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ChuckL

PPC Status on Coast Starlight

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No PPC on #14 today. Extra lounge car substituted.

 

 

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Do you know if the services standard to the PPC (special dining, upgraded bar menu, and Cheese tasting) were being offered in the Sightseer Lounge car, or was it just a private car for sleeping car and BC passengers?

 

 

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The latter when I traveled a few weeks ago. Disappointing.

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Another forum reports one has been released from Beech Grove and is heading back. They mentioned truck and lower body work.

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Another forum reports one has been released from Beech Grove and is heading back. They mentioned truck and lower body work.

Yep, its Sonoma Valley,which is ironic with the fires that have devastated that area.

 

Hopefully this is an ongoing program for all of the cars, so that when the PPCs are taken out of service during the annual Winter Maintenance period, they will actually be worked on and not just be lazing in the sun in the LA yards as has happened( allegedly) during previous periods!!

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Could we defer the winter maintenance period, I seem to ride every February so havn't had the PPC experience in several years. I know, I could take a summer trip too......

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I think Amtrak intends to always do PPC maintenance in time periods when the CS has the LEAST total ridership. And that always seems to be after New Years and before Easter.

 

 

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Honestly, I think it's about time for Amtrak to give up on the PPCs. They can't keep them in service reliably any more. I'm hoping to see one on my upcoming trip to catch the Tacoma Narrows route before it goes away... but I'm not expecting to. I've taken the Coast Starlight twice before and it was always a substituted SSL. The PPC does act as relief for the overcrowded dining and lounge cars on the Coast Starlight, though, so Amtrak will have to come up with something... but maybe there are enough SSLs.

Edited by neroden

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Honestly, I think it's about time for Amtrak to give up on the PPCs. They can't keep them in service reliably any more. I'm hoping to see one on my upcoming trip to catch the Tacoma Narrows route before it goes away... but I'm not expecting to. I've taken the Coast Starlight twice before and it was always a substituted SSL. The PPC does act as relief for the overcrowded dining and lounge cars on the Coast Starlight, though, so Amtrak will have to come up with something... but maybe there are enough SSLs.

 

Amtrak doesn't "have" to come up with anything. They can simply disband the entire PPC fleet and replace them with nothing. Even a 30% chance of departing with a genuine PPC is much better than the 0% odds you're advocating. The PPC is my favorite car in the fleet, by far, and in my experience the PPC creates a livelier and more memorable experience than Amtrak's SSL. Perhaps Amtrak could shrink the PPC schedule down to fewer days but schedule them in advance so people know when to expect that particular benefit. Maybe charge a few more dollars per sleeper passenger to help defray the additional costs on those particular days.

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If the PPC ever had to go, I think it would be great to have even a SSL replace it. I've been on a few trips with a SSL subing for the PPC and it is really nice for those that don't care much about the history of the car. In the end it's nice to have a quiet place to grab a drink, have dinner, or look out the window and a single SSL on the CS is often too crowded to accommodate all of the passengers - and doesn't serve all of these functions to begin with.

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Honestly, I think it's about time for Amtrak to give up on the PPCs. They can't keep them in service reliably any more. I'm hoping to see one on my upcoming trip to catch the Tacoma Narrows route before it goes away... but I'm not expecting to. I've taken the Coast Starlight twice before and it was always a substituted SSL. The PPC does act as relief for the overcrowded dining and lounge cars on the Coast Starlight, though, so Amtrak will have to come up with something... but maybe there are enough SSLs.

 

If the PPC ever had to go, I think it would be great to have even a SSL replace it. I've been on a few trips with a SSL subing for the PPC and it is really nice for those that don't care much about the history of the car. In the end it's nice to have a quiet place to grab a drink, have dinner, or look out the window and a single SSL on the CS is often too crowded to accommodate all of the passengers - and doesn't serve all of these functions to begin with.

