Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:15 am

bostontrainguy wrote:Haven't explored it at all, but wonder if some cleaver design work could produce a triple-level sleeper with upper, mid and lower bedrooms nested together as in a slumbercoach configuration?

Might just work but needs more exploration.

If you can figure out a nested Slumbercoach design, I’ll work on a nested open pod* lie-flat coach. I think a stacked lie-flat layout could comfortably seat 48 and light carry-ons, but can’t prove it until I do the sketches.

As for Slumbercoaches. The Viewliner platform should accommodate a 24-8 with a nominal capacity of 40, but ADA requires we figure it a 38-seat 24-6-1 (extra-long accessible roomette). Amtrak could also do a 12-6-2-1 variation on its current Viewliner platform, for a capacity of 30.

* if desired, with curtains or doors for full privacy
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby gokeefe » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:13 pm

I think its also worth noting that an open cabin design could also be more easily marketed as a daytime "First Class" service. Stacked Roomette/Slumbercoach really precludes that option. I know that technically any sleeper accommodation on Amtrak is considered "First Class" but I think its worth noting that the two proposals being considered here are fundamentally different classes of service. One of them would be a high density "Economy" sleeper service and the other would be a medium density "First Class" coach/sleeper.

Amtrak truly has a shortage of "First Class" inventory for sale on the NEC. Right now the only real option is the Acela or booking NYP-ALX in a Roomette/Bedroom but getting off at WAS and vice-versa perhaps. There is plenty of demand for "First Class" service that could run WAS-NYP-BOS on the Northeast Regional. No need even for a diner, maybe just have a galley, OBS and at seat service like the Acela. Sort of a return to "MetroClub". Amtrak really is leaving money on the table by not running this type of service.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby electricron » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:31 pm

gokeefe wrote:I think its also worth noting that an open cabin design could also be more easily marketed as a daytime "First Class" service. Stacked Roomette/Slumbercoach really precludes that option. I know that technically any sleeper accommodation on Amtrak is considered "First Class" but I think its worth noting that the two proposals being considered here are fundamentally different classes of service. One of them would be a high density "Economy" sleeper service and the other would be a medium density "First Class" coach/sleeper.

Amtrak truly has a shortage of "First Class" inventory for sale on the NEC. Right now the only real option is the Acela or booking NYP-ALX in a Roomette/Bedroom but getting off at WAS and vice-versa perhaps. There is plenty of demand for "First Class" service that could run WAS-NYP-BOS on the Northeast Regional. No need even for a diner, maybe just have a galley, OBS and at seat service like the Acela. Sort of a return to "MetroClub". Amtrak really is leaving money on the table by not running this type of service.


That’s Amtrak marketing for you, first class on the NEC an is exclusively Acela product. Amtrak fears if they provided similar but slower first class service on the Amfleets, no one would pay the higher fares to ride the Acela trains. It’s those higher fares they charge for the advertised faster trains that makes the Amtrak NEC operations profitable.

Amtrak willl probably only offer an in-between business class service on Amfleets at best, exactly what they do today.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby gokeefe » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:13 pm

At least the good news here is that due to the increase in high speed trainsets with Avelia Liberty there will be a corresponding increase in FirstClass inventory.

I still think the best idea so far in this discussion is the open cabin concept. I would look at maximizing that floor plan using the smallest available "pod" with a lie flat configuration. This concept would be competing against crowded airliners, chain hotels and offers exceptional convenience. They're not fighting for market share with Singapore Airlines Suites or First Class.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby bostontrainguy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:34 pm

mtuandrew wrote:If you can figure out a nested Slumbercoach design, I’ll work on a nested open pod* lie-flat coach. I think a stacked lie-flat layout could comfortably seat 48 and light carry-ons, but can’t prove it until I do the sketches.

As for Slumbercoaches. The Viewliner platform should accommodate a 24-8 with a nominal capacity of 40, but ADA requires we figure it a 38-seat 24-6-1 (extra-long accessible roomette). Amtrak could also do a 12-6-2-1 variation on its current Viewliner platform, for a capacity of 30.


