• Viewliner II Delivery/Production

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Arlington
 
^ thinking like this. The nicest seats, drawn from the standard kit parts, potentially spaced more widely, in a high-ceiling coach.
  by electricron
 
Arlington wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:45 am I would like to see amtrak buy the VII sleeper shells (all the usual windows) and operate them with some form of "business class" interior. A semi-closed but not fully closable "pod" in which it feels more normal to be seated "next to" a stranger, and have seat occupants change over the course of the journey (easily changed "linen kit" / "sack sheet").

Phase 1: V2 Business Class module would be built from an existing kit of Amtrak's nicest seats, spaced at much greater pitch.
Phase 2: V2 Business Class would use standard "international first" lie-flat seats bought from an airline supplier
Phase 3: the creation of a lie-flat interior that uses the full height of the car's volume (as a Slumbercoach did), still without a door and lower requirements for an attendant.
How many threads must I kill the idea of lay-flat seats on? Apparently every one!
Amtrak’s new Viewliner sleeper cars reportedly will have:
1 handicap friendly room, 2 rooms, and 12 roomettes - plus 1 shower and 1 restroom compartments.
At double occupancy per room and roomette, that is a total of 30 bunks
Amtrak’s existing Amfleet 2 coaches have 59 seats, that’s with 15 rows of seats with 2 seats removed from one row to make room for a wheelchair space.To be revenue neutral, Amtrak needs to collect the same amount of revenue it could get from each coach car. At 30 seats, fares need to be twice coach. At 20 seats, fares need to be thrice coach. The best anyone has suggested is squeezing in 32 lay flat seats, so that puts the fares needed being almost twice that of an Amfleet 2 coach.

But we are not limiting this discussion to just Amfleet 2s, let us include Amfleet 1s coaches into this discussion. Amtrak existing Amfleet 1s have 72 seats. 36 seats would require twice the fares for an Amfleet 1 coach, 24 seats would require thrice the fares. 32 lay flat seats puts the fares needed being more than twice that of an Amfleet 1 coach.

Do you really believe that many corridor travelers want to spend that much for a lay-flat seat?
Last edited by electricron on Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by ExCon90
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:30 am
gokeefe wrote: Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:28 pm
Greg Moore wrote: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:41 pmAnd if you were to do that, I'd suggest something I've argued for years: Make the LSL a single BOS-CHI train and have a separate "21st Century Limited" that ran NYP-CHI along much of the same route, but say 2 hours later, with a few different stops (keep the major cities of course).
Completely agreed if it were at least feasible that the host railroad would allow it. Fact of the matter is they won't.
Run it through Canada.
You'd still need CSX to get to and from the border.

Question: If you could arrange a through movement via Buffalo and Detroit, would Canadian and U. S. Customs allow the train to run "sealed"; i.e. no passengers allowed to join or leave the train within Canada--and no on- or off-train inquisitions at the borders? It's been done in Europe for at least 100 years, and the countries involved were OK with it. Granted, things are different today ...
  by Arlington
 
electricron wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:04 pmHow many threads must I kill the idea of lay-flat seats on? Apparently every one!
Amtrak’s new Viewliner sleeper cars reportedly will have:
1 handicap friendly room, 2 rooms, and 12 roomettes - plus 1 shower and 1 restroom compartments.
At double occupancy per room and roomette, that is a total of 30 bunks
Are you de-bunking my un-bunking? ;-)

Ron, my goal is a lay flat seat that is cheaper to operate (less attendant labor; no diner expectations, no private toilet), and easier to get high load factors on (sell many short segments, put strangers next to each other)

Amtrak's worst economic stats are generally its high CASM (cost per available seat mile) and low load factors. A clearly-branded businesses class for overnight trips could address both.

The problem with calling a V2 "30 bunks" is that bunks wrapped in rooms are hard to fill--impossible to sell a stranger into somebody's single-occupant roomette, and hard to sell a roomette SYR-NYP if somebody's bought overnight CHI-SYR. (Having only rid end-to-end, I have to ask: would the attendant clean-and-remake an LSL roomette during the stop at SYR under current procedures so that it could be sold both CHI-SYR and SYR-NYP?).

On the LSL, we see that the sleepers for ALB/ROC/SYR/BUF to Chicago are heavily patronized, but doesn't that mean that they can't sell the Upstate-NYP part of the trip, and can't sell a stranger into somebody's underfull roomette?
Last edited by Arlington on Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:16 pm, edited 10 times in total.
  by Amtrak706
 
97 (15) has a baggage dorm tucked between the sleepers and baggage. A friend of mine is on the train and says they appear to be using the car for both baggage and crew dorm service. Not sure why there is still a full baggage as well, though.
  by gokeefe
 
Could be some express business or sufficient baggage to require the full car.
  by electricron
 
Arlington wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:30 pm Ron, my goal is a lay flat seat that is cheaper to operate (less attendant labor; no diner expectations, no private toilet), and easier to get high load factors on (sell many short segments, put strangers next to each other)

Amtrak's worst economic stats are generally its high CASM (cost per available seat mile) and low load factors. A clearly-branded businesses class for overnight trips could address both.

The problem with calling a V2 "30 bunks" is that bunks wrapped in rooms are hard to fill--impossible to sell a stranger into somebody's single-occupant roomette, and hard to sell a roomette SYR-NYP if somebody's bought overnight CHI-SYR. (Having only rid end-to-end, I have to ask: would the attendant clean-and-remake an LSL roomette during the stop at SYR under current procedures so that it could be sold both CHI-SYR and SYR-NYP?).