 

As already stated, Amtrak has plans to convert existing Superliner Cross Country Cafe cars (diner lounge, not Sightseer Lounge) into Parlor car replacements within the next couple years; Apparently, further rebuild of the current Hi-level cars will also be evaluated (though I fully expect the Superliner option to be selected).

Edited by A Voice

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Honestly, I think it's about time for Amtrak to give up on the PPCs. They can't keep them in service reliably any more. I'm hoping to see one on my upcoming trip to catch the Tacoma Narrows route before it goes away... but I'm not expecting to. I've taken the Coast Starlight twice before and it was always a substituted SSL. The PPC does act as relief for the overcrowded dining and lounge cars on the Coast Starlight, though, so Amtrak will have to come up with something... but maybe there are enough SSLs.

 

If the PPC ever had to go, I think it would be great to have even a SSL replace it. I've been on a few trips with a SSL subing for the PPC and it is really nice for those that don't care much about the history of the car. In the end it's nice to have a quiet place to grab a drink, have dinner, or look out the window and a single SSL on the CS is often too crowded to accommodate all of the passengers - and doesn't serve all of these functions to begin with.

 

As already stated, Amtrak has plans to convert existing Superliner Cross Country Cafe cars (diner lounge, not Sightseer Lounge) into Parlor car replacements within the next couple years; Apparently, further rebuild of the current Hi-level cars will also be evaluated (though I fully expect the Superliner option to be selected).

 

 

Yes, but as you know, until the cars are actually converted (or rebuilt), there is a chance it won't happen. I was just expressing my opinion that any type of lounge car is an improvement to the onboard experience, and I support them continuing with a lounge even if it isn't with the current PPC rolling stock.

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It may be that "IF" Amtrak ever gets SL-3s that the number of cars on the train ( Including more sleepers ) will require a PPC type car that will serve the many more passengers and maybe another diner ?

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They dont need additional diners if the load goes up; the SL diners are designed for about triple the throughput they are used for. Theyd just need to staff it better to get that throughput up.

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What difference does it make how many staff they have or how many passengers they can process if they can't even stock enough product to last through the first seating? Out of all the various departments Amtrak F&B seems to be the most entrenched and inept, and that's saying something.

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It wouldn’t take much to make the SSL a worthy replacement for current PPC. Take out the cheap plastic chairs and tables. Replace with the comfortable swivel chairs in the PPC, attractive and comfortable 4/2 table seating, and a nice bar/snack counter. Downstairs, perhaps a private dining room for groups, similar to the Turquoise Room on the ATSF that could also serve as the wine tasting area with quality wines.

 

Now if you really wanted to have fun with it, put the sleepers on the rear of the train with the PPC as the last car and put in rear facing glass windows. But that’s the railfan in me talking.

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It wouldn’t take much to make the SSL a worthy replacement for current PPC. Take out the cheap plastic chairs and tables. Replace with the comfortable swivel chairs in the PPC, attractive and comfortable 4/2 table seating, and a nice bar/snack counter. Downstairs, perhaps a private dining room for groups, similar to the Turquoise Room on the ATSF that could also serve as the wine tasting area with quality wines.

 

Now if you really wanted to have fun with it, put the sleepers on the rear of the train with the PPC as the last car and put in rear facing glass windows. But that’s the railfan in me talking.

I like your thinking!!!! :hi:

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Have to wonder if Amtrak could put coolers on pallets that could plug into electrical in baggage cars. Then wen supplies low fork lift the restocking to diner ? ?

At peak times (when we'd need the extra stock) the baggage cars are quite full, and need to be used for their intended purpose. Having a way to store extra stock would be nice. Admittedly I've only seen the kitchen of a Superliner once when I was training, some 3 years ago, so I don't recall if there's any room for a better layout.

 

About a month from now when I train in the diner on 7/8 I'm sure I'll find out!

 

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For all the reasons set forth in this topic, the Pacific Parlour - both cars and the service - are at the end of the line.

