Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

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gokeefe
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Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by gokeefe » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:36 pm

In another conversation I came to the realization that Amtrak is easily one of the largest sleeper car operators in the World and certainly in the "West".

How many rooms (roomettes, bedrooms, & family bedrooms) does Amtrak have on the rails on an average night? I've never tried to calculate this but as I started to do the math in my head the number got into the hundreds in a hurry.

I think it would be interesting to discuss Amtrak's sleeping car operations in aggregate and specifically to understand total system capacity. It would be interesting to see what some of the comparisons might be to a stationary hotel system.
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gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by gokeefe » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:53 pm

Here's a first step ...

Lake Shore Limited 2x trains with 3x Viewliners (2 NYP, 1 BOS) @ 15 rooms each = 45 rooms per train or 90 rooms per night for the entire route.
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electricron
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by electricron » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:51 pm

gokeefe wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:36 pm
In another conversation I came to the realization that Amtrak is easily one of the largest sleeper car operators in the World and certainly in the "West".

How many rooms (roomettes, bedrooms, & family bedrooms) does Amtrak have on the rails on an average night? I've never tried to calculate this but as I started to do the math in my head the number got into the hundreds in a hurry.

I think it would be interesting to discuss Amtrak's sleeping car operations in aggregate and specifically to understand total system capacity. It would be interesting to see what some of the comparisons might be to a stationary hotel system.
The first step is to identify how many sleeper cars Amtrak has in its fleet.
Per http://on-track-on-line.com/amtrak-roster.shtml
49 Viewliner I with 15 rooms and roomettes, total capacity 30; 30 x 49 = 1470
1 of 25 Viewliner II with 14 rooms and roomettes, total capacity 28; 28 x 1 = 28 and 28 x 25 = 700
59 Superliner I with 21 rooms and roomettes, total capacity 44; 44 x 59 = 2596
47 Superliner II with 21 rooms and roomettes, total capacity 44; 44 x 47 = 2068
6 Superliner II Deluxe with 16 rooms and roomettes, total capacity 34; 34 x 6 = 204
42 Superliner II Dorms with 18 roomettes, total capacity 35*; 16 x 42 = 672
* Note: Where used for passenger service, less than half of the roomettes are use.
My math suggests 7038 bunks are available, plus another 672 could be added using Transistion-Dorm Superliner cars.
1470 + 700 + 2596 + 2068 + 204 = 7038 ; 0.9 x 7038 = 6334
Assuming an average 90% availability for all the sleeper cars, 6,334 bunks could be available every night.

How many sleepers in use on any specific night can vary throughout the year. That's why I kept my numbers nationally, and assumed a 90% of them could be in service.
Additionally, most trains with sleepers start their journey in the afternoon and evening, and finish their journey in the morning or early afternoon. There's usually plenty of time to turn them that same day - possibly on a different route but still on the same day. So most of the sleepers are in service every night, except for those pulled for maintenance.

10% of them in maintenance at any given time seems logical to me, I can't visualize 16 sleeper cars being worked on in the shops. Some more math totaling sleeper cars seems to be calculated now.
49 + 1 +59 + 47 + 6 = 162. 10% of that would be 16.

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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by gokeefe » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:09 pm

I specifically gave the example of a route in order to avoid a fleet capacity discussion. There are plenty of other topics dedicated to that type of math.

I wanted to try and analyze this question by understanding what is actually on the rails overnight. I understand consists may vary by season.

Here's another example:

Cardinal: 2x trains with 1x Viewliners @ 15 rooms each = 15 rooms per train or 30 rooms per night. Multiplied by 3/7 (for 3 day per week operations) = 12.9 rooms per night.

Total (2 routes) = 102.9 rooms per night
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gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by gokeefe » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:22 pm

Here's the math for another route:

Crescent: 2x trains with 2x Viewliners @ 15 rooms each = 30 rooms per train or 60 rooms per night.

Total (3 routes) = 162.9 rooms per night.
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electricron
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by electricron » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:13 am

And here's another example that shows just how complicated your question is.

