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How is Coach on Amtrak Trains ?


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#1 Guest_kendoggbyrd_*

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 08:45 PM

Don't want to sound like a snob but whenever I take Amtrak, I am in a sleeper. I can't afford that this coming trip and was wondering people's experiences in Coach were pleasant or if they got hardly any sleep, if there was excessive noise, rude people, etc. 



#2 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 08:51 PM

I've done two overnights (separate trips) in coach.  I would say the only thing that affected my sleep was that I like to sleep on my side which is hard to do in a chair, even it it does recline.  I slept, but not as well as I do in a roomette.  I can't speak about noise because I wore hearing aids at the time (now have a CI in one ear) and most likely had them, or at least one, turned off.  



#3 the_traveler

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:26 PM

Depending on what LD train you are taking, you may want to consider taking business class if it is offered. (Not all LD trains offer it.) while still coach, it may be less crowded.
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#4 Lonestar648

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:41 PM

Amtrak LD Coach has plenty of leg room, foot rest, outlet under the window.  If on a super liner, I would suggest away from the stairs (lighted all night) and the doors at the end of the car.  I would bring a sleep mask and maybe ear plugs.  Some people talk late and some play their videos or games all night which are bright. Lots of overhead storage for carry-ons.  Most people are nice, but like anything there is no 100%.  You want to bring a cover, the coaches generally are cold at night.  Personally, when I was young I had no problem sleeping at night in Coach, but at my age now, I can't do it and I am so stiff and ache so much in the night and especially morning.  



#5 SarahZ

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 10:10 PM

I'm a light sleeper with a short temper and an extremely low tolerance for people in general, so I either travel by sleeper or plane. I've traveled in coach a few times, and I hated it every. single. time

 

To be fair, I fly out of Chicago, so flights are generally equal to if not cheaper than Amtrak coach. It makes more sense to travel in Amtrak coach if you're leaving from a more rural area, so I get that not everyone has the luxury of choosing a flight over a train.


Edited by SarahZ, 19 November 2017 - 10:11 PM.

Amtrak Miles: 43,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

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#6 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 10:30 PM

Don't want to sound like a snob but whenever I take Amtrak, I am in a sleeper. I can't afford that this coming trip and was wondering people's experiences in Coach were pleasant or if they got hardly any sleep, if there was excessive noise, rude people, etc.

 
Despite being relatively spacious I find Amtrak coach service to be surprisingly uncomfortable for sleeping.  Amtrak coach seats also have no armrests or other dividers between passengers, so if you're traveling solo you'll end up sleeping "with" whoever happens to be seated next to you in Amtrak's bizarre reclining loveseat style contraption.  That's a huge turnoff for me personally. 

 

Amtrak staff tend to ignore coach passengers and sometimes boss them around or treat them like an unwanted nuisance.  Coach car bathrooms are rarely cleaned and can get rather nasty for hours or even days on end.  If you want a clean coach bathroom you may need to bring your own supplies and clean it up yourself. 

 

Then there are the usual complications with traveling among a group of strangers, such as people who yap on their phones too loudly or play games and videos through speakers instead of headphones, or treat public spaces like their own private living room.  Much of that exists on airlines as well, but I can put up with a couple hours of annoyances on a flight a lot easier than suffering an entire day or two of the same issues on Amtrak. 

 

All things considered I agree with the suggestion to choose Business Class over Coach.  The service standard is similar but you should benefit from having reduced noise levels and a better chance of avoiding a needlessly intimate seatmate situation.  If business class happens to be full or otherwise unavailable then I'd suggest traveling by other means.  Amtrak coach simply isn't worth the effort for overnight trips.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 20 November 2017 - 04:37 PM.

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#7 ehbowen

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 02:05 AM

I would consider coach for a single overnight, but not two. If I did take coach overnight I would not expect to get any real sleep, as I find it almost impossible to sleep sitting up*. I took coach quite a bit in my younger days, but fortunately I am well enough off now to be able to make a roomette my first choice. My last overnight coach trip was with my two nephews, HOS-ALP and return, in July 2010.

 

*Edit To Add: I once told a friend, the bus captain at my church, "The only way I can sleep on a bus is if I'm driving...." :giggle:


Edited by ehbowen, 20 November 2017 - 02:06 AM.

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#8 Woodcut60

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:14 AM

I've done it once, sleeping in Coach Class, on the Crescent from New Orleans to New York City. Never again. There was supposed to be "Quiet Time" (according to the voice over the PA System onboard) between 10 pm and 7 am. Well, no! People chatted all through the night. In the middle of the night I got someone sitting next to me, it is not dark in Coach, etc. I prefer the Sleepers.


