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I'm Booked For My First Sleeper Car Trip, Now What?


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#1 Oreius

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 07:27 PM

Well, I'm booked to travel from Kissimmee, FL to Elizabethtown, PA in early March 2018. I'm traveling on the Silver Meteor to PHL and then transferring to a Keystone train for the leg to ELT. I'm traveling in a Viewliner Roomette. The E-Ticket is different than when I travel in coach; they actually specify what car number I will be on--in this case, Car 9811. They also specify a room number, which is 001. How do they assign rooms that far out in advance? Is this how they determine seating times for the diner?

#2 me_little_me

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 07:40 PM

Seating times for diner is somewhat random. The OSB goes through the sleepers (you never know which end they start with) asking people what time they want for the upcoming meal. If you are near the end, your choices become limited. People that got on before you will also get first pick for the upcoming meal if the OSB has already come through and you would be assigned a time.

 

For lunch, if the train is on time, you'd probably be told to go to the diner as you board at 1PM. For dinner, you'll already be aboard so it will be before OSB comes through. Breakfast is first come/first served.

 

Room numbers are assigned by computer so as to try to maximize the use of rooms if someone gets off before another passenger boards. However, if you make reservations with an agent and have a preference, they will often try and accommodate you. For example, if you have multiple rooms, they will try and put you together if you ask. For online, you get what the computer pulls up so use an agent if and when you want specific rooms.

 

The 11 car (9811) will one car away from the diner with the 10 car next to the diner so you'll have to walk through it to get to the diner or the cafe car.

 

When you get to PHL, find the lounge. Your sleeper ticket entitles you to use it and they will take you to the Keystone from there before the other passengers.

 

Have fun.



#3 pennyk

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 07:54 PM

As was previously mentioned, you likely will be directed to the dining car for lunch shortly after boarding.  I usually board in Orlando and either go directly to the dining car or wait until a 2pm reservation.  Your sleeping car attendant will inform you as to when you should head to the dining car.  If he/she does not, ask him or her.  

 

Depending on the crew, the LSA (Lead Service Attendant) will either take reservations for dinner when you are eating lunch or she/he will walk through the sleeper cars in mid to late afternoon.  There is usually an early time (around 5ish), a later time (around 6 or 6:60) and a late time (around 8pm).  The times may vary from crew to crew and may be dependent on whether the train is on time.

 

Breakfast starts at 6:30 and no reservations are required.

 

Enjoy your trip.


Amtrak miles: 233,112; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion, Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle, Missouri River Runner, Acela Express, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, NE Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, Empire Service, Sunset Limited, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, Pennsylvanian, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Ethan Allen Express, AEM-7 Excursion, Pacific Surfliner, Palmetto.  VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian, Ocean; Alaska RR Denali Star: 356 miles


#4 tommylicious

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 08:37 PM

Stock up on shims and gaffer's tape.



#5 Lonestar648

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 10:54 PM

If the train is on time, you should have no problem getting lunch. As soon as the train departs, the SCA should come by your room to tell you about how everything works. If they do not say lunch, ask. Breakfast starts at 6:30. I always get to the D.C. Before 7 because after that there many times is a wait list, so you have to listen for your name to be called. Seating is Train style seating, so you will not be eating by yourself. I love meeting people from all over the USA, Canada, and the world. You should have a great time. Enjoy your trip.

#6 Oreius

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 06:41 PM

Does the Meteor perchance, have the new Viewliner cars or the older ones? I know the new ones are starting to roll out, so what are the chances they will be on the Meteor in March 2018? Also, does the Meteor still use Heritage Dining Cars?

#7 CCC1007

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 06:51 PM

Does the Meteor perchance, have the new Viewliner cars or the older ones? I know the new ones are starting to roll out, so what are the chances they will be on the Meteor in March 2018? Also, does the Meteor still use Heritage Dining Cars?

The new cars are diners, the sleepers have yet to be seen, other than the first test car for a round of tests.

#8 Oreius

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 07:01 PM

When I board at Kissimmee, how does it work? I'm used to boarding Keystone Service trains that only have coaches, as well as the Pennsylvanian and Northeast Regional. I will probably have one large suitcase, a rolling computer case, and a small carry on bag for the sleeper. Do they check your suitcase when you arrive at the station as they do at the airport? Where do I claim it when I disembark at PHL?