Texas Eagle 4 days a week
1 Superliner Sleeper, 21 rooms and roomettes with 44 possible bunks and 1 Superliner Dorm with 8 roomettes with 16 possible bunks for passengers. That's 29 rooms and roomettes with 60 possible bunks per train, x 2 trains = 58 rooms and roomettes with 120 possible bunks.
Texas Eagle with additional Superliner Sleeper extension to LA 3 days a week.
2 Superliner Sleepers, 42 rooms and roomettes with 88 possible bunks and 1 Superliner Dorm with 8 roomettes with 16 possible bunks for passengers. That's now 50 rooms and roomettes with 104 possible bunks per train, x 2 trains = 100 rooms and roomettes with 208 possible bunks.

How do you wish to average that over an entire year, season, month, or week? I'll let you do the math!

That's assuming you only wish to account for the trains leaving Chicago and San Antonio on a daily basis. That's why x2 was used earlier. But in reality, every night between San Antonio and Chicago, there are three train sets in use. 1&2 in Arkansas, one heading south and the other heading north, and #3 sitting empty in San Antonio awaiting a turn 4 nights a week. But on 3 nights a week, #3 train set has one sleeper and coach sitting full of passengers in San Antonio awaiting the arrival of the westbound Sunset Limited.

P.S, which brings up the next difficulty, how do you wish to account for the extra sleeper and coach on the Sunset Limited coming to and from the Texas Eagle three nights a week between San Antonio and Los Angeles? For that matter, how do you wish to account for the Sunset Limited at all? One night of the trip from New Orleans to San Antonio is has one less sleeper and coach than it does the other night from San Antonio to Los Angeles.

Compliciations you probably did not consider before asking your question. Variations happen every night!

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by gokeefe » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:05 am

As with the example of the Cardinal you take the nights when you have a partial use multiplier of (nights)/7. So in this case it's 3/7 or 0.4285.

I would note that I'm not counting beds just rooms as that's a standard metric in the hospitality industry. It helps to do it that way because it gives a sense of Amtrak's true capacity as a "hotelier" and could provide some interesting comparisons to hotel systems.

Also we may need a sense of crew occupancy in the Superliner Dorm. How much of that car is revenue space? I understand the answer may vary by route.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:41 am

Interesting analysis, Volks.

However there is still a long, LONG, way to go to match when the Pullman Company advertised they were "the hotel with 250,000 overnight guests.

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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by bratkinson » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:35 am

gokeefe wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:05 am
I would note that I'm not counting beds just rooms as that's a standard metric in the hospitality industry. It helps to do it that way because it gives a sense of Amtrak's true capacity as a "hotelier" and could provide some interesting comparisons to hotel systems.
As a former night auditor at a Radisson Hotel among a variety of other jobs I've held, all we were concerned with on the front desk was how many rooms are filled and how many vacant. Some rooms had a single queen size bed, others a king size bed, others had 2 queen beds, and the few studios we had had 2 queen beds and a hide-a-bed in a couch.

Note, too, that the nightly reports I produced did not show how many people in each room. However, I have little doubt that the hotel manager had various reports of their own that showed averages such as number of people per room, revenue per room, revenue per guest, and so on. The people count gets used for laundry and housekeeping staffing levels whereas the revenue per room type was important, too.

We typically had 80-100 airline crew members there every night as well, with each airline getting a different corporate negotiated rate that was about 35-40% of our standard 'rack rate'. There was also an 'airline lounge' aka converted room with free goodies including large-screen TVs (before digital), sodas, waters, snacks, fresh fruits and pastries, and even Pop Tarts. We told the air crews what room number and their electronic room keys would unlock the door. Truth was, any valid room key would open the door. We simply didn't tell the other guests!

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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by gokeefe » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:16 pm

electricron wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:13 am
Compliciations you probably did not consider before asking your question. Variations happen every night!
So 4/7 x 58 rooms and 3/7 x 100 rooms ... Or 33.14 + 42.85 = 75.99 or 76 weekly average ...

Total (4 Routes): 238.9

Auto Train should be easier but I really don't know the consist math because of the Deluxe Sleeper cars and the normal consist configuration.
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by Tadman » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:59 am

This map makes it easy http://trn.trains.com/~/media/files/pdf ... -night.pdf

Looks like there are 12 overnight superliner segments in each direction and 14 viewliner (assuming Cardinal and Sunset are daily, which they are not)

Viewliner has 15 rooms, each with two beds. Superliner has 9 or 19 rooms, each with two beds.

