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If you could add any amenities to Amtrak, what would they be?


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#1 Adrouault

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 04:33 PM

I'm just pondering what would make train travel even nicer. Not speaking to the larger issues of track ownership/on time performance, but rather, amenities for the onboard experience.

 

I'd say having an espresso maker in the dining car, so that espresso drinks can be had with breakfast, and after lunch.

Memory foam pillows.

What do you all think?



#2 ehbowen

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 04:52 PM

  • Comfortable pillows. Pullman Company practice, to the best of my understanding, was to provide each berth with one thick and one thin pillow. You could use either, or both, as you chose.
  • Warmer blankets. Again Pullman used to use good-quality wool.
  • Decent food. Not necessarily five-star gourmet quality, but the dining cars were designed with real kitchens optimized to cook real food. Staff them properly and give the crew the freedom to use them. I know ingredient consistency is a real thing, but I think that the menu could feature standard items which are to be cooked exactly the same way with the same ingredients every time, and "chef's specialty" items where the crew could be creative. The two are not mutually exclusive...a diner could feature the "Amtrak Lamb Chop" with known (and published) ingredients and consistent preparation techniques, and "Chef Dale's Cajun Lamb Chop" which used the same base ingredients but with the chef tweaking it in his own preferred way.
  • Coffee and tea are cheap. No reason they shouldn't be available to sleeper passengers 24/7.
  • Travel pillows in coach. Rent them out for $2 if you're really being cheap.
  • Arm rests in all newly purchased/installed/renovated coach seats. They can fold away if not wanted by both passengers.

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#3 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 05:23 PM

When they added Business Class to the LSL what was there before hand? I believe there was business class on one side of the area where you purchased snacks and beverages and the other area was very limited seating (maybe six booths, one was for crew and the other was for the staff). Very little area and you couldn't consume your own outside food/drink there. By contrast the Superliner cars had the whole upper level Sightseer Lounger Car for that purpose with a lot more seating, great views, and you can consume outside food/drink so it's way better. They need something like that on Viewliner Cars. Was there something like that before the business seating came in and now you have to pay extra for that luxury? Of course on the Superliners there isn't Wi-Fi so it's six of one and half dozen of the other. Speaking of amenities, how about Wi-Fi on the Superliners? Not every Superliner has the scenery of the CZ. Try being stuck on the TE between Longview and Dallas waiting for freight trains.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 21 December 2017 - 05:23 PM.

Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
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#4 ehbowen

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 05:32 PM

Full lounge cars with just seating (sofas, chairs, small tables) and a bar used to be common on premium trains before Amtrak.


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#5 zephyr17

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 05:59 PM

Sleeping car lounges on LD trains.

 

Actual lounges (per ehbowen) on eastern LD trains.


Pre Amtrak: SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr; Amtrak: Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-ORL), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited (NY Section), Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Crescent, Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
Via Rail Canada: Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal); 
Other: BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Alaska Railroad, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX

#6 Adrouault

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:15 PM

 

  • Comfortable pillows. Pullman Company practice, to the best of my understanding, was to provide each berth with one thick and one thin pillow. You could use either, or both, as you chose.
  • Warmer blankets. Again Pullman used to use good-quality wool

I'm bringing my memory foam pillow, and a duvet on my next trip for this reason.



#7 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:49 PM

Here a some of mine:

 

-Putting a diner car back on the Silver Star

-Allowing sleeper passengers to get food and (some) drinks for free from the cafe car (if a particular train has one, whether a diner is also present or not).

-If a train has a diner car, giving coach passengers the option to upgrade their fares to include their meals.  I dare say that some people want included meals but don't necessarily want sleeper accommodations.  Coach pax get meals included on Auto Train, but no other trains offer that.

-Different types of lighting to be used during quiet hours, which would allow for emergency use yet make it easier for coach passengers to sleep.


"And you know that notion just crossed my mind............"


#8 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 09:23 PM

I'm just pondering what would make train travel even nicer. Not speaking to the larger issues of track ownership/on time performance, but rather, amenities for the onboard experience.

 

I'd say having an espresso maker in the dining car, so that espresso drinks can be had with breakfast, and after lunch.

Memory foam pillows.

What do you all think?

 

Memory foam pillows? I used to sell those, on a traveling basis. Shredded memory foam with bamboo (viscous rayon) covers. I hate them. They are poisonous. I used to load them into the back of my SUV for sales runs, and then when I got into my car in the morning, my head would start spinning. I stopped being able to "sell" them- its hard to sell a product you don't believe in. 

 

What makes train travel nicer, besides a few creature comforts mostly covered, is meeting people. Strangers in the night; I met my closest friend on the train. Its easier to interact with somebody if you know you will never see them again if it doesn't work out. As for blankets, the AmBlankets, which are modacrylic, aren't wool, but they are quite warm- and fire proof. You can always ask for another. Actually, I have one in my linen closet my wife uses when its winter, and I turn the heat off in the bedroom.  


Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
Most important: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
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#9 railiner

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 09:46 PM

Reading all of the above suggestions....well it seems like what everyone would like, would be for Amtrak to turn back the clock a few decades, when most of what was mentioned was standard on Amtrak, in the so-called "Camelot" era....   New Superliner's on transcon routes, new Amfleet or Turboliner's on shorter routes, freshly rebuilt HEP converted Heritage cars on Eastern long haul routes, good dining car menus of freshly prepared meals, with differences on different routes, real china, silverware, glassware, flowers on linen covered tables...(later period), .chef's sent to the Culinary Institute of America for customized courses...  all until the notorious budget cuts ended most of that....(sigh)... :(


metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#10 Adrouault

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 10:10 PM

Was it really like that?



