Accommodations before Amtrak

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Accommodations before Amtrak

Postby John_Perkowski » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:04 pm

David asked me to repost this, so I'm grabbing from the Amtrak Forum and pasting here :)

My favorite subject :-)

Let's talk streamline era passenger service up to Dec 31, 1968 (the demise of the Pullman Company):

COACH CLASS: Four seats side to side, two on one side of the aisle, two on the other. For LD passengers, typically capacity was 44-48 seats. 52 seats was an early number used as well. Mens and Womens dressing rooms at each end of the car (sometimes, the men would have a dressing room in Car 1, the women in Car 2, and each would then have a smaller toilet annex in their own car).

FIRST CLASS:

Day travel: On the east coast and to some extent in other sections, PARLOR CARS were used. A parlor car had a bank of single seats, often of the "overstuffed" variety, usually rotatable. Here is a picture of the interior of a heavyweight parlor car. Parlor cars came with a porter, who would fetch drinks and meals, and keep the car spic and span at all times.

As an alternative, a passenger could be sold "seat only occupancy" in Pullman space (this happened in other parts of the country).

Overnight travel:

A SECTION is an upper and lower berth, with privacy afforded by curtains at night, but with an open bay (a la a coach) in daytime. The footprint of a section is roughly 18 square feet. Here is more info.

A variation of the section is the ENCLOSED SECTION, used from 1934-1950 on the City streamliners of the Union Pacific. Some had a sink in the space, others were simply enclosed section space. The enclosed section is the lineal ascendant of Amtrak's Economy Room (later standard bedroom, later "roomette").

A ROOMETTE (tm the Pullman Company 1936) is a single person accommodation. It has the same footprint as a section (18 square feet (it's hard to put a 6' long, 3' wide bed in less than 18 sq ft). Roomettes are enclosed and have full toilet facilities (for night-time needs, there is a small community annex at one end of the car). Here is more info.

A DOUBLE BEDROOM was a 30 square foot space, enclosed, with upper, lower, and facilities. Early versions had a single pane HW era sized window, with the sink and hopper on the outer wall. Later versions had an enclosed annex. Here is more info.

A COMPARTMENT was a 42 square foot space, enclosed, with upper, lower, and facilities. The Pullman Compartment is the lineal ascendant of Amtrak's Deluxe Bedroom, except Amtrak Deluxe BRs now have showers. Here is more info. Sometime after A-Day, Amtrak sold compartments at the Bedroom rate.

A DRAWING ROOM was about 60 sq feet, and had two lowers, an upper, and always enclosed facilities. This space is no longer in Amtrak service. Here is more info. There were Drawing rooms in service just after A-Day. My 1973 edition of Wayner's Amtrak Car Spotter shows drawing rooms in service, but Compartments had been re-designated bedrooms. BTW, most section space had been redesignated dorm space.

Of the spaces above, only the roomette was not in play before the Streamliner era. There were, however, HW cars retrofitted with roomettes.

The only space created only for the Streamliner era was the MASTER ROOM. It was an elite space on the most elite trains: The TWENTIETH CENTURY LIMITED, the Broadway Limited, and the Crescent Limited had them. I know the Super Chief and the UP City trains did not, but am not sure about other elite trains of the early era. It could sit 4 by day, and slept IIRC 2 by night, both in lowers. It was the one accommodation of the era which had its own shower.

Hope this explains things. For those who'd like to see pricng, Eric Bowen's streamlinerschedules.com site has a great collection of info. Here's the ticketing page: http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/tickets.html
Last edited by David Benton on Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Accommodations before Amtrak

Postby David Benton » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:59 pm

Thanks John , I have made it a sticky , so lets keep and add to it for easy reference .
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Re: Accommodations before Amtrak

Postby Scoring Guy » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:06 am

Allow me to suggest a few additions to your list of pre-Amtrak streamlined accommodations:
One of the more common was the DUPLEX room, which was a single room more compact than a Roomette, the duplex rooms had different floor levels allowing the rooms, and beds, to overlap slightly in order get more beds per square footage. The ground level duplexes had the bed slide under the upper level duplex, while the upper level duplex had a fold down bed. They did however contain their own hopper. A variation of the Duplex, which was even more compact, was used in the Slumbercoaches - the beds were actually in two pieces folding down from each end to form the bed; these were very narrow, but still had a hopper in the room. There were a small number of sleepers made with a transverse version of the Duplex, where beds of adjacent (up/down) rooms were completely above/below one another.

The NP had a variation of the roomette in their dome sleepers - the "Single Bedrooms" under the dome area had a transverse couch/bed (with no upper because of the low ceiling) and a hopper.

Many railroads used the term "STATEROOM" which was similar to a bedroom, a transverse coach/bed with a hopper or toilet annex.

The Budd made observation-dome cars of the California Zephyr and Canadian had a room similar to the "Master Bedroom" which a larger toilet annex and three beds.
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Re: Accommodations before Amtrak

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:26 pm

The Pennsylvania had cars in the CREEK series which had two double bedrooms at each end, over the trucks, and between the trucks there were 14 Duplex Single Rooms with transverse berths, similar to those on the Northern Pacific as described above by Scoring Guy, except that they were staggered on two levels -- as I recall the upper ones were a few steps up from the corridor, and the lowers a few steps down.
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Re: Accommodations before Amtrak

Postby John Laubenheimer » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:42 pm

ExCon90 wrote:The Pennsylvania had cars in the CREEK series which had two double bedrooms at each end, over the trucks, and between the trucks there were 14 Duplex Single Rooms with transverse berths, similar to those on the Northern Pacific as described above by Scoring Guy, except that they were staggered on two levels -- as I recall the upper ones were a few steps up from the corridor, and the lowers a few steps down.


The (post-war) CREEK-series cars had 12 Duplex (Single) Rooms and 4 Double Bedrooms (with an enclosed toilet annex); the vestibule was at the forward end of the car. See http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiag ... &sz=sm&fr= for the car's diagram. The (pre-war) BROOK-series cars had 12 Duplex (Single) Rooms and 5 Double Bedrooms (with a fold out commode); the vestibule was at the rear end of the car. See http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiag ... &sz=sm&fr= for the car's diagram. The upper rooms were (IIRC) 2 steps up from the corridor hallway. There were no steps down to the lower rooms; the entire hallway (between the double bedrooms) was depressed, with ramps at either end.

No other railroad had cars similar to the CREEK-series, although the NP dome sleepers had similar duplex single rooms. However, there were (I believe) 2 cars similar to the BROOK-series assigned to the CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO, and (I believe) that these cars were owner by the SP (or, perhaps, UP originally and SP later).

Scoring Guy wrote:The only space created only for the Streamliner era was the MASTER ROOM. It was an elite space on the most elite trains: The TWENTIETH CENTURY LIMITED, the Broadway Limited, and the Crescent Limited had them. I know the Super Chief and the UP City trains did not, but am not sure about other elite trains of the early era. It could sit 4 by day, and slept IIRC 2 by night, both in lowers. It was the one accommodation of the era which had its own shower.


Also, the pre-war LIBERTY LIMITED carried an observation car similar to that carried on the BROADWAY LIMITED. These cars contained 2 Master Rooms and 1 Double Bedroom.
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