On the LSL, we see that the sleepers for ALB/ROC/SYR/BUF to Chicago are heavily patronized, but doesn't that mean that they can't sell the Upstate-NYP part of the trip, and can't sell a stranger into somebody's underfull roomette?
Lay-flat seats might not be cheaper to operate and maintain. Everything mechanical eventually breaks down, and motorized lay-flat seats being far more complicated will break down far more often than Amtrak’s traditional reclining seats.

Amtrak will have to charge first class fares per lay-flat seats because there will be no charge for a room or roomette.
That will be at least twice a regular coach fare, as I explained earlier, just to be revenue neutral. Will travelers be willing to pay twice as much for a lay-flat seat that provides some privacy and some isolation from nearby passengers, but not complete privacy and isolation that a room and roomette provides. Imagine your neighbor in the lay flat seat next to yours coughing all day and all night. Will you have any peace? In a room and roomette you can shut the door!
  by SouthernRailway
 
Why not simply have business class cars with a combination of the following all in the same car:

1. Business class seats like Amtrak currently has in Amfleet Is.

2. Lie-flat seats.

3. Private rooms.

I don’t see a need for 2 but others in this thread clearly do so let’s try it; sounds like there is demand for it.
  by Arlington
 
My earlier question remains: As a practical matter, can (is) a CHI-BUF overnight roomette cleaned and "resellable" as a day roomette immediately at BUF? Or does it take 'til ROC or SYR or ALB (or "next time") to get it suitable to sell it to a new occupant?
  by Bob Roberts
 
Arlington wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:06 am My earlier question remains: As a practical matter, can (is) a CHI-BUF overnight roomette cleaned and "resellable" as a day roomette immediately at BUF? Or does it take 'til ROC or SYR or ALB (or "next time") to get it suitable to sell it to a new occupant?
I have seen quite a few ‘quick flips’ of roomette’s on Superliner gear — it seems to take about 10-20 minutes to make up the room, attendants ask the new passengers to put their luggage in the racks and wait in the lounge. I have ridden lots of eastern LD but I have never witnessed this quick-flip on Viewliner gear. I frequently board the Crescent in Charlotte (between 1-3am in either direction) and have never gotten the sense that my roomette was just vacated. This may be an illusion, it is a 20 minute stop so its possible the room was made up after detraining but before new passengers board.
  by Arlington
 
The staff costs of that flip need to be subtracted from the revenue premium of the room, as compared with the labor of gathering a blanket and pillow from a premium seat and tidying the seat pocket.

And still perhaps practical limit on the number of room-seats that can be turned between popular midpoints.

And the number of room-seats that can't be sold (because one person took the room)

Rooms look revenue rich when bought, but not so much when (un)sold and serviced.
  by SouthernRailway
 
I'm currently in a Viewliner room on a LD train, but taking it for only a short day trip.

The Amtrak staff came by and basically said, "you're only here for a quick trip so we aren't going to bug you" (i.e., they don't care since I'm not a LD passenger, which is fine). Nothing would need to be done to my room once I get off other than to maybe replace the pillows and water and pick up anything I leave behind (and I won't- I'll straighten it up). It would take maybe 2 minutes to fix up the room.

Plus this is so much better than a seat in coach--your own private room with a desk, basically in the middle, and total peace and quiet, for just a short trip, at the price of a business-class seat? It's absolutely wonderful, and if this were a business trip and I booked this for co-workers, at the same price as an Acela business class seat, I'd be getting major points at work. You can get work done, have total privacy for calls or discussions, etc.--way way way better than flying or open seating on a train.
  by Matt Johnson
 
I took a roomette on the Lake Shore up to Albany just to sample the wonderful new "contemporary" meal service but I would definitely consider a roomette for shorter trips just for the privacy and guarantee of a window seat! Some insulation from screaming kids, rude adults, people with questionable hygiene, etc. can turn a trip from an ordeal to an enjoyable experience!
Last edited by Matt Johnson on Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by gokeefe
 
Arlington wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:24 am The staff costs of that flip need to be subtracted from the revenue premium of the room, as compared with the labor of gathering a blanket and pillow from a premium seat and tidying the seat pocket.
No additional staff costs for turning a room while underway. That's already paid for (unless the OBS agreement has some interesting clause we've never heard of). New linens and supplies would also be negligible.
  by mtuandrew
 
Arlington wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:24 am The staff costs of that flip need to be subtracted from the revenue premium of the room, as compared with the labor of gathering a blanket and pillow from a premium seat and tidying the seat pocket.

And still perhaps practical limit on the number of room-seats that can be turned between popular midpoints.

And the number of room-seats that can't be sold (because one person took the room)

Rooms look revenue rich when bought, but not so much when (un)sold and serviced.
I’ve been advocating for at least trying lay-flats, but staff costs for room flips aren’t a major portion of the total. The sleeper attendant is already there and changing bedsheets & cleaning rooms mid-trip is a routine part of their duties; they’re being paid regardless of if they’re asked to clean. Also, I’m fairly sure Amtrak already factors in the premium for a roomette by charging a sleeper passenger the base coach fare + sleeper surcharge. If another passenger shares the roomette as well, it’s essentially frosting on the cake (free money) for Amtrak aside from the few additional consumables.

(This is where a large carte dining makes sense though; a corridor business traveler sharing a Roomette may never step foot in the diner, while a supercargo Roomette passenger on the Lake Shore Limited passenger might milk out three meals without contributing to their costs.)
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