 

Just like any other passenger transportation company, Amtrak seeks to "standardize" its services. Airlines once offered special services on selected routes; so did (shock) both Greyhound and Trailways.

 

Auto-Train got "standardized" as part of a "Micascope" berating during '14. So, for those who have the "yen", best get out there, roll the dice you'll have the car in your consist, and enjoy.

 

I doubt if any "specialty" car or service is long for this world.

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I feel like the big problem with keeping the Hi-Levels running is that most riders just don't care or appreciate the history and beauty of those cars. Railfans know that they're 60 years old and were operated by Santa Fe and on the El Capitan, etc. but the average rider booking a ticket on the CS may only know that there is a nice lounge car for first class passengers called a Pacific Parlour Car. If a bad-ordered PPC were replaced by an SSL instead, the average passenger who's never been in the real deal might not even notice. Sourcing parts, possibly replacing trucks, this is all tremendous hassle and cost for Amtrak, and possibly a very small portion of ridership may care.

 

It wouldn’t take much to make the SSL a worthy replacement for current PPC. Take out the cheap plastic chairs and tables. Replace with the comfortable swivel chairs in the PPC, attractive and comfortable 4/2 table seating, and a nice bar/snack counter. Downstairs, perhaps a private dining room for groups, similar to the Turquoise Room on the ATSF that could also serve as the wine tasting area with quality wines.

Now if you really wanted to have fun with it, put the sleepers on the rear of the train with the PPC as the last car and put in rear facing glass windows. But that’s the railfan in me talking.

 

I very much support this solution. Amtrak has plenty of SSLs on the roster, so if provided the necessary funding, they should be able to modify and allocate the necessary cars to the CS relatively easily. When you think about it, the SSLs do actually give a better view of the scenery than the Hi-Levels, due to it's large windows. Amtrak could very well mimic the interior of the PPCs, giving passengers familiarity and the same level of comfort, with it only being an upfront cost for them, instead of the continuous and frequent maintenance involved currently.

 

 

Honestly, I think it's about time for Amtrak to give up on the PPCs. They can't keep them in service reliably any more. I'm hoping to see one on my upcoming trip to catch the Tacoma Narrows route before it goes away... but I'm not expecting to. I've taken the Coast Starlight twice before and it was always a substituted SSL. The PPC does act as relief for the overcrowded dining and lounge cars on the Coast Starlight, though, so Amtrak will have to come up with something... but maybe there are enough SSLs.

 

Amtrak doesn't "have" to come up with anything. They can simply disband the entire PPC fleet and replace them with nothing. Even a 30% chance of departing with a genuine PPC is much better than the 0% odds you're advocating. The PPC is my favorite car in the fleet, by far, and in my experience the PPC creates a livelier and more memorable experience than Amtrak's SSL. Perhaps Amtrak could shrink the PPC schedule down to fewer days but schedule them in advance so people know when to expect that particular benefit. Maybe charge a few more dollars per sleeper passenger to help defray the additional costs on those particular days.

 

 

I do agree that the Starlight should have scheduled days that run the old PPCs, which would guarantee railfans a ride in the cars they love. If they get to the point that they can't keep enough PPCs running, even for irregular service, they could retire the fleet and allocate one or two for seasonal use or for special trains, as is done with Great Dome 10031 'Ocean View'.

 

Meanwhile, the current system frequently results in the worst possible thing that can happen to a Starlight passenger (or maybe anyone on the planet): you book a ticket, expect a Hi-Level PPC, and get a god damn CCC instead.

Edited by cpotisch

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There is a slight liability of running the PPCs instead of an upgraded SSL. Have watched persons stumble when exiting the PPC to adjacent cars dues to the lower PPC floor height difference. As well going the other way for very tall persons have seen a few bumped heads on the PPC. Another -- all super liners have a grab bar on each side of the passageway to next cars. Last time there only a grab bar on one side of the passage don.t remember which side ?

