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Reserved Coach seat vs Lower Level Coach seat


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#1 RailBirder

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 02:33 PM

What is the difference between a "Reserved Coach Seat" and "Lower Level Coach Seat" on a train like the Capitol Limited or California Zepher? I have ridden upper coach on the CZ, and didn't see any difference between it and the lower level coach seats, other than the lower coach area looked like they were in a cave, with fewer seats/people. I see the lower coach seats are sold out on some routes, while reserved couch seats are still available. Thanks

#2 Boxcar

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 05:01 PM

What is the difference between a "Reserved Coach Seat" and "Lower Level Coach Seat" on a train like the Capitol Limited or California Zepher? I have ridden upper coach on the CZ, and didn't see any difference between it and the lower level coach seats, other than the lower coach area looked like they were in a cave, with fewer seats/people. I see the lower coach seats are sold out on some routes, while reserved couch seats are still available. Thanks

Many handicap persons like the lower level seating because of the difficulty of climbing stairs. The restrooms are close by. Also, some get motion sickness easier on the upper level than the lower.
There isn't as many people passing through the lower section of the car on their way to the lounge/cafe car/diner as the upper level.

#3 AlanB

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 05:27 PM


What is the difference between a "Reserved Coach Seat" and "Lower Level Coach Seat" on a train like the Capitol Limited or California Zepher? I have ridden upper coach on the CZ, and didn't see any difference between it and the lower level coach seats, other than the lower coach area looked like they were in a cave, with fewer seats/people. I see the lower coach seats are sold out on some routes, while reserved couch seats are still available. Thanks

Many handicap persons like the lower level seating because of the difficulty of climbing stairs. The restrooms are close by. Also, some get motion sickness easier on the upper level than the lower.
There isn't as many people passing through the lower section of the car on their way to the lounge/cafe car/diner as the upper level.


Additionally the lower level seats get more track noise, but less sway as BD noted. Whereas the upper level seats see more people walking by, more sway, but less track noise.

Otherwise, the only difference is about 8 feet in height. :lol:
Alan,

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#4 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 06:50 PM

Though the reservation part of the Amtrak website does not make it clear --- the lower level is supposed to be reserved for elderly and handicapped passengers. Signs on the doors to enter the section clearly state that.
Booking a seat there will not gaurantee you get to sit there. I have seen the Conductor tell a ticketed lower level passenger they had to move in order to seat an elderly person.
Yes it is a little noisier on the lower level, especially if the train is crowded and they tend to store excess luggage that will not fit on the hallway rack in there. So you get the coming and going of people accessing their luggage.

#5 AlanB

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 07:36 PM

Though the reservation part of the Amtrak website does not make it clear --- the lower level is supposed to be reserved for elderly and handicapped passengers. Signs on the doors to enter the section clearly state that.
Booking a seat there will not gaurantee you get to sit there. I have seen the Conductor tell a ticketed lower level passenger they had to move in order to seat an elderly person.


And the conductor would be wrong if he did that. It doesn't matter what the signs on the train might say, since the computer sold the ticket, Amtrak sold that ticket to the passenger and they are entitled to sit there. The conductor could ask the passenger in question to relocate, but he would be abusing his power if he forced the issue.

If Amtrak truly wants that area to be solely for the elderly and/or the handicapped, then it must take steps to prevent the general sale of those seats, much like they currently do with the handicapped bedrooms. Their failure to do that, makes those seat fair game for anyone who wants them.

I'm not suggesting that I condone taking away those seats for the elderly and handicapped, but the simple reality is that until they control the sales of those seats properly, Amtrak has no right to ask people to move if they are properly tickted for one of those seats. Especially since there is no disclaimer or restrictions noted at the time of the sale. There is also no mention of this restriction in the Timetable either.
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#6 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 07:45 PM

There are a number of seats on the lower level reserved for persons with accessibility issues, and those, like assessible bedrooms are only available by talking to a ticket agent or reservation agent. There are more actual seats in the lower level seating areas than are available for sale through automated systems such as Julie and Amtrak.com, reserving some of these seats for persons who need lower level seating for accessibility reasons.

Any seats showing available via Amtrak.com are available for sale to anyone who prefers lower level seating.

#7 1702

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 10:23 PM


Though the reservation part of the Amtrak website does not make it clear --- the lower level is supposed to be reserved for elderly and handicapped passengers. Signs on the doors to enter the section clearly state that.
Booking a seat there will not gaurantee you get to sit there. I have seen the Conductor tell a ticketed lower level passenger they had to move in order to seat an elderly person.


