employee when it was established. Of course, this was for a trip that needed an overnight transit, if not it was a coach [not a reclining seat probably]. Quite a difference to government employees' travelling expenses in recent times.

IIRC, a story went around 60 years ago that the B&O still had some cars with sections and were not going to replace them, so they told the government that they should be reasonable and update their allowances to allow for roomettes. Perhaps, some of the lower echelons got Sleepercoaches.

As stated, VIA still has sections, Chateau and Manor class sleepers, they had four sections, now three with one converted into a shower.

When I took the train across Canada 40 years ago, I should have tried a section, but it wasn't marketed to the travel agent I worked with. I did notice that the sections in each of the cars that were in consist were occupied. Of note, there was a single coach with straight backs for 'shorts', other coaches had reclining seats.
  by John_Perkowski
 
There are only so many ways to divvy up 19 square feet. The standard open section, IMO, was the best of them.

I’ve slept in them in 1963 and again in 1967. UP Pullman’s. They were comfortable.

I’ve slept in a standard roomette. Ditto.

I’ve slept in the pieces of trash Amtrak calls a roomette, lower and upper. Narrow berths, thin mattresses, thin blankets. To be frank, they suck.

Give me a 10-6 Pullman or a heavyweight 12-1 any day of the week.