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I feel like the big problem with keeping the Hi-Levels running is that most riders just don't care or appreciate the history and beauty of those cars. Railfans know that they're 60 years old and were operated by Santa Fe and on the El Capitan, etc. but the average rider booking a ticket on the CS may only know that there is a nice lounge car for first class passengers called a Pacific Parlour Car. If a bad-ordered PPC were replaced by an SSL instead, the average passenger who's never been in the real deal might not even notice. Sourcing parts, possibly replacing trucks, this is all tremendous hassle and cost for Amtrak, and possibly a very small portion of ridership may care.

 

It wouldn’t take much to make the SSL a worthy replacement for current PPC. Take out the cheap plastic chairs and tables. Replace with the comfortable swivel chairs in the PPC, attractive and comfortable 4/2 table seating, and a nice bar/snack counter. Downstairs, perhaps a private dining room for groups, similar to the Turquoise Room on the ATSF that could also serve as the wine tasting area with quality wines.

 

Now if you really wanted to have fun with it, put the sleepers on the rear of the train with the PPC as the last car and put in rear facing glass windows. But that’s the railfan in me talking.

I very much support this solution. Amtrak has plenty of SSLs on the roster, so if provided the necessary funding, they should be able to modify and allocate the necessary cars to the CS relatively easily. When you think about it, the SSLs do actually give a better view of the scenery than the Hi-Levels, due to it's large windows. Amtrak could very well mimic the interior of the PPCs, giving passengers familiarity and the same level of comfort, with it only being an upfront cost for them, instead of the continuous and frequent maintenance involved currently.

 

 

 

Honestly, I think it's about time for Amtrak to give up on the PPCs. They can't keep them in service reliably any more. I'm hoping to see one on my upcoming trip to catch the Tacoma Narrows route before it goes away... but I'm not expecting to. I've taken the Coast Starlight twice before and it was always a substituted SSL. The PPC does act as relief for the overcrowded dining and lounge cars on the Coast Starlight, though, so Amtrak will have to come up with something... but maybe there are enough SSLs.

Amtrak doesn't "have" to come up with anything. They can simply disband the entire PPC fleet and replace them with nothing. Even a 30% chance of departing with a genuine PPC is much better than the 0% odds you're advocating. The PPC is my favorite car in the fleet, by far, and in my experience the PPC creates a livelier and more memorable experience than Amtrak's SSL. Perhaps Amtrak could shrink the PPC schedule down to fewer days but schedule them in advance so people know when to expect that particular benefit. Maybe charge a few more dollars per sleeper passenger to help defray the additional costs on those particular days.

 

I do agree that the Starlight should have scheduled days that run the old PPCs, which would guarantee railfans a ride in the cars they love. If they get to the point that they can't keep enough PPCs running, even for irregular service, they could retire the fleet and allocate one or two for seasonal use or for special trains, as is done with Great Dome 10031 'Ocean View'.

 

Meanwhile, the current system frequently results in the worst possible thing that can happen to a Starlight passenger (or maybe anyone on the planet): you book a ticket, expect a Hi-Level PPC, and get a god damn CCC instead.

I just spoke with an Amtrak agent regarding the PPC availability on the northbound CS on 11/8 out of LAX. As of RIGHT NOW it will be running as part of the consist on that date, so it looks like I’ll luck out for my trip! Any other AU’ers riding #14 on Nov 8 that I can meet in the PPC for a refreshment?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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There is a slight liability of running the PPCs instead of an upgraded SSL. Have watched persons stumble when exiting the PPC to adjacent cars dues to the lower PPC floor height difference. As well going the other way for very tall persons have seen a few bumped heads on the PPC. Another -- all super liners have a grab bar on each side of the passageway to next cars. Last time there only a grab bar on one side of the passage don.t remember which side ?

The rest of the world does not seem to have problems with gaps, difference in height, high low whatever. Are we just more clumsy and uncoordinated?

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