And the conductor would be wrong if he did that. It doesn't matter what the signs on the train might say, since the computer sold the ticket, Amtrak sold that ticket to the passenger and they are entitled to sit there. The conductor could ask the passenger in question to relocate, but he would be abusing his power if he forced the issue.

If Amtrak truly wants that area to be solely for the elderly and/or the handicapped, then it must take steps to prevent the general sale of those seats, much like they currently do with the handicapped bedrooms. Their failure to do that, makes those seat fair game for anyone who wants them.

I'm not suggesting that I condone taking away those seats for the elderly and handicapped, but the simple reality is that until they control the sales of those seats properly, Amtrak has no right to ask people to move if they are properly tickted for one of those seats. Especially since there is no disclaimer or restrictions noted at the time of the sale. There is also no mention of this restriction in the Timetable either.


You're absolutely right, AlanB., those 12 lower level Superliner seats should not be in online inventory OR a notice should be on the website that those seats are reserved for passengers with mobility issues or other disabilities requiring lower level seating. The notice should further state that if one books seats on the lower level but isn't disabled, the seats might have to be relinquished to those that are. The simplest course would be to take them out of online inventory period.

Since I don't have a conductor's manual in front of me, I couldn't say with assurance (as you are able to do) that the conductor would be "abusing his power" by requiring a lower level-ticketed passenger to move to the upper level to accomodate a passenger who cannot navigate the stairs. The conductor does have the ultimate authority in the accomodation of all passengers on the train, so as a practical matter if one is requested to move to the upper level, one should cooperate. After all, it's only going to be done when there is a need to accomodate a passenger who must have lower level seating vs. one who is ticketed for it but can just as well sit upstairs.

I'm just glad I'm "out of the game" & don't have to deal with it anymore. I just try to offer practical advice to potential passengers regarding what they may encounter & their best course of action at the time. Arguing with a conductor is often akin to arguing with a police officer.....discretion is usually the best course. One can always "lawyer up" later.

#8 AlanB

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 10:43 PM

Since I don't have a conductor's manual in front of me, I couldn't say with assurance (as you are able to do) that the conductor would be "abusing his power" by requiring a lower level-ticketed passenger to move to the upper level to accomodate a passenger who cannot navigate the stairs. The conductor does have the ultimate authority in the accomodation of all passengers on the train, so as a practical matter if one is requested to move to the upper level, one should cooperate. After all, it's only going to be done when there is a need to accomodate a passenger who must have lower level seating vs. one who is ticketed for it but can just as well sit upstairs.

I'm just glad I'm "out of the game" & don't have to deal with it anymore. I just try to offer practical advice to potential passengers regarding what they may encounter & their best course of action at the time. Arguing with a conductor is often akin to arguing with a police officer.....discretion is usually the best course. One can always "lawyer up" later.


The conductor has absolute power with regard to the safe operation of the train. Forcing a passenger to move from a seat that they are properly ticketed for has nothing to do with the safe operation of the train. The same would be true for me in a bedroom, unless there is a safety issue, a conductor ordering me to leave that room when I have a valid ticket to occupy another room would be outside his/her purview. Obviously if there were two different parties ticketed into the same bedroom, then he would have to take action and ask one party or the other to move to another available bedroom, assuming that there is one.

Now again, all that said, I'm not suggesting that one shouldn't accede to his/her request if indeed the seat were needed by someone handicapped or elderly. But to blanketly order someone not meeting that condition who is properly ticketed would be wrong.

I'm also not suggesting that one argue with him/her either, as you are correct they are akin to a police officer. In fact in many states, mine included (NY), assaulting a conductor carries the same penalties as assaulting a police officer. I would certainly recommend acquiescing to the conductor's request, while putting him/her on notice that you intend to file a complaint against them if they insist on making you move when there is no reason.

I would then recommend following that up with Amtrak and filing a complaint against said individual.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#9 Trogdor

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 11:11 PM

I've seen signs in the lower-level seating areas indicating that they were for handicapped passengers only. I've also seen signs in the upper level of Superliner Sightseer Lounge cars stating that personal food and beverage are prohibited in that car.

Both are wrong. Both are actually home-made signs by some crew members that like to post "urban legends" in writing in the hopes that people follow those supposed rules. However, if it doesn't have an official Amtrak logo, and isn't formatted in an approved manner, then it's not an official Amtrak sign, and thus shouldn't even be displayed.

