What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, gprimr1, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman

What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby train2 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:55 pm

Reading reports of the demise of the Pacific Parlor Car. Never had a chance to ride one. What was different about them from Superliners? From the outside they looked very similar. And how much of what made them different was in sevice as opposed to hardware?

Would anyone have photos to compare the interiors to a Sightseer lounge?
train2
 
Posts: 791
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:56 pm

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Mackensen » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:05 pm

train2 wrote:Reading reports of the demise of the Pacific Parlor Car. Never had a chance to ride one. What was different about them from Superliners? From the outside they looked very similar. And how much of what made them different was in sevice as opposed to hardware?

Would anyone have photos to compare the interiors to a Sightseer lounge?


The Wikipedia article on the Hi-Level would be a good starting point. Plenty of photographs.
Mackensen
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:30 pm

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Matt Johnson » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:57 pm

The Parlours have eight insanely comfortable swivel chairs, a couple of small sofa-like lounge seats, and then regular table seating with a bar at the other end of the car. Note the classy looking wood trim. A Sightseer Lounge has less comfortable but higher density seating in a nice enough but more utilitarian looking interior.

The lower level of the Parlour Car has a generally unused movie theater which, had they stayed in service, I would have suggested would be better served by more awesome swivel chairs! :) The lower level of the Sightseer Lounge is a cafe area.
User avatar
Matt Johnson
 
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:57 pm
Location: Hazlet, NJ

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Morning Zephyr » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:17 pm

The swivel chairs and generally plusher surroundings and paneling are sure physical attributes worth remembering. Additionally, an important feature was the programming, which included more attentive service, less competition for seats, wine tastings, and general cleanliness. Physically, the Superliner Sightseer cars are nice equipment, but the pattern of having big bags of trash and dirty windowsills, and potato chips and doritos mashed into the carpet, as well as the tendency of overcrowding (and even passengers sprawled out sleeping) are real demerits. You should see the looks on faces of people who have paid $1000 to ride sleepers on the California Zephyr in summer when they get told their time in the Sightseer lounge is rationed to two hours!
It's also odd that despite the overhauls, the Sightseers still have those upstairs bar stations, which in my recollection have not been used for perhaps twenty years.
Still, just to end on a positive note, at least the Superliner trains still have a lounge, which the eastern trains like the Lake Shore and Crescent and Florida fleet do not. (An Amfleet snack bar with cramped tables and small windows is not a long-distance lounge.)
Morning Zephyr
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:21 pm

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Tadman » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:49 pm

In a nutshell, just about everything.

Different trucks, bodies, doors, windows, seating... I don't know if the heat/aircon behind the service doors are the same units in Superliners, but worth investigating. Now that the Hi-Levels are gone, there are less than ten cars they have to maintain an entire stock of parts for
Tadman
 
Posts: 8862
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:57 pm

The Pacific Parlors were the ex-El-Cap "Sky lounges" repurposed for the Pacific Parlor on the Coast Starlight. Were converted to HEP by Beech Grove,
removing the Gen-sets that powered the A/C systems used since build new for ATSF.
These cars are the last in revenue service,Parts are scarce or built from scratch at Beech Grove.
Other than the Exhibit Train and the retained Heritage cars("Barrier cars") for moving parts between shops,were the last El-Cap Heritage cars in service.
Hopefully the cars will find homes at Museums

It's unknown if Amtrak will convert a few Sightseer lounges to Pacific Parlors(2nd gen).
Last edited by Backshophoss on Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Backshophoss
 
Posts: 5539
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:57 am

Who paid for PP service to be added to the Starlight in the first place? If Amtrak, they are under no obligation to build more Parlours, though I suppose we could see them add another lounge per train out of the goodness of their hearts. If the states, Amtrak may actually need to come up with a replacement by contract.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 5072
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Mackensen » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:49 am

mtuandrew wrote:Who paid for PP service to be added to the Starlight in the first place? If Amtrak, they are under no obligation to build more Parlours, though I suppose we could see them add another lounge per train out of the goodness of their hearts. If the states, Amtrak may actually need to come up with a replacement by contract.


Amtrak. It was the brainchild of Brian Rosenwald, who was product manager for the Coast Starlight in the mid-1990s.
Mackensen
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:30 pm

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby electricron » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:31 am

I''ve only ridden the Coast Starlight once in the sleepers, so my experience may not have been typical. I found the Pacific Parlor an empty and barren place. While the padded seats were comfortable, I far more enjoyed the company I found in the sightseer lounge where stronger drinks could be purchased. Amtrak never fully utilized the movie theatre area or the rest of the lower floor properly. There was just one organized events scheduled in the car - the wine and cheese tasting event - the rest of the way it was just another car or obstacle to walk through to get to the diner and lounge cars. I will not miss it. :wink:
electricron
 
Posts: 4333
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Tadman » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:41 am

For what it's worth, we like to play that game around here called "who will buy them and where will they use them after Amtrak retires said cars". Usually the favored answer is Keystone service but that's not going to work here due to height (I'm having a little fun here, guys).

In all seriousness, it is my impression that the parlor fleet is tired but not utterly shot. Perhaps a tour operator could find good use for them on a train like Saratoga North Coast or Grand Canyon Railroad, where they roll 100 miles a week (at 25mph) rather than 1000 miles a day (up to 79mph). That's a significant difference which is why tourist train operators are still running Lackawanna MU's 35 years after they were retired as totally shot for commuter service.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8862
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:42 pm

The best bet might be the SLRG(IP)since they have a "complete" set of El-Cap cars there,IF Mr Ellis can find the $$$$$$ to buy 1 of the cars. :wink:
Otherwise the great stainless deadline near St Louis might get a few more members. :(
Backshophoss
 
Posts: 5539
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby BandA » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:22 am

Budd would have paid attention to all the engineering details in a way that would be impossible today, even if you ordered identical "clones".
User avatar
BandA
 
Posts: 2455
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby Tadman » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:59 am

Backshophoss wrote:The best bet might be the SLRG(IP)since they have a "complete" set of El-Cap cars there,IF Mr Ellis can find the $$$$$$ to buy 1 of the cars. :wink:
Otherwise the great stainless deadline near St Louis might get a few more members. :(


My source at IP tells me they are selling these days.

For that matter, one doesn't need inside info to see that many of their bigger operations are closed/closing. Pullman, Hoosier, and the train out in Cali all come to mind.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8862
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby markhb » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:47 am

Are there any nicely-appointed single-level lounge cars in use on Amtrak? I don't mean the cafes or cafe/business class cars, but intentionally-designed lounge cars.
"...And then I thought, every time some company creates a more powerful locomotive does Superman become more powerful as well or is he stuck at 1938 locomotive power levels?" - A friend of mine elsewhere
Anything I post here is mine alone and does not represent the views of my employer.
markhb
 
Posts: 1420
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:42 pm
Location: Maine

Re: What was different about Pacific Parlor Cars?

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:22 am

markhb wrote:Are there any nicely-appointed single-level lounge cars in use on Amtrak? I don't mean the cafes or cafe/business class cars, but intentionally-designed lounge cars.

No. Rumor has it there’s a Viewliner Lounge design in Amtrak’s files, but nothing on the rails or assembly line.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 5072
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Next

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests