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Which side to sit on


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#1 Guest_Matt Anthony_*

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 06:32 PM

Hi. We were thinking of taking a trip from San Jose to Chicago on the Capitol Corridor and the California Zephyr. We want to book a Roomette on the California Zephyr. I heard from my friend that you can call Amtrak and choose which roomette you want. This was my question:

 

Which side should we book our roomette on? Is the more scenic side the left side of the train or the right side of the train?



#2 Lonestar648

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 06:47 PM

You will not know in advance which direction your sleeping car will be facing.  This is because sometimes cars are changed out, since it doesn't make any difference functionally which way the car faces, the yard crew will insert the car(s) in the most convenient direction for doing the switching.  There is a Sightseer Lounge car where many people go to get a better view.  It will be the car after the Dining Car on the CZ.  Generally. I prefer rooms 3-8, but will accept any of the rooms depending on availability.  The Zephyr in the summer has three Sleeping Cars and two during the winter.  Also, the sleepers are up front after the Transition/Dorm Sleeper for the crew in the winter and for the summer, the sleepers positioned on the rear of the train.



#3 Maglev

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 06:48 PM

Hi!

 

The direction the car faces, and which side your room is on, is almost totally random, being determined by the whims of the train yard crew.  On the California Zephyr, neither side is especially better than the other.  Besides, the Sightseer Lounge car is the best place to be for scenic views of both sides and above. 


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#4 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 09:40 PM

The direction the car faces, and which side your room is on, is almost totally random, being determined by the whims of the train yard crew. On the California Zephyr, neither side is especially better than the other. Besides, the Sightseer Lounge car is the best place to be for scenic views of both sides and above.


Amtrak really needs to reconsider this situation. It's a benefit to the customer to know which side they'll be on and it's a benefit to Amtrak to sell this knowledge and assurance as an up-charge. Amtrak needs to stop catering to operational laziness and managerial indifference.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#5 BuffaloBoy

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:07 PM

Having ridden the CZ many times, I think the best side to ride is which ever side you are on! There are beautiful views on either side. Venture out of your roomette during the daylight hours to the Observation Car and you will get a complete view. Have a great trip!



#6 Lonestar648

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 12:28 AM

On the CZ either way through Colorado is best viewed in the SSL car.  The same can be said of all the Superliner trains. We would relinquish our seats so others could also enjoy the view in the SSL.



#7 zephyr17

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 03:17 PM

[quote name="Devil's Advocate" post="725178" timestamp="1506220847"]

[quote name="Maglev" post="725159" timestamp="1506210534"]
The direction the car faces, and which side your room is on, is almost totally random, being determined by the whims of the train yard crew. On the [i]California Zephyr,[/i] neither side is especially better than the other. Besides, the Sightseer Lounge car is the best place to be for scenic views of both sides and above.[/quote]
Amtrak really needs to reconsider this situation. It's a benefit to the customer to know which side they'll be on and it's a benefit to Amtrak to sell this knowledge and assurance as an up-charge. Amtrak needs to stop catering to operational laziness and managerial indifference.[/quote]
Well, considering that Amtrak specifically had them designed to run either end forward to reduce costs and time in switching, I really doubt that is going to happen. The previous generation of sleeping cars ordered by the railroads were set up with defined front and rear ends. Switch those in the wrong way and all the roomette seats were backward. Amtrak expressly chose a design in which they did not have to worry about the orientation.

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#8 Maglev

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 06:04 PM

 

 

The direction the car faces, and which side your room is on, is almost totally random, being determined by the whims of the train yard crew. On the California Zephyr, neither side is especially better than the other. Besides, the Sightseer Lounge car is the best place to be for scenic views of both sides and above.


Amtrak really needs to reconsider this situation. It's a benefit to the customer to know which side they'll be on and it's a benefit to Amtrak to sell this knowledge and assurance as an up-charge. Amtrak needs to stop catering to operational laziness and managerial indifference.

 


Well, considering that Amtrak specifically had them designed to run either end forward to reduce costs and time in switching, I really doubt that is going to happen. The previous generation of sleeping cars ordered by the railroads were set up with defined front and rear ends. Switch those in the wrong way and all the roomette seats were backward. Amtrak expressly chose a design in which they did not have to worry about the orientation.

 

This makes sense to me.

 

I have a video about the 20th Century Limited, and it says that the sleepers were always oriented so the deluxe rooms had a view of the Hudson River.  Note what a logistical nightmare this creates, as other cars in the consist would need to be turned so as not to run "backwards" (eg, an observation car would need to be turned).

 

I have always thought that one reason for the half window on the stair end of a Superliner transition sleeper is to easily identify that end of the car for the yard crew.  This is the only car that must be oriented a certain way. 


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#9 FrensicPic

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:08 PM

Yes, if you call you can request a specific Roomette. What side of the train a roomette is on is a different matter as discussed above.

Just an FYI...my trip on #5 CHI to EMY last July, our bedroom in the 0532 car was on the south side of the train. That would put the even numbered roomettes on that same side.

 

Is it the opposite for eastbound? YMMV.


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#10 KmH

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:25 PM

If you call Amtrak you can choose among the sleepers that aren't already booked.