#11 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 10:59 PM

not at all. the glasses are colored like the rose.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
Most important: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
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#12 Shortline

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 11:19 PM

I'd be happy if they just cleaned the cars. Especially inside, but also outside/windows. The rooms are dirty and shabby most of the time, with just a minimum level of cleaning.

Broadway Limited, Ann Rutledge, Misouri Mule, Misouri River Runner, San Diegan, Surfliner, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited, Crescent, Texas Eagle, Blue Water, Wolverine, Pennsylvanian, 3 Rivers, Hiawatha, Heartland Flyer, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited, Northeast Regional, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Downeaster, City of New Orleans, City of New Orleans via Pullan Rail Journeys.


#13 TiBike

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 11:47 PM

Cleaning would be very good. If I were really dreaming, though: just run the effing trains on time.


Coast Starlight • California Zephyr • Crescent • Lake Shore Limited • San Joaquin • Capitol Corridor • Pacific Surfliner

Shinkansen • TranzAlpine (NZ) • Northern Explorer (NZ) • Coastal Pacific (NZ) • Great Southern Rail Overland (Oz) • Tze-Chiang Limited (ROC) • Thello Venice-Paris

#14 neroden

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 12:42 AM

Cheap:

-- reliable food with ingredients lists available

-- WiFi on the Superliners

 

Expensive but within Amtrak's control:

-- cafe/lounge/observation cars for the Eastern single-level fleet

-- level boarding at all platforms

 

Difficult:

-- run the trains on time (probably requires purchasing the tracks)


Edited by neroden, 22 December 2017 - 12:43 AM.

--Nathanael--

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#15 A Voice

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 08:36 AM

Already mentioned, but the very first amenity I'd like to see is included/bundled meals for coach passengers, either on an optional basis (pay extra for a "meal plan") or perhaps tied to length of trip and thus time on the train (ie., basic ticket or just a snack for short to medium distance trips; Full dining-car meals for overnight and all-day journeys, all figured in the ticket price).  This doesn't really give the passengers anything they can't have now, but contributes needed revenue for Amtrak and potentially improves the economics and utilization (and hence justification) of the dining car.  

 

When they added Business Class to the LSL what was there before hand? I believe there was business class on one side of the area where you purchased snacks and beverages and the other area was very limited seating (maybe six booths, one was for crew and the other was for the staff). Very little area and you couldn't consume your own outside food/drink there. By contrast the Superliner cars had the whole upper level Sightseer Lounger Car for that purpose with a lot more seating, great views, and you can consume outside food/drink so it's way better. They need something like that on Viewliner Cars. Was there something like that before the business seating came in and now you have to pay extra for that luxury? Of course on the Superliners there isn't Wi-Fi so it's six of one and half dozen of the other. Speaking of amenities, how about Wi-Fi on the Superliners? Not every Superliner has the scenery of the CZ. Try being stuck on the TE between Longview and Dallas waiting for freight trains.

 

Prior to business class, the Lake Shore Limited carried an Amfleet II lounge car, just as the other overnight single-level long-distance trains still do.  This is, of course, the same car which is currently employed as a "diner lite".  With the advent of business class, you have an Amfleet I with tables to one side only and the business seating on the other.  Hence, no more full lounge.  



#16 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 09:36 AM

At one time, the Amfleet II lounge cars had lounge tables and seats on one side and booths on the other; for a period the lounge area was converted into a smoking cubicle. Then it was converted into Diner Lite cars that had booths on both sides and a slightly more capable food prep area (convection ovens were installed).

However, the winter consist of the LSL had 3 food service cars, one unstaffed- a Diner, and Amfleet II lounge on the New York section, and an Amfleet I or Horizon club-Dinette (with BC 2-1 seating) on the Boston section- whose seats were not in inventory, but could usually be sat upon.

Way before all this, Amtrak actually ran Dome lounge cars on the Boston section. And I remember the Heritage lounges from Florida service. The windows were bigger, but the layout was basically the same as the Amfleet II lounges.

The really nice lounges everyone has weltschmerz for have been gone 30 years at least.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#17 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 02:42 PM

 

 

Prior to business class, the Lake Shore Limited carried an Amfleet II lounge car, just as the other overnight single-level long-distance trains still do.  This is, of course, the same car which is currently employed as a "diner lite".  With the advent of business class, you have an Amfleet I with tables to one side only and the business seating on the other.  Hence, no more full lounge.  

And which Viewliner trains have business class seating, LSL I know and my personal enemy train. Crescent yes and Silver no? Then do the Silvers have more lounge space? Can you consume your own personal food in the lounge space on the Silver Star/Meteor then? I'm not sure that is so bad but the fact that the space was so limited on the LSL bothered me.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 22 December 2017 - 02:43 PM.

Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#18 Adrouault

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 02:48 PM

Crescent is your enemy? how come?



#19 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 08:24 PM

I think Philly means the LSL is the enemy train. (There's a period at the end of the phrase mentioning the LSL, and "Crescent" starts a new phrase.)

 

Which brings me to the amenities I would like the most--bring back the paper newspapers and the paper timetable. Some of us still like to read paper. More of us than you would think.



#20 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 09:11 PM

Crescent is your enemy? how come?

 

 

I think Philly means the LSL is the enemy train. (There's a period at the end of the phrase mentioning the LSL, and "Crescent" starts a new phrase.)

 

Which brings me to the amenities I would like the most--bring back the paper newspapers and the paper timetable. Some of us still like to read paper. More of us than you would think.

No, not the Crescent or the LSL.  His enemy is the Cardinal.






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