You may not have to overthink or over-design this with nesting pods. You might just be able to reach that 48 capacity simply by using a Bombardier bi-level coach and filling both levels with pods. Put the bathrooms and showers on one end mid-level and maybe an ADA room on the other if it is necessary (if it runs with Viewliner sleepers it may not be but if it runs alone such as on the new "Night Owl" then I guess you would need it).
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:08 pm

btg: but that’s the point, Amtrak isn’t going to haul around a Corridor-size bilevel unless it can get a serious capacity boost. The weight per seat ratio and the additional expense of a new car type doesn’t make it worthwhile. Besides, we have already established we can fit between 32 and 40 berths in a single level car; a bilevel should fit at least 60, preferably 70 or more.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:41 pm

I said once years ago while riding the Crescent that I was sorely tempted to climb up into the luggage rack and sleep there... there was plenty of room.

So on one hand, putting an upper bunk over a lower one is doable... but in an open configuration, I wouldn't be surprised if Amtrak would want to avoid that lest someone fall/get tossed while climbing up/down..

That said, honestly, as is, coach is ALMOST good enough for me. If it had better lumbar support and a better headrest (think like long-haul aircraft where the sides can pop up to help stabilize the neck) it would go a LONG ways to helping.
Forget the fancy stuff. Take the existing seats and improve them. Trains like the Crescent already do pretty well.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby David Benton » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:05 pm

Perhaps this might take your fancy.
https://adventuresallaround.com/spirit- ... -railbeds/
Remember these are narrow gauge carriages. Quite short in length too. Maybe Talgo based???
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby electricron » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:12 pm

David Benton wrote:Perhaps this might take your fancy.
https://adventuresallaround.com/spirit- ... -railbeds/
Remember these are narrow gauge carriages. Quite short in length too. Maybe Talgo based???

Yes, but they aren’t that much smaller than standard gauge carriages. Two cars with 19 and 16 lay-flat seats totaling 35 “beds”overnight, a single Viewliner has 30 “beds”.

Dimensions of the two cars are:
Viewliner car is 85 feet length and 10 feet width with an area of 850 square feet

Spirit of Queensland 16.2 meters (53 feet) in length and 2.85 meters (9.33 feet) wide with an area 46.17 square meters (494.5 feet)

Source https://www.queenslandrail.com.au/busin ... (MD-10-194).pdf

They are only 8 inches less wide than America’s standard gauge rolling stock, but they are 32 feet shorter in length.
Using a direct ration comparison, 53/85, they are 62% as long, or Viewliners 85/53 are 160% longer.
Therefore, using the 16 lay-flat seat handicap access Queensland configuration, (16 x 1.6 = 25) 25 would be the Viewliner lay-flat seat capacity.
Likewise, using the Viewliner 30 bed Viewliner configuration, a Queensland train (30 x 0.62 = 18) would have 18 beds.

In both cases with handicap accessibility configurations, the traditional sleeper compartmentation accommodates more passengers than lay-flat open seating.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby CarterB » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:23 am

Why keep dreaming up airline type lay flat, when the tried and true 24/8 slumbercoach plan with 40 berths still outdoes all dreamups and each compartment is totally private?
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:56 am

David Benton wrote:Perhaps this might take your fancy.
https://adventuresallaround.com/spirit- ... -railbeds/
Remember these are narrow gauge carriages. Quite short in length too. Maybe Talgo based???


Looks nice but you do have the window person having to crawl over the aisle person which isn't the case in the Delta One system. Also the Delta One does have partial walls and doors (Amtrak could go full height) that give a lot more privacy.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby gokeefe » Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:47 am

What about side by side lie flat seats in a 2-2 configuration? That should yield at least 40 berths.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby bretton88 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:07 am

electricron wrote:
David Benton wrote:Perhaps this might take your fancy.
https://adventuresallaround.com/spirit- ... -railbeds/
Remember these are narrow gauge carriages. Quite short in length too. Maybe Talgo based???

Yes, but they aren’t that much smaller than standard gauge carriages. Two cars with 19 and 16 lay-flat seats totaling 35 “beds”overnight, a single Viewliner has 30 “beds”.