While the general intent of that area is to be for handicapped passengers, since it isn't designated as such (it's called "lower-level seating," not "handicapped seating") there is nothing to prohibit other passengers from booking those seats. However, general common sense and decency should prevail. Just like riding public transit, there's nothing prohibiting an able-bodied person from sitting in the designated seats at the front of the bus. But, if someone with a disability boards, they should be willing to give up those seats and move elsewhere. If nobody else is occupying those seats, then they are fair game.
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#10 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:13 AM

There are a number of seats on the lower level reserved for persons with accessibility issues, and those, like assessible bedrooms are only available by talking to a ticket agent or reservation agent. There are more actual seats in the lower level seating areas than are available for sale through automated systems such as Julie and Amtrak.com, reserving some of these seats for persons who need lower level seating for accessibility reasons.

Any seats showing available via Amtrak.com are available for sale to anyone who prefers lower level seating.


This is absolutely correct. On most departures, there are many empty seats in the lower level seating areas which go empty.

These lower level seats, except for the ones mentioned that are reserved for people with accessibilty issues (this is the proper term -- not "handicapped") used to be part of the overall coach inventory. When the upper levels filled up as people boarded, passengers where then seated on the lower level.

A few years back, Amtrak wisely decided to seperate the two inventories so that passengers with a preference could be insured a seat on which ever level of the train they wanted.

Any seats showing available through amtrak.com (or Julie) should be considered to be available to anyone who wants to sit there. Like Accessible Bedrooms, there is additional seat inventory on the lower level which is available to passengers with accessibility issues and are only available through a reservation or station gent.

If you need an accessible seat or bedroom, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL to book your ticket, so that the stations and crews will expect you and prepare for your boarding.

#11 EmpireBuilderFan1976

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:26 PM

The past few years I have been taking Amtrak from the west coast to the east coast to visit my relatives. Unfortunately I get motion sickness. So the past few trips I have booked a lower level seat. WOW. What a difference. Makes my trip so much more enjoyable. I don't get sick (the dramamine seems to work better down there!) and if I did, the bathrooms are right there. I had taken previous trips in which I spent most of the night going up and down the stairs to visit the bathroom. Blah. However, since I am only 30 years old and don't appear to be physically handicapped, some conductors/car attendants give me grief about sitting down there. And I have had to defend my position a couple of times. While they have asked me if I can climb stairs, they have not as of yet tried to make me move. One thing I have noticed is that on the EB, there are NO signs on the door to the lower level seating that state it is a handicapped area only. I have also come to realization that most of the seats down there are used as "overflow" for the overbooked upper level. However, usually if a passenger is not ticketed for the lower level, they will move them to the upper level when a seat does become available.

Some of the people who reserve seats down there truly do have physical handicaps. Others sit down there because it is much quieter (there is only one door to the lower level seating, you cannot access any of the other cars from down there) down there and the people down there (myself included) prefer that. On the trips I have taken utilizing lower level seating, the majority of people in the car with me are middle aged couples and middle aged/elderly women traveling by themselves. This last trip I was traveling with a friend and I went upstairs twice. Once for dinner and once to check out the sightseeing car. I didn't stay up there long as I started to get queasy in a very short amount of time.

Edited by EmpireBuilderFan1976, 10 August 2006 - 10:38 PM.


#12 Everydaymatters

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 06:44 PM

I am elderly (I hate that word) and I am handicapped (I hate that word, too).

I can make it up the stairs once or twice during a trip before my knees and lungs give out. Therefore, I stay on the lower level.

As I said on another discussion about this, because there are people using the lower level with different types of handicaps, you don't know who sat in the seat before you got it. A couple of times the smell of the incontinent passenger has really been sickening. Then that person gets off the train, another passenger gets on and sits in the newly vacated seat, having no clue who sat there before. Every time I claim a seat, I hope I'm chosing one that doesn't have any residue.

I know. It's pretty sickening. Sometimes the lower level really stinks. But that's how it is.