Amtrak Routes Traveled: Lake Shore Limited, California Zephyr, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Cardinal, Crescent, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, Hiawatha, City of New Orleans, Texas Eagle, Heartland Flyer, Missouri River Runner, Lincoln, Wolverine, Northeast Regional, Acela Express, Downeaster, Vermonter, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Capitol Limited, Pennsylvanian, Amtrak Cascades.

Other Routes in North America: Denali Star (Anchorage-Fairbanks, Alaska Railroad), The Ocean (Halifax-Montréal), Corridor (Montréal-Toronto), The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver).

Amtrak: approx. 25,000 miles and 47 states.

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#9 jebr

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:42 AM

In the past, I've usually been okay sleeping in coach. However, my SO can't sleep well at all in coach, and so while a day trip in coach is just fine, any overnight on the train has to be in sleeper. Each person is different, but if you're used to a sleeper I think coach would be difficult to sleep in if your itinerary requires an overnight.



#10 JayPea

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 11:21 AM

I was forced one time into riding coach from Chicago to Los Angeles on the SWC after a planned CZ trip was cancelled. We were going from Chicago to Sacramento, then up to Seattle. Like others, never again!! I was travelling with my uncle and his granddaughter and we would have cancelled were it not for her. I got virtually no sleep. My seat mate reeked of stale cigarette smoke and body odor, which didn't get bether after two and a half days without changing clothes. He yacked and yammered on his flipping cell phone virtually the entire trip, too, though he did get banished to the SSL for awhile. And, speaking of the SSL, there was a large group of Boy Scouts, headed for Raton, aboard, and they traipsed back and forth to and from the SSL all night. We were in the coach right next to the door to the SSL. Add to that a couple in the seats behind us alternately fought with each other, as loudly and profanely as possible, and played their ©rap music as loud as possible sans earphones. A lovely trip!! Not!!!

That said, I can handle the trips, of which I've had several, between Spokane and Seattle/Portland and back, in coach. Those few hours aren't so bad.
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#11 KmH

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 11:24 AM

Sometimes you're the bug, sometimes you're the windshield.

 

On my LD trips I usually ride in coach at least 1 night each way.

I'm a pretty easy going guy and have in the past had other pursuits (backpacking/climbing) that offered less comfortable overnight accommodation than a night spent in an Amtrak Superliner coach car.

 

Since I ride the California Zephyr the most and my 'home' station is Ottumwa (OTM) I ride coach between OTM and Denver (DEN).

I sleep well enough in coach to be sufficiently rested the next day.

A small pillow and a travel blanket sure help, as does an adult beverage for a night cap.

I too wear hearing aids and take them out to sleep so noise is not an issue.

 

Last May I rode the Southwest Chief from Galesburg to LA in coach - 2 consecutive nights - to see what that would be like.

The first night I had a 1st time rider seat mate that had difficulty staying within his allotted space.

Even with that I slept about as good as I do not having a seat mate.

 

In the morning I noticed 4 unoccupied seats together at the very front of the car and arranged with the TA-C to move to one of those seats for the remainder of the trip.

All 4 seats stayed vacant, except for the leg between Albuquerque (ABQ) and Gallup (GLP), for the rest of the trip.

I was able to go back and forth from on side to the other to see the sights.

As always, and even after 2 consecutive nights in coach, I was sufficiently rested to caper around Union Station and the surrounding area that day.

I had access to the Metropolitan Lounge because I had a sleeper booked on the Sunset Limited departing at 10 PM that night.

 

The next 2 nights I was in coach on the Texas Eagle.

 

Riding in coach is a different experience than having a sleeper.

I like having the total experience - both coach and a sleeper.


Edited by KmH, 20 November 2017 - 01:36 PM.

1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#12 benale

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 02:49 PM

I've done both. Sleeper of course is much nicer but if you can't afford it,Coach is OK for one night. Ideally,if you can have two seats to yourself it's much better. When I'm in Coach overnight I'll check the empty seats in my car and if someone is seated next to me I'll take my seat check to one of the empty seats. Usually the conductors don't bother you,but if you have to return to your seat at least you got some space. Traveling overnight in Coach is the least appealing factor on Amtrak.