#9 pennyk

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 07:15 PM

When I board at Kissimmee, how does it work? I'm used to boarding Keystone Service trains that only have coaches, as well as the Pennsylvanian and Northeast Regional. I will probably have one large suitcase, a rolling computer case, and a small carry on bag for the sleeper. Do they check your suitcase when you arrive at the station as they do at the airport? Where do I claim it when I disembark at PHL?

 

I have never checked luggage in Kissimmee, but have visited a couple of times.  I do not know if luggage is checked at the ticket window inside the small station or in the area outside and adjacent to the waiting room (to the north).  As soon as you arrive, check with the ticket agent unless it is obvious where you should go.  If you are checking luggage, I recommend that you are at the station at least an hour before departure.

 

Assuming that the sleepers are still at the rear of the train, you will be directed to the south end of the platform for boarding.

 

I have never checked luggage to Philadelphia, but I have seen a luggage area near the Club Acela.  I assume luggage would be retrieved in that area, but hopefully someone with direct knowledge will respond.


Amtrak miles: 233,112; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion, Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle, Missouri River Runner, Acela Express, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, NE Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, Empire Service, Sunset Limited, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, Pennsylvanian, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Ethan Allen Express, AEM-7 Excursion, Pacific Surfliner, Palmetto.  VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian, Ocean; Alaska RR Denali Star: 356 miles


#10 PVD

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:14 PM

The baggage cars will be new VL, by March of next year when you are traveling, the diners are likely to be new VL, but you could see VL prototype diner 8400. With any luck, the Heritage diners will be gone by then, but one never knows. I would not hold my breath on the sleepers. Even if they were in, the VL1 will outnumber them by a 2-1 margin.



#11 erinch13

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:50 AM

My daughter goes to college in E-town. Lovely campus. On the Keystone there is room at the end of the cars for luggage.

#12 Dave Van

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:54 AM

Split pack....small bag to keep in room....large bag to stow....


25000+ miles on Amtrak to So Cal.....

Read about my trips.......

http://www.currtail.com


#13 jis

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 09:42 AM

In Viewliners there is no place to stow any bag other than in the cubbyhole over the passageway in each roomette. The only other choice is to check the bag. No general baggage stowage area in those cars.



#14 Lonestar648

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 03:02 PM

If the SCA is nice, some are, they will put your bag in the Baggage Car next to the door if the Sleeper is next to that car.



#15 Oreius

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:45 AM

Well good news!! I'm currently on the Pennsylvanian traveling from NYP. I'm sitting in the Lounge. I've lost 40 pounds. I am able to fit, although somewhat a bit of a snug, in the booth!! If I continue to lose more weight, there's no doubt I will be comfortable when I eat in the Diner on the Meteor come March. So, I will keep on losing!!

#16 PVD

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:53 AM

Great news, keep it up and stay in good health!



#17 tommylicious

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 11:24 AM

Shims and gaffer tape for rattles.



#18 Lonestar648

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 04:08 PM

I have a kit I take with me (small screwdrivers flat and Phillips, shims, small roll duct tape, multi outlet for electrical devices, bungee straps, bottle water, couple packages of cracker snacks, very small bottle windex, caffeine free tea bags). I have travel so much by Amtrak over the years, long ago I assembled this kit in a zip lock bag so I have everything when I need it. I do check it for things used or need to be updated. I would rather be prepared, than wish I had something. Never know when something will be needed. On a recent trip, the SCA couldn't get the latch for the upper bunch to release. He had a crow bar and a hammer but didn't have a small flat blade. I got mine out and together we got the bed to come down. The SCA said he had broken his screw driver, but always makes sure he knows where a crow bar and hammer are located then moves them close to his car or in his car. Said more and more, he has problems with the upper bunks, especially when the car is due to go to Beech Grove. This for the Superlines. The Viewliners come straight down and are newer design.

#19 Oreius

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:46 AM

Here's another question: What happens if the Meteor is late getting into Philly? My Keystone connection leaves at 10:55; the Meteor is supposed to arrive at 9:30. I know that Keystone trains are unreserved, but I am unsure how that applies when you're connecting from another train.

#20 Lonestar648

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 12:03 PM

You would just get on the next Keystone leaving Philadelphia.




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