Single level trains average two sleepers, Superliners average two sleepers and a transition.

That tells me each Viewliner train has 30 rooms and 60 beds, while each Superliner has 47 rooms and 94 beds.

Add that all up and you get 984 rooms per night. Now here's why the sleepers lose money. It's rare to get a sleeper trip under $200. The average hotel price is $135/night in the US, and that doesn't include a few meals and certainly doesn't include a terminal like Union Station. It's no wonder they have a hard time making money on sleepers. Amtrak gets $100/extra a night to cover a diner/meals, trackage rights, fuel, 24/7 attendant, and a few Union Stations at either end.
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electricron
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by electricron » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:29 am

Tadman wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:59 am
This map makes it easy http://trn.trains.com/~/media/files/pdf ... -night.pdf

Looks like there are 12 overnight superliner segments in each direction and 14 viewliner (assuming Cardinal and Sunset are daily, which they are not)

Viewliner has 15 rooms, each with two beds. Superliner has 9 or 19 rooms, each with two beds.

Single level trains average two sleepers, Superliners average two sleepers and a transition.

That tells me each Viewliner train has 30 rooms and 60 beds, while each Superliner has 47 rooms and 94 beds.

Add that all up and you get 984 rooms per night. Now here's why the sleepers lose money. It's rare to get a sleeper trip under $200. The average hotel price is $135/night in the US, and that doesn't include a few meals and certainly doesn't include a terminal like Union Station. It's no wonder they have a hard time making money on sleepers. Amtrak gets $100/extra a night to cover a diner/meals, trackage rights, fuel, 24/7 attendant, and a few Union Stations at either end.
Thanks for contributing - but something is missing in your analysis. About half the Superliner routes involve trains being in service for two night, so these have twice as many rooms and roomettes available every night. If all the trains took just one night per trip, your analysis would be correct.
Which brings up another problem that also includes the single night trains, the rebooking of rooms or roomettes during a trip. That's something most hotels do not do. But it is common to see Amtrak resell them as soon as they become available - even if just as day cabins to the end of the trip.
I just want to remind everyone that we are comparing apples to oranges when comparing hotels to sleeper trains.

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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by Tadman » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:58 am

So regarding two night western trips, I counted those as two trains. I used the Trains magazine map and counted all the blue segments, which represent nights. On that map, each moving sleeper train in the country is represented by a blue segment. I can check my math but I believe I accounted for two-night rides that way.

What's interesting is that while Amtrak seems like they have a lot of sleepers, there is probably more hotel rooms off the airport in a mid-size city like Cleveland or MSP than there is rolling across the Amtrak network in a night. If the average airport hotel has 100 rooms, and Amtrak has 450, that's 5 airport hotels equivalent.
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by Tadman » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:06 pm

Superliner trains with nights rolling:
Builder - 2
Starlight - 1
Zephyr - 2
Chief - 2
Sunset - 2
Eagle - 1
CNO - 1
Capital - 1
Auto - 2 (double size, 1 night)

Viewliner with nights
LSL - 1
Crescent - 1
Cardinal - 1
Meteor - 1
Star - 1

So 14 Superliner nights every night x 2 superliner sleepers @ 20 rooms and 1 Trans at 10 rooms = 700
5 Viewliner nights every night x 2 cars @ 13 rooms = 130 rooms
Total is 830 rooms.

Still less than the O'Hare airport area.
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electricron
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Re: Amtrak Room Nights & "Hotel" System Analysis

Post by electricron » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:00 pm

Tadman wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:06 pm
Superliner trains with nights rolling:
Builder - 2
Starlight - 1
Zephyr - 2
Chief - 2
Sunset - 2
Eagle - 1
CNO - 1
Capital - 1
Auto - 2 (double size, 1 night)

Viewliner with nights
LSL - 1
Crescent - 1
Cardinal - 1
Meteor - 1
Star - 1

So 14 Superliner nights every night x 2 superliner sleepers @ 20 rooms and 1 Trans at 10 rooms = 700
5 Viewliner nights every night x 2 cars @ 13 rooms = 130 rooms
Total is 830 rooms.

Still less than the O'Hare airport area.
One way okay, but the trains go both ways! You need to double all the trains, rooms, and roomettes.

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