Dimensions of the two cars are:
Viewliner car is 85 feet length and 10 feet width with an area of 850 square feet

Spirit of Queensland 16.2 meters (53 feet) in length and 2.85 meters (9.33 feet) wide with an area 46.17 square meters (494.5 feet)

Source https://www.queenslandrail.com.au/busin ... (MD-10-194).pdf

They are only 8 inches less wide than America’s standard gauge rolling stock, but they are 32 feet shorter in length.
Using a direct ration comparison, 53/85, they are 62% as long, or Viewliners 85/53 are 160% longer.
Therefore, using the 16 lay-flat seat handicap access Queensland configuration, (16 x 1.6 = 25) 25 would be the Viewliner lay-flat seat capacity.
Likewise, using the Viewliner 30 bed Viewliner configuration, a Queensland train (30 x 0.62 = 18) would have 18 beds.

In both cases with handicap accessibility configurations, the traditional sleeper compartmentation accommodates more passengers than lay-flat open seating.

My only problem with using the Viewliner Bed count is that with the way Amtrak sells rooms, there's a chance you can sell out the car and have as low as 15 passengers. In the lie flat model, you sell each seat individually. The lie flat seats have a chance at more revenue because of that inefficiency. Lets say a roomette costs 644$ (using the LSL prices) for one person, you then add 100$ for the second persons rail fare, if there's two. With the lie flat seats, Amtrak could charge 400$ per seat (looking at the pricing of such a service in Australia). So revenue wise, they come out ahead by selling two seats compared to a roomette. I think they would come out ahead because single passengers would consider doing the less prohibitive cost upgrade to the railbed seats versus the arrangement now.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby electricron » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:04 pm

bretton88 wrote:My only problem with using the Viewliner Bed count is that with the way Amtrak sells rooms, there's a chance you can sell out the car and have as low as 15 passengers. In the lie flat model, you sell each seat individually. The lie flat seats have a chance at more revenue because of that inefficiency. Lets say a roomette costs 644$ (using the LSL prices) for one person, you then add 100$ for the second persons rail fare, if there's two. With the lie flat seats, Amtrak could charge 400$ per seat (looking at the pricing of such a service in Australia). So revenue wise, they come out ahead by selling two seats compared to a roomette. I think they would come out ahead because single passengers would consider doing the less prohibitive cost upgrade to the railbed seats versus the arrangement now.


But you will not get twice as many lay-flat seats than berths in roomettes because they aren’t stacked atop each other.
Keeping to the same sized railcars, the Spirit of Queensland in handicap accessible configuration fits only 16 lay-flat seats. Before the introduction of the new first class chair cars with the new DMU tilt trains, they used M Series and L Series carriages.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queensl ... k#M_series
1st Class coach 36 seats
2nd Class coach 52 seats
Composite coach 42 seats (18 1st and 24 2nd)
1st Class sleeper 14 berths
2nd Class sleeper 24 berths
Composite sleeper 17 berths (8 1st and 9 2nd)

So compared to earlier 1st Class sleepers, the new lay-flat seats have the same number of berths or seats, but compared to 2nd Class sleepers, they now have less seats. Worse yet, there’s half as many first class seats in the first class coaches.

But what is the absolute take it to the bank truth is that the new open lay flat seat configuration carriages don’t have twice as many berths.
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Re: Overnight Coach Configuration Ideas

Postby Tadman » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:17 am

electricron wrote:That’s Amtrak marketing for you, first class on the NEC an is exclusively Acela product. Amtrak fears if they provided similar but slower first class service on the Amfleets, no one would pay the higher fares to ride the Acela trains.


Ron, you make a good point here, and I don't think Amtrak goes out of the box enough with their thinking. Does everything have to have the same name for classes of service? First class on Acela could be first class, it could be "platinum" on NE Regionals. Class names are so nebulous, take for example the European or Argentine examples:

Sweden:
Ligwagen (3 man sleeper cabins)
Couchette (6 man sleeper cabins)
1st Class Coach
3rd Class Coach

Argentina:
Camarote (2 man sleeper cabin)
Pullman (first class coach)
First Class (standard coach)
Furgon (baggage area for bikes, standing passengers very common)

Given that skipping of second class in Europe and that first class is actually third in Argentina, why do we hold to hard/fast class names here? Why do we refer to midwest corridor business class when there is nary a business person in sight some days? I love the way United uses "polaris" to refer to overseas first class, perhaps that's the way to brand Acela First. Or perhaps license the rights from somewhere famous and luxurious in NYC/Boston/DC. How does "Waldorf class" or "Plaza class" sound? "Clipper class"?


There's no right/wrong answer here, but given the upcoming Acela Mk II, the time is right to explore options.
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