 

The good sights are on both sides of the CZ.

http://discuss.amtra...lenwood +canyon

Plan to move around on the train and don't miss looking out the back window (railfan window) of the last car in the consist.


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#11 Guest_BruceA_*

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 10:21 PM

In my experience, USUALLY the even numbered roomettes are on the right side of the train on Superliners.  But, as noted by previous posters above, it's not guaranteed to be on the right side.  One never knows if there was a last-minute swap out of a sleeper and whatever direction the replacement was facing.  I've also learned that whatever is the easiest solution to move a car from here to there is how it's done...ie, running through a wye to reverse the car is not likely. 

 

As far as a specific room number request, when booking online, roomettes seem to be assigned in order from #2 on up (#1 is the attendant and is next to the upstairs toilet).  I'm unsure whether the 'automatic' booking system fills one sleeper then fills the 2nd, or if they 'ping pong' from car to car assigning #2 in each, then #3 in each, etc.  I've also learned that the earlier one books, the better the odds of getting a specific roomette number.  My preference is #14, lower level, next to the family room.  Why?  Almost zero traffic passing my door and the toilets and shower are easily accessible.  However, I've also discovered to my chagrin, that not all Amtrak agents are knowledgeable in selecting a specific roomette number and say it can't be done.  I recently booked my April vacation on 7 trains and got #2 in the two trains with Viewliners, and #14 on 3 Superliner trains.  The other 2 trains are NEC Business Class.  The agent had little difficulty selecting specific roomette numbers for me.   



#12 zephyr17

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 12:49 PM

In my experience, which is quite significant with many sleeper trips on all Superliner routes, including those that no longer run, car orientation is pretty much entirely random.  My guess is my sample set is larger.


Edited by zephyr17, 27 September 2017 - 12:50 PM.

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#13 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 09:53 PM

As I ride different sleepers about 10 - 15 times a year and almost always get roomette 3, I can attest that my roomette is on both sides of the sleeper enough that I would say 50 per cent of the time I am on the left and the other 50 per cent I am on the right.  Many riders on the CZ prefer the right side but I prefer the left side view westbound especially through Gore Canyon area in Colorado and also between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.  In actuality there is great viewing out of both sides. I just love being on the train enough to fly from Nashville to ride the train multiple times each year. 

 

From experience in 1970's, the Superliner sleepers may have been designed and planned to travel with the roomette end of the sleeper forward of the bedroom section.  In those days, I always requested then Deluxe Bedroom D since it always traveled with the sofa facing forward.  While I mostly travel roomette now, I did in last days of AGR1 I booked a round trip on four trains in Bedroom D and ended up traveling backward on every train some of which had another sleeper aligned in the opposite direction.  That is how much Amtrak has changed. 


Edited by Tennessee Traveler, 27 September 2017 - 09:59 PM.


#14 zephyr17

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 03:56 PM

They Superliners were designed to run either end forward. The main seat with the controls in the then economy bedrooms, now roomette, is facing one direction on one side of the aisle, the other way on the other side. I didn't notice any operating preferences in the early years after their introduction, and there certainly is not any now

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#15 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 10:44 PM

The direction the car faces, and which side your room is on, is almost totally random, being determined by the whims of the train yard crew. On the California Zephyr, neither side is especially better than the other. Besides, the Sightseer Lounge car is the best place to be for scenic views of both sides and above.


Amtrak really needs to reconsider this situation. It's a benefit to the customer to know which side they'll be on and it's a benefit to Amtrak to sell this knowledge and assurance as an up-charge. Amtrak needs to stop catering to operational laziness and managerial indifference.


Well, considering that Amtrak specifically had them designed to run either end forward to reduce costs and time in switching, I really doubt that is going to happen. The previous generation of sleeping cars ordered by the railroads were set up with defined front and rear ends. Switch those in the wrong way and all the roomette seats were backward. Amtrak expressly chose a design in which they did not have to worry about the orientation.


Maybe this choice made perfect sense back in the 1970's when Amtrak was making these types of decisions. However, here in 2017 Amtrak is still struggling for money and customers are still asking how they can choose which side of the train to be on. Seems like everyone can win with a little effort and motivation.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#16 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 12:35 AM

They Superliners were designed to run either end forward. The main seat with the controls in the then economy bedrooms, now roomette, is facing one direction on one side of the aisle, the other way on the other side. I didn't notice any operating preferences in the early years after their introduction, and there certainly is not any now

 

Maybe you are correct, but in multiple trips I chose and rode in Bedroom D facing forward in the 1970's on multiple routes.  Of course, I choose roomettes now so that I can sit facing forward no matter how the car is aligned.



#17 George K

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 04:24 PM

My first trip on Amtrak was on the Empire Builder. Our roomette was on the South (left-hand) side of the westbound train. The fellow across the aisle commented to us that he specifically requested a roomette on the North side.

 

I thought to myself, "I'll have to do that the next time I travel."

 

Of course, reading this (and similar) thread makes me realize that he was being a bit, er, disingenuous.


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#18 chakk

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:26 PM

Well, he did have a 50-50 chance of getting what he requested in a roomette.


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