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#13 SP&S

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 03:28 PM

I much prefer a sleeper and Mrs SP&S demands a sleeper.  The biggest issues with going overnight in coach are things that can wake you up during the middle of the night stops.  Even the most considerate of travelers make noise when boarding - it may wake you up.  In the middle of winter they can't help bringing the cold along with them and you may get a shiver as they walk by.  Some folks just have to get a nicotine fix and come back reeking.  Overall, it's eminently doable for a night. 



#14 Bob Dylan

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:01 PM

I totally agree with those that say upgrading to Biz Class from Coach on Overnight LD trips is worth the price if Roomettes are in too High of a Bucket.

Also like other posters, as I've aged I've gotten spoiled by riding in Sleepers on overnite trips, and would not book an overnite trip in Coach, I'd Fly first!YMMV
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#15 GBNorman

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:10 PM

Mr. Kendogbird, not under any circumstances, save a family emergency in which case you would likely fly, should you consider Coach.

Your standard for overnight travel is Sleeper, and that is how you measure your Amtrak travel experiences.

For myself at age 76, I simply "couldn't survive"; well maybe if someone had a .357 pointed at me. While possibly this journey is not discretionary, saving that I'd be of thought "no dough, no go".

#16 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 06:44 PM

Mr. Kendogbird, not under any circumstances, save a family emergency in which case you would likely fly, should you consider Coach.

Your standard for overnight travel is Sleeper, and that is how you measure your Amtrak travel experiences.

For myself at age 76, I simply "couldn't survive"; well maybe if someone had a .357 pointed at me. While possibly this journey is not discretionary, saving that I'd be of thought "no dough, no go".

Interesting that you know the OP so well to know what his/her standards are. If you’re basing it solely on the fact that s/he has only ridden in rooms overnight you’re being quite judgmental.
Most of my overnight trips have been in sleepers but that is not my “standard”. I’ll do whatever I can afford because the trip is more important than having high standards that can’t be met for one reason or another.


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#17 oregon pioneer

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 08:16 PM

Just curious if the trip is to arrive somewhere for the holidays, or a mid-week mid-winter journey on a less-than-popular-in-winter route. That makes all the difference in the world!

 

My experience is that, the more crowded the train, the less considerate fellow passengers seem to be, and the less pleasant the experience in coach. In addition, some regions of the country are, ahem, not known for manners and consideration.

 

If, for example, you are taking the LSL to arrive somewhere the day before Thanksgiving, I'd really recommend at least Business Class. However, if it's a non-holiday trip in January on the Empire Builder, I say go for coach, especially if you can look in advance and see that your train is still at low-bucket. That means it's not crowded (at least, when you looked!).


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#18 GBNorman

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 11:32 PM

Ms. Blue, I cannot say I know the Originator personally, but he or she states that all previous overnight have been by Sleeper.

That to me means a "standard" for overnight travel has been set. I simply hold that a "downgrade" to overnight Coach would be a great "shock", and accordingly I expressed my thought that if the trip is discretionary, just pass on it until the dough is there to do it in the manner to which the originator is accustomed.

Edited by GBNorman, 21 November 2017 - 08:30 AM.


#19 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 12:51 AM

You bring up a good point Oregon Pioneer. In addition it would probably be helpful to know the age of the OP as well. When I was a good deal younger I thought AmCoach was perfectly fine. Of course back then I was only experienced with coach travel and only stayed at one and two star hotels. As an older man who has experienced first class travel and five star hotels the overall impression changes substantially.

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.


#20 GBNorman

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 08:55 AM

Are you ever "right on" with your immediate thought, Mr. Advocate - you simply "can't go back".

When I was college and in Service, did I drive around in an AMC Gremlin "that ran", "couch surf", stay in Mom and Pop "Motels" - some of rather dubious respectability, go to the Symphony and sit up.in.the rafters, fly overseas "back in the Gulag"? Of course I did.

But now apparently like Mr. Advocate, I "did OK" in this life and have "graduated" from all that. Now "major brand" three star (Hampton, Courtyard, Express) is "as low as I go". My ride is now "luxo", and flying overseas nowadays, well, there's a nice Blue curtain between me and "The Gulag". But guess what, last August flying to Munich. I did take a walk back there (to say "hi" to an Attendant who knows an Attendant I know) and the 777 hit some turbulence. I grabbed the first seat I could find and bolted up. That "plankboard" has shrunk even further since my last OSEAS flight in one.

While the more Mr. Ken is willing to share; age, origin and destination, physical limitations, time of year for trip, the more "we" can help.

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