Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:42 pm

Related of sorts to this discussion is that any observations I have had lately of 3-6, Chief and Zephyr, their consists have been reduced to seven cars (Bag, T-Dorm, Sleeper, Diner, Lounge, 2 Coaches). This appears to be the strategy outlined in a recent Fred Fraley TRAINS column to keep the demand pricing model from giving rides away.

I'm not certain if the Lounge is staffed, but it would seem they could whack the Sightseer (there's likely ten 370XX Diner-Lounges sitting around "unassigned") at least from the Chief - and no one would really miss it.

I can recall when airlines, at least on Transcontinental flights, had Lounges aboard aircraft. Some even had a piano, and a bar staffed by an Attendant.

Well, do they anymore?
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Tadman » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:50 pm

No such luck anymore. I've been on some fairly new wide body birds with no lounge of any sort. Supposedly the A380 super jumbo operated by certain middle eastern carriers has a bar with a small gathering area, but I've not been on either.

Which raises an interesting question: what is necessary to provide a nice little break for travelers? The bar/social area on an A380 is quite small, perhaps the size of the counter area on an Amfleet cafe car. Does the replacement for the Pacific Parlor need to be a full car? Last year, I travelled on the Wolverine at Christmas and due to moving Amfleet out east, it was superliner equipped. The last liner had the cafe/bar downstairs with a few booths under the coach car. I rather liked that. Perhaps a second cafe serving upmarket goods might be a bit more in line with expectations and bring better numbers about as well?
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Matt Johnson » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:00 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Well, do they anymore?


Like I said, Walmartization and degradation of the middle class, while the rich get richer.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:12 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
I can recall when airlines, at least on Transcontinental flights, had Lounges aboard aircraft. Some even had a piano, and a bar staffed by an Attendant.

Well, do they anymore?


Not that I've seen, but they have overall significantly upgraded the luxury level of transcontinental planes.

American's A321s that are used on transcontinental routes have most of the plane taken up with trans-Atlantic style 1x1 first class suites (with lie-flat beds, walls around each passenger) and 2x2 business class very comfortable seats, with only a small part of the plane consisting of coach seats. Yet another example of a transportation provider moving to make its service more luxurious, while Amtrak, nearly alone, makes it more "transportation for the masses".
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby dowlingm » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:19 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:
I can recall when airlines, at least on Transcontinental flights, had Lounges aboard aircraft. Some even had a piano, and a bar staffed by an Attendant.

Well, do they anymore?


Not that I've seen, but they have overall significantly upgraded the luxury level of transcontinental planes.

American's A321s that are used on transcontinental routes have most of the plane taken up with trans-Atlantic style 1x1 first class suites (with lie-flat beds, walls around each passenger) and 2x2 business class very comfortable seats, with only a small part of the plane consisting of coach seats. Yet another example of a transportation provider moving to make its service more luxurious, while Amtrak, nearly alone, makes it more "transportation for the masses".
Counterpoint: British Airways are getting rid of one of the two A318s they use in all Business config London City-Shannon-JFK-London, so service is being cut back. Some niches make sense, some don't. Look at how Iowa Pacific "upgraded" the Hoosier State, for all the good it did them.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:57 pm

A transatlantic A318 is like running a "luxury" Budd RDC from Chicago to LA. That doesn't make sense.

Overall, though, premium-class cabins on planes and many trains are being expanded and enhanced. Amtrak is one of the rare exceptions.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Matt Johnson » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:50 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:A transatlantic A318 is like running a "luxury" Budd RDC from Chicago to LA. That doesn't make sense.


Lame replacement for the Concorde. I wish I had experienced flying near 60,000 ft at Mach 2 when I had the chance! Alas, the next civilian supersonic jet will probably be the Aerion AS2 business jet, so even less accessible to the masses.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby David Benton » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:50 pm

Another difference between Airlines and Amtrak , on a typical plane , First class is probably less than 10 % of total passengers, Amtrak maybe 30 -40 %, on long distance trains.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:05 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:I'm not certain if the Lounge is staffed, but it would seem they could whack the Sightseer (there's likely ten 370XX Diner-Lounges sitting around "unassigned") at least from the Chief - and no one would really miss it.

I think that’s a poor decision personally - one of my most memorable Amtrak trips included spotting antelope from the westbound Chief’s Sightseer, and chasing thunderstorms across the Kansas prairie on the eastward return trip. If Amtrak is desperate to rearrange its Sightseer fleet, why not assign them to the Capitol Limited?
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:44 pm

Somewhat O/T but related,How many of the converted Diners to Lounges for Auto train service,may have been fodder for the
"Cross Country Cafe" conversions still in service?
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:48 pm

The EGE wrote:Alert on Amtrak's website:

Amtrak will retire the renowned Pacific Parlour Car from the Coast Starlight. The last day of service will be February 2 on Train 14 and February 4 on Train 11. Retiring the Parlour Car is part of Amtrak's ongoing work to modernize its fleet of equipment.

Due to high demand, an additional Parlour Car trip has been added on Wednesday, January 31 leaving Los Angeles and Friday, February 2 leaving Seattle.

The Parlour Car will continue to operate on Thursdays and Fridays departing Los Angeles and Saturdays and Sundays departing Seattle through February 4.


I got extremely lucky - I'm on train 14 on the 1st!

I just booked a roomette on the same train, so I guess I'll see you in the Parlour Car.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby electricron » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:07 pm

Tadman wrote:No such luck anymore. I've been on some fairly new wide body birds with no lounge of any sort. Supposedly the A380 super jumbo operated by certain middle eastern carriers has a bar with a small gathering area, but I've not been on either.

Which raises an interesting question: what is necessary to provide a nice little break for travelers? The bar/social area on an A380 is quite small, perhaps the size of the counter area on an Amfleet cafe car. Does the replacement for the Pacific Parlor need to be a full car? Last year, I travelled on the Wolverine at Christmas and due to moving Amfleet out east, it was superliner equipped. The last liner had the cafe/bar downstairs with a few booths under the coach car. I rather liked that. Perhaps a second cafe serving upmarket goods might be a bit more in line with expectations and bring better numbers about as well?

Amtrak has 9 cafe-coach Superliners (#35001-#35011) in service. They are used mostly on regional Superliner trains without sightseer lounge cars, like Superliner trains to Michigan and the Heartland Flyer. They can often be seen on the Empire Builder and used to provide gedunk services to the section of the train without the sightseer lounge car upon the train being split in Spokane. It is not designed to provide a first class atmosphere; leather padded seats, luxurious carpets, etc.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:39 am

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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:42 am

The El Capitan Hi Level "Top of the Cap" lounges are the last of the fleet. This day has been coming for a while.
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Re: Pacific Parlour Car retirement February 2018?

Postby Mackensen » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:00 am

John_Perkowski wrote:The El Capitan Hi Level "Top of the Cap" lounges are the last of the fleet. This day has been coming for a while.


Yes it has. The Fleet Strategy, which is 6-7 years old at this point, called for 12 parlor cars from the future Superliner III order to replace them. The five-year service plan, released last year, called for converting five Cross-Country Cafes for first class service in FY 2020. The parlors have survived economy drives before; it would be strange for Amtrak to eliminate them even as they've redesigned timetables and menus, improved food service offerings in the long-distance dining cars, and raised fares across the board. I suspect this is simply a case of the clock running out sooner than expected.
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