In spite of that, I can't take stairs and I hope all of you who can take the stairs and don't have motion sickness will leave the lower level seating for handicapped and elderly passengers.
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#13 Railroad Bill

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:05 PM

Wife and I started riding in lower level seats when we board in CLE for a short ride over to TOL where we board our sleeper (Guest Rewards border crossing :) ). We had always thought the seats were saved for handicapped passengers but when we told the conductor in CLE that we were only riding coach to TOL, he suggested we ride downstairs so as not to disturb passengers sleeping on the upper deck. What a nice guy he was!!. Was also nice not having to lug our carryon luggage up those stairs and find a seat at 3am.
Now that wife is having some ankle problems we decided to book a downstairs seat so as to make sure we would be down there for the ride to TOL. I suspect that since we both have gray hair now we qualify as seniors :o .
It proved to be a nice ride, quiet with the door closed and with only a few minor stops at Elyria and Sandusky, there was very little activity except for the occasional upstairs passenger heading for the restroom.
When we arrive in TOL we can quickly leave the car and then make the long trip to the front of the train on the CL. A nice brisk walk in the winter :lol:
Hope we continue to avoid the nasties mentioned by Everydaymatters. :blink:

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#14 Rail Freak

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:36 PM

Wife and I started riding in lower level seats when we board in CLE for a short ride over to TOL where we board our sleeper (Guest Rewards border crossing :) ). We had always thought the seats were saved for handicapped passengers but when we told the conductor in CLE that we were only riding coach to TOL, he suggested we ride downstairs so as not to disturb passengers sleeping on the upper deck. What a nice guy he was!!. Was also nice not having to lug our carryon luggage up those stairs and find a seat at 3am.
Now that wife is having some ankle problems we decided to book a downstairs seat so as to make sure we would be down there for the ride to TOL. I suspect that since we both have gray hair now we qualify as seniors :o .
It proved to be a nice ride, quiet with the door closed and with only a few minor stops at Elyria and Sandusky, there was very little activity except for the occasional upstairs passenger heading for the restroom.
When we arrive in TOL we can quickly leave the car and then make the long trip to the front of the train on the CL. A nice brisk walk in the winter :lol:
Hope we continue to avoid the nasties mentioned by Everydaymatters. :blink:

Railroad Bill


I did the lower coach on 27 SPK-PDX & found it quite nice and quiet!!! I'm still not good at sleeping sitting up tho, & I dont anticipate it getting any better!!! :P
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#15 the_traveler

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:44 PM

I'm still not good at sleeping sitting up tho, & I dont anticipate it getting any better!!! :P
RF

It's a lot better than sleeping standing up! :lol:
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead!

#16 Guest_ivy_*

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:04 PM

are you saying the seats do not recline in the lower level?

#17 Guest_kris_*

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:35 PM

i will be going on amtrak next month on the desert eagle i am wondering if the have power outlets for me to plug in my laptop in the coach area and how soon should i arrive to the station i am departing from thanks

#18 wmk

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:03 PM

My experience is a few seats are held open for any disabled and some can be reserved for disabled and the rest are available to be reserved by anybody.Last trip I reserved a lower level seat,no mention of disability,I just wanted a quiet seat.It is much noiser up stairs if you get a seat by the doors or stairs.I am gray and had a lower level ticket so no problem but others were sent upstairs who attempted to sit there.There were empty seats which I think were held if any disabled showed up.This coach was a rebuild with all new seat and restrooms and it seemed the seats didnt recline as far,but my seat backed up to the wheel chair space.I dont know if that made a difference but it was piled with bags to the top of my seat.But it didnt matter as I slept curled up in two seats

#19 Guest_Karen_*

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:19 PM

I made reservations for our family of 7 to travel on the Auto-Train March 21st 2012. I booked it at an additional cost of 25.00 per ticket.
I best not be made to move. If there is someone with mobility issues they should make Amtrak aware of that in advance of the trip via telephone.
The upper level cars are very very busy and noisy.

#20 Guest_Nathanael_*

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:52 PM

The past few years I have been taking Amtrak from the west coast to the east coast to visit my relatives. Unfortunately I get motion sickness. So the past few trips I have booked a lower level seat. WOW. What a difference. Makes my trip so much more enjoyable. I don't get sick (the dramamine seems to work better down there!) and if I did, the bathrooms are right there. I had taken previous trips in which I spent most of the night going up and down the stairs to visit the bathroom. Blah. However, since I am only 30 years old and don't appear to be physically handicapped, some conductors/car attendants give me grief about sitting down there. And I have had to defend my position a couple of times. While they have asked me if I can climb stairs, they have not as of yet tried to make me move.

Geez. According to the ADA, you have a disability (motion sickness) which entitles you to reasonable accomodation (lower level seating), so the attendants REALLY should not give you any trouble!



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